Get Started with Microsoft Teams for Distance Learning

Post in News by NinaSclafani on 8th April 2020

Getting Started with Microsoft Teams

Looking for a secure place to remotely meet with your students? Microsoft Teams is an excellent and safe solution for that. Available via Office 365, Microsoft Teams is quickly becoming a favorite for many teachers for distance learning. If you’re new with this platform, we rounded up our favorite OTIS PD resources to help get you started.

(Don’t have OTIS for Educators? No problem! Teq is offering free accounts to all educators and administrators. Learn how to access your free account, here).

Why use Microsoft Teams for distance learning?

Before we hop into the resources, it’s important to note that Microsoft Teams offers security features that other group meeting platforms don’t currently offer. For that reason, even the NYC Department of Education suggests using Microsoft Teams as a remote teaching platform for its educators. As outlined by Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President, Jared Spataro, Microsoft has taken the following measures to ensure the security of their users:

  • Meeting administrators determine who is allowed into the discussion space. As the administrator of the chat, you can select who from outside your ‘organization’ can join the meetings directly, and who should wait in the lobby for someone to let them in. Allow access to your students ahead of time, and if someone attempts to enter the chat without the proper log in you’ve provided, you select if they can enter or not.
  • You can designate “presenters” and “attendees,” which separates who can take control of the reigns during the meeting and who can simply view the meeting. As the head moderator, you can also control who can and cannot contribute to your class discussion chat box.
  • You can remove attendees from a meeting, as the meeting is happening. Something doesn’t look right? Easily remove the interruption from the space to continue your lesson and get the class back on track.
  • Microsoft deletes user data after a user’s subscription has expired or been terminated (which is why this is also a favorite for school administrators).

Read the full statement on Microsoft Teams security at the Microsoft blog post linked here.

OTIS PD for Microsoft Teams PD

Using Microsoft Teams for Remote Learning – 43 min

In this Microsoft Teams PD session, Teq’s PD Specialists teach you everything you need get started with Microsoft Teams. They explain how to use the different functions of the platform, including how to do the following:

  • Create a Class — perfect if you teach multiple sections
  • Create Channels within each class and control the privacy settings within each channel — This is excellent if you have students with IEPs. Differentiate the assignments using the channel features and set the privacy settings so you only allow those students to view the material within that folder.
  • Create collaborative workspaces using Class Notebook for OneNote for Windows 10. Using the Class Notebook you can
    • Create a collaboration space for group work
    • Upload content to a teacher-controlled Content Library
    • Provide each student with their own digital Notebook (with 5 sections per notebook)
    • Distribute assignments to groups of students
  • Incorporate your pre-created files — It is important to be aware, there is a file size limit. The limit is 50 Megabytes. However, one workaround could be asking students to save a file into Microsoft OneDrive and then submit a link.
  • Video conference with students in a safe and secure space

Assisting Parents with Remote Learning Tools

Microsoft Teams Overview for Parents – 14 min

Parent involvement during distance learning is incredibly helpful (especially with younger students who may not be as familiar with online education). Share this tutorial with your students’ parents to boost their Microsoft Teams confidence.

In this session, parents will learn

  • What is Microsoft Teams
  • Where they can access Notes and assignments from the teacher
  • How to engage with the instructor and submit questions

Have parents who prefer to communicate in Spanish? We have you covered. Access the Spanish language version, Microsoft Teams: un resumen para los padres.

For a Complete Microsoft Office 365 Overview

If you’re looking for a more comprehensive overview of Office 365, Teq’s OTIS PD platform offers a 14-part Microsoft Office 365 Digital Teacher Certification Course.

Please note, Teq will not be grading certification assignments during this time and will resume for fully licensed users after we restrict our platform to paying customers only. Feel free to view the certification courses to learn content and ask questions using askOTIS in the meantime.

To view the specific session on Microsoft teams, view session 10 of the 14-part series.

For more on Microsoft Teams

For more resources like this, visit the Microsoft folder in the OTIS Course Library, and check out the Teq blog.

To sign up for your free OTIS for educators account, visit Teq’s Remote Learning website or call our team at 877-455-9369.

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