In the last 40 years, we’ve witnessed more technological progress than any generation before us, and the coming decades will see more innovations than ever before. Massive advances in digital technology have ‘rebooted’ the way we think, play, work, and interact with each other, and have affected every aspect of society – education being no exception.
According to the European commission, 414 million students around the world are expected to be in higher education by 2030. Furthermore, a staggering 90% of tomorrow’s jobs will require digital skills, and so far, only 15% of today’s students have access to computers in their schools. With these figures in mind, it goes without saying that the need to align education with the current digital world is essential to ensure that Europe’s young people are fully prepared for their future lives and careers.
“With the modern workplace constantly evolving, so too should our classrooms – and technology integration is absolutely crucial in this matter.”
Anthony Salcito – Vice President, Worldwide Education
At Microsoft, we believe that accelerating the adoption of technologies in the classroom will both empower teachers to improve education outcomes and better adapt to the digital shift, help bridge the digital divide and, most importantly, provide students with the education they need to transition into jobs in the knowledge economy. We are invested in providing opportunities for youth to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace, and to support this important work, we recently committed $75 million in community investments to increase access to computer science for young people worldwide over the next three years through our YouthSpark initiative.
With technology inevitably making its way to the classroom, and more and more educators all across the region starting to explore the potential of educational technology to challenge, inspire and engage their students, we’ve decided to take a look at some of the most digitally inspiring classrooms from all across Europe.
Who said math wasn’t fun? For Kurt Söser, a teacher and Microsoft Expert educator in Austria, education is all about collaborating and inspiring young people with passion and vision. Söser is a seasoned and creative user of technology in the classroom, and engages his students in ways no traditional text book could ever do. By using a combination of Office 365, Geogebra, PCs and mobile devices, Söser has taken the learning experience way beyond the classroom. By presenting his students with real-life math scenarios, such as analysing correlations between jumping and running, applying trigonometry to measure the school building or even modelling a football, he was able to bring the classroom knowledge to real life situations in a fun, personalized, yet collaborative way.
The Natural Science and Mathematics school Acad. Prof. Dr. Assen ZLATAROV recently decided to move from a traditional teaching approach to a fully integrated cloud-based environment. By including social networks, mobile devices and cloud technologies both in and outside the classroom, teacher and students were able to collaborate more closely, creatively and easily than ever before.
With Office 365 and OneDrive, students are now able to submit their homework online, collaborate on assignments and share presentations and files, regardless of whether they work from their tablet, phone or school pc. The school also uses Office 365 to streamline its administration and simplify procedures, such as allocating tasks to teachers, uploading schedules, and distributing weekly plans.
At the Claregalway College in Ireland, teachers and students have taken educational technology to the next level. The digital classroom is no longer a novelty at this cutting-edge school, and since 2011, technology has been an integral part of the instruction and learning experience. Teachers at Claregalway use both Office 365, OneNote and Sway to create their own unique teaching resources, such as digital textbooks, animations, videos, games and digital magazines. Classes are being recorded, filed and shared online, and digital inking, Surface tablets and interactive whiteboards have completely replaced chalk, scratchpads and blackboards.
Tablets, interactive whiteboards, Kinect and touch screens have become everyday tools at the Erich-Gutenberg vocational school in Germany. This official Microsoft Mentor school has fully integrated technology into their work-based learning curriculum to provide students with the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century. By integrating technology in the classroom, the school was also able to introduce new educational concepts, such as individual, collective, project and game-based learning and increase the school’s performance.
At Wymondham High Academy, a high-performing mixed comprehensive Academy in Norfolk, school leaders have adopted Surface 3 as the right tool to prepare their students to excel in a mobile world. By introducing the tablet and digital inking, the school was able able to engage both students and teachers. Students appreciate the tablet because its portability and user-friendliness, and teacher find it incredibly efficient. “With the superior inking capabilities and the use of OneNote in the Classroom, Surface 3 will truly begin to empower teachers to integrate the use of technology in the classroom across the curriculum.” – Kevin Sait, Head of IT Strategy.