10 great ways to rock back-to-school with Microsoft

The following post originally appeared on the Microsoft in Education Blog.

It’s back-to-school time again in many parts of the world, and educators are busy getting organized. Below are some new and favorite technology features we offer educators to help make teaching easier and spark student learning, and many any are part of Office 365 Education, which is free for students and teachers.

We are committed to creating immersive and inclusive learning experiences that inspire lifelong learning and essential life skills like communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. These 10 useful features not only support those skills, but they are sure to engage students and help save time. A perfect way to set the tone for the new school year!

1. Make organization a snap with OneNote Class Notebook

Revolutionize the way you work this school year, with OneNote Class Notebook. With brand-new, back-to-school Class Notebook app updates, including new features and improvements across 44 languages and 90 new countries, these enhancements will help save valuable time in the classroom, and allow you to be even more organized.

Screenshot of Microsoft Classroom

Plus, the Class Notebook add-in for OneNote desktop helps teachers work even more efficiently with page and section distribution, quick review of student work, improved help and feedback options, and assignment and grading integration with many Learning Management Systems. You can download it today, or get it or for your entire school/district.

2. Manage all of your classes from one place

Microsoft Classroom is a one-stop destination – for teachers and students – to help manage classes and assignment workflow. Teachers can use Office lesson plans and materials created by other teachers, collaborate with them to create new ones, or let someone else co-teach the class. For IT admins, Microsoft Classroom’s School Data Sync keeps everything up-to-date, even as students change classes mid-semester.

Check out the School Data Sync Preview and Microsoft Classroom Preview.  Schools can get started right here, right now, or sign up to get free, one-on-one help directly from Microsoft.

3. Quickly create surveys, quizzes and questionnaires with Microsoft Forms

Microsoft Forms, included in Office 365 Education, allows teachers or students to easily and quickly create custom surveys, quizzes, questionnaires, registrations and more. It works from any web browser, even on mobile devices. Students can survey classmates, teachers can create better quizzes, and even embed them in OneNote. Learn how one Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert is using forms to individualize instruction with new features here.

Get started with Microsoft Forms in Office 365 Education today in the app launcher or by going to http://forms.office.com.

4. “Think with Ink” to boost creativity and bring math to life

Ink is exclusive to OneNote—you won’t find this innovative feature anywhere else. And we want to empower you to “Think with Ink” in new and fun ways. From quick notes to quadratic equations, OneNote ink has some great new features to make inking fun.

The Ink Pencil lets you do things like shade, sketch and draft ideas like never before. Ink Effects (Rainbow Ink) is a cool set of ink effects – dreamed up by students! — that has so far brought smiles to everyone from real teachers and students to executives in a boardroom meeting. Finally, Ink math assistant recognizes the math you write with ink. This is a great way for students to show their math work and thought process.


Find out more and start thinking with Ink today.

5. Take a virtual field trip

No matter where you live, your students can see the world. Skype in the Classroom makes it easy to take your students on an adventure – like meeting Sloths in South America or visiting the Arctic – without even leaving their seats!

Sign up today and connect your students to the world!

6. Let your students wow you (and themselves) with Sway presentations

Sway makes it fun and easy for teachers and students to compose a digital creation they’ll love to share. A digital storytelling app, Sway helps you create professional designs in minutes and makes sure your creations look great on any screen – it even helps you while you create by anticipating what content you might want to incorporate! You and your students can create and share interactive reports, presentations, newsletters, personal stories, and more. Sway is free, and also included with Office 365. Get started today!

7. Make reading and writing easier for all students and all abilities

The Learning Tools for OneNote add-in 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.

All students can benefit from increased reading comprehension, and these built-in reading and writing tools can help improve learning outcomes for anyone. You can see how it works with the interactive guide. Download the add-in today and share it with your entire school or district.

8. Find a brand new device – starting at only $199

Looking for a new device? Find new and affordable Windows 10 devices that make the most of your budget.


9. Join a committed and supportive Professional Learning Community

Teaching can sometimes be isolating, and collaborating can be difficult. That’s why professional learning communities (PLCs) can be so helpful. A PLC is a group of educators who meet regularly to share expertise and work collaboratively to improve teaching skills and the academic performance of students. Office 365 Groups make collaboration within a PLC super-simple and streamlined.

If you already have Office 365 Education, PLC groups are currently being rolled out worldwide, with Office 365 Groups also enabled. If you don’t see PLCs there, register here.

10. Get inspired, stay connected.

Make this year the best one yet! Join the Microsoft Educator community and attend the Hack the Classroom live digital event September 24th to hear from inspiring educators.

And don’t forget: Office 365 Education is free for both students and teachers!

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