Microsoft Classroom to be replaced by Microsoft Teams in Office 365 for Education

Update (17th May 2017): Microsoft has published a support article on the change at https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4022583/microsoft-classroom-preview-features-are-moving-to-microsoft-teams. In brief it looks like the existing functionality will be available in tabs in Teams. The existing content will not be transferred, but most of it will be available through the underlying group. The notable exception is assignment data which you will need to export if you want to keep it after the Microsoft Classroom close date.

Yesterday (2nd May 2017) in their #MicrosoftEDU event support for education features in Microsoft Teams. From the Microsoft Office blog

The new classroom experiences in Teams will help teachers manage their daily workflow more easily than ever before. Using Teams, they can quickly and efficiently create classes with automatically populated student rosters from their school information system; share files and teaching materials; make announcements; divide the class into project groups and monitor progress; create, distribute and grade quizzes; deliver personalized learning with OneNote Class Notebooks; and distribute, collect and grade assignments. And because Teams is a digital hub, students can work together anytime, anywhere, and on any device; teachers can connect with their peers and continue their own development in Professional Learning Communities (PLCs); and school administrators can communicate and collaborate with their entire staff.

From the image you can see that the tabs are similar to those in Microsoft Classroom.

 

Then education tenants started to get this message in their message centre.

We’re making some changes to Microsoft Classroom Preview

On July 31, 2017, we’ll discontinue support for the Microsoft Classroom Preview, as we work to unify our classroom experiences in Microsoft Teams in Office 365 for Education. Since the Microsoft Classroom Preview released, we’ve been very thankful for schools’ feedback from around the world; which has helped us improve benefits and features of the service. Ultimately, we learned to keep it simple and put classroom resources all in one place. We listened and we’re bringing the best of the classroom features (e.g., Assignments and OneNote Class Notebook) to Microsoft Teams in Office 365 for Education.

How does this affect me?

– Microsoft Classroom Preview will continue with current functionality until July 31, 2017. – Teachers will not be able to create new notebooks or assignments after the July 31, 2017. – Current classes and associated content will continue to be available as Office 365 Groups. Teachers can access assignment resources, files, calendars, and conversations, through tools such as Microsoft Outlook and SharePoint Online. If necessary, they can copy Class Notebook content to their personal workspace (e.g. OneDrive for Business). – When the new class experiences become available in Teams, School Data Sync will start creating the new classes for Microsoft Teams. SDS will continue to sync existing Microsoft Classroom Preview classes through July 31, 2017.

What do I need to do to prepare for this change?

We apologize for any inconvenience resulting from this transition. We encourage you to try out Microsoft Teams, and get yourself familiar with the Teams experience. Please click Additional Information to learn more.

So by July 31st 2017, Microsoft Classroom, which never got out of preview, will be discontinued, to be replaced by the education experience in Microsoft Teams. While this will be very annoying for those who have invested their time in trialling it, and using in their school – it does make sense. Classroom, although built on top of Azure Active Directory, was a very much standalone experience, and just for the education sector. Microsoft is heavily pushing Teams as part of Office 365 and so will be investing a lot in it. Hence adding the education functionality to it makes much more sense and will make it more likely to keep being updated as it’s part of a ‘core’ product.

We’ve yet to see what the assignment functionality is like, but my guess is that the Assignments tab will be very similar to Classroom, because it’s likely to be the same back end. One of the advantages of Teams is that the tabs are configurable and extendable, so anyone can develop new functionality in a tab, hopefully it should have just been a case of putting the assignments functionality in a new UI container.

On the administration side, both are powered by School Data Sync (SDS) and so no change is required and any time you have invested in setting that up is not wasted. So you can continue to create your classroom/team group using SDS whether it’s by manual csv upload, Salamander Active Directory or our new free SDS utility.

Richard

I am Managing Director of SalamanderSoft Limited a company devoted to improving IT in education. I am also the project co-ordinator for the open source projects SharePoint Learning Kit and Microsoft Learning Gateway.

7 thoughts on “Microsoft Classroom to be replaced by Microsoft Teams in Office 365 for Education

  1. Thank you, Richard, for the information. I am fine with the move to Teams from Classroom. Having a date of July 31 for Classroom Preview going away is fine as well. However, MS should allow key school personnel in the educational tenants to start working with the new Teams for Office 365 Education access by May 31 (end of school) so we can do PD with teachers over the summer.

  2. Yes we have been training our teachers this spring as well to move forward with Microsoft Classroom. We need Teams to have the same functionality as classroom before mid summer. A Date release that teams will have all this functionality would be very helpful and help with the stress load of our tech dept. We need time for a proper push out of Teams for our district. Fall will be too late.

  3. Thanks for an interesting post. It was something of a shocker to my staff though, we adopted Classroom at the start of the 2017 year and will be halfway through when they pull the plug. Some of my teachers are already so frustrated, and are worried they now have to learn yet another way of doing things.
    Teams looks like it will be a better product and if everything is in one place, it will be way better than Classroom has been. Maybe we’ll start using it at the beginning of 2018…
    Is Groups also getting amalgamated into Teams, do you know?

  4. Teams is built on top of groups, as are all the latest Office 365 features such a planner. Groups are a vital part of the Microsoft Office 365 strategy and will likely be used everywhere.

  5. Does anyone know if Microsoft forms will work with Teams? I was just about to start making quizzes with forms and may hold off for a while.

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