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Microsoft’s Slack competitor is designed to hook students with emoji, stickers, and GIFs

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Microsoft Teams started life competing with Slack in the workplace, but now Microsoft plans to bring its chat and collaboration app to another environment: schools.

During a presentation today, Microsoft showed a new version of Teams designed for education. It allows teachers to set up a dashboard for their students, with access to activities, tests, and lesson materials. Students will be able to comment on items and start discussions — naturally, there’ll be support for emoji, stickers, and GIFs, too.

Teams is meant to make teachers’ lives easier, too. Educators will be able to chat with one another through the app. And Microsoft says the app will be able to automatically update student rosters at the beginning of each year — though, clearly some sort of administrator will have to enter the information somewhere along the line.

Microsoft Teams for schools

It isn’t clear how much functionality will be built in to this version of Teams. One of Teams’ big features is the ability to integrate third-party services, so it’s possible that things like quizzes will require additional work to add in.

Still, it’s a nice idea. Slack, which Teams competes with on the desktop, has become a standby of modern offices, and one can imagine how a similar product could be adapted to schools to help students organize their classwork. Similar products have been made before, like Blackboard, but there’s yet to be one students actually seem happy to use.

Microsoft said Teams will launch for schools sometime this summer, so it’ll be ready in time for the fall semester. The product was announced alongside the introduction of Windows 10 S, a locked-down version of Windows meant for schools and cheaper devices.

Microsoft Teams for schools