Gaining insights to help learners thrive

FETC attendees using Microsoft Teams for teaching learned how the platform's Insights tools can help in making informed decisions and in ensuring students' emotional, social, and academic needs are met.
By: | January 26, 2021
Getty Images, MR.Cole_PhotographerGetty Images, MR.Cole_Photographer

Despite the ever-changing landscape of the past year, educators must continue to reach students in an authentic way that enables them to thrive during these difficult times. They also need the support and recognition of their efforts from education leaders.

Elad Graiver, a senior program manager for Microsoft, presented this afternoon on how Insights tools within Teams can support educators by providing meaningful, actionable and reliable data for making informed decisions and ensuring students’ emotional, social and academic needs are met. The session’s title was “Education Insights to Help Learners Thrive,” and attendees learned how Reflect will integrate with Insights this spring to allow a simple way of checking the class and individual students’ mood.

“It’s not about data, it’s about students,” said Graiver before highlighting several existing and not-yet-released features. “It starts with one student.”

Educators can identify which students are engaging in the class, how each is performing on assessments and whether a student tends to join class or hand in assignments late. Knowing a student is late 4 out of 5 times allows a teacher to know it’s time to intervene.

A dashboard helps educators see at a glance what and who needs attention. For example, a teacher may learn that 40% of students are working on assignments late at night—which could indicate there are too many assignments or that the whole class needs a time management system. Or a note that a student hasn’t yet begun an intense assignment could signal it’s time for a gentle reminder.

In Communication Activity view, a teacher can see how much students are responding to each other. Are they participating in the weekly discussion topic? Who is asking for help and who is offering it?

Distribution of grades for a specific assignment may indicate a need to match upcoming assignments to students by ability.

The Insights tool also allows for a place where students can share how they feel by answering a simple question such as “How are you feeling today?” or “What did you think about this recent current event?” with the appropriate emoji. “Encouraging communication about emotions can go a long way in preventing feelings of isolation,” said Graiver. The teacher or a counselor could follow up and invite students to express themselves regularly or through a session.

Educators can at a glance get a sense of both the class mood and the moods of individual students. A student can also see how he or she answered a mood question over time, grasping the concept that sometimes it’s OK to be sad and better understanding what makes them happy.

Learn more about Insights here or get help with onboarding.

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