Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Ten Updated Microsoft Teams Features for Teachers to Note

Mike Tholfsen is my go-to person for all things related to Microsoft Education products. He regularly updates his YouTube channel with informative videos about the latest features added to Microsoft Teams, Word, PowerPoint, Immersive Reader, and more. And as a product manager at Microsoft he has early access to features that are rolling-out to users. That means his videos sometimes include overviews of features before anyone else has used them. 

Mike's latest video highlights ten updated Microsoft Teams features for teachers. Most of the updates apply to the awesome reading progress feature that is now in Microsoft Teams. The complete list of features highlighted in Mike's video is posted below. 

  • Returning marked up passages to student in Reading Progress
  • Updated OneDrive and Teams file picker in Reading Progress
  • Timed passages in Reading Progress
  • Edit draft assignment in Reading Progress
  • Keyboard shortcuts in Reading Progress
  • Feelings Monster and Reflect
  • Reflect data in Class Insights
  • Reflect data for School Insights
  • Content from Camera in Teams meetings
  • CART Captions in Teams

A Thanksgiving Special!

As many of you know, the primary means of support for Free Technology for Teachers comes through the sales of my Practical Ed Tech courses and professional development services. 

This week and through next Tuesday all of my Practical Ed Tech self-paced courses are on sale for 33% off the regular price. You can register for any or all of the courses right here!

Course Offerings

Search Strategies Students Need to Know!
Based on my most popular webinar, this ten-part course guides you through essential search strategies for students of all ages. More importantly, it provides you with activities to duplicate and or modify to use in your classroom. Click here to start this course today!

A Crash Course in Google Earth & Maps for Social Studies
Google Earth and Google Maps should be staples in the toolbox of anyone who teaches social studies lessons. These are powerful tools that can be used by elementary, middle, and high school students.

This course will teach you how to use Google Earth, Google Maps, and Google My Maps in your classroom. In this crash course I outline five social studies lesson activities that utilize Google Maps and Google Earth to help students make discoveries and to demonstrate what they’ve learned. Click here to get started today!

A Crash Course in Making & Teaching With Video
A Crash Course in Making & Teaching With Video is a self-paced course consisting of six modules designed to help you create instructional videos and make sure that your students actually watch those videos. Get started right here.

Copy Specific Pages in Google Sites

Google Sites (the new, current version) has a new feature that could be helpful to those people who make a lot of variations of the same website. That new feature is the ability to copy specific pages from one site into a new site. 

The new page copying option lets you select a specific page or set of pages to copy from an existing site into a new Google Site. To do this simply open the editor for your existing Google Site, open the "three dot" menu next to the publishing button, then select the pages you want to copy. I've included screenshots of the process below. 

Step 1:

Step 2:

Applications for Education
This new feature could be helpful at the beginning or end of each school year. If you want to create a new Google Site for each school year, but don't want to start from scratch each year, simply copy the pages that you want to re-use and then build the new site from there.

Watch this video for an overview of Google Sites publishing and sharing settings. 

How to Create Filters and Labels in Gmail

Last week I answered an email from a reader who wanted to make sure that email from specific senders always ended up in a priority folder in her Gmail account. My suggestion was to create a filter for the sender's email address and then apply a label to the email. I've done this for years to make sure that I don't miss messages from a few people and to make automatically sort out messages that have specific keywords. 

In this short video I demonstrate how to create filters and labels in Gmail. 

Applications for Education
As I mentioned in the video above, I create filters in my Gmail (Google Workspace mail) to send all of my students' emails about homework and other assignments into one folder that is labeled "homework." Then when I'm going through my inbox I can respond to all homework questions at the same time.