Windows 8 Wednesday: Giving Students a Voice with Windows 8

Student Voice Whiteboard
Today marks the first in a series of Windows 8 Wednesday posts, weekly updates focused on how Windows 8 is making a difference in education – for both educators and students.  I hope you will check back often and follow me on this journey. 

Just a few days ago, I had the privilege of helping to lead an open and collaborative dialogue with students at the Student Voice Live event, in conjunction with Dell and the Student Voice organization. The event was streamed live from New York, with satellite summits and breakout discussions in schools from Shanghai to Malawi to Ukraine to Ecuador, and in many places in between. Much of this invaluable dialogue was enabled – and made even more collaborative — by Windows 8 devices and apps, which supported the fast and furious social media sharing that took place during the day-long event. 

At the event’s tech lounge students tried out many of the newest Dell machines running Windows 8.  I watched for a while and noticed that what appealed to one student was not the same for the next.  We are excited that Windows 8 can run on so many different form factors – whether it is touch, pen, PC or desktop – there are unique personalities of each student and teacher and we believe no one device is the right answer for a school. We believe unique learning styles and teachers’ and schools’ unique teaching objectives should be considered carefully before a device purchase is written and signed. Choice is key to matching the unique needs of the world’s 1.4 billion students and 65.2 million educators. We are excited to partner with Dell to offer a range of devices in different price points and form factors. 

This was Dell’s seventh Social Think Tank to focus on education (I’ve participated in the past), but their first ever Think Tank held in conjunction with Student Voice and the largest yet. The session I moderated centered on Education and Entrepreneurship. Spending a few hours with a group of incredibly talented and driven students was, of course, a joy. But what they had to say – and the conversation they started with other students around the world – was humbling. 

We explored the connection between entrepreneurship and education, using discussion and real-life examples to determine how to further promote a relationship between these two ideas — how to better incorporate them, and ultimately, how to change education through the use of them. We explored questions like, “Is entrepreneurship a field of study or a culture that needs to be developed?” and “How can educators, policymakers, community members, foundations, and corporations work together to instill the entrepreneurial spirit within the educational experience?”

The worldwide conversation that ensued was fascinating, and it struck me that, just a few short years ago, it couldn’t have happened. The power of technology and social media – both elements critical to bringing entrepreneurship and education together – also gave a voice to students whose futures are inextricably tied to these tools. We at Microsoft believe that when it comes to education, technology has to serve the journeys of these digital natives as they prepare for the workforce, and as they try to reach their potential. Windows 8 is an extension of that mission, putting it in action, supporting the students who will help lead the changes required to make education relevant for this century.  I look forward to sharing more on Windows 8 in this space each Wednesday, where we’ll explore the many ways Windows 8 is enabling students and their teachers to collaborate, learn and transform education.

A cool feature I want to add to this blog is to highlight a different app each week, so, without further ado….Here is my video on the app of the week from Corinth

Windows 8 App of the Week
Teaching subjects like technology and science can be challenging. Concepts can often be abstract and difficult to explain, and traditional visuals barely scratch the surface. That’s where Corinth comes in, offering deep and immersive visual models of everything from plants to engines to the human body. The latest Windows 8 application in the Corinth Micro series is Corinth Micro Engines, available now at the Windows Store. According to Corinth CEO Ondrej Homola (see an extended interview with him today on Daily Edventures), “We believe that visual and interactive story-telling is the future of education in sciences, technologies and abstract topics. We’re thrilled to share this idea with innovative educators and companies who are engaged with making education better.”

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