The conversations feature inside of Microsoft Teams allows teachers and students to communicate and collaborate on a digital platform. This provides a great way to engage students in class discussions and ask questions, as well as post announcements.
- One of the defining features of Microsoft Teams is the Conversations tab. Teams is a powerful communication platform, which allows you to engage students in discussions, keep students informed, give them a place to ask questions, and much more. It essentially gives everyone in the class a voice and extends learning beyond the confines of the classroom. Let's take a look at how to use the Conversations tab. Now first of all, in every channel there is a Conversations tab that allows you and your students to post messages. Right now, I'm inside of my Biology 101 class, and I'm on the General channel.
Remember that this is typically the channel that a bulk of the communication will be done when it's directed towards the entire class. From here, I can enter in a message or update my class by going to the bottom, clicking in here, and it says "Start a new conversation "or use an at mention to mention someone." I'm going to navigate to another channel, however, where I set up a sample communication or sample conversation here. And as you can see, up here we have one from a student, Madeline Charles, who posted, "Does anyone want to get together to study on Thursday?" Below this we have a message that I posted, putting, "Is everyone confident about the upcoming Genetics Exam? "If you have any questions, feel free to post them." And then, below that, you'll see that Madeline posted back.
She replied, saying, "Will we get to use the internet to complete the exam?" And then I replied back to her. So one nice thing about this is that when a new conversation is started, it will be created as a threaded message, so any replies will be indented and followed right along with that. It helps keep it very organized and structured. Now also remember that every group will have its Conversations tab. So in other words, if I go to Debate Group 4, you'll notice that it has a Conversations tab that is exclusive to this particular channel, and that is important.
So let's take a look at how we can create one. Inside of Debate Group 4, I'm going to go down to this message bar, and I'll type in "How is your group doing on the project?" And then I'll click the Send button at the bottom right. And as you can see, it posts that. It gives it a time, and then it gives a few other options. I can click here to edit or delete it. And this is something that you'll have to enable in the settings of whether you want people to be able to edit or delete any of their posts. In this case, I do have it set to do that.
To the right of this, we can click on a bookmark. And I think this is a really important feature because it saves messages and allows you to access any of your saved messages so you can see them quickly. When your discussion boards start getting filled, it will be a little chaotic and difficult to follow unless you take the time to bookmark and save some of the important ones. So in this case, if I wanted to keep track of this particular post and see how students responded, I could go ahead and click on that. And then I can access my saved messages by going down here to the bottom left, clicking on my initials, and then going up to Saved.
And this will bring up any of my saved conversations. They'll appear in this bar right here. So I'm going to go back down here, and let's take a look at the icons that appear below this message area. First we have the text icon, and when I click this, you'll see that we can use a rich text editor to create these messages. So if I'm the first person to create the message, I can even add a subject. So I could put here, "Project update" and then a conversation. Now for replies, you won't be able to add a subject, but you will be able to reply and write in your text.
Down below, to the right of the text icon is the attachment icon, and if I click this, I'm able to add any attachments that I want to this message. So in other words, anything that I have saved inside of Microsoft Teams I can upload, or I can upload a file from my computer. I'm going to go ahead and close that out. To the right of this, we have the emojis icon, and this allows students or teachers to add emojis to their messages. Next to this, we have gifs, and next to this, we have stickers.
So those are three things that can be really fun, and they can spice up the conversation thread. Students definitely love to use them, buy you'll have to make the decision on whether or not you want to allow them or if students are getting a little carried away with them. With regards to the emojis, gifs, and stickers, they are something that you can enable or disable in your settings, and you can do that by going over to Teams. If I click on Biology here and then go to View team. Remember that we have the Settings tab here, and one of the choices is down below, under Fun stuff.
You can decide on whether you want to enable things like stickers, emojis, and all of that. So that's a decision you'll have to make. I'm going to go back here now to Debate Group 4. And the final thing here that we have is the meetings icon. So on this one, the camera icon, I can click on this to meet now, and it brings up a video, so here I am on here, and I can meet with students inside of this channel, which is a very convenient way for students to be able to communicate and collaborate in real time.
I'm going close this out, but as you can see, that's another way to add that into the channel in this Conversations tab. So as you can see, the Conversations feature is one that will greatly improve communication in your class.
Join Oliver Schinkten as helps you get started using Microsoft Teams for your classroom. He shows how to organize your class and classwork using channels and tabs, and then demonstrates how to add and manage learning activities. He covers working with students, the grading process, and communicating using meetings and chat sessions. He also explains how to integrate with OneNote Notebooks to create lessons plans that can be quickly disseminated to students.
- Accessing Microsoft Teams
- Creating a class
- Customizing class settings
- Adding students to a class
- Adding tabs and channels
- Adding resources using connectors
- Chatting with students
- Managing student communication
- Starting a meeting
- Getting alerts about activities
- Sharing files and resources
- Distributing and grading assignments