Review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated August 2018
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Microsoft Teams

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Collaborative platform helps manage multiple groups and projects

Subjects & skills

  • Communication & Collaboration
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
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Pros: Easy group creation, integrative approach, and step-by step support get teachers started with fun and practical features for their classes or PLCs.

Cons: Since it integrates with other Microsoft tools, such as OneNote and PowerPoint, novice users may find it busy and daunting to learn to use them as well.

Bottom Line: It offers a ton of options for integrating learning; the lack of some typical LMS features may make it a better fit for small groups or nontraditional group configurations.

Leverage Microsoft Teams' flexibility to communicate within or across classes in your organization. From school clubs to leadership groups to professional learning communities (PLCs), teachers can create Teams, Class or PLC Notebooks, and conversations to manage a multitude of initiatives. Level up the flipped classroom model from pre-recorded video to a live teaching session to provide support on a class topic, or conduct remote conferences from home using the chat feature to keep records and promote accountability. Use the Class Notebook for collaborative note-taking to gain multiple perspectives on content or to help students catch up after an absence. Or encourage peer tutoring, note and resource sharing, and study groups in a manner that prepares students for similar college or work experiences.

Frustrated by the lack of time to learn new tools? Partner up with colleagues via a PLC Notebook, and share the learning curve for Teams' many features and integrated applications. Then take advantage of flexible grouping situations, perhaps allowing kids in different classes to create a PowerPoint for a novel study about a historical or scientific concept. No matter what your role is, the ability to provide instant feedback within a safe organizational space makes Teams a great fit for both project and relationship management.

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Microsoft Teams is a collaboration platform within the Office 365 Suite where teams connect through shared notebooks, chat sessions, virtual meetings, and resource sharing. Using both Microsoft and non-Microsoft tools, including hundreds of third-party applications, teachers can create groups or classes that include any member of your organization, making it a great fit for sports teams, clubs, and leadership committees (for larger scale use, School Data Sync allows automated creation of classes). Learners can share resources, work on projects, delegate tasks, and communicate their progress via their Class Notebook, and teachers can create assignments and share files via SharePoint, so students get individual copies. There's also the option to provide kids with private feedback through their individual notebooks. Assessment choices are numerous and include feedback via rubrics, files, links, videos, and text. Finally, the chat feature lets kids communicate easily with other members, and teachers can monitor, moderate, or mute chat sessions in order to keep track of student progress -- and teach essential digital citizenship skills. 

Integration with other Microsoft tools, such as Outlook, SharePoint, PowerPoint, and OneNote make this tool a hub for learning with just one login. However, if Teams is going to replace your learning management system (LMS), you'll have to rely on other tools for things like parent communication, efficient assignment submission and management, and better grading capabilities.

With Microsoft Teams, there's lots of flexibility for use and many opportunities to facilitate learning, but it's going to take dedication and oversight to get it right. Teachers can provide learning experiences that allow students to take ownership and develop organizational skills as they communicate and collaborate with others. Differentiation by ability, learning needs, and interests is easy when you create assignments for either collaborative or independent endeavors, especially when paired with tools like OneNote's Immersive Reader, Polly's quick polls, or Trello's project management features. And opportunities for one-on-one or small-group online tutoring sessions can be a huge benefit for students struggling with class content, giving teachers an opportunity to build relationships in a way that will likely mimic students' future school and work experience. Finally, teachers can easily create groups from different classes and grade levels, opening up lots of possibilities for cross-curricular and multi-grade level initiatives.

With so many customization options, it might be wise to seek out best practices for integrating additional tools into your classes; otherwise, you'll spend a lot of time digging and run the risk of overwhelming your students -- and possibly even yourself.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Cool features allowing users to communicate with GIFs, links, and video are sure to please. As kids become familiar with how different tools integrate, engagement will likely increase.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Collaborate and communicate using a variety of platforms. With such a wide range of options, learning is inevitable, but teachers will need to provide context and purpose to make it truly effective.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Many language options, tutorials, and online forums provide support, but there's a lot going on; teachers will have to rely on integrated tools to provide students with additional accommodations.

Common Sense Reviewer
Marianne Rogowski Media specialist/librarian

Teacher Reviews

(See all 3 reviews) (3 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Luis O. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Microsoft Teams is a great platform for organizing, distributing work, collaborating, and sharing resources. Teachers can use many tools with their students without the need for multiple logons. The ease of use is a definite plus.
I absolutely love Microsoft Teams. My Ells sometimes have never touched a laptop before coming into my class so having an environment that only requires one login is amazing. The versatility of the tool and the ability to use so many apps and tools within Teams makes it a must for teachers who work with special populations. The use of Immersive Reader within OneNote is an example of a tool that can help special populations. Teams can be used by any student and teacher to accomplish many of the tasks ...
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