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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

A New Microsoft Teams Feature That I Wish Google Classroom Had

If you work in a school that use Microsoft Teams or any of the other great Office 365 tools available to teachers and students, you need to subscribe to Mike Tholfsen's YouTube channel. It was through his channel that I recently learned about a fantastic new feature in Microsoft Teams that I wish Google would add to Classroom.

The new Microsoft Teams feature that look awesome is the option to anonymize students' assignment submissions when you're grading them. In other words, you can hide all student names and avatars when you are grading their work then reveal their names and avatars after you have completed grading all submissions. Mike made a new video that succinctly shows you how to use anonymous grading in Microsoft Teams


Applications for Education
Whether we want to admit it or not, we all can have a little bias when looking through students' essays and other written work like lab reports (Mike gives a good example of that in the video above). Anonymizing assignment submissions is one way to try to remove that bias. I'm glad to see that Microsoft Teams now has this option and I hope that Google's product development team takes note of it. 

Loom Updates With Some Great Features for Teachers

The question that people email to me more than any other is some variation on "how do you get that circle in your YouTube videos?" There are two tools that I typically recommend for that. One is Screencast-o-matic and the other is Loom. Loom recently announced a bunch of updates including some that will be of particular interest to teachers like you and me.

Before addressing the updates that Loom announced, it's important to note that Loom's education product is free to teachers who have verifiable education email accounts (generally, .edu or .k12.state.us). Loom for Education gives teachers all of the features of Loom's pro (paid) account. 

The recent updates to Loom that teachers should note are viewer insights, shared libraries, and new screenshot options. The viewer insights will let you see how much a video was watched and let viewers respond with emojis to your videos. The shared libraries function lets you share videos with some, but not all viewers (this is in addition to password-protecting videos). And the Loom desktop app for Windows and Mac now lets you capture and share screenshots with just a couple of clicks. 

The screenshot below contains Loom's complete list of features available for free to teachers who register for Loom for Education. 

Applications for Education
Loom's viewer insights is a great middle ground between just making a video for students to watch and making a video with a whole bunch of attached questions to answer. In other words, it's somewhere between Flipgrid and EDpuzzle. 

I also love using Loom as a tool to help colleagues. Rather than writing directions to solve their tech problems I can use Loom's Chrome and Gmail add-on to record and send a screencast directly from my inbox. Here's a little video on how that works. 

To learn more about making and teaching with video, enroll in my Practical Ed Tech course titled A Crash Course in Making & Teaching With Video.