For some time now, Microsoft’s software and services have stood unencumbered by the competition in education. For better or for worse, Windows and Office were the default tools for many students over the years. However, as schools began to incorporate more of the Internet into their curriculum and coursework, the need for Microsoft’s services changed. Recently Microsoft has responded with changes to its online software and service offerings for schools and teachers.
Alongside some much need updates to their software and service, Microsoft is also providing real-world examples of how its changes are helping students, faculty and school districts. With its Microsoft Showcase Schools; the company can show the best of the best of what an educational institution can accomplish powered by its hardware, software, and services.
More to the point, Microsoft would like to encourage more schools to participate in the program. Recently, Microsoft highlighted some stats about the program and offered support for schools interested in applying for the program.
A Microsoft Showcase School is one in which Microsoft partners with a school to provide personalized learning experiences. The learning experiences center around the use of Microsoft hardware such as the Surface, and software such as Office 365, Office Mix or OneNote.
Dunbar’s Technology Academy Programs prepare students for college and a career by offering over 24 IT certifications. The school is also home to Microsoft Office World Champions, students Juliana Toyloy-Stanton (Class of 2013, 3rd place – PowerPoint 2007) and Tyler Millis (1st place – PowerPoint 2007).”
In Canada, the schools seem to be taking off as well. Cal Armstrong, the director of teaching and technology innovation at Appleby College, recalls how OneNote became a game changer for his school.
We introduced laptops in 1998 and pen tablets in 2004, but we never achieved that huge pedagogical shift in the classroom until we introduced OneNote four years ago. It was the one thing that propelled tablet use across our school and motivated the deepening of collaboration.”
There are 150 current schools partnering alongside Microsoft to provide Microsoft Showcase Schools around the world. These schools have gone through a ‘whole-school approach’ transition to demonstrate innovative teaching and learning, which are shaping plans for overall educational improvement.
From that vision comes whole-school transformations, creating innovative learning environments enabled by technology, where students participate in their own learning to make their education and achievements more exciting.”
Even though fall semesters for most schools are underway, students, teachers, and faculty are encouraged to apply by October 30, 2015, to be a part of the Microsoft Showcase School experience. Specifically, contact with a Microsoft representative at [email protected] is encouraged for more details such as a list of current schools, program details, Associate Showcase School programs features and private Yammer community involvement.