A whole bunch of upgrades were announced by Microsoft Teams to make online learning experience better for students and teachers There is one planned upgrade that is particularly exciting – the expansion of Minecraft: Education Edition that is now going to integrate seamlessly with Teams.
Microsoft mentioned that this upgrade will give access to teachers so that they can embed quizzes, assessments, and Flipgrid topics within Minecraft game sessions. Although, it is still not clear about what this might look. Microsoft is also going to introduce Minecraft for Camps and Clubs, a new subscription package, which is meant for teachers operating outside the classroom. According to Microsoft, “Beginning this summer, camps, clubs, homeschool organizations, and nonprofits can purchase licenses for Minecraft: Education Edition to support critical thinking, collaboration, and game-based learning for all ages.”
Microsoft in a blog post which was written for Teacher Appreciation Day in the US, outlining its vision for future online learning, as well as the tools it hopes to integrate to help teachers deliver “the next chapter of learning”. VP of Microsoft Education, Barbara Holzapfel wrote, “For the past year, teachers have leveraged technology in innovative ways to keep students engaged. Technology went from being a temporary lifeline to facilitate connection in remote and hybrid learning, to a fully integrated part of many virtual and in-person classrooms.”
Adding on, Holzapfel also said, “To continue to support teachers and students, today we’re introducing new tools and updates designed to support the five key areas that help teachers create a holistic learning environment and move education forward: student centricity, skills focus, social learning, safety & security and scalability.”
Microsoft other than the Minecraft upgrade has also unveiled a new tool for Teams for Education that has been designed to help teachers evaluate the reading progress of students. Teachers, using the tools can create reading tasks for whole classes or for individuals and those can be used to assess data points like accuracy rate, correct words per minute, etc. The company is also getting new collaboration tools that will “help improve group work, integrate audio and video elements into assignments and make it easy for pupils to track their outstanding tasks.” Before the next school year starts in Us, these tools will be available to use.
A new security feature called Supervised Chat is also announced by Microsoft, this feature will be available later this month. This feature will prevent students from starting a chat unless there is a designated “appropriate educator” present to supervise it.