Like all kids up and down the country, mine have been getting used to distance learning, in this instance using Microsoft Teams. But that doesn’t mean they’re avoiding the sometimes dreaded parents evening. But parents evening with Microsoft Teams is different. It’s better for everyone involved, or so I think.
This is the next generation coming through that are more savvy than most of us in the use of Teams. They might even be able to put a presentation together without the well-known phrase “next slide please”.
I have watched with interest how they use Teams and the first thing to notice is that the educational version looks a little different. Not better or worse than the version we use in business but more geared to the classroom environment.
The debate here is not about the rights and wrongs of home schooling but more about the use of technology to complete the task. Teams is a massive success story in this instance. We might have seen the occasional video blips that poor connections cause, but overall, the calls happen, and the meetings take place.
The tutors and teachers have a register, they can see who is online. They can turn microphones on and off as and when required. They have had to adapt their teaching style to Teams but this is progress.
I don’t know about you but parents evening in the past has been a traumatic event. I am sure it is not much better for the tutors either. Yesterday though, was different.
Normally, your child will book specific slots where the tutors are in a specific room in a building where you have no idea where you are going. When you finally find the right room, bang on time, you find there are 10 people sat on chairs in front of you already waiting to talk.
To be honest, my wife and I did not really know what to expect when having parents evening with Microsoft Teams. For obvious reasons, talking about grades was off the agenda. We had been pre warned (several times) about this. How could they tell us what was going to happen when the Government doesn’t know yet. Other than that, we knew the session would be tutor / teacher led.
So we still had timed slots except that this time, the tutor had to call us. Sure enough, bang on time in all 6 instances, the tutor called to discuss our child’s progress. It was an incredibly slick process and another brilliant use of Microsoft Teams.
I consider myself one of the lucky ones whose children are now at college. This makes them (sort of) self sufficient, in that I don’t have to help them, which is a good thing as they are way cleverer than me and left me behind academically a long time ago. I can empathise with those helping younger ones, and for those on the presenting side, you have had to adapt your teaching style. Having presented many times myself, this is not to be underestimated.
The Microsoft Teams technology though, well this just worked. And worked well.