Announcing new tech to support inclusive classrooms, plus highlights from “Emotion and Cognition in the Age of AI” keynote.

Day 1 of Bett is a wrap, but that was just the beginning of our What’s New in EDU Live series! Today we’re focused on ways to support the unique needs and abilities of both students and teachers, especially in light of research showing that positive emotional states are linked to academic achievement and well-being.

While the Microsoft Education team is in London all week, you can also – for the first time ever – explore the Microsoft Bett booth with a 360-degree video tour on our Microsoft Education YouTube channel. If you’re not watching live daily, catch up on all the Microsoft Education news so far and check out our first episode, which covered new tools that support your ability to personalize learning for all your students.

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Research: The importance of student well-being and positive mindsets on achievement and success

New research by the Economist Intelligence Unit and commissioned by Microsoft highlights the importance of student well-being and positive mindsets on achievement and success. These highlights were shared during an afternoon Bett keynote on “Emotion and Cognition in the Age of AI,” which featured Anthony Salcito and Barbara Holzapfel of Microsoft Education, along with Marc Brackett, founding director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.

Today, our team announced and shared insights from our latest body of research with the Economist Intelligence Unit and our latest vision for education. The research process involved gathered insights from education professionals (teachers, principals, school assistants, librarians) in 15 countries to better understand how positive mindsets and well-being – especially emotional well-being – impact outcomes for students, communities and economies.

The study reinforced that the development of social-emotional skills continues to be a huge priority for schools, with more than 70 percent of schools working on intentional practices that recognize social-emotional SE skills as fundamental, not ornamental. The study also reinforced that emotion is the gatekeeper of cognition and that positive emotional states are linked to both academic achievement and well-being. Join us for our upcoming webinar series on Teaching Happiness to learn more (signing up is free!).

Click the excerpt above to view the full infographic.

What’s New in Minecraft: Education Edition

We also shared updates from the Minecraft: Education Edition team, including a new standards-aligned computer science curriculum to accompany Code Builder, the in-game coding feature, and a refreshed digital badging program for educators in our global community.

Minecraft: Education Edition offers all you need to get started with learning and teaching computer science. Explore starter lessons, professional development, downloadable worlds and free 30-hour curriculum for students ages 8-15. The latest update makes Code Builder easier than ever to use: simply press ‘C’ to launch the coding tool and start writing code with MakeCode and other coding apps.

We have launched a new Digital Badging program for educators teaching with Minecraft: Education Edition. Badges are awarded for engaging on social media and completing Minecraft: Education Edition online trainings. Badge recipients will be provided early access to new lessons and teaching resources.

Learn about the latest updates for Minecraft: Education Edition, or learn how to get started using Minecraft in your school. Visit the Minecraft Classroom (F280) next to the Microsoft booth for all-day workshops, customer support, and to meet members of the Minecraft Education team.

New tools to personalize learning

Speaking of coding, don’t miss the announcement we made earlier this week: We’re transferring the research and technology behind Code Jumper to nonprofit American Printing House for the Blind, which creates and distributes products and services for people who are blind or have low vision. Get more details here.

Free VictoryVR curriculum with Windows Mixed Reality

Studies show student engagement and retention increase as much as 35 percent when using immersive and 3D technologies. At the start of Bett, we made it easier for educators to get started with immersive learning by partnering with VictoryVR to give schools 25 hours of standards-aligned virtual reality curricula across subjects for FREE when they purchase a Windows virtual reality headset.

Immersive Reader in VR

In addition, we’re happy to share that VR is now more inclusive for all students with Immersive Reader in VR (Public Beta). We’re taking our Immersive Reader and putting it into a virtual reality experience. This allows students to have maximum focus and clarity, whether for ADHD, autism, dyslexia, or students with low vision. Immersive Reader in VR will be initially supported in the Microsoft Edge browser for OneNote for Windows 10, Word and Word Online, Teams and Flipgrid. This experience is now available on Windows Mixed Reality headsets and available to try out in the Bett booth!

New from our Mixed Reality Partners at Merge

MERGE Cubes apps are now available on Windows through the Microsoft Store! The integration of the MERGE Cube with Windows 10 devices will give Microsoft Education customers a new way to engage their students in 3D, immersive learning.

New in Mixed Reality within Microsoft Teams: ThingLink

With ThingLink now built into Microsoft Teams, students will be able to create and view interactive images, videos and 360-degree virtual tours in the Microsoft Teams environment. ThingLink technology is especially useful in the education space because it lets teachers build interactive, visual learning experiences and multimedia presentations, which can help develop vocabulary and contextual understanding in technical education, science and social studies. 

