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How do we use technology for education effectively?

Don Carlson, Education Lead, Microsoft Asia Pacific | Feb. 26, 2016
Educators are recognizing that technology has the power to economically expand the impact of education, and accelerate the growth potential of every youth.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

Teachers are often likened to superheroes as they are not afraid to make sacrifices for the benefit of their students. Their passion and aspiration to accomplish the extraordinary often involves exploring new ways to create immersive and inclusive learning experiences.

Increasingly, we are seeing many of them find inspiring ways to transform learning in and out of the classroom through technology and new pedagogy models. Educators are recognizing that technology has the power to economically expand the impact of education, and accelerate the growth potential of every youth.

Unsurprisingly, 95% of educators in Asia Pacific concurred that the role of technology was important in their work, based on the findings of our survey, 'Adventures of the Asia Pacific Super Teacher 2016'. We polled nearly 200 educators from 18 countries across the region, and respondents unanimously (100%) agreed that technology will play a bigger role in transforming and improving education systems in the future.

The top three usage of technology cited by educators in Asia Pacific were: enabling personalized learning and individualized education (57%); enabling classrooms to be more immersive and fun (53%); and seeing more intelligent and automated services to assist in administration and classroom teaching duties (46%). 

Today, educators are able to access applications leveraging the popular video game Minecraft or take part in Skype Field Trips or Mystery Skype sessions.

Recently for example, Opaheke School in Papakura, New Zealand kicked off a global Skype-a-Thon, where thousands of educators, guest speakers and students worldwide travelled around the world to share and learn without ever having to leave their classrooms. Incidentally, Opaheke School has also been nominated as one of 164 Microsoft Showcase Schools in Asia Pacific this year, which recognizes their commitment in leveraging technology to empower educators to create an innovative digital learning environment for their students.

As we see governments increasingly turn their focus to improve the quality of education, we expect a lot of interest in the use of big data and analytics, which can be leveraged to evaluate a student's learning progress and even alert educators on the potential cases of dropouts.

Overcoming challenges

While we are seeing a keen interest to do more through technology, it is important to ensure educators get the help they need in optimizing technology in their work. Respondents in our survey cited that the top three challenges in doing so were: a lack of training for them, lack of budgets to buy updated software and hardware, and the lack of integration of technology with curriculum.


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