Microsoft: Leading the Future of Education with Technology

 |   Sugriiva Paramasivam

Image above: Online classroom on Teams organised by Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Bukit Indah during the movement control order (MCO) period

  • Insights gathered from the Microsoft Education community indicate that 61% expect to begin the next school year in a hybrid learning environment involving a mix of remote and in-person learning.
  • 87% of educators also expect to use technology more than before once in-classroom teaching resumes.
  • Collaborating with both the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Higher Education, Microsoft is actively looking for avenues to enhance Malaysia’s education system with technology.

KUALA LUMPUR, 23 July 2020 – As schools in Malaysia reopen and welcome back students after a 4-month closure, Microsoft Malaysia is committed to further enable and accelerate the digital transformation of the nation’s education sector in collaboration with the government and education communities.
Dr Habibah, Ketua Pengarah Pelajaran Malaysia
“It is timely for us to move towards digital learning especially during this time of Covid-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Habibah Abdul Rahim, Director-General of Education, Ministry of Education. “The Movement Control Order (MCO) has acted as a catalyst to accelerate digital transformation as teachers are now engaged in the delivery of digital learning and leveraging on different technologies which they have opted to use with their pupils. For the future, digital learning will have to continue to be part of school culture, embedded in our daily teaching and learning.”

The move towards digital in Malaysia is in line with the global shifts for education. In a study by Microsoft which surveyed 500 teachers and institutional leaders from around the world within the Microsoft Education community, 61% expect to begin the next school year in a hybrid learning environment involving a mix of remote and in-person learning. The survey also found that 87% of educators expect to use technology more than before, when in-classroom teaching resumes.

During the MCO, the use of digital tools was accelerated to enhance remote learning experiences. Moving forward, this usage is expected to rise, complementing in-classroom teaching methods as schools move into a blended learning or rotational mode due to social distancing measures. This is in addition to the growing importance and emphasis on preparing students with the right digital tools and skills to take on the challenges of tomorrow.

In a move to digitalize education, the Ministry of Education in partnership with Microsoft Malaysia and other industry players launched DELIMa, or ‘Digital Educational Learning Initiative Malaysia’. Through this platform, more than 5.2 million students and educators nationwide can access Microsoft’s productivity applications and services, namely Office 365 (O365) using a single sign-on, in addition to learning resources from Google and Apple.

Further to this, Microsoft Malaysia had partnered with the Ministry of Higher Education to conduct open webinars and online tutorials to share knowledge on setting up virtual classrooms as well as the available digital resources to support teaching and learning process. The open webinars were attended by hundreds of educators from public schools, MRSM schools and private institutions of higher learning. These efforts are continuous, as teachers can easily access the webinars via education portals like Digital Classroom, to learn how to properly utilize the tools available to them from the experts themselves. From conducting training webinars for educators to forging valuable and long-lasting partnerships with educational institutions, Microsoft is constantly looking for different avenues in which technology can be leveraged to complement education.

Pn. Hjh Saripah binti Ahmad, a School Improvement Specialist Coach (SISC+) from Pejabat Pendidikan Daerah Melaka Tengah and a proud Digital Classroom Admin said, “In the first phase of the MCO, we conducted 14 webinars for teachers in an initiative titled ‘From Teacher to Teacher’ (FT2T) and 11 webinars in another motivational program designed to encourage teachers to improve their professional development named “sembang santai.” FT2T trains teachers to master tools such as Teams, Sway, Flipgrid, PowerPoint, simple coding and digital storytelling. The response from teachers in the Digital Classroom telegram group has been overwhelmingly positive and the group’s membership grew to 52,000, with members adding in their friends and colleagues who are also teachers.”

In April 2020 alone, Digital Classroom admins have conducted more than 50 e-classes for UPSR, PT3, SPM and STPM students, with Teams chosen as their one-stop center for teaching and learning.

Microsoft’s work with MARA reflects a similar story, with Microsoft conducting a series of webinars and trainings over Teams to empower MARA’s 11,000 employees and 53,000 students to continue education during the MCO. The webinars, conducted by MARA’s Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE), MIEE fellows and volunteers from TVET Colleges, facilitated rapid onboarding to Teams. Recorded sessions from these webinars were uploaded on MARA’s Teams channel, providing a space for staffs to learn, connect and share the latest content, news and updates within the education sphere.
K Raman Microsoft Malaysia Square Profile
“For over two decades, Microsoft has invested greatly in the enhancement of Malaysia’s education system in line with its vision to democratize technology in education. If our future is digital, the need for our teachers and students to have access to the right tools and solutions is critical for the continuous growth of our nation,” said K. Raman, Managing Director for Microsoft Malaysia.

“Over the last few months, we’ve worked with the government and educational institutions to help ease the transition of schools for remote learning. As the education sector reopens, we are now focused on enabling and sustaining the digital transformation that is already happening. In this regard, the launch of DELIMa is an important milestone as it demonstrates the importance of technology to the future of education. Given the potential impact it has, we hope to see greater integration of digital tools within classroom settings, traditional or virtual moving forward. This certainly bodes well with the nation’s goal in empowering every student with crucial digital skills; and most importantly, transforming the learning environment – allowing for a more enjoyable and holistic education experience,” he added.

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