Microsoft Office 365 in the classroom: An Overview of Tools and Methods
Today’s modern classrooms can significantly benefit from Microsoft Office 365. Children from a young age can take advantage of the various tools and software that comes with Office 365 to enhance their classroom experience. Similarly, teachers and instructors can customize it to teach students most effectively. Microsoft provides a dedicated version of Office 365 for educational institutions called Office 365 for Education. Below we will detail how Office 365 brings classroom education into the 21st century.
Building a 21st-century classroom with Microsoft Office 365
Office 365 provides a robust set of tools to optimize classroom experience. OneNote, for example, can offer innovative ways to present notes, slides, hold class discussions, and more. Furthermore, it can improve grading, assignments and more to make sure the class time is dedicated to learning and discussion.
OneNote can transform into a digital notebook where teachers and instructions can store class notes and all relevant information relating to the courses they teach. It can link to web content for research and also become a collaboration space. The best part is that since everything is digital, there is no more worrying about running out of paper in physical notebooks. The information can be accessed at any time from any compatible device, which makes it all the more convenient for teachers.
PowerPoint slides have been used for years to deliver course presentations in class. While PowerPoint is still effective today, OneNote is equally better. Teachers can easily communicate more effectively with each other using OneNote. It’s an effective way to share lectures, course notes and such with each other and gain advice and feedback. It also allows for collaboration to make more innovative content for the students. Implementation of tools such as OneNote in the classroom boosts the productivity of teachers and students benefit from better teaching methods. The 21st-century classroom places a priority on convenience, productivity and innovative teaching. It’s all about clearing the clutter and making life easier for teachers so they can do the same for students.
The idea here is to transform the classroom so that students at a younger age can get a head start on computer literacy. It allows them to be more organized as they move up in education levels.
Personalized Learning Initiatives
Microsoft has been working with schools as part of their Personal Learning Initiative. Microsoft calls it blended learning. Blended learning helps students learn at their own pace. It allows teachers to customize their teaching for each student. It’s a lot more personalized, so each student gets the individual attention he or she needs. Depending on what assistance each student needs, instructors, can customize the curriculum so that students can succeed.
During each class, instructors can provide students with short lessons and then each student can work on his or her own. The instructors act as mentors and guides, helping students understand the course material at his or her pace. Students can get instant feedback between lessons. The learning of each student is divided into two components. There’s the physical classroom instruction component, and then there’s the online component that allows for more of a collaborative learning experience. The online and classroom instruction components work in tandem with each other, and it provides for innovative yet effective teaching and learning experience. The best thing here is that before each class session, students are suitably prepared and have digested the lessons well. They can then contribute effectively in classroom discussions and display their knowledge of the lessons taught to them daily. This is a good way for instructors to get regular feedback on students’ performance, and it would help them customize the learning accordingly. Students are more in charge of their learning, and they become responsible learners. It makes students more independent and utilizes instructors as and when needed. Microsoft is pioneering education in the 21st century to make learning more personalized for each student. While classroom instruction is here to stay, this integrated and collaborative teaching is the future of education. Teachers form meaningful relationships with each of their students. Students become independent, responsible and productive learners.
The Personalized Learning Initiative has already shown to be a success at the regional level. The Fresno Unified School District worked with Microsoft and found that student outcomes became a lot better with Personalized Learning Initiative. The mix of classroom and digital instruction is already proven to be a trendsetter in the field of education. One PLI teacher at Fresno is quoted to have said, “The feedback aspects have been incredible. When I stand at the front of the class and say it live, there are lots of problems with the ‘talking teacher.’ If I can spend time with them online while they’re writing, it affects change in real-time. The tone of the classroom is relaxed, constructive, and allows kids to hear the feedback in a new way. I talk less but give more feedback. And it’s working.” This is an evolution in classroom education, and teachers have shown to enjoy mixing it up for students so they can have an effective and enjoyable classroom education. Feedback is personalized, and the students can learn and grow better.
Sharing is Caring
While Microsoft’s Personalized Learning Initiative is still a relatively new concept in 21st-century education, software products like SharePoint have been around for some time. Microsoft SharePoint takes collaboration to a whole new level. In a time where the world is more connected than ever before, SharePoint has become the center of collaboration in the education sector. Whether it’s teacher to teacher or teacher to student, any collaboration or group discussion can happen via SharePoint. SharePoint Online takes center stage in Office 365 as it works in tandem with Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and more. SharePoint sites can become teaching portals and resources for students. Teaching and learning can extend beyond the classroom where students and teachers can collaborate from wherever they are. SharePoint has redefined classroom instruction and the approach to education today. Group learning and teaching can easily be enhanced by Microsoft Teams as well. Microsoft Teams is very powerful as it provides an all-in-one sharing and communications tool. It can complement SharePoint Online as well. Microsoft Teams offers groups to work together on different channels. Teams can be divided into smaller units and channels can be dedicated to them. Students assigned to the same Teachers Assistants can have a channel of their own, for example. When it comes to teachers, Microsoft Teams goes the extra mile. With Office 365 for Education, you can switch on the Assignments tab in Teams. The Assignments tab gives teachers and instructors a convenient way to assign grades to assignments and provide feedback to students. Quizzes can be administered easily, thanks to Office Forms. Office Forms keeps things organized for students and teachers. Instant feedback can be given, as well as an instant score at times. Students could see their grades online and at times, receive them instantly.
Office 365 for Education is the perfect solution for modern learning and classroom instruction. It provides excellent tools and software for both students and teachers. These tools help simplify tasks so that more time is spent on learning in the classroom. It allows for effective student-to-student, teacher-to-teacher, student-to-teacher collaboration and communication. It enhances classroom learning and teaching and takes it beyond the classroom. Education in the 21st century has been more connected than it ever was thanks to the power of Microsoft Office 365 for Education.
Apart from Office 365, Microsoft’s Personalized Learning Initiative is proving to be an excellent new way of classroom instruction. Personalized learning is helpful for both students and teachers. Teachers can provide individualized and personalized guidance to students and giving them appropriate feedback. Students can become responsible and independent learners with teachers and instructors acting as guides and mentors. Thanks to this collaboration of classroom instruction and technology, Microsoft is setting a new standard in the field of education.
Here at Infowise Solutions, our client list includes some of the world’s best-known higher educational institutes, that is in addition to many school boards in North America, Europe, Australia, the Middle East and Africa. Our products that are used by the educational institutes are a cross-section of what we offer; Workflow automation, process automation, advanced dynamic forms and document management and filing. We have helped thousands of schools and research facilities across the globe in leveraging the power of their Office 365 platform, to its fullest potential to quickly build a wide variety of modern solutions, tailor-made to meet their operational requirements. Through our implementation partners, we have been part of the digitization process for many universities and research organizations. Whether your preference is Microsoft 365 or On-premise our partners will assist and guide you on how best you can get your educational institution on the road onto a successful digitization process.
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