Microsoft Whiteboard is coming to the classroom in a somewhat expected move. The collaborative app launched on PCs earlier this year but hasn’t been hugely popular, many in enterprise preferring traditional methods or document collaboration.
However, with many schools moving to digital whiteboard solutions, Microsoft’s tool could be a strong offering. With it, the entire class or small groups will be able to collaborate at once, while the entire canvas is mirrored to a big screen.
If necessary, Whiteboard also lets users collaborate remotely. This makes it a good tool for homework projects. For users who don’t have a pen-focused device, there’s the ability to use keyboard and mouse or a touchscreen and finger.
So far, nothing here is a big change from the non-education app, but it’s the deep integration with the rest of the Office suite that really sells it:
“From the ground up, Whiteboard for EDU has been designed with teachers and students in mind: to work the way you already do. Export your board directly to OneNote Class Notebooks for safekeeping,” said Microsoft in a blog post.
It’s also bringing a number of education-focused features. Students will be able to use lined graph paper, or blackboard mode, participate in polls via stickers and get quick feedback on ideas. Teachers will also be able to convert their handwritten notes to ink by simply snapping a picture.
The announcement was as part of Microsoft’s What’s New in EDU episode, which included an update to Minecraft: Education Edition, new EDU office themes, and more.