As Microsoft increase their competition against Google and release more features for Office 365 Education, we get to see another new feature that is currently in preview for US based customers. Along with Office Forms, we now get Microsoft Classroom, a great example of how Software Integrator can build on top of the Office 365 platform but mainly Office 365 Groups.
Microsoft Classroom integrated communication and collaboration through Office 365 Group but also their ever growing in popularity OneNote Class Notebook into a single web application available at http://classroom.microsoft.com.
With Google pushing hard with Google Classroom, the ability to assign work, communicate and collaborate for Microsoft customers as part of the free offering has become an increasing demand but of course, Microsoft have a great platform that offers so much more.
With OneNote, OneDrive, Office Online, Exchange, Office 365 Groups, the desktop and mobile apps available for the platform, educators are going to get a great experience that fits everyone in the classroom. Bringing all of these in will allow teachers to select what they want to do with their class but with its integration with Microsoft School Data Sync (ability to have all your classes created for you as part of your MIS timetable) it is also easy for teacher to just get going with their class.
Whether it is file assignment and scoring, communication through email/Exchange or working collaboratively in OneNote Class Notebook a teacher can get straight into or even create their own classroom for extracurricular clubs, sports teams and other classes not on timetable.
The landing page of Microsoft Classroom looks a bit bare when you first log in but don’t worry, once you are assigning work, you’ll see everything on this page.
As you create your classes you will see them down the left hand side in the Assignments navigation panel. This will load a few different things onto your page and loos very similar to the design of Office 365 Groups.
From here I can get quick links to a few different areas including the Groups Calendar, Conversations, Class Notebook and Files. When I arrive onto a class landing page, I can see the Assignments set with details around those and give announcements for the class.
When I go to manage the class I can change the class name, give it a course number, start and end date and set a colour, logo (the chess piece) and top banner.
Creating a new assignment is easy with the ability to assign this work to multiple classes at the same time. I can set a title, end date, description before adding an attachment should I wish.
You can pull in several types of attachments including links to a page within OneNote Class Notebook, upload a new file, select one from OneDrive and also any files stored in the Office 365 Group. We also have a built in search engine (I’m assuming Bing) to link to those results for either a website or video (video sources including YouTube).
When selecting Calendar, Conversations, Files it will open a new window to the Office 365 Group while Class Notebook will give you a link to the Notebook.
The version I have available is very different to the video below – take a look at the video and you’ll see some extra features and branding which will help take it to the next level.