What's New in EDU—Back to School Edition: Start the year off with how-to videos, professional learning opportunities and innovative classroom tools



As you say goodbye to summer and hello to your students, we’re grateful that so many of you see us as a resource for bringing continuous improvement and innovation into the classroom.

We’ve packed a lot of news into this month’s What’s New in EDU to help you get the year off to a great start. From short videos answering your top questions to free professional learning opportunities and big updates on classroom tools, we’re confident there is something here for you.


You Can in :90 videos


First, we hope you check out the video above—hosted by the most enthusiastic and adorable team of video journalists in the world: Amiyah, Soren, Estelle and Jorian. They’ve taken over this month’s What’s New in EDU, and we have a feeling you’ll want to see more of this crew in the future.

As Jorian explains, we have a new “You Can in :90” video series ready for you to view. The series features 90-second “how-to” videos based on your most-requested tips for using Microsoft Education tools. Check out a few of the videos below.


Professional learning and collaboration


Also just in, as reported by Soren: we’re announcing the new class of Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts and are inspired by the 9,600+ passionate educators joining our team. If you’re interested in checking out the program for next year, please note that we’ll begin accepting nominations between April 15 and July 15, 2020. Congratulations to all our MIE Experts for 2019-2020! You can see the names of them here: http://aka.ms/mieexpertlist

And there are plenty of other ways to get involved in our educator community:

  • Discover the power of networked learning through our Minecraft Mentors program by connecting with other teachers using Minecraft with their students. Mentors are selected monthly. You can apply here.
  • The Student Voice Ambassador community is made up of educators working together and with the Flipgrid team to exchange ideas and further develop the tool that’s done wonders to amplify student voice. New classes are announced quarterly, and we’ll be putting together another group this fall. You can apply here.
  • And please check out our Skype Master Teacher program if you’re looking for ways to broaden your students’ horizons. We just welcomed a new class, but find out how to get involved next year here.

Schoolwide programs include:

  • Our Microsoft Schools If you’re part of a school community working to integrate technology effectively and transform learning, this could be a perfect fit.
  • The Microsoft Showcase Schools program in which participating schools use the Microsoft K12 Education Transformation Framework to bring about innovation with an emphasis on personalized learning.
  • And the Microsoft Flagship School program, a collaborative effort to transform education from the ground up by designing and delivering amazing new places to learn. You can read more about it in our recent blog post.

You can also get started anytime on free training tailored to your individual needs through the Microsoft Educator Center. You’ll find courses to help you use Microsoft tools, develop new skills and build on existing knowledge.


New Tools and Resources


As you can tell from the kids’ enthusiasm in the What’s New in EDU video above, we’ve also rolled out some new tools and updates that we think your students will love and benefit from academically.

Immersive Reader has been integrated into Minecraft: Education Edition to help learners read and decode in-game text.

If you’re a fan of the Mystery Skype game, in which students from different classrooms around the world guess where each group is located, you can download new activity plans here.

And we’ve got a new graphics feature for Word, Excel and PowerPoint that students will find useful when working on diagrams and models. It’s an outline style with a sketch-like quality that allows you to convey that a work is in progress and not finished. You can read more about it in this recent post.

We also have a new feature for storing work. It allows documents created in Word, Excel or PowerPoint to automatically be stored on OneDrive.

Microsoft Teams has some updates too. We redesigned the Assignments tab, making it easier for you to track existing assignments and create new ones. When creating an assignment, you can now add resources from any team and even set a close date to ensure no submissions will be accepted after that date. Once created, you can preview the assignment as students see it and students can use Immersive Reader to read assignment instructions and feedback Check out these and more Assignments updates here!

With the help of educator feedback, we rolled out a host of new Flipgrid features earlier this month. Every Flipgrid response video is now transcribed and delivered through an updated closed-captioning experience. Plus, full response video transcripts are now available. We’ve also enhanced storytelling capabilities with the Shorts Camera, allowing students to stitch together unlimited segments into one simple video. Finally, Flipgrid videos can now be viewed in augmented reality with FlipgridAR. 


Whew. That was a lot for one month! We hope the start of the year goes well for you and your students and that you’re able to put these new resources to good use. Keep in touch, and let us know what you’d like to see more of and how we can continue to partner with you to amplify student voice and engage all learners.

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