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Digital technologies, the cloud, intelligence and analytics, mixed reality and truly engaging learning platforms have the capacity to transform the digital experience for every teacher, student, school, college and university.
At Microsoft we understand that one of our most important tasks is to empower students and educators with the tools, experiences and insights to create tomorrow’s world.
Technology helps democratise educational opportunity, and in tandem with dedicated administrators, committed teachers, motivated students and involved parents and communities it can spark creativity and help build a passion for lifelong learning. Today’s school students will create the future – they will have jobs that don’t yet exist. Equipping them with computational thinking and problem solving capabilities from an early age sets students up for sustained success.
Educational institutions meanwhile are transforming themselves, leveraging analytics to support evidence based decision making and to ensure broader access to rich seams of research data.
The University of the Sunshine Coast has deployed Azure and analytics, streamlining reporting and compliance, and a transparent window into the University’s data collection so that its information is accessible, accurate, intelligible and actionable.
The University of Canberra is using Microsoft Dynamics 365 to forge much closer relationships with its students. Student advisors, the welfare team, the international student support services team, study skills, the fees office and international compliance all have instant access to up to date information on each and every student. When a student calls, emails or starts an online chat session, those rich and real insights inform the interaction, setting the student up for success.
These technologies are already transforming the student and institutional experience – but an education revolution is just around the corner.
Microsoft’s augmented and mixed reality technologies are creating genuine excitement among forward looking educators who are innovating and future ready, and today crafting systems that will profoundly impact learning.
Western Sydney University, for example, is exploring how HoloLens can be used in immersive learning spaces with social science and para-medicine students. Challenging real life situations can be recreated virtually with accessible holographs to promote applicable learning.
The University of Sydney has also recognised the transformational potential of HoloLens and immersive augmented reality, and in one of its first deployments is using the platform to craft holographic images derived from CT and MRI scans which will be presented to students in the high fidelity HoloLens environment so that they can observe, and even manipulate images in a three dimensional environment. The University believes the technology holds immense potential both for education purposes and future patient outcomes.
While not every student will have access to a HoloLens just yet, Microsoft remains committed to delivering leading edge digital technologies to support all educators and students. The new Surface Laptop and Pro devices offer the power students need, with the flexibility and form they crave.
Surface is already allowing future focussed educators to reimagine the learning environment. Dr David Kellermann, a lecturer at UNSW is using his Surface Book to deliver a rich blended learning environment for the 470 students he is teaching even though the lecture theatre available to him has just 320 seats.
The digital environment he has been able to create more than makes up for the physical shortcomings of the lecture theatre – and also sustains a valuable and ongoing dialogue and collaboration between learners and lecturer.
Schools too understand how rich experiences in the classroom can spark creativity and promote a love of learning. The cloud, Office 365 and Teams for Education are the digital foundations for Catholic Education Western Australia’s LEADing Lights initiative that will be rolled out in 163 schools to transform learning for 80,000 school students.
Teachers are able to share their expertise and insights, students can collaborate and create, administrators can contribute their best practice. There are plans afoot to also embrace emerging technologies such as big data, machine learning, analytics and intelligent bots that hold enormous educational promise.
These education innovators understand that learning should have no limits. They, and Microsoft, recognise education is an endless and immensely rewarding pursuit and should be accessible to all of us equally as we strive to create a better world for tomorrow.
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