Microsoft Teams for Education preps for fall with 7×7 speaker grid, deeper analytics

COVID-19 ushered in a wave of unexpected distanced learning into schools. With the pandemic persisting, schools are spending their summers planning for the fall. Microsoft issued its own lesson plans for Teams on Monday, with an expanded gallery view and more analytics arriving in time for the next academic year.

Several new features will be of importance to educators, parents, and students:

  • A 7×7 gallery view will replace the current 3×3 approach.
  • New Breakout Rooms will allow for smaller group discussion
  • Attendance reports and other class insights will provide data on who’s struggling, and who isn’t.
  • A Meeting Lobby is being put in place to allow only those who signed up for the meeting to attend.

None of the new features expressly leverage other capabilities in Microsoft Office, which has traditionally been Microsoft’s wedge to help establish Teams. But the company noted that municipalities and even entire companies quickly switched to remote learning via Teams. The United Arab Emirates, for example moved all its 650,000 students to Teams after the pandemic hit.

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