Whether it’s schools, colleges, universities, adult education courses or employee training, all kinds of remote learning programmes have benefitted from the enhanced features available to them via platforms like Teams, and enabled them to continue during lockdown.
Now that we’re on our way back to our ‘new normal’, these platforms are still seeing increased demand in comparison to pre-COVID usage. It’s no wonder, really, as platforms like Teams have made education and training even more accessible, especially with features like Immersive Reader (a feature which we’ll be looking at in our next post).
Microsoft are continuing to tailor the Teams for Education experience to suit its user base, and have announced a few new features that are going to be rolling out between May and August, 2021. Some of these features may be useful to a variety of users and not just those using Teams for learning purposes!
Users may now upload subtitles or captions to videos stored in OneDrive or SharePoint. In addition, in August, Microsoft plans to roll out auto transcripts for recorded videos to enable students and learners more options to catch up on any content they may have missed. This coincides with the rollout of a feature that has been absent thus far on Teams – the ability to automatically record video meetings. An overview of the lesson or meeting will be available, allowing users to skip to specific sections if there’s something they have missed, or if they had to leave lesson, meeting or presentation early – or arrived late.
Learning and collaborating can now be more visually interesting! 15 new ink colours and more thicknesses are being added to the whiteboard tools, along with 15 new highlighter colours, and 10 new sticky note colours.
Users can also add images, content from other documents, shapes and even stickers to the whiteboard, too, making it into a complete live presentation and collaboration platform.
Microsoft is also making it easier to see who’s engaged with the presentation, lesson or lecture, and who’s pointing at what on screen with Cursor Identification. This feature also makes it easier to see those who might need a little extra help, or who might not be engaging well.
Outside of the downloadable Teams apps for desktop and mobile/ tablet devices, the in-browser Teams for Chrome and Teams for Edge are also getting more and better features, ideal for those who do not or cannot install the Teams client on their device. Blurred and custom backgrounds will be available for those taking part in video meetings via browser, and up to 49 people will be displayed at once if the meeting or lesson makes use of Together Mode.
Next week we’ll be having a more in depth look at a few other features in Teams for Education