Blog 12-01-2021

9 tips on how to beat those Microsoft Teams struggles

Distance learning. Virtual classrooms. Online education. By now, we don't know any better. Teachers and students hardly see each other anymore. With a bit of luck, you can still see each other via Microsoft Teams. As long as your students have their cameras turned on because not all of them do that either (sigh).

Online education is quite a challenge. It was already hard to keep your students engaged during regular classes. Now it seems like a mission impossible. And then there's the technical stuff involved. Microsoft Teams. Zoom. Skype. There is no end to it. Luckily, we're getting better and better at how it all works, step by step. Online learning brings alot of advantages.

Are you already using Microsoft Teams for online education and want to get even better? Or are you planning to do so and don't know where to start? The tips below are for teachers who use or want to use Microsoft Teams. Success guaranteed 😉

1. Ensure a clear Teams channel set up

A clear Teams channel setup is the first step to success for you and your students. Create a team for each class and set up separate channels within this team for each lesson, such as maths and English.

2. Make students participants

This one is so important! If you have a meeting and you meet your students in a virtual room, you don't want them to mess around with you or other students in that classroom. It's great fun, but it's not what you want. So make them participants and not presenters, so your students can't mute others or remove others from the call.

3. Record your lessons

There is a simple button in Teams to record your lessons. You can do this in advance or make recordings during the live classes. Students can replay them at any time and any place. Handy if one of them wasn't paying attention.

4. Invite to channel

Invite your students to meetings in a channel. Don't invite them individually, but add the channel to the meeting. All the notes, chats and files you put in that meeting go into the channel and are easy to find later. If you make a video recording (see tip 3), that recording will also be placed in the channel.

5. Mute students, if needed 😉

You can mute one student or a whole class of students in the chat, if necessary of course... However, two-way communication is important for teaching. If your students are at a distance, asking you questions in the chat is often easier than asking questions during the call.

6. Set clear expectations

Set clear expectations for your students in the chat. Tell them the rules beforehand, for example about @mentions, about answering other people's questions and not spamming in the chat, because they sometimes find that funny.

7. Create a read-only folder

Files in Microsoft Teams are collaborative, which means students can edit them. So, create a read-only folder in the channel where you can put files for your class. Your students will only be able to view items, not edit them.

8. Tell them what you are going to do

Online teaching is hard to follow and often very tiring. Slow down and explain to your class what you are doing, step by step. Check with individual students to confirm actions: "John, do you see my presentation?" and wait for John to answer. Checking with your students keeps the interaction going and prevents your students from hiding.

9. Mix it up!

Online learning is not the same as face-to-face learning. Blended learning means that you are using different resources to support your lessons. Not every class has to be a meeting. You can create a video in advance or share someone else's video. Or you can give them instructions and pieces of text to read. The possibilities are endless!

Are you ready for it?

Blended learning, hybrid learning, gamification, virtual classrooms... We create order out of the chaos of buzzwords. Are you ready for the education of the future? You can read all about it in our free whitepaper.

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