Reimagine Education with Microsoft Hong Kong’s “Learn Anywhere Remote Teaching” Program in the New School Year

 |   Rita Ngai

two children at home

Complimentary access to Office 365 Education for Hong Kong schools to enable engaged and safe learning environment

August 18 2020, Hong Kong –– Back to school after this summer holiday will have a complete different meaning and format in the coming school year, as face-to-face classes continue to be suspended due to COVID-19.

To support Hong Kong students and educators to further embrace remote learning amid the new normal, Microsoft Hong Kong today launches “Learn Anywhere Remote Teaching” Program. This initiative empowers all kindergartens, primary and secondary educators with complimentary access to Office 365 Education and free set up for participating schools to enable them to build collaborative classrooms and create a safe, secure and collaborative learning environment.

“For educators, traditional lessons do not always translate digitally. Many teachers find they cannot recreate the school day with just live sessions. Top challenges for them are keeping students engaged digitally and student participation,” said Fred Sheu, National Technology Officer of Microsoft Hong Kong. “New remote learning formats require new thinking to create compelling, engaging and inclusive content. We believe ‘Learn Anywhere Remote Teaching’ Program can help educators to ensure strong student engagement across different activities and maintain secure digital classrooms.”

Keeping students engaged and safe

Apart from teaching lessons using video conferencing capabilities, teachers can also give and grade assignments, and check student understanding with quiz feature on Teams. Educators also need more options to ensure every student can participate and that every voice is heard. In Teams for Education, students can Raise Their Hands during class meetings.

classroom insights

Teachers can keep track of students’ engagement level and learning outcomes with the help of the new Attendance Reports and Class Insights feature, an intelligent data analytics breakdown showing how students engage with the class, including assignments turned in, activity metrics and grades, with a new trends view coming in time for fall.

Students together

For teachers, seeing all their students’ faces at the same time helps ensure strong student engagement, as well as social and emotional connection. With the new 7×7 grid view feature on Teams, teachers can see up to 49 participants at once on a single screen. With the new Together Mode, all the participants on a video call will be placed in a shared virtual background, creating a more attentive and connected online class experience.

While keeping students engaged in remote learning is key, schools and teachers should also pay utmost attention to security. With the new meeting options in Microsoft Teams that prevent students from starting meetings unattended, teachers are able to determine who can present in a meeting, and to create a Meeting Lobby to ensure only assigned students can join a meeting, enabling students to learn in a safe environment. Moreover, Teams is built on the Office 365 hyper-scale, enterprise-grade cloud, which enforces organization-wide two-factor authentication and encryption of data in transit and at rest, delivering the advanced security to both teachers and students.

Equipping Schools for Success Today and Tomorrow

CCC Kei Yuen College began its transition to hosting live-streaming lessons this March and soon every student in the school has adopted this new way of learning. With the help of Teams, the school held its first-ever virtual graduation ceremony in June as a new way to celebrate the joy and success of their students. “While on-campus classes and activities remain suspended, learning should not be disrupted by distance or physical location,” said Alice Leung, Vice Principal of CCC Kei Yuen College. “As educators, we must continue to do our best to motivate our students to learn and grow at home during this challenging time. It is reassuring and encouraging to see how technology can transform teaching and learning with such great agility and flexibility,” said Dragon Lee, Head of I.T. Committee of the school.

Meanwhile, St. Hilary’s Primary School and VNSAA St. Hilary’s School deployed remote teaching via Teams since this February in response to COVID-19. With multiple premises for its kindergartens, primary and secondary schools across Hong Kong, they need a collaborative tool that is smooth and secure. “With the power of technology, we are able to make a smooth transition to remote learning across our two existing campuses within seven months, and we will continue our online teaching practice from this September for almost 1,000 students among our two existing and one newly-established campuses.” said Alvin Ma, Head of Innovative Teaching and Educational Research of St. Hilary’s. “Collaborative tools such as Teams and SharePoint empower our staffs and teachers to co-plan lessons together effectively and handle administrative work easily. As the threat of COVID-19 continues, it is important for educators to relentless find and adopt new ways to strengthen their connections with students when they can’t talk in person.”

International school’s needs are often different from local schools. Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong (WASHK), one of the newest international schools in Hong Kong, has developed its online Learning Platform powered by Teams to enable teachers, students and parents to interact in a more creative and engaging way, for example create videos before virtual class and share with their teachers and peers for discussion. “Collaborative tools such as Teams and OneNote allow our students and their parents to unleash their creativity with digital ink, and at the same time empower our teachers to provide digital feedback and assessment in written, audio or video formats,” said Shaz Janjua, Head of I.T. and iSTEAM, WASHK. “During the current tribulations, it is important for us to develop a growth mindset to explore and deploy new technologies that can elevate our learning and teaching.”

The new “Learn Anywhere Remote Teaching” Program is open to all kindergartens, primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong for applications from now to October 31, 2020. Interested schools please visit https://aka.ms/LearnAnywhere_MSHK or contact hkedu@microsoft.com for further information.

# # #

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.