September 2, 2020

Back to School with Teams and SharePoint

As the summer winds down and it's back to school time, this is a great time to catch up with recent collaboration announcements from Microsoft, including exciting new Teams and SharePoint features specifically designed for the education market.


The 75 million Teams users are primarily using Teams for its meeting and chat capabilities, so it is not surprising that newly announced features enhance these experiences. Some of the key features include:

  • Spotlight’ enables meeting organizers and presenters to lock their video as the main view for all meeting participants. This is great for school presentations where the teacher wants to remain in focus, in front of the class.
  • And while we are on the topic of going back to school, Teams has some new admin capabilities for the education market including analytics and dashboards to report on which students are engaged.
  • Real-time presence awareness to see who is online – this was a great feature in Skype for Business; it will now be available in Teams. Being able to see who is available for questions or consultation and then reach out to them in context, is a huge productivity booster.
  • Other admin features for the government market include new controls for meeting participation and information sharing.


SharePoint is going back to school as well with Look Book, a set of SharePoint configurations that enable schools to connect news, events, highlighted content, and links for schools, students, staff, and individual classes.

You can find more information on the Teams updates here, and the SharePoint updates here.

Fall is Basketball?

With Fall just around the corner, we should be preparing for the NFL season kickoff. But in these COVID-crazy days, instead, we are virtually watching the delayed NBA playoffs, play out in Orlando.

The connection? You may not know it, but Microsoft Teams is playing a key role in the NBA playoffs. Teams provides the virtual fan experience for the playoffs. How is that working? Well, CBS Sports calls the experience “surreal” and goes on to explain why in 2020, the human element is (still) so important to providing a satisfactory experience. It explains that when fans log in to a Teams meeting to watch a game, “a small group of magnanimous, infinitely patient staff members soothingly talk you through the process of getting your screen to look the way it's supposed to look.”

If it is any consolation, getting the technology ‘to work as directed’ is as much a challenge for the NBA, as it is for you at work. At, we have always believed that making the right thing the easy thing is the key to enabling people to be productive with new Microsoft collaboration tools. From early reviews, it seems that the NBA and its fans aren’t quite there yet.

If you are interested in understanding how Teams contributes to the fans’ and players’ game experience, I highly recommend the article.

The bottom line? CBS Sports concludes that “technology, combined with genuine human enthusiasm, patience and determination, can help get us through even the most unusual, frustrating and unprecedented of times.”

If you would like to see how makes it easy for business users to take advantage of all the new Teams and SharePoint capabilities, experience a free trial, now.

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