Launching a new school is one of the most inspiring challenges leaders and educators can take on. The Microsoft Flagship School Podcast provides practical ideas and experiences from leaders around the globe, to make this journey to transform from the ground up, a little easier.

Today, I am pleased to share the release of a new podcast series to help inspire leaders around the world as they take steps on the journey to transform from the ground up. Drawing inspiration from our work with participating schools in our Flagship School program – an advisory to support ideation on new school construction and development – this new podcast provides an easily accessible source of information that can be listened to any time, on your popular podcast platforms.

Featuring many thought leaders in the education space working across different facets of education and learning design, construction and furnishing through to Microsoft experts on the technology front, the Microsoft Flagship School Podcast provides 20-minute injections of inspiration to share knowledge and best practices on building a new school. It’s also a great source of tangible actions that align to the pillars of the Microsoft Education Transformation Framework and shares ideas on how to build with the 12 tenets in mind.

All episodes are available today for listening on demand via Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Play Music.

Here is what we have in store:

Episode 1: The possibilities for your new school

The world is changing, fast. Launching a new school gives education teams an incredible opportunity to build a future-focused, engaging learning environment from the ground up. In our first episode I share some of my thoughts on education transformation alongside Beth Hamilton, founding Principal of Wilburton Elementary, Bellevue Washington, who shares her experiences on recently opening the new school.

Episode 2: The learning approach in your new school

Every part of a school from the building, to the devices deployed, to the furniture purchased should work towards the goal of improving learning. Therefore, before we explore the many components to think about in your new school, we dig into what the learning approach will be for students. This episode features Tom Vander Ark from Getting Smart, and education leader Michelle Zimmerman from Renton Prep.

Episode 3: Learning environments in your new school

When designing from the ground up, we have an opportunity to consider the latest research in how the learning environments impact student experiences. In this episode, we speak with experts Madelyn Hankins, General Manager of Steelcase Education and Prakash Nair, CEO and Founder of Fielding Nair International, who have both led school design and furnishings across the world. We also spend some time with Terry Byers of Churchie Grammar, Queensland.


Episode 4: Personalized learning and data in your new school

Data is the new oil. With focus, careful collection and refinement, data can fuel a student’s learning path in meaningful ways. It exemplifies how technology can play a pivotal role in shaping students’ learning in ways not previously possible. In this episode, we hear from experts Maria Langworthy of Microsoft Education, Aidan McCarthy, a system leader in the Catholic education system in Western Australia, and James Protheroe, an education leader from Wales.

Episode 5: A positive culture in your new school

There is growing awareness of the importance of culture and mindset. We need new schools to be built with a strong culture that will help students and staff thrive. In this episode, we talk to Professor Lea Waters, a global expert on positive education, who shares the link between well-being and learning, and the importance of creating a positive school culture.

Episode 6: Accessibility and inclusion in your new school

Every new school needs to be built with a strong lens of accessibility and inclusion. Together they are a powerful force that is essential for every new school to incorporate deeply throughout its learning environments. In this episode, we talk to leaders from Microsoft, Megan Lawrence, Mike Tholfsen and Will Lewis, focusing on how technology can accelerate the path to making an inclusive and accessible school even more achievable.

Episode 7: Advancing the smart in your new school

Technology can play a huge role in advancing physical structures, design, and operations to put more smarts into school facilities and management. In this episode, we hear from Bert Van Hoof of Microsoft and Mark Hepburn of Iconics, who are both doing important work to support sustainable and advanced ideation on what it means to leverage technology to improve the way we live, learn, and play.

Episode 8: Making, creating, and coding in your new school 

When you bring together passion and education, learning thrives. Learning styles are increasingly taking a playful approach designed to drive skills through the use of Minecraft: Education Edition and physical computing. In this episode, we hear from Deirdre Quarnstrom, GM of Minecraft Education at Microsoft, Jacqueline Russell, Principal Program Manager at Microsoft and classroom teacher Chhaya Narayan, and her students Emily and Tawara from Elim Christian College, NZ.

Episode 9: Acquiring devices in your new school

In this episode we hear how to choose the right devices for your school – from individual devices to larger form devices – and how to create a successful foundation to surround 1:1 to set up for success. In this episode hear best practices from Jason Wilmot, K12 leader at Microsoft Education and Jonathan Bishop, Head Teacher of Broadclyst Community Primary School, UK

Episode 10: Creating the future with your new school

In this uncertain century, there is one constant: continuous change. We can’t predict the future of education, but we can guide it by ensuring our schools are adaptable and creative environments, and our educators and leaders evolve with the technology. We end this season hearing insights from Microsoft leader and former school principal Mark Sparvell, and some final thoughts from me to close out the series.

We hope this new resource is helpful to spark ideas for your own school. And if you like it, give us a rating of 5 stars!