Office 365 Education has a lot of new integration that your organization should know about.
Microsoft has been investing in digital and online education for years. With that much experience – along with Microsoft’s well-known business tools – any education organization looking for a tech upgrade should consider the Microsoft option. One of the most current packages for schools is Office 365 for Education: Take a look at the benefits it offers students and teachers alike.
Cloud-Based Connections Allow Anywhere Learning
Office 365 for education offers cloud-based access to a variety of channels, including contacts through Exchange Online, document storage and sharing, email, calendars, instant messaging, and much more. Using the portal already provided by Office 365, this allows teachers to communicate with remote students. There is some fear that this leads to teachers being on the job 24/7, but in practice it proves more convenient than anything else, allowing teachers to swiftly answer questions over the cloud when required, pass out homework to absent students in a timely manner, and hold important discussions even when weather closes down the school. It’s a true time saver and great training for using cloud software in the future.
Access to Office 365 Tools Is Great Productivity Training
Speaking of “training,” one of the often-touted benefits of Office 365 for Education and that students have access to the web version of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote and other common Microsoft apps that are frequently required for work and financial management. This is a good point: Not everyone will use Windows in their professional lives, but the sooner students learn these important tools for college, work and beyond, the more prepared they will be (and the more impressive their resumes will look).
Collaboration and Teamwork Encourage Group Learning
Many of the newer features on 365 for Education focus on encouraging group learning and giving students the tools to work together in teams – something often too rare in pre-college education. Communication tools aren’t just about communication directly with a teach, they focus on group dynamics, with audio and video conferencing options through Lync online that allow safe student communication for any number of projects, including advice on particularly tricky assignments, and personal student reminders when calendars don’t quite do the trick. It’s a more natural way for today’s always-online students to work together and help each other out.
Student Data Management is Easier for Teachers Than Ever
On the teacher side, Office 365 makes it much easier to both assign and grade assignments through SharePoint Online’s tools: These allow teachers to create individual sections for each separate class, as well as use the specially designed Class Notebooks within Microsoft Teams, essentially setting each class as a different Team for easier management. It’s an organic, flexible way of organizing classes and allows teachers to rapidly update or manage a class, even during off hours.
Security Requirements Are Easy to Meet
The Education version of 365 sticks primarily to web access to limit how software can be used and includes business-grade encryption to keep all information safe. Microsoft has plenty of experience with this approach, so if you’re concerned about security regulations, meeting local requirements is easy with the fully integrated 365 approach.
Discounts and Programs Make Office 365 Highly Affordable
Students and educators can get access to common Office Online applications for free, including Outlook, Word, and PowerPoint. For fees – $6 per student per month, a slightly more for educators, access expands to OneNote, Publisher, and other apps. It remains a solid choice if budget requirements encourage a go-easy approach, or if you want to invest more in digital education tools.
New Apps Add More Specific Learning and Team Possibilities for Students
Office 365 for Education continues to develop and gain new capabilities, especially as 365 and Windows get upgrades. A notable new capability – in addition to using Microsoft Teams to manage classes and projects – is integration with other apps, many with specific teaching purposes. Busuu offers a quizbot for studying new languages. Kahoot! Allows teachers to create their own learning games. Canvas allows for additional social communication and tool access. Flipgrid enables easy and safe video discussions. The list goes on…expect continued updates on this front!