Continuing on the trend of technology integrated into education, Microsoft has launched a new classroom platform to further shape current and future classrooms through digital workspaces.
Since its founding in 1975, Microsoft has proven itself as the leading developer of personal-computer software systems and applications.
In 2011, with strict competition from Google, Microsoft Office 365 reached general availability and brought together its online services to then create the now-successful and widely used Office 365. Over the course of 5 years, Microsoft has gone on to expand Office 365 services through providing packages for small business, medium size business and even large businesses, etc. It’s even being used more and more by colleges and universities.
Through the Student Advantage Program, students at major research universities, like the University of Georgia, are able to have free access to the full version of Office 365 ProPlus during their tenure at the University of Georgia.
In April 2016, Microsoft launched Microsoft Classroom, stitching together tools from already widely-sued Office 365 and other learning management partnerships.
Google Classroom has already proven to take classrooms by storm, and the hopes for Microsoft classroom are the same. However, because of its inclusion of the already proven successful Office 365, there are some differences in the two educational platforms that could potentially tailor one over the other.
The big plus, it’s free for all Office 365 Education users.
The basics of Microsoft Classroom
What makes Microsoft Classroom unique is that just like Google Classroom, it operates like a learning management system. It has some similarities to what Google already offers, yet has some key differences that make it synonymous to Microsoft.
Just like Office 365, apps like Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneDrive are all available to be used.
What makes it unique
What separates Microsoft Classroom from Google Classroom is Microsoft Classroom comes with the capability of being integrated with other learning management systems including Edmodo and Brightspace.
This is a key plus because this allows for “grades on assignments to be delivered via Classroom can automatically feed into supported third-party gradebooks,” according to EdSurge.
Perhaps what sets Microsoft Classroom apart from anything else is the School Data Sync feature that allows a schools’ student information system, like Infinite Campus, to automatically update individual class student rosters within Microsoft Classroom.
Comparing Google to Microsoft
|Feature||Google Apps for Ed.||Microsoft Office 365|
|Pages||Sites||Office 365 Sites/SharePoint|
|Social networks||Google+/Groups||Yammer/ So.cl|
|Native search engines||Google Search||Bing/Fast Search|
|Service status dashboards||App status dashboard||Office 365 service health dashboard|
(Chart produced by campussuite.com)
So, which one is better?
Both Microsoft for Education and Google Apps for Education provide many services that cater to the growing needs of students and educators. Both are continually being worked on to evolve to become more user friendly and technologically savvy.
Microsoft, having just been launched allows educators full access to Microsoft applications they are all potentially comfortable with using. One other key advantage to Microsoft Classroom is the Professional Leading Center (PCL) feature, that provides educators with ability to interact with other professionals.
Google Classroom, on the other hand, has been pretty widely used since 2014. One thing that might keep users away is that it is only offered as a web-based platform, so if internet capabilities are down, so is Google Classroom.
Both platforms provide adaptability, efficiency and interactivity. Ultimately, it comes down to which one you are more comfortable with using.