Technology Solutions for Schools to Extend Microsoft Teams
In 2020, the global pandemic forced schools across the country to make a quick pivot to remote learning. Students with access to broadband internet services, devices that supported remote-learning platforms, and tutors and neighborhood study groups were able to continue their education during the shutdowns. In under-resourced communities, however, students often lacked the technology and support needed to access online classrooms and fell behind.
Two years later, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores have revealed the extent of learning loss. The Nation's Report Card shows that reading scores dropped five points and math scores dropped seven points over the pandemic years. Much of this decline may be attributed to equity and access issues. The National Center for Education Statistics surveyed students and as would be expected, found correlations between lower performance on tests and less access to technology and teachers.
Districts Need Accessible Technology Solutions for Schools
Over the past two decades, the nation’s schools have been upgrading their IT systems to take advantage of advances in computing to engage learners. The pandemic accelerated this trend in many districts. While this is a positive development, school administrators face multiple challenges. They need to continue making progress with upgrades to the district’s technology infrastructure and ensure that low-resourced students are not left behind with outdated systems and devices.
To achieve this, schools need technology plans that clarify how legacy systems will work with and eventually be replaced by new platforms. New systems need to be user friendly but also secure against bad actors. Administrators, educators, school staff, students, and their families need to be part of the technology solutions for schools to ensure that relationships within the school community are strong. Schools that use Microsoft Teams have a budget-friendly option for meeting these challenges.
Microsoft Teams Is a Popular Choice for Remote Learning
When the health emergency closed schools, Microsoft Teams was a popular choice for remote learning. It could be quickly implemented, particularly for districts that were already subscribed to the Microsoft suite of programs. The familiar interface required minimal training and could be scaled to work for schools and districts of any size.
Although in-person learning has returned, schools continue to use Teams to facilitate communication and collaboration. Maintaining it as part of a district’s IT infrastructure makes hybrid learning or a return to remote learning possible with minimum disruptions.
However, without add-on applications, Teams lacks full functionality as a learning management system. To complete planning, instruction, assessment, communication, collaboration, and administrative tasks, educators must use multiple programs that require logging in with various sets of credentials and protocols, making the workflow more of a work slog.
How an LMS App Integrated with Microsoft Teams Streamlines Learning
One of the strongest features of Microsoft Teams is that its functionality can be modified with applications, so it can be configured to best fit the user’s needs. Schools can turn Teams into a one-stop platform by adding a learning management system (LMS) app. By combining teaching and learning tasks with general administrative duties, such as attendance and reporting, educators can have everything that they need in one place with one log-in. In addition to completing daily tasks, school personnel, students, and families can use the platform to communicate, collaborate, and share information.
Grade-level teams can meet remotely and store records of their meetings in one place. Within Teams, educators can work together and record progress on school-level and district-level initiatives. Teachers and counselors can hold two-way communications with students and parents. A well-designed LMS application will include attendance and other administrative-type functions, bringing a teacher’s daily work into one space. Beedle, used by more than 700 schools across the globe, is an example of an LMS app that optimizes Teams for Education.
Why Beedle Is a Good Choice for Learning
Beedle was designed by teachers and technology specialists to fully integrate with Microsoft Teams, giving teachers tools to efficiently perform daily tasks. The intuitive drag-and-drop planning module enables teachers to reuse and share lesson plan components and save them to a Teams library for future use. Plans may be linked to a Teams calendar with attached digital resources, making them available to all Teams members, including students.
Beedle’s assessment component enables teachers to create interactive assessment records for each class and includes formula functions for calculating averages. The Objective Framework function enables teachers to create grade-level frameworks with objectives and then link them with planning and assessment modules.
Beedle Technology Solutions for Schools Streamlines Administrative Tasks
Rather than expediting communications, email, voice messaging, online chats, and text messaging often complicate them. Keeping track of email threads with colleagues or playing “phone tag” with parents wastes time, and crucial information can be lost. Beedle simplifies communications with Microsoft Teams chat functions and Beedle’s Parent App, which enables teachers to message directly with parents. All communications are logged and stored to keep a complete record.
Other classroom management tasks may be performed within Teams. Using Beedle, educators can create and sort class lists, record attendance, keep a taggable journal, and maintain a digital gradebook.
The 2022 NAEP scores show how disruptive the sudden switch to remote schooling was to learning, but the National Center for Educational Statistics survey suggests that access and equity issues may underlie the plunge in test scores. Schools are now positioned to embrace the new technology but are challenged to make the technology accessible to under-resourced students and their families. Beedle offers solutions for schools by extending Microsoft Teams to function as a readily accessible, comprehensive LMS.
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!