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PRESS RELEASE
By 25 April 2017 | Categories: Press Release

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Virtual collaboration, digital media literacy and knowledge construction among top skills required by students to adapt to future workplace according to a new survey by Microsoft.

The company today released the findings from a new education survey of nearly 50 educators in South Africa, in which they expressed the challenges and opportunities in optimising technology for the classroom as well as the skillsets required to succeed.

The survey commissioned by Microsoft, and conducted by Market research firm YouGov, was shared at the annual BETT Middle East 2017 event held in Abu Dhabi, on April 25-26 and brought together over 1600 leading educators from across the region. BETT (British Education and Training Technology) has established itself as a global meeting place for the education technology community. Through its ongoing series of world-class events, it continues to promote the discovery of technology and knowledge to enhance lifelong learning.

Technology is key

Educators in South Africa see themselves as highly tech-proficient, and are most interested in apps that help students collaborate in team projects. The findings revealed that 88% educators said they believe their school leaders have a clear vision of how to use technology for the enhancement of the classroom experience. 48% of educators reported that technology was used in their classrooms; and a 70% said that Virtual collaboration; working with others remotely is a key skill required by students. When addressing the absence of technology as it impacted the student body, 36% believed students will find it hard to adapt to the future workplace with their low digital literacy.

However, 52% educators surveyed lack proper training to understand and implement the integration of technology (computers, software, online resources) into the way they teach. The study revealed that the biggest factor needed to successfully transform teaching and learning experiences was educator skill sets – in particular, knowing how to make the most of available resources and tools.

“Over several decades, Microsoft has worked with institutions and educators around the world, and gained a deep understanding of how technology in schools can transform the learning experience,” said Anthony Salcito, Vice President, Worldwide Education, Microsoft Corporation.  “We continue to bring our leading-edge products, services and programmes to bear on this challenge, always taking into account that technology is not the lone agent in such transformations, and can even complicate or slow down the process if not implemented with due diligence. We recommend that education leaders take a curriculum-focused approach to technology adoption, keeping in mind their educational goals, and then integrate those technologies that facilitate tangible benefits for students and teachers.”

Challenges and opportunities

“Lack of digital proficiency is the biggest challenge facing the youth, especially in the Middle East. It is crucial to take the steps for equipping educators with the right tools and providing them with trainings that will help address the technological challenges in the classroom; empowering students with key 21st  century skills to deliver immense change, ”Said, Claudia Johnston Education Sector Lead at Microsoft South Africa.

The company’s collaboration with BETT, introduced educators in the Middle East and beyond to generational leaps in classroom-enhancing technologies and methodologies. Delegates were able to attend Microsoft Teacher Development Track, the School Leaders Track and the Education Digital Transformation Track to unlock fresh approaches with tools such as Office Mix, “Creative Coding through Games and Apps”, and drive improvement within their own schools and systems.

Learning for life

In addition to its in-depth tracks, Microsoft along with its partners also demonstrated its latest solutions and devices to enable digital transformation in classrooms. The company also imparted some of its expertise on device management, covering Windows 10, the Microsoft Educator’s Community and Office 365 Education.

Bett, a leading global education technology exhibition and congress series, wrapped up its second Leadership Summit and Expo in the Middle East on April 26. With significant involvement from regional and international governmental entities, as well as renowned speakers from education bodies and organizations, the two-day event aimed to promote transformational technology for classroom solutions, whilst connecting people, ideas and practices to enhance lifelong learning within the region.

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