Perhaps unlike ever before, learning in 2021 occurred in a wide variety of classroom settings. But no matter where it took place—remotely, in person, or in hybrid environments—schools and educators showed great flexibility as they worked to meet students’ academic and social-emotional needs. As we reflect on and celebrate the year, we’re inspired by how classrooms evolved and how educators used Microsoft Education tools, technology, and resources to adapt and support student learning.

Here are just a few of the new tools for learning and resources that supported classrooms this year:

Building community and skills among educators:

  1. Professional development events: The year kicked off with BettFest 2021, a free, three-day virtual event loaded with professional development opportunities and energizing keynotes from industry leaders.
  2. Teacher trainings: Educators enjoyed an array of free Microsoft Store trainings to help them kick off back-to-school season even more prepared.
  3. Educator networks:  Educators and schools continued to use our networking communities and programs to learn, innovate and successfully share valuable information amid the pandemic. We celebrated them when we welcomed the new, 2021-2022 class of Showcase Schools and MIE Experts.
  4. Office Hours - for teachers!: Virtual Office Hours, designed by and for educators, provides teachers with quick, two to three-minute videos that explore how they can leverage Microsoft resources and tools to build a better classroom for tomorrow.

Supporting students, inclusivity and social-emotional learning 

Anti-Racism education:

Fostering inclusion in the next generation of students who will grow up to be citizens, advocates, and leaders of tomorrow starts in the classroom. Anti-racism journey for educators with students helped educators spark important conversations in their classrooms and create communities where all students are better seen and heard.

  1. Helping students with reading: The introduction of Reading Progress, a Microsoft Teams tool that assists students in building their reading skills and fluency, helped build more confident learners.
  2. Social emotional learning: Acknowledging and sharing feelings takes practice. The introduction of the Feelings Monster helped it become a daily routine for many students, leading the way to more supportive classrooms and expressive learners.
  3. Student career pathing: Learning continues well beyond graduation, so we launched Career Coach—a tool helping students navigate their career journeys and apply new and existing skills in the workforce.

Using new devices and data-driven intelligence to optimize learning

  1. New devices for emerging digital age: We introduced new Windows 11 SE devices, built with tools to optimize student learning experiences that equip students with tech for success in education’s emerging digital age.
  2.  Data-driven intelligence about students: Education Insights in Teams—now automatically added to every class team—offered educators more ways to understand the individualized needs of each student through data and trend insights that inform personalized learning experiences.

There’s much to be excited about heading into 2022 as classrooms continue evolving and we all explore new ways to support student learning. As we meet new challenges, we will do it together. Microsoft Education has you covered with plenty of tools for learning in any environment.

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