If your educational institution is using Office 365 Education, you have probably heard of Microsoft Classroom by now. This is a new app within the online suite that mirrors the functionality of Google Classroom, but does much more. Microsoft Classroom provides those basic LMS features including the ability to manage digital assignments, conduct online conversations, and push out announcements. With assignments, you can add resources from your onedrive or the class onedrive, YoutTube video, web links, and of course, desktop files. You can even provide a document template for students to work from to complete the assignment.
What really sets Microsoft Classroom apart from Google Classroom are the additional apps and features integrated into it. Once a class is created on Microsoft Classroom, Office 365 automatically creates a shared calendar, a Group in Mail, a shared folder in OneDrive, and most notably a OneNote Class Notebook. The OneNote Class Notebook is the predecessor to Microsoft Classroom and is now bundled into each class. The Class Notebook is shared among the teacher and the students. The teacher can store lesson content here and choose when to share it with students or tie it into an assignment. Additionally, an assignment created in the Notebook gets added to the main assignment container and can be graded within the Notebook app. In Class Notebook, students have their own private area that only the teacher can view, but there is also a collaboration area where students can work on a project together. In addition, the teacher has their own private area as well as a shared area that is read-only to the students.
Another big feature that rivals Google Classroom is the ability to sync your course sections from your student information system right into Microsoft Classroom. The good folks at Microsoft have done a great job of designing LMS features suitable for K-12 learning environments. Weather you are using G-Suite or already have Office 365 Education, you need to check this out.
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