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Using technology in education

How Microsoft helped Mentor College enhance its student learning experience

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in education. Mentor College, in Mississauga, Ontario, recognizes its value and they promote the effective use of technology where and when it’s appropriate. The school’s partnership with Microsoft has helped shape the delivery of its curriculum and enhanced its students’ learning experiences in vital ways.

Mentor College’s commitment to technology

Mentor College is fully committed to providing a first-class education. It offers a strong and challenging academic program that surpasses curriculum standards set by the provincial government. The school is also prides itself on its warm and caring environment, one that offers lots on personalized attention and cultivates clear and open communication between teachers, students, and parents.

Early on, Mentor College recognized the pivotal role technology would play in helping carry out its educational mission. It understood the need for robust technological resources as one way to deliver its curriculum and to enable kids to thrive—not just academically but socially and emotionally as well.

How Microsoft enhanced its students’ learning

Microsoft (MS) fit the bill to a T. This innovative tech titan provided the types and range of resources and products required to meet the needs of Mentor College students and provide them with a stimulating and dynamic learning environment.

“The Microsoft Surface laptops were a huge part of this,” says Mark Sheward, technology resource at Mentor College. “Our Grade 9 students use Surface laptop 4s. They use them in class and take them home at the end of the day. The students love them.”

The Surface 4s were a perfect fit for Mentor’s high school students. They made it easier for them to organize themselves, stay on top of things, and keep track of deadlines. Another instrumental benefit of these laptops is that when students are absent from school, they can their share their work with their teachers and peers via MS software installed on their computers, namely, OneDrive. Using this cloud-based software, students can also collaborate and work with each other from wherever they are, whether it’s home, school, or somewhere else. The wonders of technology!

For Mentor College, Microsoft has become their go-to for technological resources and support. “From Grade 5 to 12, we only use MS products,” says Sheward. “In addition to laptops and OneDrive, this includes PowerPoint. Students create slideshow presentations using this signature MS software. They become really proficient at it and they learn skills they’ll need in the business world. This can help build their technological know-how but also enable them to improve their presentation skills, which is a big confidence builder.”

Mentor College students develop high-level technological abilities. “In Grade 9, students become adapt at using Word, Excel, and PowerPoint,” says Sheward. “They’ve learned to use all this software, and they’ve become comfortable working on the OneDrive cloud.” Students at Mentor also are offered the opportunity to take and pass an MS certification exam. This gives them first-class credentials recognized by businesses around the world.

How Microsoft supported it teachers

Microsoft has also changed the way educators teach at Mentor College. Many of the teachers use Microsoft OneNote Notebooks. This enables them to seamlessly distribute notes, review student work, and monitor how students are doing in real time.

“OneNote Notebooks are essentially digital, cloud-based notebooks: Teachers can set up their lesson plans on them, and they can drop videos, links, and other things into them,” says Sheward. “Teachers can also collaborate with students using OneNote, and students can collaborate with each other on group projects and other interesting initiatives using the Notebooks.” And, of course, Mentor College teachers can use MS Teams to deliver virtual lectures and to facillitate class-to-class collaboration.

Another huge perk of Microsoft is that provides full-service support to schools. Sheward raves about the support Mentor’s IT team received. “We can reach out to MS’s support desk to get help. They give us remarkably quick and valuable support. What’s also nice is that they’ll loan us equipment to experiment with, to give us a chance to see if we’ll want to use it in the future. We’re really happy with the way things have worked out with Microsoft.”

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