One of the most difficult aspects of teaching with Office 365 was the inability to easily assign and collect homework assignments from students. That's why one of the most exciting recent announcements for teachers who use Office 365 is Microsoft Classroom. I used to teach with Google Classroom, but after using Microsoft Classroom for the last week, I'm excited to see that Microsoft has taken the "classroom" model to a whole new level.
When you first click on your Microsoft Classroom class, you'll see a homework feed of different assignments with their due dates and the number of assignments graded and turned in, announcements from the teacher, buttons to create new assignments, and tabs that allow you to use other Office 365 apps. Personally, I love the design of this classroom homepage. All pertinent information can be easily accessed by both the teacher and the students. Teachers also have the option to click the "Assignments" link at the top of their class list to see all the assignments from their courses to easily grade completed assignments.
One app I'm surprised didn't show up in Microsoft Classroom is Skype. Google recently announced that teachers could allow students to share their screens on the projector and I believe Microsoft could do the same thing with Skype.
I'm really impressed with Microsoft Classroom and I do believe it has raised the bar for the Classroom platform. Whether you use Google Apps for Education or Microsoft Office 365, we can all be happy that these two companies are pushing each other to create better tech tools for us to use in our classrooms.
Microsoft Classroom is still in Preview (beta), but you can gain access to Microsoft Classroom if you use Office 365 at your school. Contact your technology director and tell them you want access to Microsoft Classroom! Check it out, use it in your classroom, and share your opinions below!
Chris Tucker is an assistant principal at Western Boone Jr/Sr High. He has a passion for providing personalized learning for teachers and students.