Sep 30 2020

Microsoft Education Has New Features for Social-Emotional Learning

The latest Teams and OneNote features are designed to foster SEL skills in remote and hybrid classrooms.

This fall, Microsoft Education is rolling out new features on Teams and OneNote that support social-emotional learning.

These updates come at a time when students and educators are experiencing unprecedented changes and challenges in education due to the coronavirus pandemic, which have led to increased stress and anxiety, experts say.

Beginning in late September, Teams will feature SEL-specific badges that teachers can give to their students as part of the Praise app. Educators can use these digital badges to “recognize student social skills, grow emotional vocabulary and give valuable recognition to the daily wins in their students’ learning,” explains Mark Sparvell, director of marketing education at Microsoft, in a blog post announcing the new features.

Educators can also leverage the new Reflect tool in Teams to build in SEL into their daily class routines. This messaging extension, which is available as an open-source resource on GitHub, allows educators to create simple, emotional check-ins through questions and polls in channel discussions and chat windows.

OneNote also now has digital SEL sticker packs that educators can use when giving feedback on student work. The stickers can be used alongside other features in OneNote Class Notebook, such as audio and video recordings and typed notes, according to Sparvell’s blog post.

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