This autumn, users will be able to enjoy a new version of Microsoft Teams that allows you to converse with up to 49 people at the same time.
The first preview of the new video-call feature will be available this month.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft Teams has become the go-to video conferencing solution across a number of industries, including teaching.
In fact, many teachers have been obliged to use it when hosting virtual classrooms.
In February, when the pandemic was still in its early stages in Europe and the US, Microsoft Teams only allowed four simultaneous participants.
In May, a 3×3 grid was introduced, allowing for up to nine people to converse simultaneously.
While this was a clear improvement, it was ultimately not enough to suit the needs of teachers, who often find themselves having to monitor 30 students during a virtual live session.
Because of this, the 7×7 grid will soon become a reality.
For enterprise and education customers, Teams comes with an Office 365 subscription.
To remain competitive in light of Zoom’s functionality, which allows free users to create video meetings, Microsoft last week upgraded its functionality by allowing users to use custom backgrounds.
Barbara Holzapfel, general manager of education at Microsoft, highlighted the importance of being able to see every student’s face simultaneously in a virtual classroom.
For educators, this makes a substantial difference in their work in numerous areas, including:
- Social connection
- Emotional connection
- Student engagement
She added that teachers can expect to be able to create virtual breakout rooms in the autumn, the purpose of which is to allow students to collaborate in small groups.
At the same time, you can expect other new features such as class attendance reports, analytics and class insights to measure student engagement.