Winter break is almost here. For a few short weeks, the halls will quiet down and emails and phone calls will slow to a trickle. While this time promises a moment to relax, it is also a mere speed bump until the next semester and the accompanying laundry list of to-dos. But before that busy time comes, take a moment to set goals and expectations for things you want to accomplish during these precious few short weeks.
Do you remember a time when classrooms didn’t have laptops or the Internet? Technological advances such as these have become such a huge part of our daily lives that most of us can’t remember life without them, or even want to. But, believe or not, there was a time when photocopiers and handheld calculators were the height of educational technology. Thankfully most classrooms in the United States have graduated to bigger (or smaller), faster, more efficient technology. It begs to ask the question then, what will the classroom look like in the future?
Microsoft Teams in Office 365 Education is just into its second year since launching in June 2017 and is being touted as one of the best ways to further classroom engagement, strengthen professional learning communities and streamline staff communication.
Learning today is digital, interactive and even 3D, so why shouldn’t it be social as well? Microsoft Teams, the digital hub that brings conversations, content, assignments and apps together in one place, has integrated Flipgrid into its Microsoft Teams for Education.
Webinars have become a popular method for professional development and for good reason; they offer direct contact with an instructor, give you the ability to interact with an audience and save traveling time and expenses. It’s no surprise there are plenty of webinars out there to choose from.
Technology is a burgeoning career field and one that’s predicted to grow faster than any other in the United States between now and 2030, but girls still aren’t a big part of this industry. In fact, a Microsoft study shows only a fraction of girls and women are likely to pursue degrees related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects.
Every year the same thing occurs - you return to school in the fall full of energy and tell yourself this is the year you keep that momentum going until May, only to slump after a handful of weeks. The reality is, come October many educators have already lost that back-to-school momentum. There is so much to do during those first weeks of school that many teachers play catch-up until winter break. Keep your educators on the right track with these Microsoft resources designed to help teachers be more efficient.
Looking for ways to promote professional development? Help your teachers become Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Experts. A MIE Expert is the last rung on Microsoft’s Innovative Educator program’s certification ladder. The journey starts by becoming a Microsoft Innovative Educator, then there’s also an option to become a MIE Trainer, and finally with earning the MIE Expert certification. These education specialists are skilled at integrating technology in the classroom. MIE Experts work hand-in-hand with Microsoft to lead innovation in education, advocate for the effective use of technology in the classroom, share ideas with a global network of peers and become thought leaders in the EdTech space.
Skype in the Classroom’s guest speakers can help bring learning to life for your school’s students. Imagine this scenario, a couple of your classrooms are studying Ancient Greece and to enrich the experience a guest speaker, located in Ancient Corinth, Greece, speaks to the students, via Skype, about current excavations and describes how Greece looked in antiquity compared to the present day. And this is just one example. There are hundreds of volunteer guest speakers from around the world that are available to speak to your classrooms via Skype. These guest speakers are experts in every subject area you can imagine as they are authors, scientists, engineers, zookeepers, etc. Getting them in front of students is a snap as well.
Professional development connects educators and is necessary to build relationships and gain trust between administrators and teachers. But these interactive sessions of professional growth don’t always have to be in-person. Virtual PD is an ideal option for schools that don’t have the budget to cover travel expenses, guest speakers or consultants. Plus, it relieves the logistical headache of trying to schedule one PD session that works for everyone’s schedule. No wonder the idea of virtual PD is becoming a reality for many administrators.