School is still out in most places, but we know teachers use this time of year to invest in professional learning opportunities without also having to worry about the next day’s lesson plan or papers that need grading. We hope you’re balancing that with long walks on the beach, just-for-fun books and precious time with family and friends.
We’re here to help as you get ready for the upcoming school year. In this edition of What’s New in EDU, we’re focusing on a host of free resources available in Microsoft stores and online. As Sam and Olivia explain in the video above, Microsoft Stores are running free educator workshops and training sessions covering many helpful topics ahead of back-to-school season.
Those topics range from boosting inclusion and accessibility in the classroom to developing computer-science skills. Participants gain insights into how classroom tools and resources like Microsoft Teams for Education, Immersive Reader and Minecraft: Education Edition can help you personalize instruction and encourage students to drive their own learning. Our experts will also tailor training sessions to meet your specific needs, so reach out and let us know what you’d like to see covered.
At Microsoft, our mission is to empower every person on the planet to achieve more, and we are thrilled to support educators who work hard every day on behalf of children. Just ahead of the ISTE conference in June, the OECD released a report finding that teachers need more training to use technology effectively in the classroom. We’re addressing this need through direct training and by supporting peer-to-peer learning and networking. Many of our tools, such as Microsoft Teams, are gaining steam as resources for peer learning among teachers.
And we’re here for you all year, not just in the summer. Our stores offer more than 200,000 hours of free workshops throughout the year. Of course, if you can’t make it into a store, we’re here to help online. Check out our new Microsoft Educator Center, where you can explore courses and learning pathways, keep track of your progress, earn badges for acquired skills and expertise, and stay up on training opportunities and resources for educators. We also have a new newsletter, so please sign up to receive the latest information and links to new content and resources.
For families: keeping students engaged in learning
We have plenty of free resources for families too, including some to stem the “summer slide.” So far, Microsoft Stores have run more than 10,000 camp sessions this summer with plenty more to go. So, consider checking out our student offerings for your own kids and help us spread the word.
Students are empowered to make their own short movies and video games in “Camp Know Where,” which we’re bringing to Microsoft Stores with the team behind the popular Netflix show, “Stranger Things.” The name is a nod to the science and technology camp that one of the main characters on the show, Dustin, attends.
Our lineup also includes a host of other coding and gaming camps aimed at developing critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration skills; hands-on STEM learning programs; and literacy workshops using educational tools like Immersive Reader, which is designed to help struggling reader. Again, it’s all free.
We’re so excited to partner with you as you innovate and find ways to engage your students in these student-led and student-centered learning experiences during the school year. We recently announced product updates that should be helpful as you work to meet the needs of students with diverse learning styles who are working at various achievement levels.
Those updates include building new accessibility and community-building features into Flipgrid to amplify student voice, making improvements to Teams for Education to help you organize assignments and collaborate with peers, and partnering with NASA to develop engaging STEM lessons. And if you love having Immersive Reader available for your students, did you know that apps and partners everywhere can now bring Immersive Reader into their own tools through our Azure Cognitive Service program? Here’s information you can share to encourage a favorite partner or app to add inclusive capabilities into their tools for enhancing text reading and comprehension for users.
Summer is a time for play. We hope you get outside and enjoy your loved ones, while taking a bit of time to also play and learn with us. That way, when the school bell rings, you’ll feel both rested and ready for the important work that lies ahead.