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Leveraging Technology for an Optimal Learning Environment

learning environment

Technological advances have transformed the classroom in recent years, with remote learning, flipped classrooms, and blended learning quickly becoming the norm. Microsoft Teams for Education has been in the vanguard of this transformation, with over 100 million students using the communication platform as part of their studies. The software has provided teachers with a central hub for managing classes, communicating with students, and collaborating with colleagues.

As educators and students have adjusted to this new normal, the role of IT departments has changed. Providing technical support and ensuring that a school's networks run smoothly are no longer enough. Today's IT leaders have been called upon to help teachers create an optimal learning environment.

IT leaders have the knowledge and skill to ensure that schools are equipped to maximize Microsoft Teams' capabilities. Everyone benefits when they work with educators to leverage technology to create the best teaching environment possible. In this article, we look at how IT leaders can help educators leverage technology to create an optimal learning environment.

Use Learning Apps to Strengthen Teams

While Microsoft Teams provides educators with robust tools to enhance learning, learning apps can extend the platform's functionality. IT leaders can encourage the early adoption of new technology at their schools by identifying educational apps, like Beedle, that help optimize the learning environment.

Beedle has a suite of features that enable teachers to manage classes using Teams, leading to greater productivity and streamlining teaching and learning. For example, Beedle Planning provides educators with an easy way to organize their lessons, and Beedle Journal gives them a place to record observations about students, which they can share with colleagues or the students themselves.

After identifying appropriate apps, IT leaders should ensure that teachers have the ongoing support and training that they need to get the most out of these apps.

Embrace Digital Evolution

Across the country and world, schools' priorities have shifted from a focus on in-person classes to remote, flipped, and hybrid learning, and IT departments must adapt to meet these new challenges. While schools will always need traditional tech support, as schools become increasingly digital, educators will look to IT departments to take a more hands-on approach in the classroom.

IT leaders can use the resources at their disposal, including data and analytics, to learn how educators and students are using technologies like Microsoft Teams and determine how they can best help them meet their needs while using the software. Interpreting the available data can assist IT leadership in making recommendations about how to enhance learning using Teams and apps.

Promote a Technology-First Culture

When we talk about a technology-first culture, we're referring to an environment where everyone, from teachers to administrators, champions technology. In this environment, everyone knows that they can look to IT departments for support when struggling to use new technology and understands that there's a learning curve when new technologies are deployed.

Most educators are enthusiastic about using new technology like Microsoft Teams; however, if they have trouble using it, they may give up without taking full advantage of what it offers. IT leaders can help by making it easy for teachers to reach out when they run into problems or need help understanding how something works.

One way that they can do this is by creating a digital repository with videos, guides, and other information showing teachers how to maximize Teams to create an optimal learning environment.

They can also show teachers how Teams and supporting apps can help them save time. With this support, teachers will likely feel more comfortable introducing new technologies in the classroom.

Use Technology to Improve Communication

First, Microsoft Teams is a communications tool. One of its most important qualities is its ability to help bridge the gap between students and teachers by making it easier to talk with each other.

Teachers can use Teams to send messages and reminders to students, provide feedback, keep parents and guardians updated on their child's progress via the Beedle Parent App, and more. IT leadership should encourage teachers to fully leverage these technologies to open lines of communication with students and parents and ensure that all parties understand how to use these tools.

They can also ensure that educators and learners understand how to use the technologies at their disposal by holding hands-on workshops that explain how to use learning apps for Teams. These workshops should go beyond the surface and introduce them to features that they may not know exist or haven't had a chance to explore.

Support Faculty Efforts to Gain Digital Fluency

When IT leaders take an active role in helping schools get the most out of Microsoft Teams and other technologies, they've taken an important step in helping them develop digital fluency. Ongoing education that ensures that educators have access to ongoing training to improve their ability to use new technologies can further these goals.

Given that today's students are digital natives, they expect educators to provide engaging, easy-to-access information, and IT departments can make sure educators have the tools and training to do so. IT leadership can also make staff available to support educators in the classroom by observing how they use Teams and offering tips on best practices.

Furthermore, they can offer self-paced courses and training models, how-to documents, and webpages with resources for teachers to reference when they need assistance or want to learn more about a particular topic.

Final Thoughts

IT leaders play a critical role in helping schools leverage Microsoft Teams to create an optimal teaching environment. While many education-friendly tools are built into Teams, IT departments can use their specialized knowledge and skills to help educators identify apps that extend the platform's functionality, helping to create the best possible learning environment and maximizing opportunities for success.

Beedle is an all-in-one solution for teaching and learning in Microsoft Teams, giving schools the power to leverage Teams for improved resource and lesson planning, class management, insight organization, and more!

If you’re in a Teams district or school and want to unlock the true potential of Microsoft Teams, contact our specialists to maximize the worth of your Microsoft Teams investment today!