Posted on May 29, 2017

In its efforts to accelerate digital transformation in education, in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030, Microsoft Qatar collaborated with Mannai IT Solutions to host an exclusive event for Education Leaders from the private sector to showcase its latest innovations, to transform teaching and learning experiences in schools across the country.

The event titled ”Digital Transformation in Education” took place on the 15th of May at La Cigale Hotel, demonstrating the transformative power of Microsoft devices and solutions such as Surface Pro 4 and Office 365 in Education, and formed an integral part of Microsoft’s education mission centered on “empowering the students of today to create a world of tomorrow”.

Attended by represenatives from private schools, including principals, teachers, trainers and IT directors, the main focus of the event spanned around productivity and the intelligent cloud; enabling teachers and students to achieve more in the digital era. Starting with keynote presentations, Senior Executives from Microsoft and Mannai IT Solutions , demonstrated the true power of innovations such as Surface Pro 4, Surface Hub, and Office 365, giving attendees an opportunity to experience the ultimate productivity in the digital world; and enabling teachers and students to create, collaborate, teach and learn in entirely new ways.

“With Microsoft Office 365 and our range of Surface devices, we aim to empower schools in Qatar with latest technologies that help educators create immersive experiences in the classroom for students, equipping them with skills needed in an increasingly technology driven global economy.” said Lana Khalaf, Public Sector Director and Acting Country Manager, Microsoft Qatar.“This event underscores our commitment towards Qatar’s endeavours in establishing a modern world-class education system, and highlights our shared vision with our partners to have a real impact on learners in the region. Our focus on supporting education transformation has great synergy with the works of Mannai; and underlines our effort to continuously introduce new programs and tools that bring innovation in learning.”

The ‘Digital Transformation in Education’ event saw Microsoft experts deliver in-depth sessions on “Collaborative Classroom” using Office 365 and the versatile Surface Pro 4 device, which offers teachers and students the best elements of a desktop, laptop, and tablet in one machine. The event also demonstrated a  great opportunity for school systems to gain new experiences on how to engage students, empower their educators, optimize their institutions and  transform learning  for improving education outcomes.

Attendees also learned more about using Skype in education through presentations focused on enhancing educators’ and students’ experiences in the classroom. Erin Holding, one of Microsoft Innovative Eductaor Experts (MIEE) from Taloum took center-stage to demonstrate in real time the use of Skype for learning, and the ways it can be integrated across curriculum in schools.

Session titled “Microsoft in Education Programs & Resources” highlighted the company’s education initiatives; such as  Microsoft Educator Community (MEC), Microsoft Showcase Schools, Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert program (MIEE) and Imagine Academy. Experts talked more about the company’s global community of schools engaged in digital transformation to improve learning and teaching, and other programs aimed at briging the gap between technology and education, encouraging collaboraton amongst teachers and smart learning for students. During this session MIEEs and educators who shared their experience during the event were recognized for their efforts and commitment to using technology in the education process.

Al Jazeera Academy from Ta’allum group was also announced as a Microsoft Showcase school becoming the first Qatari private school to earn join the program due to the outstanding commitment from Ta’allum leadership team to enhance the learning process using technology. “Our support for Microsoft reflects our commitment to promote innovation in education”. Said Mr Juan Leon , Group General Manager- Mannai ICT. ”With digital transformation a top priority of the region, investing in resources and technologies will help educators and students to enhance learning experiences; develop essential technology skills and give them access to latest tools for incorporating smart learning in schools.”

According to a recent Microsoft survey on digital transformation in education, the biggest factor needed to successfully transform teaching and learning experiences in the region was educator skill sets. Microsoft education transformation framework enables an innovative and holistic approach to pedagogy in the 21st century and focuses on educational institutions to be effective and efficient through technology. Microsoft Office 365 Education is a special version targeted specifically educational institutions, including schools. It provides access to Microsoft’s Office Web Apps; streamlined online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote that can be used to view, create and edit documents. Educators can use Office 365 to create a full learning environment where they can share information and manage projects.

An IDC research shows that 90% of teachers claim digital inking improves the quality of their curriculum. The Surface hub and Surface Pro 4 are perfect examples of how digital learning creates new ways to engage students, improves learning experiences, and delivers results. Surface Hub and Surface Pro 4 devices redefine the traditional laptop and combines familiarity and traditional uses of a digital whiteboard into one machine that bridges the technology gap between education and industry; to create a more collaborative classroom that broadens teaching and learning horizons.

During the event, Microsoft experts also introduced gamification in the classroom through  Minecraft: Education Edition. The attendees learned more about how education innovations are driving digital transformation in the classroom by enhancing communication, inspiring students, fostering collaboration, nurturing creativity, and empowering schools. “Technology is an accelerator, but alone it does not enable change” added Khalaf, “We believe the power of schools and its leadership are key to utilize digital technologies and create change in the way we teach and learn today; preparing the future generation with essential skills that contribute fully to the country’s development.”