So you’ve started using Teams for Education, but miss features for attendance, weekly plans, individual learning plans (ILP) and parent insights? In this blog post I will show you how you can supplement Microsoft Teams for Education with learning management tools from Skooler.
Thougt Microsoft Teams could replace your current learning management system?
That depends on what you require for managing learning, many will however need more than what is currently available out of the box.
The good thing though, if you have already chosen Microsoft Teams as your hub for teamwork and collaboration, is that one of its true strenghts is the way partners can integrate deeply into the service with supplementing features like those listed above.
Let’s see how one partner, LMS provider Skooler, make their tools available inside class teams.
Skooler consists of a dashboard and tools for attendance, weekly plans, assessment, ILP, student progress, assgignments and a parent portal.
At the time of writing the Skooler app for Microsoft Teams is in version 1.1, and includes a dashboard tab as well as tabs for absence, assignments and weekly plans. Tabs for the rest of their tools are scheduled for release in April this year.
The Skooler app is avalable in the Teams store. You can install it either by clicking the … button (show more) in the left toolbar and choose More apps.
In the store searchbar type schooler, and select the Skooler app.
Or, even easier, is adding it as a tab directly in your team of choice. Just hit the plus icon…
…and search for Skooler.
In the Skooler app dialogue you will be able to choose the appropriate tab type and give it a name.
In this example I chose Absence, and hit Save.
Opening the tab will give you an overview with the students attending the class, and any absence already registered.
In the above screenshot you see the absence tool in the context of a particular course. It is however also available to add for the whole class, ie. in the General channel of a team organized with subjects as channels, showing absence from all subjects.
A grey circle is someone who has no absence registered, click once and it turns green which is documented absence, yellow is undocumented and blue is leave of absence. You also have the option to get a sneak peek of the full week (ie. to quickly see if a student was absent earlier in the week), and a description field on the right.
As you see above you get a minimal set of features, just enough to get things done, while not cluttering the view with unimportant details.
I’m often when demoing features like this, asked why teachers shouldn’t instead use the full plattform (in this case the Skooler web portal). While that certainly is a viable option, that would mean they either need to switch between two platforms or loose out of the superior collaboration features of Microsoft Teams. In my opinion Microsoft Teams should be used as a hub, connecting students, teachers and all their tools. Day to day tasks should be available through the Teams interface, together with the option to switch to fully featured apps or the original web portal for those who prefer, or need, that.
Students also see the Absence tab, but during my testing this led to the Skooler dashboard, not a student view of absence.
While Teams for Education has an assignments app built in, this is quite basic in the current version (version 0.2), and lack the possibility to tie an assignment to learning objectives, curriculum etc. For those who prefer teams with subjects as channels, Skooler Assignments also has a lot more flexibility in the way that you can add different assignment tabs to different channels within the same team.
Let’s see what Skooler Assignments looks like within the class team.
When navigating to the Skooler assignments tab you will get an overview of recent assignments as well as buttons to create a new assignment or do a quick assessment.
Opening an assignment will give you a nice overview of the status of the assignment, like how many students has returned the assignment and how many has been assessed. You will also see a nice real time graph of the distribution of grades.
You can click to open the turned in document to review, or choose from a rich set of grading possibilities, add comments to the student, add internal comments just for teachers as well as read the students self-assessment.
Another nice feature with Skooler Assignments is the possibility to return a turned in assignment to a student with a comment, at any given time, allowing them to correct errors, adjust course or just give it a little more effort while continuously learning in a formative way.
You can also unpublish the assignment, expand the due date and more. If you need to check for plagiarism you can do that with the click of a button, Skooler integrates with both Urkund and Turnitin.
Skooler also has an app for parents, allowing them to gain insights into assignments with assessments, week plans and absence, as well as receive actionable messages from teachers.
That’s it for the first part of Teams + Skooler, better together. Stay tuned as I plan to cover more integrated learning tools in an upcoming post, as well as the Skooler bot and the parent app
In the mean time, for more information, head over to http://teams.skooler.com/