“Technology is allowing the transformation of education.”
If you were to compare today's classrooms with those of only 10 years ago, the difference is remarkable. The devices and technology being used are becoming more advanced, the teachers better trained, and as a result many students are finding it easier to become engaged. The actual key dates, verb declensions and mathematical formulae being taught won’t be affected by technological advances – after all, whether you look it up on a shiny new Surface Pro 3 or in a dusty old textbook from a century ago, the Battle of Hastings still took place in 1066, and a2 + b2 is still equal to c2. But how they are taught is definitely something that will move with the times.
With this in mind, if we look at Tim Richardson’s statement that technology is allowing the transformation of education again, we realise that education isn’t exclusively about the transfer of knowledge from a teacher to a classroom full of students, but an experience by which children are inspired to experience and act upon knowledge in order to best prepare them for the rigours of life. The ways in which teachers are able to personalise and shape that experience, and the manner in which students are able to interact with each other and their teachers are without question being aided by technology, and this is one of the main things we think of when we say educational transformation.
One of the recent additions to technological capabilities available to teachers – and students – that is bringing to life a teaching method that can often be a little dry for some students, is Office Mix.
PowerPoint has been a mainstay of classrooms, lecture theatres and boardrooms for decades. It's a fantastic way to present information to an audience, with a myriad of ways to personalise and convey messages. With education however, we’ve already acknowledged that the process needs to be far more interactive that broadcast, and with minds becoming sharper and more technologically attuned from increasingly earlier ages, there needs to be something more engaging about presentations.
The Office Mix add-in for PowerPoint is a new way to tell your story with voice, video, inking, screen recording and interactive magic. Record your voice and video while you present and write on your slides, engage viewers with quizzes, polls, videos and apps, and in order to measure the efficacy of your presentations, analytics are automatically provided for every slide and user. For Office Mix in education, teachers can bring their lessons to life with their voice, videos, assessments and interactive apps.
Tim Richardson is Microsoft’s Marketing Lead for Office Mix, and he sat down to go through some of the background about why Office Mix exists, what we hope teachers can accomplish with it, and how it can be used: