Ahmedabad Educators get a Feel of Modern Education, Courtesy Microsoft

by June 22, 2018 2 comments

Technology can be a game changer for education was the general consensus.

The Ahmedabad edition of ‘Empowering Education’ event organized by PC Quest in collaboration with Microsoft on the theme “ Inspiring Students and Enabling Educators’ saw the participation of more than 80 leading educators and administrators from prominent educational institutions in Ahmedabad and other areas of Gujarat.

In his keynote address, Dr. Amit Prashanth, Dean, IIT Gandhinagar elaborated on the way information and materials are presented in response to student performance. Essentially, adaptive learning technology that collects information about students’ understanding and behavior as they answer questions and instantly adjusts the learning experience accordingly.

“Blended learning combines traditional face-to-face instruction and interactions between teachers and students with tech-based learning. The idea here is that with a balance between teacher-led and student-led technology supported learning, students get the chance to control where they learn, how fast they work through materials, and what kinds of subjects they explore,” added Prashanth.

“Digital Opportunities in Education are like Midas- Touch but it must reach to each child with due vigilance. It’s rapid proliferation is unstoppable force, touching virtually every sphere of modern life; from economies to societies to culture and shaping everyday life”, said Dr Alpesh Joshi, ATMIYA University, Rajkot.

Dr.Vinnie Jauhari, Director, Education Vertical at Microsoft India, walked through the company’s thought leadership role in the education space. “Technology can be a change-maker, but you can harvest the investment properly if you train faculty. It must not be only about running presentations or videos, you must trigger discussions or design assignments that could lead to collaborative work. Technology should be an enabler and not an end in itself. So, faculty development plays a key role in creating a dynamic learning environment and driving 21st century skills,” informed Dr Jauhari.

She emphasized on strong initiatives being taken by different stakeholders towards this. The Government is taking proactive measures to solve this problem. The Swayam, MOOC platform enables development of skills and competencies beyond mainstream education, conventional curriculum and aligning with industry expectations. Educators are transitioning to the role of facilitators and the focus is increasing on the student learning, and deploying technology in meaningful ways.

The panel discussion was joined by Prof. Subhash Desai, Sal Institute of technology; Dr. Archit Bhatt, MD, Tripada Education Trust; Dr. Vinnie Jauhari, Microsoft, Kripali Sanghvi, TGT, Computer Science, MIEE expert, Udgam School For Children; Manan Chowksi, MD, Udgam School For Children; and Dr Alpesh Joshi, ATMIYA University, Rajkot.

“Microsoft Showcase Schools is a leadership-focused initiative to highlight innovative leadership and teaching across globally recognized schools through the use of technology to drive school-wide transformation and efficiencies. These schools are recognized leaders in personalized learning, amplified by 1:1 deployments effectively using Microsoft solutions, to enable anywhere, anytime, education for all. Each school acts as a hub of innovation for other schools in that region.” informs Manan Chowksi, MD, Udgam School For Children.

“There is the Microsoft Expert Innovative Educator program. These are teachers who integrate progressive pedagogy with advanced technology to advance learning and better prepare students for the jobs of the future. They also train other teachers in their schools. Microsoft Learning Consultants are education evangelists who enable digital transformation by creating exposure to Office 365 tools.” adds Kripali Sanghvi, TGT, Computer Science, MIEE expert, Udgam School For Children.

 

Prof. Subhash Desai who comes from an industry background and he is now shifted to education talked about his experience from both camps. He focused on why educators need ti ompart relevant trainings so that the students are ready made and tailored fr industry absorption.

Dr. Archit Bhatt believed that a school should be a mirror of the future society. “It is today that we create the world of the future. School is a second home for the child. Students are molded and given shape to face this world. They are taught to face the problems and the skills to solve them on their own. School is a place where a child learns how to share with others, how to respect others and their values, cultures and sentiments.”

Meanwhile Ashwini Kumar, Education Senior Solution Specialist, Azure- Microsoft deep dived into the tools available from Microsoft and how Microsoft is the apt platform to address the needs of the education sector.

The last word in the evening came from the duo of Ashish Gupta, Director M365 Education in Microsoft and Simran Dawar,Product Marketing Manager M365. They demonstrated and presented a detailed overview of Microsoft 365 Education platform. “M365 as a single package was built to improve workplace technology by assembling three of the best Microsoft’s commercial products together – Office 365 + Windows 10 + Enterprise Mobility & Security, all focused on productivity, security, creativity and teamwork,” said Gupta.

Microsoft 365 Education empowers educators – educational institutions, schools and classrooms. It is offered in three options: Microsoft 365 A1, Microsoft 365 AE and Microsoft 365 A5. Citing her own example, Dawar illustrated how education imparting has remained the same over the last 15 years from her school days to management training days. Therefore, more the need to adopt these kinds f technologies, she opined.

The event concluded with a panel discussion Designing 21st Century Learning, in which various points including the licensing fees involved in accessing various MS products were discussed in details. Since education is a unique vertical.

The key takeaways from this conference relate to how Microsoft with an innovative slew of technologies is playing an enabling and transformative role in the education sector. It is helping to achieve better learning outcomes for the students and ushering in higher operational efficiencies.

MICROSOFT’S AGGRESSIVE EDUCATION PLAY

According to sources in Microsoft, through the last 12 years, Microsoft has been functioning as a key contributor in the area of education in Tamil Nadu. Over 48,000 teachers have been trained under the Microsoft Shiksha program, which empowers government teachers by integrating computing into their teaching, creating a fun and interactive learning atmosphere for their students. Several of these educators have
been recipients of ICT awards at the State and National level as well. Through Project Saksham the company works with 15 universities in the region, enabling faculty to become ICT Champions who digitize their institutions, build technology-enabled content repositories and schedule online sessions.

In the last 10 years, Microsoft’s education, skill development, entrepreneurship and digital literacy programs have touched over 5 crore people across India. Project Shiksha, has trained over 780,000 teachers and reached over 3.9 million students in India since its launch in 2002, Project Saksham has conducted training for over 3,307 educators across 123 universities. 238 educators from India joined the Microsoft Innovative Educator program in FY17. They are part of the 7600-educator strong global MIE community and work closely with Microsoft to lead innovation in education. Microsoft has invested over INR 670 crore in not-for-profit programs such as YouthSpark, BizSpark, Imagine Cup and Partners in Learning in India in the last decade alone.

 

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  1. chakrs
    #1 chakrs 20 July, 2018, 07:59

    I appreciate the benefits but I don’t think educational institutions (or anyone for that matter) should be locked in to one company. Freedom should be ensured from the beginning.

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  2. chakrs
    #2 chakrs 20 July, 2018, 08:00

    Despite all the benefits, schools (and others) should not be locked in to one company. Freedom should be ensured from the beginning.

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