1 Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Departamento de Matemática (PORTUGAL)
2 Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Departamento de Educação e Psicologia (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2021 Proceedings
Publication year: 2021
Pages: 3647-3652
ISBN: 978-84-09-27666-0
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2021.0755
Conference name: 15th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-9 March, 2021
Location: Online Conference
The pandemic we are living in has led to changes in Portugal and the world. Teachers have also been impacted and they have had to change their practices and adjust their teaching strategies. The possibilities that have opened up by the distance learning system have ensured education and training continuity and this system has proven an appropriate response. Compliance with this education solution has been an effective achievement, especially if we take into account that it has been ostracized, resisted to and belittled for so long. The face-to-face learning overshadowed the possibilities of virtual education; however, the use of technology during the pandemic has become inevitable within the teaching community; practically overnight, teachers have had not only to learn quickly how to use platforms and collaborate with their pairs in using them but also to ensure that both students and educators stay connected. Regardless of the greater or lesser digital competence, teachers and students have been able to use the technologies available in a record time, therefore ensuring that their students would not be deprived of the possibility to keep studying. The Covid-19 exceptional circumstances have speeded up compliance with distance learning and have fostered the use of distance learning platforms (namely audio and video conferencing). The tentative progress in the last few years and its limited utilization have given rise to the widespread use of audio and video conferencing systems at unprecedented scale.

Aware that teachers have not been given sufficient guidance to meet teaching demands during this crisis and that the wide range of teaching resources made available by distance learning platforms could become a powerful aid for their teaching practices, it has been decided to explore the potential of Microsoft 365 within the context of education. It includes online versions of Word, Excel, Powerpoint, OneNote and Microsoft Teams (a digital platform bringing together in one place conversations, contents and apps, and classroom tools). Microsoft Teams can therefore become a powerful ally of distance learning and an extraordinary solution for a combined learning experience, accessible via mobile communications, cell phone, tablet or computer. Its many features make the work of both teachers and students easier.

In a technological civilization, education is asked to meet the need to integrate technology in the formal educational frameworks. In remote emergency education, it is not about mimicking face-to-face teaching; it’s about using teaching resources premised on flexible dynamic and multimedia tools enabling an active and different education.

This articles aims at introducing a set of activities destined to the first and second stages of primary education in several fields of knowledge included in their official curricula, exploring the potential of Microsoft 365 within the context of distance learning. We are certain that the activities proposed may inspire other ideas to adapt or create new utilization possibilities in the same domains in Portugal as well as in other countries.
Microsoft 365, distance learning digital platforms, Covid-19.