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.
Free is always good. And, it’s even better when something that’s free is also super useful. Microsoft has three free tools for educators we think you should take full advantage of as they will organize staff and enable professional development.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about virtual reality and integrating it into the classroom. Is it all lip service or is there any substance behind this new type of immersion learning? While virtual reality or VR may seem a little Back to the Future Part II, its benefits make it deserving of a closer look. It can take students places they’d never be able to go in reality – an African jungle, the solar system and back in time to the creation of planet Earth.
Tech tools for education are as essential today as pencils and paper. If you’re an educator that knows how to use tech like Google Apps for Education in the classroom there are programs that offer certifications for this ability. One of the most recognized is the Google Certified Educator program, which was designed for educators and classroom teachers who demonstrate proficiency using Google for Education tools.
It is more common than ever to see Chromebooks dotting the desks, offices and libraries of schools around the country. These devices are changing the way students learn and teachers teach. Unfortunately, that also means there is a greater risk for Chromebooks to go missing, be accessed by unauthorized users or even stumble onto sketchy websites, so it’s essential to keep your Chromebook secure at all times and in all capacities.