Office 365 – The Next Evolution for Educators

by | Dec 30, 2016 | Collaboration | 0 comments

Last month Peters & Associates teamed up with Microsoft to deliver a webinar on how educators are leveraging Office 365 to increase collaboration in the classroom and simplify management of their pupils.

We had great participation from a number of districts and schools in the Chicagoland area. Based on the feedback we received, we decided to summarize the main talking points for those that were unable to attend.

Over the last few years I’ve spent a lot of time introducing organizations to Office 365 and its numerous and ever expanding collaboration solutions. In this webinar, we took the time to dive into some features that have been specifically designed for educators.

Microsoft School Data Sync:

School Data Sync is an important evolution in Office 365 to better support schools. The primary function is to allow a school to synchronize the data in their Student Information System into Office 365. How does this help educators? School Data Sync:

  • Helps teachers save time by automatically creating groups and group sites for classroom collaboration.
  • Simplifies student usage by providing single sign on to classroom apps.
  • Saves time and money by integrating with existing technology investments and creating a single, secure source for central identity management.

Office 365

In addition to the reasons above, School Data Sync also enables single sign on to third party education apps. This simplifies the management and security of application integration with student information.

Microsoft Classroom:

The newest education-focused collaboration solutions to come to Office 365 is Microsoft Classroom. At the time of this blog post, Microsoft Classroom is still in Public Preview. This means the feature is built but is currently only being released to customers that request to join the Public Preview. (If you would like to join the program, contact us and we’ll help to get you enrolled.) Microsoft Classroom combines a number of the collaboration functions available in Office 365 into a single portal for each classroom. This includes:

  • A OneNote Class Notebook for joint note taking.
  • Assignment of Office documents, links and videos for your students.
  • Class announcements, calendar, and discussion board for your classroom.
  • The capability for teachers to share, track, and grade assignments across their classes.
  • Integration with Skype, Office Mix, Office Online, Sway, and a growing list of other Office 365 collaboration tools.

Microsoft School Data Sync and Microsoft Classroom are an important evolution in Office 365 to more directly address the needs of schools and educators.

Interested in learning more about how School Data Sync and Microsoft Classroom can enhance and simplify your students’ collaboration experience? Ready to trial Microsoft Classroom? Contact us at