Microsoft today announced a bunch of features making it to its Whiteboard app that are aimed at improving the offering for education users. These announcements come as part of the company’s long list of education-focused updates being made to a bunch of its services such as Forms, Office apps, and more.
First of the new capabilities for Whiteboard includes support for adding rich content such as images, stickers, and shapes from external documents. The company says that this will help engage students better and create “visually engaging” material. The feature is coming to Whiteboard on the web and in Teams later this summer.
The firm is also focusing on improving students’ attention by bringing a laser pointer option. This will allow educators to point to and maintain attention on specific parts of the whiteboard. The tool will also allow Teams organizers to lock attendees’ views to further improve students’ attention. This also is slated to come sometime this summer.
For “group projects and interactive lessons”, the firm says that it will allow users to upload existing digital worksheets to Whiteboard or let them create new structured organizers that will be bundled with the app. Structured boards allow teachers and organizers to check on students’ progress across different projects and ascertain which students need help or where they are in a project.
The whiteboarding app is also gaining improved integration with Teams, which is especially handy for those that extensively use the tool for remote learning. The share content option in Teams now allows users to share a new or existing Whiteboard with the attendees directly through the app, negating the need to switch between apps. The resulting view retains the video feeds of the participants as well. This feature is now available for Teams users.
Lastly, a nifty enhancement is that Whiteboards can now be uploaded in Teams as assignments for future reference or as homework submissions. This creates a copy of the Whiteboard file to then be made available for grading or as group assignments for students to collaborate on.
Overall, these updates greatly improve the usability of the Whiteboard app and make it a viable real-time collaboration solution for schools and organizations that use Microsoft’s suite of products.