“We started using Teams this school year, although I tried it out the previous year,” explains Havassy. “We used to make class groups on Facebook, which I replaced with the digital classroom, and we started using Teams for faculty communications as well. We have a group for all teachers, we have subject teacher work groups, and we also use it for messaging. We still use email, but if it works out, Teams will replace that solution too."
Havassy uses Microsoft Teams in teaching geography, but history and biology teachers also use it.
“I use Teams to share content with my students for classroom and home work alike,” adds Havassy. “Everything we use in class goes into the group, so we primarily use the learning organization and communications functions. I try to convince my students to use and get acquainted with these tools. I urge them to use online tools instead of installed programs and to collaborate in editing documents. They’ll need these skills outside of school as well, so understanding that will also be useful in the future.”
Havassy also points out that teaching is often considered a conservative profession, one that is slow to change. Some colleagues at the school needed a bit of convincing to accept that digital tools must be employed in the students’ interests.
“If colleagues see that the tools work and they live up to expectations, they’ll get used to it as well,” he notes.
Havassy teaches nearly 350 students in 12 classes. In his view, the greatest benefit of Teams is not only that students can access all teaching materials in one place, but that the work they submit is also visible in a structured manner.
“It’s a slow process: a teacher projecting a presentation is a small step, because I’ve been doing that for 25 years. The next step is the student preparing the presentation and presenting it too; that’s how their teaching skills grow,” he explains.
It’s often said that using digital education tools requires extra work and a paradigm shift for the educators. Havassy sees things differently.
“If the teacher has routine in preparing digital content, it doesn’t take long. But that’s not the key here. It’s having a good idea on how to make the lesson interesting, and that’s true for both 'analog' and digital means. Once the concept is born, you have to find the right tool for it. The opposite also holds true: a tool can also generate new ideas.”