A lot of teachers around the world are transitioning to a remote learning environment due to the COVI-19 outbreak.
The eTwinz have created a series focus on remote learning where they will share five scenarios of remote learning.
Welcome to the tenth blog of this series: Five tips to implement Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is a unified communication and collaboration platform that combines persistent workplace chat, video meetings, file storage, and application integration.
Microsoft Teams is a platform that allows us to connect with our students and provide them with quality lessons to continue learning during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Microsoft Teams changed our teaching approach when we started using it three years ago when it was still Microsoft Classroom. After many years using this platform, the transition to a remote learning environment has been easy for us due to the experience we had and the fact that our students were trained on this platform since day one of the school year.
We have used this experience to put together five tips for you to effectively implement Microsoft Teams in your class:
1. General Channel
We keep the General Channel as a “bulletin board”, a place where we write all the announcements and where all the new assignments are posted. Students know that they need to check this channel everyday for assignments and announcements.
For this purpose, we only allow admins to post in this channel. You can see how to change that setting in the following picture:
2. LIVE Classes Channel
When we started teaching remotely, we used to do the LIVE Classes with our students in the specific channel we had for that class. For example, we used to have our science classes in the science channel and our math classes in the math channel.
After a few days doing this, we ran into a problem, students kept asking questions in that channel and the live lesson and its recording got buried under our students’ messages.
We decided to change our approach in this matter, so we created a LIVE Classes channel where we do all our lessons. Make sure you name each meeting correctly for students to find them easily.
3. Channels for classes
We created one channel for each class we teach to our 5th and 6th grade classes: Language Arts, Math, Science and History.
These channels are just for students to ask any question related with the class. We always tell our students that before contacting us to ask any question they need to go to those channels to see if any other student asked the same question before. This helps us to not get many emails asking the same question over and over.
4. Just Chatting Channel
We have a Just Chatting channel in our Microsoft Teams for students to engage in different conversations and share what is going on in their lives.
We love to see how students just share with the class what happened the day before or what they had for breakfast.
This is a powerful way to keep building memories together and remind each other that we still think of them even if we are not together.
Organization is more important than ever before in this setting. We don’t have our students with us so we need to work extra hard to organize our content for students to fully understand our expectations.
That is why we have a schedule tab in our general channel where we post the schedule of the week every Sunday night for students to check out Monday morning.
This tab is just a PDF file tab that we change every week. We upload the new schedule (PDF File) to the Microsoft Teams files and select it using the PDF File tab. This is an example of a schedule:
We also use the schedule to let students know where they can find different materials that they need to use to complete their assignments (OneNote, Microsoft Teams or Flipgrid).
We use Microsoft Teams assignments for pretty much everything students need to do.
Microsoft Education Webinar
The eTwinz presented these ideas in a Microsoft Education Webinar on Remote Learning that you can watch here.