Online teaching has long been considered as an innovative way to teach students remotely. With the pandemic, this has become the new norm. The use of the right technological tools for learning is critical to the success of this new approach to education. The issue isn’t the lack of options but in choosing one that would facilitate effective learning online.
There are two tools that emerge as the best option for online education: Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Read on to understand the similarities and differences of each tool to determine the best fit for online education.
Criteria for Choosing
Before you select whether Zoom or Microsoft Teams is the ideal choice for online education, it is important to know the criteria for choosing. These technological tools have some similarities and slight differences with the features and capabilities they offer. The best way to choose among them is to use these three major criteria:
The first criteria in choosing the ideal tool for online education are accessibility. It is important to consider the different needs of the students and to select tools for online learning accordingly. This will ensure that everyone can access the tool and utilize it for learning at all levels.
2. Ease of Use
Transitioning to a complete online or remote learning system is not easy. For some students, this is their first time to undergo this method of learning. The ease of use of the online learning platform is crucial so that the students and teachers alike can maximize the features available. At the same time, the features must be intuitive to use so that students and teachers spend more time on the actual lesson rather than figuring out how the tools work.
3. Safety and Security
Adopting technology always entails some level of safety and security concerns. Make sure you vet cyber learning tools and platforms to ensure that users are not exposed to cyber threats.
Zoom is a popular video conferencing tool that has become the preferred choice for virtual conferences and corporate meetings. However, it is now being utilized for online education as it is considered as one of the best suited platforms for online teaching.
On the other hand, Microsoft Teams is defined as a business collaboration platform that is part of the Microsoft 365 suite of products. It also comes with videoconferencing capabilities, along with file storage and application integration.
Similarities & Differences
To help you decide which of these two platforms are best suited for online education, it is important to break down the features and capabilities of each one.
Both of these platforms enable you to save the class. For Microsoft Teams, the class will be recorded and saved to the Microsoft Stream. For Zoom, it will be saved to Cloudstor wherein the teacher will get an email with the link for the download file. This download link can be shared to the students.
Screen and File Sharing
Both Zoom and Microsoft Teams enable screen sharing during online classes. However, only Microsoft Teams allow file sharing (Zoom does not).
In Teams, the files can be shared via the chat function during or after the online class. You can also use the Microsoft Whiteboard, although the options are limited and works better on touchscreen devices. For Zoom, there is a screen annotation feature available.
Only Microsoft Teams offer this particular feature. If the teacher or students want to make notes while the online class is ongoing, this will launch a new tab in the Teams platform.
To make the online class interactive, Zoom has integrated a wide range of interactive tools to allow students to give feedback about the class. These interactive responses include “yes”, “no”, “like”, and “dislike” options. There is even a fun “raise hand” feature, which mimics that of a classroom-based learning environment.
Unfortunately, Microsoft Teams do not offer this type of interactive responses during an online class.
Another advantage that Zoom has in this aspect is the concept of a waiting room. This is important if teachers want to have private consultations or discussions with a specific student before the rest of the class can join in.
Number of Participants
Both Zoom and Microsoft Teams are capable of supporting large-scale virtual conferences to allow as many students as possible to join in.
However, Zoom allows a maximum of 500 participants to join in an online classroom setting at once whereas Teams only allow up to 250 participants. This is something that you need to consider depending on the size of the class.
To ensure optimal learning, though, it is recommended that you limit class participants to 50 per session. If the size of the class is too big, it is best to break it down into smaller groups.
Both Zoom and Microsoft Teams come with a chat feature. This is extremely useful so that teachers and students can communicate as the class is progressing.
In Zoom, the host has the option to manually save the chat transcripts or auto-save it. The host can also choose whether certain participants have the ability to save these transcripts. With Teams, the chat transcripts are saved within the application.
This feature is available to both platforms. Therefore, the host (such as the teacher) is able to mute all audio from participants or stop their video. This is an important feature if the teacher is facilitating a discussion. The mute option can be disabled later when students are encouraged to participate or give feedback.
Both of these platforms allow reporting at the end of each session. With Zoom, you can see a summary of the meeting with the list of participants after the session ends.
With Teams, you can download the report even while the meeting is active. It will also show you which participants joined and left throughout the duration of the session.
The Bottom Line
There are certain benefits and drawbacks for choosing each of these platforms for online teaching. The general consensus is that Teams is better suited for online education. A fully comprehensive collaboration tool is the kind of thing that teachers and students will benefit from greatly so Microsoft teams is the best option that will also seamlessly integrate into the other Word Suite you are most likely already using. Microsoft Teams is also better suited for large, collaborative projects involving corporate teams.
In the end, in is the teacher’s decision to choose the best tool that would address the needs of the students.
In order to better drive adoption of MS Teams usage, and more infor and insights into Teams usage, an analytical tool such as CardioLog Analytics for Teams will help made educational institutions to help make decicions going forward.