If this past year has taught us anything, it is that our lives have become digital. The acceleration of this digital evolution was lived out in our classrooms and in our kitchens as our kids and teachers (and parents) adapted to new ways of learning. It’s one of the reasons I’m excited about tools that unleash creativity in our learners so they can develop and learn to thrive in a world that is increasingly online and connected.
With the right digital tools, learning can inspire and empower everyone to engage. It is most evident when we think about students who are designing projects, including videos or pictures as well as writing essays, and just communicating with each other. Windows 11 is one of those tools that makes it possible for every learner to participate in a safe, secure way.
We know that our children learn best when they have many ways to engage with the content and use their creativity to demonstrate their abilities. No learner is the same, so having a myriad of resources, such as those available in Windows 11, empower students to use features like Dictate, Read Aloud and Translate, which are embedded directly within productive tools like Word and PowerPoint, so they can stay focused on learning. This means that teachers who may have students in their classrooms with learning barriers will be able to remove these barriers and empower these learners. With Windows 11, truly inclusive classrooms and learning become possible.
Learning is a team sport, and while there may be moments when our children need time to quietly reflect and connect the pieces of their learning, being able to engage directly with their peers and teachers is critical. It is in these moments – being able to share ideas and ask questions -that we can help them create the social emotional learning moments and growth mindset that will result in their greatest development. With Microsoft Teams embedded on the tool bar in Windows 11, your learner can easily stay connected with their friends and teachers and even if they are not using Teams, they can have instant SMS messaging with their classmates. It makes collaboration and connection feel natural and in a safe, secure environment that parents can trust.
And to leave you with one last insight – unleashing the creativity and innovation of our children and nurturing their curiosity to help them explore their world and find their motivation is our greatest job. One way to help power this curiosity is through old-fashioned crayon and paper, but I’ve been amazed to watch learners of all ages be energized as they draw using their digital inking tools and their Surface devices – from kindergarteners practicing their letters, to college and university students annotating anatomy diagrams or art students creating their next masterpiece, it’s with digital tools like these that we empower them to thrive in the digital future today.
To learn more about Microsoft and Windows 11 for education, please visit aka.ms/microsoftcanadaeducation.
Dr. Elka Walsh leads Microsoft’s pan-Canadian education and skills strategy to prepare students to thrive in the digital future as the National Learning & Skills Lead. As a leader in education with over 20 years of experience ranging from executive positions at colleges and polytechnics, to Chief Education and Learning Officer at one of Canada’s largest science centers and as founder of UDiscover Learning Inc., Dr. Walsh has advised provincial and federal governments as well as international organizations on education and skilling strategy and policy, and has published extensively on student success. With an earned reputation for leading innovative change initiatives that result in tangible outcomes, Dr. Walsh holds a PhD and Master’s degree from McMaster University and an Honours Bachelor of Arts from University of Toronto (Victoria) and has taught at Humber College and McMaster University.