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How Microsoft enhances student learning

An interview with Dr. Elka Walsh, Microsoft’s National Education Lead

Microsoft is committed to enhancing and supporting student learning. This was a central theme of our interview with Dr. Elka Walsh, Microsoft’s National Education Lead. Dr. Walsh spoke with us about how Microsoft Surface products build students’ digital literacy skills, provide a stimulating and engaging learning environment, and enable students to collaborate with each other and with their teachers. She also described Microsoft’s firm commitment to making learning more inclusive and accessible, and how it achieves this.

What are some Microsoft Surface products schools use?

Microsoft, of course, has many Surface products used by schools. For instance, there are our Surface laptops, our Surface Gos, and our Surface Pros. These products are used in a variety of ways depending on what the teacher and students are trying to achieve. Our laptops are all lightweight, can be broken down into tablets, and have easy-to-use keyboards.

How do Microsoft Surface products promote learning?

Microsoft Surface products help students start a learning journey, from JK to Grade 12. They provide a digital world in which kids can excel. They help students develop digital literacy skills. In addition to becoming adept at using the laptops, students learn to use our software such as Word, PowerPoint, and OneNote at a young age. They learn about the importance of technology and how it enhances learning.

Surface products also help to promote student engagement. They provide teachers with the ability to stimulate students and enrich their learning. For instance, our digital pen is a revelation. It helps teachers organize and structure learning. They can make notes and do math calculations right on the screen. The kids love that.

Our Surface devices, software, and tools (like the digital pen) promote lots of collaboration. Students can work together and get feedback from their teachers, in real time. They can interact, discuss challenging issues, and make notes about their progress as they work on a task, project, or assignment. This makes for a dynamic learning environment: everyone gets really deeply engaged in the learning process.

How does Microsoft promote inclusion and accessibility?

All Microsoft products are specifically designed through an inclusion and accessibility lens. For instance, Windows can read text to students who have vision problems or a reading disability. And students who struggle with typing can use their eyes or voice to control many functions of the Surface laptops.

To give another example, students with ADHD or autism can control the colours on the screen. They can also remove distractions such as email notifications, and they can plug into Spotify to access relaxing music or white noise. This can really help them focus on their learning and what needs to get done.

Our mission is to help everybody on the planet learn more and learn more easily. Microsoft products provide the kind of customized learning experience that can meet the needs of any student and help them engage with and excel in their studies. Students see that they’re being valued and this enhances their learning experience—they end up loving learning. That’s something we’re especially proud of.

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