Recently, as part of the Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE) program, History Skills was invited to attend a Microsoft forum in Sydney with other enthusiastic educators to discuss the future of education technology.
The two-day event brought together thirty passionate teachers from across Australia and New Zealand, along with members of the Microsoft design teams from America and the UK. The event was an amazing time of inspiring collaboration between the attendees, which allowed teachers to share from their own experience as well as providing valuable feedback to Microsoft for future innovations in the field.
The forum was an incredible experience and I wanted to share some of the highlights from the two days with my followers.
1. Anthony Salcito
The Vice President of Microsoft Education dropped in for a short talk before his key note presentation at EduTech 2018. He spoke about the core messages in a recently published report called ‘Transforming Education’, as well as sharing Microsoft’s vision for the future.
Anthony then fielded questions from the attendees. His responses were open and honest about the role educators had in the creating the future for their students.
2. Learning Tools
The most exciting announcements from Microsoft over the last few months have been the implementation of Learning Tools across a lot of their products: Word, OneNote, Outlook, etc.
The Learning Tools allow students to read and listen to text in their own chosen style, speed and format. While this was originally designed for students with learning challenges, it has been universally praised for its benefit for all learners. Teachers can use these tools right now on PC, iPad and Macs.
3. The Educator Community
Microsoft has released an entire website full of free professional development tools for teachers who are seeking to make the most of technology in the classroom. The website, known as the Microsoft Educator Community, can be accessed by teachers around the world and provides a plethora of videos, examples and classroom activities.
It is still surprising that many schools seem to be unaware of this site and we spoke about how best to share it with as many teachers as possible.
OneNote has been the gold standard of education software for many years and the recent developments of Classroom features has been revolutionary for many attendees.
We had the chance to talk to Mike Tholfsen, who spoke about further developments to the platform. There was also a Q&A session where the MIE-Experts shared some of their ‘most wanted’ features for the future.
The educational potential of the HoloLens headset was demonstrated by Lawrence Crumpton. While not a technology that many schools can afford at the present, it does show where teaching is headed, with the implementation of ‘mixed reality’ (a term that describes the ability to put digital creations in the real world environment) in a variety of settings.
Want to join the next Microsoft forum?
The time and energy that Microsoft has invested in education, and their willingness to respond to teacher feedback, was genuinely exciting to see. If you are interested in being part of future events like this, you can apply to join the MIE-Expert program for free here.