The following originally appeared on the Official Microsoft Blog last week, and provides further detail on a number of new Education features for the new school year that can be found across a variety of Microsoft technologies available to educators and students.
Microsoft is “All In” for Education. Today, we’re highlighting some exciting new features of Office 365 Education for the upcoming school year – Microsoft Classroom, School Data Sync, Microsoft Forms, OneNote ink and Learning Tools. And remember, Office 365 Education is free for students and teachers.
Microsoft Classroom is your workflow wizard
Every minute an educator spends on administrative tasks is a minute they aren’t able to spend time with their students. Microsoft Classroom is designed to be a single experience in Office 365 Education for managing all class and assignment workflows for teachers and students.
With Microsoft Classroom, teachers can use the Office documents and class materials they already have – or create new ones using familiar Office applications like Word, Excel and PowerPoint as well as exciting new applications OneNote Class Notebook and Sway. With this one-stop destination, educators get back precious instructional time so they can focus on what they’re truly passionate about – transforming the lives of students.
Easily set up your class with School Data Sync
School IT administrators have similar challenges. Keeping up with their connected campuses often takes time away from more strategic work. School Data Sync helps IT administrators connect existing school systems to Office 365 – enabling single sign on for teachers and students while automating Microsoft Classroom set up.
IT administrators can get started with Microsoft Classroom and School Data Sync with Office 365 Education by going here.
Developing assessments like quizzes and surveys takes time, and often involves a trip to the copy machine. With Microsoft Forms, now generally available worldwide in Office 365 Education, teachers and students can create custom surveys, quizzes, questionnaires, registrations and more. As educators move to more personalised teaching, Microsoft Forms is a powerful way for teachers to customise their lessons, leveraging individualised instruction and responses, question branching, and image support.
Laura Stanner, a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, is already using the new features in her classroom. Read more about how these new tools are helping her here.
OneNote ink unleashes your inner Picasso or Pythagoras
Most technology in the classroom relies on keyboard inputs, but research has shown that digital ink can increase the quality of instruction, save teachers time and improve scores among students solving science or math problems. OneNote has supported digital ink (or handwriting with stylus, finger or mouse) for over 10 years on Windows PC. It’s also available on Mac, iOS, and Android devices.
Today, we are announcing that OneNote ink now includes new features exclusive to Windows 10, like ink effects and ink math assistant, that not only support student creativity by letting students shade, sketch, draft, save and share ideas with their favourite rainbow colours (a student’s request), it recognises maths equations.
This sets the stage for a revolution in maths instruction, allowing students to show their thought process, and teachers to identify gaps in understanding. Check out the new ink page at OneNote.com/ink and learn more about the power of digital ink in this new era of computers, straight from students.
Learning Tools support readers and writers of all levels
Educators strive to support learners at all levels, and classrooms are often comprised of students with a wide range of capabilities. Learning Tools for OneNote, now available in many new languages, helps everyone improve their reading and writing skills, including gifted learners, students with learning differences or a combination of any of the broad range of unique student abilities.
We have seen overwhelmingly positive reactions from students, teachers and others from around the world. Many have shared stories of their students’ successes, such as dramatically increased reading speeds like those in Special Education teacher and Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert Lauren Pittman’s classroom.
Explore Skype Virtual Adventures – this year with hundreds of new guest speakers and field trips
The Skype in the Classroom community is free. Teachers and students can reach out to connect with more than a thousand amazing destinations – people and places all over the world. A simple Skype call connects students to collaborate with experts and each other through a live conversation from their classroom. Just a few of our new virtual adventures include Antarctic Penguins, Central American Baby Sloths, and the Intrepid Space Shuttle.
See the newest virtual field trips and guest speakers by visiting Skype in the Classroom.
Windows 10 delivers better learning outcomes
As educators head back to school, the Windows 10 Anniversary Update delivers new innovations that help complete the modern classroom. We were pleased to recently share new details about the faster, simpler set up that helps educators get up and running quickly, the Education Ready Windows Store and more.
You can get ready for this school year with the new Windows 10 Anniversary Update training here.
As we welcome all educators back to school – including our newly announced Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Experts and Showcase Schools around the world – I encourage them to try these Office 365 Education enhancements that can’t be found anywhere else and share them with their communities of practice. You can hear more about today’s product updates and their impact on both productivity and learning directly from our MIEs by checking out their blogs here:
Math teachers’ summer collaboration with Office Online in Office 365 – By Cal Armstrong from Appleby College in Canada
Individualizing instruction with the new Microsoft Forms – By Laura Stanner from Dubuque, Iowa.
King’s Schools journey with Sway – By David Harcrow from King’s Schools in Shoreline, Washington