Microsoft Teams gets new tools for the classroom

In addition to a new slate of hardware for educators this week, Microsoft also took the wraps off of some new features headed to Microsoft Teams and more education software initiatives.

In Teams, teachers will have access to a total of five new features starting this week, including the long-awaited addition of mobile grading. Here's a brief overview of what's coming:

  • Grade Sync to connect Teams to your SIS: Automatically sends grades from Teams assignments directly to a teacher's Student Information System.
  • Mobile grading: Now teachers can add grades to Teams Assignments from anywhere via the iOS or Android Teams app.
  • Turnitin integration: Helps detect potential plagiarism by comparing student work against items on the web, searching fo similarities.
  • Free Computer Science Curriculum in Teams with MakeCode: A beta will kick off this month, allowing teachers to access Microsoft's online game development engine, MakeCode, within teams. With MakeCode, Students can build their own games using drag-and-drop block or JavaScript.
  • Faster and easier to use Assignments: New changes to Assignments will make it easier to create and view your list of upcoming assignments.

In addition to Teams improvements, Microsoft has announced it is transferring the technology behind its physical programming language, Code Jumper, to the American Printing House for the Blind. Designed for kids aged 7 to 11, Code Jumper will allow students who are visually impaired to get a start with coding using physical blocks.

Finally, on the VR front, Microsoft is giving schools access to 25 hours of standards-aligned virtual reality curricula for free when they purchase a Windows virtual reality headset. That's in addition to the introduction of Immersive Reader for VR and free dyslexia training materials for teachers.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl