When the national health emergency of the COVID-19 pandemic required schools to teach remotely, Microsoft Teams for Education (included in the Microsoft 365 suite of programs) was a popular platform to connect teachers and students. The abrupt switch to remote learning accelerated an existing trend toward digital learning. Post-pandemic, many schools continue to incorporate Teams into their technology plans, using the chat, audio, and video calling functions, the e-discovery resources, and the OneNote digital notebook.
Using Teams is a step forward in modernizing the classroom, but by adding Microsoft educational apps to the platform, schools can create a vibrant learning environment while streamlining daily classroom tasks. The ability to customize Teams with apps is one of the platform’s strong points.
Various applications designed to smoothly integrate with Teams add the ability to curate content, expand multimedia capabilities, and provide interactive lessons and assessments. Comprehensive apps like Beedle turn Teams into a multi-function LMS, bringing classroom activities and tasks into one place.
Here’s a roundup of popular applications that will supercharge Teams so you can build a modern digital classroom.
Microsoft Educational Apps to Integrate with Teams
Wakelet is for curating, organizing, and sharing digital content. Within the app, users can save resources in collections, collaborate with others, organize research, and create portfolios of learning and accomplishments. Wakelet is like the popular social media site Pinterest in concept, but in addition to images and web links, users can create collections that include text, PDF files, social media posts, audio files, and videos. Teachers can collect resources for a specific lesson or unit to share with students. Students collaborate by adding their own contributions to a collection or by building collections to share with classmates.
2. Pear Deck
Imagine a PowerPoint slide presentation that includes questions and tasks, and each student can enter a response from their laptop or mobile device, either in the classroom or from a remote location. With Pear Deck, student answers are anonymously posted on the shared screen. Essentially, everyone in the class can simultaneously answer a question without shouting over each other. Teachers can privately monitor individual students’ answers on their own devices to quickly assess which students are following along and those who need help. Student answers may be text responses or drawings. The back and forth of a Pear Deck presentation helps keep all students engaged in the discussion.
Flip, formally Flip Grid, is a video discussion app that connects students and builds learning communities through video. The teacher creates a topic and posts instructions for an assigned video task, along with resources, and students make videos of themselves responding to the topic. They have access to editing features similar to what they would find on their smartphones, such as text blocks, filters, and emojis.
If the teacher enables commenting, students may make text or video responses to a classmate’s post. Students are familiar with the quick-video format because it has become popular on social media and a crucial way for people to connect. Flip offers a safe and engaging way to share student-created videos.
Nearpod is a presentation app that adds interactivity to lessons. It has game-like quizzes with drag-and-drop capabilities, simulations, and virtual field trips. Teachers can monitor student responses and assess student understanding in real time. Lessons may be delivered in one of three modes: live mode, student-paced mode, or front-of-class mode.
Quizlet has been a standard learning tool since it was launched over fifteen years ago. With a digital flashcard format, students may quiz themselves on materials, practice spelling and vocabulary words, and play learning games with their classmates. The flash card format helps students develop information-retrieval skills, and the score-keeping aspect promotes goal setting.
Pulling It All Together with Beedle
While these Microsoft educational apps add exciting lesson possibilities to Teams, teachers need other programs for logging attendance, recording grades, and other tasks. The Teams for Education lesson-planning template may not offer the flexibility that teachers want, and aligning lessons to objectives and curriculum within the platform can be cumbersome. The Beedle app is the ideal solution. It pulls disparate tasks into Teams so educators need to only log into one program each day.
Beedle has drag-and-drop capabilities in its lesson-planning function, and teachers can build a library of lesson components to reuse. They can also link lessons to objectives and use a shareable calendar to schedule units for an entire school year.
Administrative functions are included so that within Teams, teachers can take attendance, record grades, and track student progress. Beedle also has a journaling function for jotting down notes on the fly.
Beedle facilitates communication between educators, students, and parents, making it easier to collaborate with peers and keep parents informed. A separate parent app is also available, which parents may use on a mobile phone or tablet without having to join MS Teams.
Teams for Education is a user-friendly, affordable platform for digital learning, but the addition of Microsoft educational apps and Beedle turns it into a powerful LMS. By bringing daily classroom tasks into Teams, Beedle streamlines teachers’ workflow so they can spend less time dealing with computer programs and more time with their students.
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!