Students can use ThingLink to document their learning with interactive maps, infographics, presentations, and virtual 360-degree tours that combine multiple forms of media: text, images, sound, and video. ThingLink offers teachers free basic accounts, as well as paid school and eLearning accounts with a virtual tour creator. Microsoft Office 365 users can get a free 14-day access to ThingLink’s Premium teacher and business subscriptions via the Microsoft AppSource marketplace.

Made by Dyslexia teacher training launching on the MEC (Microsoft Educator Community)

Celebrities including Sir Richard Branson, Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom and Maggie Aderin-Pocock join expert teachers from two world-leading dyslexia schools to share their wisdom and expertise in these inspirational Dyslexia Awareness Training films produced by Made By Dyslexia.

Millfield School UK and Schenck School USA are both pioneers in the field of dyslexia and the first schools in their respective countries to successfully support students with dyslexia and focus on their strengths. These films have been incorporated into five Dyslexia Awareness Training modulesdesigned to help teachers, educators and parents understand dyslexia, both its strengths and challenges, gain essential knowledge in how to recognize and support it, and create a dyslexia-inclusive classroom. Modules 5 – 10 will be released later this year, when we will also announce dates for a series of ‘road-show’ events in the UK and US to showcase the training. You can access these training materials at:

Microsoft MakeCode, Cartoon Network and Adafruit team up to inspire a new generation of creators

Tools like Microsoft MakeCode for Adafruit Circuit Playground Express open up incredible creative possibilities for students to program physical devices. When paired with Cartoon Network’s portfolio of unique characters, beloved by kids today, students who might not normally see themselves as “coders” can be inspired and engaged. Using some common crafting materials, students can make and code their own BMO Music Box, Princess Bubblegum Crown, or Finn cup lamp.

Read more on the Microsoft Education Blog.

New STEM resources from the the Microsoft Education Workshop

Building on the tradition of launching new STEM lesson plans at Bett – just like the Robotic Hand – the Education Workshop is bringing a triple set of hands-on experiences to London. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage in three pop-up classrooms hosted on the show floor.

The first, Microsoft’s STEM Experience, presented in partnership with BBC Learning, celebrates a collection of teacher-written, inquiry-based lesson plans developed to compliment the BBC Earth and OCEANX film, Oceans: Our Blue Planet.

As students model 21st Century STEM jobs like oceanographer, marine geologists, and robotics engineer, they learn required curriculum like the 3D coordinate system, the role of salinity in global warming, and how sonar works. These standards-aligned lesson plans challenge students to write code, build sensors, analyze data, and create in 3D and mixed reality, and include student reflection and assessment opportunities.

Check out the Oceans: Our Blue Planet Lesson Plans.

Excel Data Streamer Add-In

The emerging worlds of data science and internet of things are beginning to show up in the classroom. The Microsoft Tools for Teachers booth is showcasing Excel’s Data Streamer Add-In that enables students to model, measure and visualize real-time data. Data Streamer, now available for free to all O365 subscribers, provides students a way to use sensors to send real-time information back and forth into Excel.

Come see the how real-time data helps reveal concepts that are hard to see. In this case, we’ve brought our Brain Impact Simulatorwhich helps to illustrate what happens when the brain collides with the skull to cause concussions. In addition to learning about the anatomy behind this critical issue, using a 3D model in Excel, students are empowered to both design solutions to mitigate brain injury and take the Think Taylor #TTPledge to be educated and honest toward those suffering from concussions.

Get Started with Excel’s Data Streamer.

Have your own sensor/IoT device that you want to bring into the classroom? See how Play Impossible has taken their sensorized Gameball™ and connected it to Excel’s Data Streamer to create a modern digital twist on the egg toss. The physics lab favorite is now a real-time graphed experiment in Excel, requiring students to also make strategic decisions and calculate risk while learning the physics behind Newton’s 2nd Law.

Play Impossible will ship a Windows 10 app in April 2019 that will deliver a collection of Math in Sports Science lesson plans.

Learn how to connect your device to Excel today.

For those of you unable to attend the Bett Show, don’t worry. All Hacking STEM lesson plans, along with information about Data Streamer and the Play Impossible experience, are available online.

Be sure to tune-in on Friday, 1/25 at 5:00 p.m. UTC for another episode of What’s New in EDU Live, in which we’ll take a deeper look at affordable new Windows 10 devices.