Microsoft exec explains how innovative schools can transform education

In a post on the Microsoft in Education blog, Anthony Salcito, vice president of Worldwide Education for Microsoft, highlights some schools that have “a big-picture view of education transformation and an understanding that technology can play a significant role in achieving better outcomes in all aspects of the schools’ operation – from classroom learning to teacher development and operations.”

Salcito describes how 250 educators from around the world are touring Twickenham Academy, a new Microsoft Mentor Schoolin the United Kingdom that’s incorporating some of the technology and pedagogy that he says has worked so well at other Mentor Schools. The Academy recently distributed more than 500 Microsoft Surface devices and will have access to an increased range of apps designed to support learning in a variety of subject areas. (The school is recognized as a mentor school because of its approach to enabling young people to work more independently and to provide a personalized education.)

In the post, he spotlights “the holistic approach to transformation we’re witnessing in schools around the world.” A good place to start, he writes, is with Microsoft’s Innovative Schools World Tour, which officially kicked off last year with a visit to Kent, England’s Cornwallis Academy. At Julio Verne Bilingual School in Monte Vedat, Spain, “Microsoft technology is embedded at every level, from systems management to infrastructure to the classroom, where students use Surface tablets, along with Kinect and Windows 8 laptops, to collaborate and master 21st century skills. Several of the school’s teachers are Microsoft Certified trainers, and five of the teachers have achieved Master Level in Microsoft IT Academy.

At St. Cyprian’s School in Cape Town, South Africa, students have their own online learning portal to access documents, teachers’ calendars and discussion forums. They use project-based learning and Microsoft devices and software to learn collaboration, real-world problem-solving and how to use technology to create and communicate. The school has also established an Innovation Team, encouraging teachers to mentor their peers and scale up innovation.”

Larger schools, such as Moscow High School Tsaritsyno #548, with more than 2,000 students, have also been able to achieve broad-based change. A 1:1 approach gives students the opportunities and skills to control how and what they learn. Technology is working hand-in-hand with assessment and instruction, enabling a personalized curriculum for every student. The school has also invited the wider community in its education process, through innovative partnerships with parents and technology-enabled distance learning for children with special needs.

Head over to the Microsoft in Education blog to read more about these schools and how they’re transforming education and learning.

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Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff