Together in partnership, Microsoft South Africa and the Cape Town Science Centre on Friday 24th March unveiled the Microsoft Classroom of the Future, in Cape Town. The opening included an exhibition that showcased the latest and greatest educational tools available to teachers today.
This interactive showcase at the Cape Town Science Centre also provided attendees with a peek into the evolution of the classroom, along with the new approaches to learning such as gamification that will help teachers challenge, inspire and engage their students.
“Our mission is to empower every person and every organisation in South Africa to achieve more. Technology cannot replace great teaching, but it can make great teachers even greater. We are inspired to work with educators, with students, and with school leaders on their journey to redefine learning in and out of the classroom,” says Zoaib Hoosen, Managing Director of Microsoft South Africa.
Microsoft has been working closely with the Western Cape Department of Education since early 2015, as both entities believe that technology in the classroom should be transparent and empower educators and students to focus on learning outcomes. This means providing learning experiences built on simplicity, engagement and digital skills development. The exhibition – one of several projects that the two have partnered on – will facilitate this development by allowing on-site professional teacher development through workshops and various demonstrations. The exhibition is a critical part of Microsoft’s goal to bring about widespread digital transformation in schools, harnessing technology that fosters collaboration and the sharing of ideas to provide children and young people with the relevant skills they will need in an ever-changing world.
“By providing visitors/participants with a progressive view of the classroom – one that allows for creation and collaboration, that enables exploration and assists with the accommodation of any learning style while focusing on student-based learning outcomes – the exhibition also serves as a celebration of change and technology’s role as an enabler of that change, “says Julie Cleverdon, director of the Science Centre.
“While educators can continuously update the technology available in their schools, it’s the shifting expectations for students and the learning process that matter,” says Hoosen. “These factors need to be the driving forces of conversations about how best to use technology in the classroom. Rather than leading with technology, the conversation needs to focus on the skills students need and how new curricula should be implemented. Discussion must encompass a foundation set – or the long-term vision – of how technology can impact students’ learning outcomes.”
Anticipated outcomes of the exhibition are therefore learning how to use technology as an enabler in imparting skills such as critical decision-making and creativity to adapt to the changing world.
“By leveraging technology in the classroom, students will learn how to provide solutions to tomorrow’s problems, create opportunities for self-employment, generate innovative new business models and create thriving businesses that will employ tomorrow’s digitally empowered workforce,” concludes Hoosen.