When we talk about future-proofing the workforce, the conversation often centers around the use of technology to make processes more efficient and people more productive. While these are valid concerns, they also raise an unsettling question of whether we are investing enough in tomorrow’s workers – the students of today. Are we training them in digital literacy and giving them the skills they need for a digital tomorrow?
The digital transformation of education begins with the way in which people learn. The way in which people learn has fundamentally evolved around the technology in our society, particularly the way in which we collaborate, share ideas, connect with each other, and leverage ubiquitous content that is being generated every day.
Through technology, educators can enable personalized learning and individualized education, make classrooms more immersive and fun, as well as support their administration and classroom teaching duties with intelligent and automated services.
However, educators alone are not able to achieve the promise of technology. According to Microsoft Asia’s recent EduTech Survey 2016, the top challenges they face in optimizing technology include a lack of training and difficulty in integrating technology with their curriculums.
This is where Microsoft alongside its education partners are playing a critical role in enabling teachers to transform teaching and learning experiences:
Sensavis: Enable personalized learning and individualized education
There’s a reason why many believe in the approach “show, don’t tell”, and it might have to do with how this has been proven to improve learning by more than 60% when three-dimensional (3D) elements are used in teaching. Swedish company Sensavis is on to this, with its 3D Classroom App providing interactive and realistic visualizations to help students gain a better understanding of complex subjects.
Case in point: the study of the human body is traditionally done through diagrams in classrooms, but the static nature of diagrams does little to promote understanding of concepts like blood circulation. 3D visuals help haptic learners grasp such concepts, suiting the individual’s learning needs. Sensavis is a market leader in developing interactive 3D visualizations and its software is used by hundreds of schools in Europe, USA, and Asia.
“We want to revolutionize the field of education on a global scale. We want to be one of the driving forces in creating possibilities for every student to explore subjects and fields they’ve previously been excluded from. It’s first when we open the door to new ways of thinking that we can solve problems in a new way. We want to simplify and accelerate the learning process,” according to Sensavis.
3P Learning: Make classrooms more immersive and fun
If we introduce gaming elements into learning, would that make it less of a bore (or chore)? Australia-based 3P Learning certainly thinks so; from solving the most math problems within a minute to beating friends in a racing-type game, to spelling words correctly to help a detective crack cases, their resources such as Mathletics and Spellodrome reflect that enthusiasm.
With Mathletics, differentiated instruction is made possible through ability grouping, customisable courses and targeted supplementary resources. Students are given immediate feedback, while the in-depth results and comprehensive data reports assist teachers with diagnosing student weaknesses and assigning activities to fill the gaps. This enables a unique blend of teacher-led instruction and student-driven learning. Students are engaged, challenged and rewarded for their participation and results.
A little competition never hurt anybody, especially if it’s used for something like the World Education Games – the world’s largest free online education competition. In association with UNICEF, the 3P Learning team organizes this competition every two years, even giving out medals and trophies for winning students and schools!
Learning Possibilities and TechOne Global: Support teachers with intelligent and automated services
Learning Possibilities and TechOne Global have finally created a personal assistant to help teachers with their workload. The LP+365 App transforms Office 365 into a Learning Management System, complete with collaboration and assignment tools. Instead of yelling over the noise in a classroom and manually distributing then collecting worksheets, teachers can simply add announcements, load resources and set assignments at the click of a button.
And because apps should suit the mobile lifestyles of users, LP+365 can also be launched on smartphones and tablets, so teachers can grade assignments or plan lessons on the go. Such tasks can be time-consuming, so ensuring accessibility anywhere – even offline – is a great boon to selfless educators out there.
The app has been placed at a very affordable price, making it accessible to schools of all budgets. It is browser based enabling it to be available anytime, anywhere through mobile devices, and a Windows 10 App is also under development to offer full offline access to users in emerging markets where Internet is intermittent.
Certiport and Prestariang Berhad: Training to optimize technology
We want to train the spotlight on a couple of tools to help educators address their concerns over the lack of training in optimizing technology in the classroom.
In view that digital literacy and basic computing skills are increasingly necessary to help students succeed in the workforce, Certiport also provides training for students.
“Although today’s digital natives have grown up immersed in technology, many do not know how to use these tools intelligently and efficiently. In order to help graduates compete, certification programs must not only teach basic technology skills, they must be able to prove those learning outcomes. Technology certifications such as the Microsoft Office Specialist, Adobe Certified Associate, and IC3 Digital Literacy Certification are recognized worldwide and give students the proof they need to succeed,” according to Certiport.
Certiport certifications lead the industry because they are not multiple-choice, they are live in-application exams and task-based exams that measure real world knowledge over memorization. Earning a Certiport certification validates that a candidate can use the tool in college or the workforce effectively.
Another important training partner is Prestariang Berhad, the largest ICT training and certification provider in Malaysia. The company provides a holistic chain of ICT services in Talent & Software Solutions, Technology & Services via its University Malaysia of Computer Science & Engineering (UniMy).
In May 2016, Prestariang launched its inaugural School Adoption program, donating 21 computer units installed with the latest Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2016 software to a local school. Besides contributing physical assets, it plans to train teachers to be proficient in the software as well.
All these amazing partners will be exhibiting at the region’s biggest education summit Bett Asia, happening in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from 15 to 16 November 2016. The conference brings together the leading educators and thought leaders within the education technology space from across Asia, to share innovative case studies, inspiring regional projects and trends. Be sure to catch them, and Microsoft, there!