Please can someone help me out with online learning platform options esp those who have used MS teams for education?
Samanthasimaginaryfriend · 05/05/2020 11:07
Background: at the worst possible time, I launched a company offering residential holiday courses for international students. Obviously our Easter courses had to be cancelled and summer is not looking good obvs. We've been asked by one of our partners to offer an alternative online summer course and we've been working at adapting all our lesson plans for use online but still haven't settled on the right platforms.
Needs as follows: class size of up to 12, we want all the students to be able to use video i.e. the teacher can see all of them and vice versa (and we're aware that we'll need strict safeguarding protocols in place for that).
All being well, some of our students will be in China so Google classroom probably won't work because students there aren't guaranteed to be able to access it.
So, we've been looking at Microsoft Teams for education and qualify for their A1 educational licences. But we'd need to pay a partner to do all the set-up (at least that's what MS recommend) and before I do that I want to make sure it's definitely the right platform. We are a tiny company and have been hit hard by Covid so don't want to waste money unnecessarily.
Queries as follows:
- The regular MS teams seems to have a limit on the number of screen views you can have at once (4 I think) which won't work for us. Does anyone using Teams for Education know if the same applies to that?
- If so, you can use zoom as an app within Teams but I'm not sure how easy that is to do, seems a bit convoluted. Anyone have any experience of that?
- And just generally, if you've used Teams for Education or you know anyone who has, how have you found it?
I'm a mac user and MS doesn't feel intuitive to me but I'm sure that's just because I haven't had a chance to familiarise myself with it properly
Any thoughts much appreciated!
sleepismysuperpower1 · 05/05/2020 11:12
my dd and ds have been using microsoft teams for their school work, and they have been getting on fine with it. You could also consider using skype? It's free and you can see everyone who is talking at once (if you turn on grid view), and have up to 50 people on a call. You can also use it in China, as far as I am aware. If you set up a group on it, then I think it would work like teams.
All the best x
Samanthasimaginaryfriend · 05/05/2020 11:18
Thanks so much sleepis
I hadn't thought of Skype but one of the agencies we've been talking to (whose clients are in China) don't seem keen for some reason. I will take another look though. I think we will still need some kind of framework (like Teams or Google Classroom or another alternative) to go with it i.e. where we post materials etc.
Good to hear that your DC have had a positive experience of Teams anyway.
sleepismysuperpower1 · 05/05/2020 11:19
could you use skype along with google classroom? (dd uses this also- I'm not sure whether it is free or not)
Samanthasimaginaryfriend · 05/05/2020 11:22
I think we could probably use Skype with another platform but I'm just not confident students in China would be able to access Google Classroom. Not all students will be based there but it's likely some will
Samanthasimaginaryfriend · 05/05/2020 11:41
Thanks itbemay1 I've just had a look at their website and asked for a call back so haven't spoken to them yet. But I can't tell whether they have a kind of structure around the video conferencing (in the way that MS and google do) i.e. apps that you can use for remote brainstorming on a 'whiteboard' or similar, some shared cloud space for resources that students need to refer back to etc.
Samanthasimaginaryfriend · 05/05/2020 11:48
So, just to clarify, what we need is a platform (or combination of platforms/apps) that allow us to do the following:
- videoconferencing for up to, say 15
- breakout rooms (where the group can subdivide into smaller groups to work together - zoom offers this)
- some kind of reliable whiteboard option (with the option to save jottings made by the group to return to later)
- the ability to collaborate on documents (i.e. two students can work together on a file and submit to the teacher)
Appreciate that it's quite a lot!
Claudiaw13 · 05/05/2020 11:59
Hi there @samanthasimaginaryfriend !
MS Teams does actually offer all of those features. You'd just have to set up extra channels for a team to be able to have multiple meetings in groups :)
sd249 · 05/05/2020 12:06
Can't see more than 4 people at the same time in teams (we use it at school so I presume we have teams for education)
Everything else will be offered by teams though but we've not had any issues with it because we don't do video lessons at all.
Samanthasimaginaryfriend · 05/05/2020 14:02
Thanks v much for your responses. Other than the issue with not being able to see 4 people at a time @sd249 have you found teams reliable and easy to use?
@Claudiaw13 That's helpful to know. Have you used that feature and do you find it easy to switch between the channels? And again, have you found teams user-friendly generally?
Samanthasimaginaryfriend · 06/05/2020 09:55
One more bump for this. Have spoken to MS again today and they now offer up to 9 screens at any one time and are working on offering 16. Does anyone have experience of using the zoom app (or other video conferencing app) within MS teams to enable larger video groups?
Thanks v much
Deianira · 06/05/2020 09:59
I am not super keen on Teams because there isn't an option/button for students to raise hand to attract your attention, whereas there is in zoom. It's a small sounding thing but it makes a massive difference in coordinating a class so they don't all speak at once!
Samanthasimaginaryfriend · 06/05/2020 10:16
Deianira thanks that's useful to know!
Reginabambina · 06/05/2020 10:18
Our school as been using teams. It’s terrible. Absolutely awful.
Samanthasimaginaryfriend · 06/05/2020 11:50
THanks @Reginabambina just looking at Blackboard now.
What have you found is the main problems with MS teams?
Reginabambina · 06/05/2020 12:35
It’s not great on OS X. We’ve really struggled loading documents in notes particular. There’s no option to raise hands the way you can on blackboard so people dd up talking over each other. You can’t see everyone so the picture is constantly changing and you spend a lot of time looking at initials rather than faces as a new picture loads. The call quality isn’t great either. The cake calendar is awkward issuing prompts for things we’ve already done until you dismiss them. In general the whole system is very glitchy and awkward to use.
Samanthasimaginaryfriend · 07/05/2020 10:06
@reginabambina thanks for your feedback. You've put me right off teams Helpful to have an honest view upfront.
I've been having a look around on Blackboard but I can't find anything on their site about how many people you can get on a video conference at once. Do you know?
It seems like such an obvious piece of information to have available upfront but these platforms never seem to make it easily available
Reginabambina · 07/05/2020 11:25
Sorry, I’ve only used it on audio mode with a lecture screen so I’ve got no idea.
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