The education system has faced some unusual challenges in 2020. As COVID-19 forced many schools to close their doors, 93% of school-aged children started engaging in some form of distance learning. For many school systems, this meant embracing technology, and Microsoft has taken note.
Every year, Microsoft hosts a seminar for educators called EduDay. Teachers and other education professionals come to learn about the latest trends and issues facing the industry, primarily those involving technology.
This year, the tech giant hopes to prepare teachers for the ongoing challenges that will persist into the 2021 school year.
What’s In Store for Teachers
The all-virtual conference will take place on January 20, at or before the start of many district’s Spring 2021 semesters. It’ll start at 10:30 a.m. Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT) with opening remarks from Anthony Salcito, VP of Education at Microsoft.
From there, there will be two simultaneous streams featuring different speeches and demonstrations.
Both streams will start with a focus on technology, specifically tools from Microsoft. Sessions will touch on subjects like using OneNote as a teacher planner and using Minecraft as an educational tool.
Towards the end of the day, subjects will take a wider focus, looking at challenges like creating an inclusive classroom.
Every session is free, but teachers have to sign up for each one, as they all have capacity limits. EduDay 2021 will end with a speech from Microsoft Learning Consultant Megan Townes, ending around 3:30 p.m. AEDT.
Microsoft’s Ongoing Relationship With Educators
This EduDay isn’t the first time Microsoft has tried to strengthen its ties with the education industry. The company has held these conferences or similar events for several years now. As education has become increasingly tech-centered, Microsoft has worked hard to cement itself as the educator’s tech supplier of choice, trying to outbid competitors.
Technology plays a crucial role in education today. Besides enabling distance learning, computers can supplement obsolete textbooks, engage students and expand access to diverse learning resources. As more school districts become aware of these advantages, it’s given companies like Microsoft a profitable market segment.
As Google and Apple have gained popularity among schools, Microsoft has to offer more than familiarity to attract lucrative school contracts. The company’s rising number of events and educational resources could be an attempt to secure favor among educators. Regardless of Microsoft’s motives, though, EduDay 2021 could provide teachers with needed help in a confusing time.
Education and Tech Continue to Grow Closer
Like many industries, education now finds itself amid a considerable shift. Many school systems have been hesitant to embrace technology in the past, either from budgetary constraints or fear of disruption. Now that the pandemic has highlighted the cracks in traditional methods, that’s starting to change.
Education is becoming more tech-centric by the day, and companies like Microsoft are capitalizing on it. As they offer more events and resources like this, more schools will become comfortable with technology. Times may be challenging for students and their teachers, but tech is making it easier to fight these challenges.