An update to Microsoft Teams is currently rolling out and it contains four key features which appear specifically designed to address problems raised by teachers.
Raised Hand Feature
When video conferencing, particularly if you have a large number of staff or students connected, it’s very difficult to moderate the conversation. How many online meetings have you been in where it’s difficult to follow who is talking, which results in people talking over each other?
The raised hand feature adds an hand icon to the usual video conferencing options bar. When selected it highlights your video with a little yellow hand, indicating to the teacher or meeting chair that you want to speak.
While it’s designed to ease the flow of meetings, this is feature is going to be great for teachers to allow students to indicate when they wish to speak.
End Meeting Feature
Until now, when the teacher left a video conference with their class, the conference would continue in the background. This is a big problem when teaching, akin to the teacher leaving the classroom during a lesson but leaving the door unlocked and the students inside.
The new End Meeting feature allows the teacher to click the options button in the video conference bar, and forcefully end the video conference. This ends the session for the students and forces them back to their previous task.
No more using SnapCamera to spice up your Microsoft Teams video feed, now you can use the built in custom backgrounds.
Building on top of the blur background feature, custom backgrounds allow you to add one of a selection of images to add a realistic backdrop to your video feed. So, if you’re running an online class from home, but your kitchen isn’t the tidiest, you can now replace those stacks of dirty dishes with a lovely neat office space.
It’s great to see that Microsoft is listening to the huge community of educators now using Microsoft Teams and reacting so quickly to their needs. If you’d like to keep up to date with all of the Microsoft Teams for Education updates, of course you can follow ClassThink on any of our social media, but it’s also worth following Dominic Williamson, the Microsoft Teams for Education Project Manager, on Twitter.