Seems as though Google has reignited the pursuant fire for relevance in the education market that now has former incumbents such as Apple and Microsoft scrambling for competitive and advantageous solutions for classrooms, students and educators.
While Apple is pivoting once again with a hardware angle as its conduit to its educational software and services via the iPad, Microsoft isn't waiting on partnering OEMs to save the day with low-cost laptops, instead, it's tweaking its already successful office tools for educational purposes.
Two days ago, Microsoft announced five new assignment and grading features that will be available in its newest communications tool, Microsoft Teams. The relatively barebones Microsoft Teams chat service is gaining some rather robust additions such as assignment sharing, rich text editing for detailed assignment instructions, and celebratory animations for completed assignments.
Share assignments to individual students
Now teachers can post assignments to individuals, small groups, or the full class. Tailor assignments to each individual in your diverse classroom of learning styles and academic abilities.
Schedule to post assignments
Share learning activities with students at the exact time they need it. Now you can schedule to post your assignment in advance.
Provide continuous and personalized feedback
Teachers can now provide iterative, personalized, and actionable feedback while students are working on their assignments. Assignment submissions can now be resubmitted and continuously improved – even after the teacher leaves feedback.
Rich text editing for assignment instructions
We think teachers will love this one. Now you can bold, italicize, highlight, and make bulleted or numbered lists in your assignment instructions. This allows you to create even richer learning activities.
And finally, we wanted to create something lovable and fun to celebrate the hard work a student has done when they submit their work for feedback. Look for more delightful updates in the coming months as we work to add additional ways to support student engagement, passion, and voice!
While part of the success of Chromebooks in the education market has stemmed from its relatively inexpensive hardware, it's the subsidization through software such as G-Suite that's been a hit among teachers and students. As evident with these latest additions to Teams, Microsoft has the software chops to compete well for educational contracts, and Teams is just another example of the company's history and focus on productivity and communications at all levels.