New classroom-focused features rolling out to Microsoft Teams

Microsoft has announced that a new batch of classroom-focused features is now rolling out to its Slack competitor, Teams, across 181 markets in 25 languages. Originally detailed at the tech giant's recent education event in New York, the new features aim to make using Teams in the classroom a little more manageable.

Here's a look at the main new features (opens in new tab) rolling out now:

  • School Data Sync automatically populates classes with student rosters connected to the school's information system.
  • OneNote Class Notebooks are built into every class, allowing teachers to organize interactive lessons and deliver personalized learning right from Teams.
  • Apps integrate into the classroom experience, so teachers can quickly access the Office 365 apps they already use – like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Planner – and customize their classroom with education apps.
  • End-to-end assignment management in Teams enables teachers to move quickly and effortlessly from creation and distribution to grading and feedback.

These new features are now rolling out to all Office 365 for Education users. Teachers interested in checking Teams out can learn more at Microsoft's Office in Education (opens in new tab) portal.

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

  • Can I get started with this now or do I have to wait for my IT team to enable it or set up data sync?
  • Ahh nevermind. Got started. Seems to know I am a teacher and asks how I want to use the group I make.
  • Next question... If I already have a class notebook for my class, is it possible to link that into the teams? I know I am asking specific things about a very new service but what the hell :P
  • WPTommy, you should see recently shared files from the Files option in the left column, or in your Team's conversation windows, see the paper clip to send, upload or link to files.
  • Thanks for the response. You found me 2 areas I didn't actually know about. However neither allows me to do what I am trying to do. I want to link my class notebook that already exists to my class but when I click on that tab it tries to make me create a new one
  • Maybe I could just create a link to the notebook in the heading of a tab
  • Not having access to the new educational feature, I can only suggest; 1) opening the notebook then sharing
    2) uploading the notebook to your teams website
    3) pressing the + then creating a new notebook
    4) try the Teams application from Microsoft
  • I'd say not. The reason being that Class Notebooks aren't a flat file and need specific permissions for the structure to work (Content Lib, Collab Space and individual student section groups). Microsoft Classroom which has been in preview for roughly a year has been replaced with Teams for Education; all data is stored at the tenant level and not individual user storage (OfB) and this is a huge advantage over how it's currently operated. Staff can leave the organization and sharing will remain intact without having to throw the user account on ice. Given the problem with this, there's an API script that allows transfer between staff accounts but it still breaks existing links of course. Tenant sharing addresses both concerns.
  • Ahh, thanks for this. So teams will not store the one note in my OneDrive. That's great. I guess it affects me little. Will be a new year before i get this up and running anyway with new classes
  • Features like assignments could be problematic if allowed under Class Notebooks stored on OfB. Anything that allows user intervention or modification (even accidentally) requires extra dev work to account for. These features are beyond what a standard notebook can do and I'm guessing a cross integration with OfB just ends up in mess. We have some students starting the next 'year' three months before the remaining year groups, which provides an excellent test base.
  • Nice to hear they've locked down Team for Education. Out of the box, Teams in OfB doesn't offer much more than disabling Custom Cloud Storage Options or Teams altogether.
  • Just wondering, does anyone know if this will be available to study groups studying for professional exams?
  • Kevin, you should see it on your student office portal, if not, here is the direct link.
  • Just a side note; Teams may have been disabled by your tenant admin, especially given how 'green' it is.
  • I've been waiting for these features to drop into Teams so I can seamlessly migrate some existing classes from Classroom into Teams, using (already operating) SDS config. Great to know!