Some staff have noticed the class email groups in Outlook, so I’d like to share more about them.
There is a live sync between PowerSchool and Office365. This results in groups being created for each section registered. These are automatically maintained with all students on your roster. The initial goal of these groups was to allow you to email all students in your class.
They can do that and more.
When you post to the group, all members can see it. This makes it a great tool for class discussions & announcements. Group members are ‘subscribed’ to the group by default, so they get emails when new posts are made. Each group has its own email address. Messages sent to it are visible in the group. There is also a shared calendar in each group. Outlook has a very good calendar feature that you should check out if you haven’t already.
These groups are also tied to Microsoft Teams. If you log in, you should see teams created for each of your classes already. Teams is notable right now for being a video meeting tool like Zoom (but with fewer privacy concerns). You can hold a virtual meeting with some (or all) of your class, share files, add websites, and collaboratively take notes with OneNote. We already subscribe to Teams, so it’s features wont go away after the closure like other services will. We are also using it more for staff meetings and such. There are good apps for all platforms as well.
Teams really excels at professional groups, like PLCs, departments, grade level teams, etc.
OneNote is a great tool as well. A great use is taking notes on a touch screen device and sharing them live with your class. It can do much more if you dig into it.
As we are asking (hoping?) that students check their email more now, it should be noted that they can download the Outlook app on their phone as well as the full version of Office365, including Outlook, for free (staff can do this too).