In the weeks since the COVID-19 outbreak first hit China, our education customers in the region have done amazing things to keep students learning while they transition to learning remotely. From eLearning innovations to keeping students’ spirits high with photo and cooking challenges, teachers and students have shown extraordinary resilience during this difficult time.
Now, as countries around the world take steps to contain the virus, many schools and universities globally are moving classes online. However, teaching and learning from home is a big change for most students and Educators. Without a physical classroom, how can you check that students are engaged and progressing? How do Educators and faculty stay connected?
We want to help ease the transition, so we have asked experienced online Educators—including Educators from Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA) and O’Dea High School here in Seattle—to share the tips they’ve gathered over years in remote education.
But we also want to do more. Microsoft Teams is available for free to educational institutions through the Office 365 A1 offer. This provides a completely free customized hub for class teamwork with Teams that includes video meetings, online versions of the Office 365 apps as well as compliance tools, and information protection.
As schools move to a remote learning environment, Teams can provide an online classroom that brings together virtual, face-to-face connections, assignments, files and conversations in a single platform accessible on a mobile device, tablet, PC or browser.
To help make this process as simple as possible, we have created a best practices guide for School Leaders and IT to get up and running quickly with Teams so their students and staff to begin communicating remotely. Once Teams is set up, Educators and staff have the ability to create their own class in Teams, add selected students, share lessons, create assignments, collaborate virtually in real-time and do grading and provide personalized feedback all in one hub.
Here are some tips from expert Educators to help you get started:
We want to support Educators with practical guides, professional development, and how-to information that will help empower them, and their students, to stay motivated and engaged. We have created a series of webinars that can be accessed on demand for Educators to get started on Teams and have new resources in our Microsoft Educator Center to also help Educators get up and running. We also invite you to join our newly launched Remote Learning Community where Educators launching distance learning programs from around the globe are sharing best practices, and our Microsoft Education team is answering questions in real time.
Continuing to drive student engagement and focused learning can be a challenge, especially for those moving to remote learning for the first time. Educators and parents need support to help make this work. To help parents and guardians support their children, we have created a Remote Learning Guide for students and parents. For Educators, tools like Flipgrid, Skype in the Classroom and Minecraft: Education Edition can also help mix up the day and give students ways to communicate and demonstrate learning in new ways.
In addition, here are some tips we have heard from Educators who have helped create healthy and effective learning environments that allow students to thrive in a virtual setting:
I hope these tips from our educator community help you create an engaging remote learning environment in which both students and Educators can stay connected. We recognize navigating this way of learning presents challenges that are new to just about everyone impacted. Our team is available to answer questions you have around remote learning in our new Remote Learning Community. We hope to help make this transition as easy as possible on you. Stay in touch and let us know what more we can do.
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