New insights reveal a continued surge in use of digital tools for distance learning, according to a global survey by Microsoft. More than 500 members of the Microsoft Education community, representing teachers and institutional leaders from around the world, shared learnings from remote teaching this year; how they’re preparing for the fall; and the new ways that will reshape the next school year.
The findings reveal that 61% of respondents expect to begin the next school year in a hybrid learning environment—a mix of remote and in-person learning — and 87% said they expect to use technology more than before once in-classroom teaching resumes.
New remote learning formats require new thinking to create compelling, engaging, and inclusive content. To ensure strong student engagement across different activities and maintain secure digital classrooms, educators are turning to a central hub of digital tools for remote learning. In fact, more than 150 million students, faculty, institutional leaders, and teachers have been actively using Microsoft Education products—with Teams for Education as that hub—to engage students in remote learning.
For example, in the UAE, the country enriched its smart learning ecosystem by announcing distance learning initiatives that brought over 650,000 students online within the first two weeks of the program.
Microsoft also announced new features in Teams for Education, including an expanded audience view of up to 49 participants, custom backgrounds, and virtual breakout rooms, among other new features, that will help support learning in the upcoming school year. This comes in addition to the previously announced additions that are already available, where students can Raise Their Hands during class meetings, and educators can view Attendance Reports and Class Insights, a breakdown using intelligent data analytics that analyses how students are engaging with class meetings, assignments and more.