Our ongoing commitment to create more inclusive and collaborative learning environments continues today with the arrival of a number of powerful updates to Office 365 Education. Building on the momentum of OneNote Class Notebook, which has surpassed more than 15 million notebooks created since the beginning of this school year, and the launch of Microsoft Teams for Education, we have worked with students, teachers, and research institutes to ensure that Office 365 continues to deliver the best learning outcomes.
Today’s updates to Office 365 Education include enabling students to write a paper using only their voice, thanks to Dictation in Office, the latest feature to join Microsoft Learning Tools, as well as improved access to assignments and class collaboration with the Microsoft Teams iPhone and Android apps. What’s more, we are delivering on the number one most requested feature from teachers, page locking in OneNote Class Notebook—allowing teachers to provide students with read-only access—and we will further help teachers save time through assignment and grade integrations with leading Learning Management Systems (LMS) and Student Information Systems (SIS), including Capita SIMS in the U.K. Office 365 Education gives teachers and students the power to unlock limitless learning. And best of all, it’s free for teachers and students.
Inclusive Learning Tools for better student results
Classrooms are diverse. Seventy-three percent of classrooms have students with reading levels that span four or more grades, and up to 50 percent of instructional time can be lost managing the students’ varying needs. Learning Tools is proven to help, and we are humbled by the results. In a recent study, it was shown to increase reading speed and comprehension for students of all abilities, leading to test scores that were 10 percent higher than students who did not use Learning Tools.
We are incredibly excited to see strong adoption of Learning Tools with more than 7 million monthly active users across Word, OneNote, Outlook, Edge, and Office Lens. Based on feedback from teachers, students, and parents, we have been working on extending the capabilities of Learning Tools even further—and today we are excited to announce several updates.
- Dictation in Office—This simple yet transformational tool will help students of all abilities to write freely by using only their voice. Starting in February, Dictation will be available in Word, Word Online, PowerPoint, Outlook Desktop, OneNote Windows 10, and OneNote Online—and in more than nine languages.
- Read Aloud—Allows students to hear the contents of an email while each word is highlighted in sync. It will soon be available on Outlook Desktop in more than 30 text-to-speech languages.
- Immersive Reader—To further support students of different backgrounds, Immersive Reader now supports an additional 10 new languages. It is also coming to even more platforms in 2018 and will soon be available on Word for Mac, iPhone, and Android, as well as Outlook Desktop and OneNote for iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
New features for teaching and learning in Microsoft Teams
Since delivering Microsoft Teams for Office 365 Education last year, we’ve seen educators around the globe boost collaboration and learning outcomes using Teams as their digital hub. In addition to our recent announcement, we’re releasing a number of features that will make setting up, collaborating, and managing a classroom in Teams easier than ever before.
- Assignments support—Using the Teams app on their iOS and Android mobile phone or tablet, students can now access upcoming assignments, receive new assignment notifications, and turn in their work. Teachers can create new assignments, as well as review and make edits to existing assignments all while on the go. We also improved the search function on mobile to ensure both students and teachers can quickly find and navigate to individual assignments.
- On Demand Translation—Students and teachers will soon be able to turn content in a chat or in a team channel into the language that their tenant is configured in. This powerful feature allows teachers and students to converse comfortably in their chosen language and removes all language barriers.
- Assignment Analytics—Now teachers can track assignment engagement in real time—at a glance—to see who’s viewed and turned in their work.
- Join Codes—Saves teachers valuable time by allowing them to simply invite students to a class. This capability will also prove helpful for staff and PLC teams, ensuring an effortless start to collaborating with co-workers.
- Reusing a Team as a Template—Teachers can reuse an existing team as a template when creating a new team and can customize what they want to copy over—from channels, tabs, team setting, apps, and even users.
- Decimal Grading—Teachers can provide grading feedback in their preferred way using Decimal Grading.
New OneNote features for teachers
OneNote is also receiving helpful new features, which we know are going to prove popular among teachers.
- Capita SIMS—Updates to Class Notebook include assignment and grade integration with more than 35 of the most widely used LMS and SIS, including Capita SIMS in the U.K. These integrations are coming to OneNote for Windows 10, OneNote Online, and OneNote iPad, and will reduce administrative burden and save teachers time.
- Page Locking—To further simplify classroom workflows, we are delivering on the number-one request from teachers for Class Notebooks—enabling lock pages. Teachers can now lock pages as read-only after giving feedback to the student.
- Interactive math calculators—In OneNote, we are also enabling Desmos interactive math calculators, a set of popular applications for STEM teachers.
- New stickers—We also added four new fun sticker packs: Feathered Friends, Science, Circus Animals, and Arrows.
Teams integration with PowerPoint and Microsoft Stream
Our improvements to class collaboration don’t stop here. Teams has also joined forces with PowerPoint and Microsoft Stream to make it easy for teachers and students to create and share interactive content in just a few steps.
A teacher can use PowerPoint to build immersive class content (that includes ink, animations, and audio/video narrations), publish it to their Stream channel as a video, and have it surface in their Teams class to distribute to their students. Furthermore, Stream will also add automatic captioning to the videos to make them accessible to all learners.
We believe that through inclusive and collaborative learning environments, Office 365 Education is built to support every type of learner to empower them to do their best work. To learn more about the exciting updates coming to Microsoft Education, check out the Windows blog.