The last school year presented the education system with many challenges, related, among other things, to a change in the learning processes – when the familiar frontal lessons were replaced by virtual lessons. The various programs, which are used for distance learning, have solved some of the problems, but there is still a lack of personal connection – since the app has not yet been created that will replace the close and direct contact between people.
The education group at Microsoft Israel Research and Development has created a number of new developments in the past year, designed to help users in general, and the education system in particular, get used to the new situation. One of the developments that the group has been working on is Reflect – a new free app within Teams, which provides educators with a frequent check on the feelings of specific students or of the whole class.
“The past year has led to a situation where almost every student has a laptop,” said Elad Graver, who has been the senior product manager in the education group for about a year and a half. “While working on the Teams For Education software, we worked on a number of topics including Reflect, which basically allows students learning through the software to describe how they feel.”
“We did research and identified 50 different emotions that characterize people,” he adds, “and we realized that giving a name to an emotion helps a lot in dealing with the feelings. For example, if I’m nervous, then maybe the solution is to stop, take a deep breath and come back later, and if I’m disappointed. So think about what made me feel that way. “
Graver further explained that “students can express their feelings through various emojis, and see how they have felt over the past few days.”
“It can be used during a school day like this – first of all, teachers can ask students how they felt about the particular lesson or task, and so you can see how they experienced it and build learning strategies based on the answers. The teacher sees what each student voted for, but classmates Can not see who voted for.
“In many situations this generation may feel uncomfortable coming and talking to the teacher about his difficulties, but when the teacher asks for a simple answer, it is different,” Graver explains. “We’ve received a lot of feedback on the product, and I’m very excited about it as the product manager. We’re actually helping teachers pinpoint their work and getting a lot of good feedback.”
“We are very proud of this development, fun to see how something we have worked hard on affects people around the world so much, and allows teachers to see how to teach better,” he concludes.