Reimagine Teaching and Learning with Windows 8.1 – Get New Teacher Training Resources

By guest blogger, Kelly Green, senior manager for Microsoft's Partners in Learning initiative in the U.S. 

When I was an elementary teacher, like so many other teachers, I would often supplement my salary by working during the summer. I was lucky, and I was hired to do something I very much enjoy – teacher training. A community business donated the use of a computer lab for the summer to support professional development for educators, and I was responsible for creating and delivering the training.

Now, twenty-five years later, I work on Microsoft's US Education Team where I am honored to support professional development for educators. Today, my responsibility has shifted from delivering training to providing great training materials and supporting educators in their learning of the many products, programs and FREE resources that Microsoft offers. To kick off teacher appreciation week in the US we're sharing a few new teacher training resources to ensure teachers have the training they need to reimagine teaching and learning with their Windows 8.1 device.

I never thought I would be talking with teachers about a computer's operating system. How to use Math Worksheet Generator or other easy-to-use free resources, yes. But then Windows 8.1 operating system arrived. The changes to the Start Screen and the power of what we can do using a Windows 8 device to save time and empower students is absolutely amazing, and I just have to share it with educators everywhere!

Just to whet your curiosity, a few key features are:

The Start Screen – this is a gamer changer in that every user can tailor and arrange the Start Screen to their own preferences enabling them to work smarter and faster.

The Start Screen tiles are the launch pads for applications like PowerPoint or OneNote, apps like Algebra Touch or Corinth Micro Plant, or key websites like the Microsoft Educator Network or . Never before could a user have everything at their fingertips launching with a simple touch or click.

For those not quite ready to give up the familiar desktop environment, that's covered too. It's where you may want to continue to launch desktop apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. You can personalize it with different backgrounds, colors, and themes.

Right click on the Desktop Windows button in the lower left corner of the Desktop to see the features now made available in 8.1. This feature update gives back features Windows users have come to expect when in desktop mode.

 Charms – the power of Search and Share alone make this new Windows 8.1 operating system just sing. You will want to know all about the Charms!

To share all this information with educators everywhere I worked with some fantastic instructional technology specialists to design a set of training materials that I believe will help you, your school and your district trainers become familiar with the power of Windows 8, apps, applications, and mobility. To help you find the most useful apps, we’ve curated a list of 100 education apps organized by subject and grade level.

These materials are designed to guide teacher trainers' delivery of a hands-on, in person professional learning experience. Yet, they are easy enough for an individual to download and walk through the instructions at their own pace and timeframe.

Each set of Microsoft Teacher Academy training materials include these resources.

  • Trainer's Guide – this guide is used by the trainer providing step-by-step instructions on how to deliver the Windows 8.1 teacher academy. The guide is includes topics covering basic features and functions of the Start Screen, customizing the Start Screen to your preferences, understanding how Charms work for you and a suggested active to develop or enhance a lesson plan using the new resources you've learning about.
  • Trainer's PowerPoint Deck – this deck supports the trainer as they guide teachers through the training.
  • Participant's Handout – this handout used by participants for following along during the session and note-taking is a great takeaway reference that includes tips, tricks and shortcuts for using Windows 8.1.
  • Agenda– the agenda provides a description and details of the professional learning offering, as well as a listing of the sessions covered in the training.

During the month of May, we will add more training materials. These will include the use of Office 365, OneNote, Office Online, and OneDrive. Look for more articles on the benefits of these resources to support teaching and learning.


About Kelly Green: Kelly Green is a senior manager for Microsoft's Partners in Learning (PiL) initiative. She is responsible for the development of the US Innovative Teachers programing. Programs include the Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE), MIE train the trainer, MIE master trainer, and the MIE Fellowship. Kelly has nearly 30 years of experience in education as a teacher in Kentucky, special assistant at the US Department of Education and director of policy and state partnerships for the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future (NCTAF). Ms. Green holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kentucky and a Master's degree in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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