Microsoft in the education sector is something that always fascinates me, mainly because I remember being in school and technology was using this:
And thinking I was awesome for doing something like this:
Come on, if you had this in school in Tech class, you did it! Whatever the lesson plan, Paint was used, that and using these for everything you typed up:
There ain’t no header like a word art header!!
Anyway, that’s enough nostalgia, sorry I got carried away there. My point is that technology has come a long way and it’s now a big part of schools and education in general, even from a young age, which I see as a good thing. Up until about 4 years ago I had no idea how to do things like formulas with Excel, now I’m known as the big Excel geek that builds loads of reports. What I’m saying is, I wish I’d known a lot of this stuff earlier, to be fair they did probably try teaching us this and I was too busy drawing on Paint.
By getting the younger generations using technology (no I don’t just mean Netflix on an iPad or playing Angry Birds), we are really setting up the future generations to achieve great things. We’re arming them with the tools to do this so much sooner, enabling them to get familiar with technology which they’re more than likely going to use throughout their lives.
One of my favourites is this one from 8-bit Classroom. I love how they’re using technology to make learning more fun, targeted, to improve performance and engagement. They’re also enabling children to build their own apps using Microsoft Power Apps. I mean come on, that’s pretty cool!
As we know through 2020 technology has never been more important, for example enabling remote learning through virtual classrooms. Microsoft have responded to COVID-19 so well, as someone who focuses on Dynamics 365 I’ve noticed so much in the way of new features and functionality in response to COVID.
Microsoft have increased features for Connected Store, more integrations to Microsoft Teams, really showing that Better Together story. All the Microsoft solutions work together seamlessly for an all-round better and more productive experience.
But back to the topic of the virtual classroom and remote learning, Microsoft have many resources and solutions to enable the transition to online working smoother. They make it fun with things like Minecraft for Education, with hundreds of lessons and activities available. Other changes have been things like virtual graduations, or even virtual school campuses making learning more enjoyable, even in a remote setting.
There have been over 150 million students, faculty, institutional leaders, and teachers actively using Microsoft Education products and being enabled to continue to thrive even in the current climate.
As mentioned, Microsoft have evolved quickly, for example enabling up to 49 participants on a single Teams screen, as well as being able to create virtual breakout rooms if you need to split the students off into groups. Even something like being able to virtual “raise your hand” so every student can be heard and have their own voice, although let’s face it we’ve all done this by mistake and had the awkward moment on a call with maybe over 100 people saying “oh you have a question Mathew?”, and like an idiot you have to say “no sorry clicked by mistake!”. Teachers are even now able to view class insights, see who’s engaged and who isn’t and view activity metrics.
All this, and more, whilst also having the reassurance that all data is safe and secure with the best security on the planet, even more secure than if you’ve got Nessa guarding the school.
If you haven’t watched Gavin Stacey, I’m sorry… not for the reference I just feel bad you haven’t seen it!
Anyway, when it comes to security Microsoft enables teachers to create meeting lobbies to ensure only assigned students can join the meeting, also set rules to determine who can present and who can’t, which let's face it is going to be very handy as every class has a joker that will do it just to be annoying!
What’s more is that Dynamics 365 enables better case management, better student portals and allowing students to better self-serve. There’s so much Microsoft can offer when it comes to education, the opportunity is huge, and one not to be passed up on.
If you’re a Microsoft partner, keep in mind you no longer need to be an Authorised Education Partner (AEP) in order to transact into education.
And if you’re someone in the education sector reading this, and something has caught your attention feel free to get in touch and we can always chat about it and I’ll happily introduce you to the right tech provider for your needs.
Also, we have a webinar upcoming on the 17th November, 2pm UK time, all about the education sector, there is so much more to talk about than what’s in this blog so click here to register! If you can’t watch live that’s fine, if you’re registered you can watch back on demand.
Thanks for reading, hope it wasn’t too boring, hope you learnt something, and I look forward to speaking soon!
Author: Mathew Batterbee – Global Senior BDM – Ingram Micro Cloud