Today’s post was written by Shanen Boettcher, general manager for Class Dashboard and School Information Sync.
Today, we are announcing the first phase of a Preview program for two new Education services: Microsoft Class Dashboard and Microsoft School Information Sync, which will be available to Office 365 Education users at no additional charge. Class Dashboard and School Information Sync simplify connections between systems, and simplify communication and collaboration between teachers and students. As a result, teachers have more time to focus on what they love—engaging with students—using Microsoft Office tools that they use every day.
Introducing School Information Sync
Schools and districts are looking for ways to ease the challenge of connecting their data and systems. School Information Sync automates and simplifies the complex and manual processes of connecting school Student Information System (SIS) data with educational apps and class websites. It syncs user profiles and class rosters from a school or district SIS, provisions groups and class websites, enables single sign-on (SSO), and allows learning apps to access student data over an encrypted connection. Because security and privacy are so important, schools and districts determine which apps can access student data, so they can remain in compliance with their policies. With School Information Sync and Office 365, teachers spend less time managing administrative access to class materials and more time with students.
“School Information Sync will simplify the way we keep student profiles up to date across Office 365 and apps. Our students will log in once and access the apps we use. It saves time and simplifies access to important learning tools. We plan to expand our usage next school year and think School Information Sync will help make the back to school season a breeze,” said John Nasset, Student Information Systems Manager, Helena (MT) Public Schools.
Education partners are also looking for easier and faster ways to work with school data systems. With this service, SIS vendors will be able to support more apps with integration through a single API, allowing them to more efficiently provide access to classroom data. Districts may enable third-party applications to access student data to personalize learning experiences, all at no charge via cloud APIs, and let students enjoy the benefits of single sign-on with Office 365. With School Information Sync, ISVs will be able to deliver SIS independent applications faster than ever.
Bryan MacDonald, Managing Director of School Systems, PowerSchool, says “PowerSchool is the market leading Student Information System. We are excited to partner with Microsoft to deliver a more integrated experience between PowerSchool and Office 365. Over 40 million parents, students and teachers rely on PowerSchool on a daily basis and through our integration with Office 365 we seek to drive improvements in both classroom and back-office productivity.”
“Two-thirds of U.S. school districts use our assessment and instruction programs, and we are excited about the single sign-on and data sync benefits Office 365 offers students and teachers,” said Jack Lynch, CEO of Renaissance Learning. “We are always looking for ways to make educators’ work easier, and streamlining the use of programs like ours with information systems and productivity tools is a win-win for schools and the organizations that serve them.”
Introducing Class Dashboard
Class Dashboard is an easy-to-use website that brings together familiar Office apps including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook in the context of the classroom. Teachers can get the most out of the tools they know and content they have, keep materials and classes organized and accessible, and engage students in new collaborative learning experiences to achieve better outcomes. Class Dashboard will be available to users of Office 365 Education at no additional cost.
With Class Dashboard teachers and students can stay organized and save time. Each class section has a OneNote Class Notebook, and class materials, notes, assignments and shared calendars will be stored online and in one place. Teachers and students can easily access class notebooks and documents from devices while at school or on the go. Teachers will be able to build rich assignments with documents, links, and online reference material, and collaborate with students using Office Online, web versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint accessible from a web browser. They’ll be able to share assignments with students, track progress, give feedback and assign grades, quickly and in one place.
Engage your students in new ways
Class Dashboard will seamlessly connect with tools for interactive lessons and presentations, facilitate discussions and collaboration, and support feedback so teachers can enable students to learn in new ways. With OneNote Class Notebook, students will be able to show their creativity and collaborate in notes, drawings, and pictures.
“When we try new technology in our classes, the real test is whether teachers and students see the benefit. With Class Dashboard, the answer is yes!” said Kelly Arbuckle, Summer School Principal, Omaha, Nebraska. “Our teachers want to use their existing lessons and most of those are created with Microsoft Office products. With Class Dashboard teachers shared assignments with students in just a few clicks and gave feedback along the way. Our students liked the experience too! We’re excited to be part of this customer preview program, and looking forward to trying Class Dashboard in more classrooms next school year.”
There are many different technology tools available to educators, so we built Class Dashboard to easily integrate with solutions teachers already use in the classroom. Using existing Office 365 public APIs, technology partners can access the classes, documents and assignments used by Class Dashboard within their own products and services.
For decades, we’ve invested in tools that enable people to communicate, collaborate, and unleash their creativity. We provide productivity services and devices for the mobile and cloud world. Building on solutions like Sway, Office Mix and OneNote Class Notebook, Class Dashboard is the latest example of our ongoing commitment to redefining learning and empowering teachers and students. School Information Sync will help schools put powerful teaching tools into the hands of teachers and students more easily. We are excited to bring these new services alongside the Office tools teachers and students love and use.
To learn more about how to use OneNote in your class, please visit onenoteineducation.com.
For more technical information, ISV partners can visit dev.office.com to start building applications that support single sign-on via Office 365, and call Office Graph APIs, which will be extended with School Information Sync.
SIS Partners can also begin planning to integrate with School Information Sync. Contact your local Microsoft partner representative to share your integration schema and test data.