Microsoft Teams plays large role in JC’s online learning

Alex Hau, Media Chief

With the outbreak of the Coronavirus, schools everywhere knew that their ability to teach their students would be a challenge. For JC, they knew that they needed a platform where students could still receive their lessons and be able to interact with their classmates and teachers. Luckily, because of the school’s already existing Microsoft subscription, Teams was the best path to take.

“We are a Microsoft school,” said Assistant Principal Jake Hollin. “It offers us the security and safety we want, that we can’t really get in other platforms such as Zoom.”

Why do we need to use Microsoft Teams? It is possible for every teacher to post their assignments on Veracross. The issue that arises with that, however, is that students aren’t getting everything they need.

“There’s definitely a social aspect to learning” said Assistant Principal Danica Attanasio. “Having material presented in a similar way as in the physical brick and mortar building is very helpful to some students.”

It would be a lot to ask of teachers to have some sort of video or online class everyday. “We ask that teachers make themselves available at least once a cycle,” said Mr. Hollin. Teachers have more freedom in how they structure their lessons, in that some teachers may post videos of themselves talking, have an online class meeting, or just use the other interfaces on Teams for posting and grading assignments. The key is variety, which allows students to not be bored of the one method of online learning.

“We think about online learning in a high school sense,” said Mr. Hollin. “It’s actually easier for us to implement online learning because our students are familiar with the technology.”  While there is definitely a learning curve to new teaching methods, “the closer we get to everyone using a similar platform encourages familiarity,” he added.

While Microsoft Teams isn’t perfect, such as only being able to see four people at a time, it does offer the kind of online learning that JC is looking for. Students are able to interact with their teachers while knowing that they are doing it on a safe, secure platform.