Educators NZ - Microsoft's new Office 365 Education services in the works

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Microsoft's new Office 365 Education services in the works

Microsoft is adding to its Office 365 Education offering, with two new services currently in the works.

Microsoft Class Dashboard and Microsoft School Information Sync are in the first phase of their Preview programme and will be available to Office 365 Education users at no additional charge.

These services are designed to simplify connections between systems as well as communication and collaboration between teachers and students, according to Shanen Boettcher, Microsoft Class Dashboard and School Information Sync general manager.

School Information Sync

School Information Sync automates the processes of connecting school Student Information System (SIS) data with educational apps and class websites.

It syncs user profiles and class rosters from a school or district SIS, provisions groups and class websites, enables single sign-on (SSO), and allows learning apps to access student data over an encrypted connection.

Schools and districts determine which apps can access student data, so they can remain in compliance with their policies.

With this service, SIS vendors will be able to support more apps with integration through a single API.

Districts may enable third-party applications to access student data to personalise learning experiences, at no charge via cloud APIs. Students are also able to utilise single sign-on with Office 365.

Class Dashboard

Class Dashboard is a website that brings together Office apps including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook in the context of the classroom.

Teachers can use these tools with content they have, keep materials and classes organised and accessible, and engage students in collaborative learning experiences, says Boettcher.

Each class section has a OneNote Class Notebook, and class materials, notes, assignments and shared calendars that are stored online and in one place.

Teachers and students can access class notebooks and documents from devices while at school or on the go.

Teachers can build assignments with documents, links, and online reference material, and collaborate with students using Office Online, web versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint accessible from a web browser.

They’ll be able to share assignments with students, track progress, give feedback and assign grades, all from one place, says Boettcher.

“There are many different technology tools available to educators, so we built Class Dashboard to easily integrate with solutions teachers already use in the classroom.

“Using existing Office 365 public APIs, technology partners can access the classes, documents and assignments used by Class Dashboard within their own products and services,” says Boettcher.

“For decades, we’ve invested in tools that enable people to communicate, collaborate, and unleash their creativity. We provide productivity services and devices for the mobile and cloud world.

"Building on solutions like Sway, Office Mix and OneNote Class Notebook, Class Dashboard is the latest example of our ongoing commitment to redefining learning and empowering teachers and students,” she says.

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