Microsoft refreshes Teams for Education features just in time for the school year

Kevin Okemwa

The school year is about to kick off and students need to be in the right frame of mind for effective learning to take place. As such, Microsoft is launching a new feature in Teams dubbed Reflect, to allow educators and students to recognize, communicate, and navigate emotions, something that’s become even more hard to do in a hybrid or remote learning environment.

Overall, course facilitators also leverage this tool in the sense that they are also able to get back accurate feedback that helps them establish “a healthy classroom community.”   Studies have shown that students that are in touch with their emotions and are able to communicate what they feel generally perform better and are well behaved.

The platform allows teachers to come up with custom questions that will allow them to check in and also allow them to access improved data visualizations of previous check-ins in Teams and Class Notebook. According to the blog post, “using the OneNote Class Notebook toolbar, educators can easily insert a Reflect for learning poll that is contextualized on the Class Notebook page. These can be used as quick and easy pre- and post-assignment assessments, or as “exit slips” to help inform the next lesson”.

At Microsoft, we know that self-awareness and self-management are critical skills for lifelong learning, so Reflect provides opportunities for students to reflect on their learning. This helps educators better understand how students receive their curriculum and work with students to increase the agency they have in their own learning process. The benefit is helping students develop a growth mindset by honestly evaluating their own effort, motivation, and progress.

Through Reflect, students will also be able to communicate how they feel using emojis and characters. Building upon the premise of creating a safe space to communicate, only course facilitators will have access to the shared status by students.

Reflect also features Together view, a platform where students will be able to build empathy for their counterparts based on the Feelings Monsters they share. Feelings Monsters are character representations signifying their current emotional state.

Reflect on Microsoft Teams

Microsoft is also launching a new homepage on Teams for educators and students where they can easily access all the resources they require in one convenient location. Though only teachers will have the ability to make changes on the homepage as a means of establishing control. This update should rollout automatically anytime this week.

Educators will also be able to create and review Reading Progress assignments on Teams using an iPad or Android tablets, a feature that was already available for Desktop PC, Mac and Web Browser. Be sure to also check out Microsoft’s blog to learn how you can get started with Reflect. Also check out our comprehensive list of Windows 11 laptops that will help you kick start this school season.