UK schools join Microsoft programme that uses tech to help students learn

Schools and colleges from across the UK have been added to Microsoft’s showcase teaching programme, which uses technology to help students learn.

Four new colleges and 13 new schools will be supported by the company to use tools such as Surface and Office to improve accessibility, collaboration and communication, and increase digital skills in classrooms.

There are already 12 colleges and 24 schools from the UK enrolled in the Microsoft Showcase Schools Program.

Chris Rothwell, Director of Education at Microsoft UK, said: “More schools and colleges are unlocking the benefits that come with using technology in the classroom. Programs such as Teams can make learning more accessible and collaborative, as well as give students key skills they will need in the workplace. We are looking forward to supporting more schools and seeing students benefit from the Microsoft Showcase Schools Program.”

Glasgow Kelvin College (GKC), one of the new group of education institutions to join, has embedded Office 365 in the way it works.

Audrey Miller, Vice Principal at GKC, said Microsoft technology “has been key” to the success of a regular staff conference that encourages educators to learn about topics such as accessibility and inclusion, protecting mental health and improving internal communication.

A girl and a boy look at a tablet device in a classroom

All educators now understand how to produce accessible content using Office 365 and have knowledge of accessibility tools in Windows 10 and the Edge internet browser.

More than 200 staff have also gained Microsoft’s Innovative Educator (MIE) badge, which recognises the innovative use of technology in the classroom.

South Gloucestershire and Stroud College, another new member of the Showcase Schools Program, implemented Microsoft Teams in an aim to create one of the best digital platforms available for their students.

The college discovered Teams when searching for a new Virtual Learning Environment provider, they described the program to be “reliable, both in mobile and desktop” and appreciated the opportunity to use other applications within the platform.

The college has ensured that educators know how to use Teams to increase collaboration and offered “masterclasses” in Office 365.

Simon Kay, Head of Digital and Professional Development at South Gloucestershire and Stroud College, said: “Teams has been very manageable, and we’ve had great support from Microsoft. Most importantly, our training doesn’t stop now we’ve rolled out Teams.”

Another new entrant to the Microsoft programme is Queen Anne’s School, in Reading. Staff there are completing a full digital transformation, with students being loaned devices, full integration of Office 365 and implementing courses that are designed to maximise the benefits of using technology.

The school also developed a plan to help teachers improve their digital skills resulting in a third of full-time educators being awarded with the MIE badge, and eight of those being recognised as Microsoft Innovative Education Experts. The school hopes to increase these numbers as it continues to encourage educators to improve digital skills.