It has been an inspiring time for me since joining the Education team here at Microsoft. Every day, I see truly amazing work created by students and teachers around the world — and your feedback guides us on our journey to empower every student on the planet to achieve more.
At Microsoft, we are humbled to see more and more students and teachers around the world using our technology in and out of the classroom. According to Futuresource*, Windows continues to be the leading global platform for K-12 education, with twice as many Windows devices shipped in 2015 as our closest competitor.
Immersive and inclusive experiences
We are committed to building immersive and inclusive learning experiences for students and teachers. Experiences that build 21st-century skills like communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and computational thinking.
Everything we create will be centered around four core promises — empowering teachers and students to:
- Create and share in entirely new ways
- Teach and learn through doing and exploring
- Accommodate any learning style
- Focus the classroom experience on learning outcomes — not technology
We are working hard to bring these promises to life through compelling experiences that we hope you will love — experiences like OneNote, Skype, Sway and Minecraft.
We are seeing incredible excitement around OneNote — it’s a really powerful tool that makes it easy for teachers to organize all of their class materials into one digital notebook. Accessing and preparing lessons and assignments from any device, and combining handwriting, text, Web content, even audio and video, for more compelling content and personalized learning.
OneNote Class Notebooks provide a framework for teaching and learning. It’s a central collaboration space, a content library to store class materials and an individual notebook for every student in the class that teachers can see real time to provide feedback.
Take a look at how the Torkinmäki School in Finland uses OneNote Class Notebook on a daily basis to enable new ways of creating and sharing:
I also really love the new Learning Tools for OneNote add-in – where students can access expanded reading and writing experiences, with support for learning disabilities like dyslexia. Learning Tools incorporates special text formatting, advanced dictation, focus mode and immersive reading modes that can make classroom activities easier for students with learning differences.
Skype in the Classroom is an amazing, free global community for teachers to collaborate on classroom projects using Skype. With Skype in the Classroom you can play Mystery Skype with another classroom from around the globe, connect with guest speakers to inspire your classroom and take students on virtual field trips.
Sway is a really cool storytelling app that makes it quick and easy to create polished, interactive lessons, assignments, reports, newsletters and more – right from any device. Sways are easy to share with the class, or the world, and look great on any screen.
“Minecraft” is loved by students and teachers around the world, and is already being used in more than 7,000 classrooms in more than 40 countries — teaching students everything from STEM subjects to art and poetry. In January, we announced the new Minecraft: Education Edition that offers an expanded set of features designed for the classroom.
“In education, we are constantly seeking pathways to explore learning beyond the confines of a textbook. Minecraft allows us that opportunity,” said Rafranz Davis, executive director of Professional Development and Learning at the Lufkin Independent School District in Texas. “When we see our kids enjoying the process of learning in this way, it’s a game changer.”
One of the most exciting computer science resources is the BBC micro:bit, being rolled out by the BBC, supported by Microsoft and a range of other partners — it will soon be empowering virtually every Year 7 student (age 11-12) in the United Kingdom. The BBC micro:bit is a wearable computing device smaller than a credit card that students can use to explore the possibilities of computer science – doing, making and creating!
Devices for every learning style
More and more, educators are asking us about affordable devices and simple management. We have a great portfolio of new Windows 10 devices starting at $199, designed for the demands of education.
There are 1.5 billion teachers and students in primary and secondary education today — and we are committed to the quest to empower them to achieve more. We’re hard at work to surprise and delight you with great new education experiences – we expect to share some exciting news in April, so stay tuned!
Finally, we love hearing your feedback and seeing the amazing things happening in your classroom with Microsoft technology. Give us a shout — @microsoft_edu @tony_prophet #MSFTEDU.
* Futuresource’s 2015 market report tracks sales of mobile computers (excluding desktops) into K-12 education. Mobile computer category includes Notebook, Chromebook, Netbook and Tablets.