Inass Farouk, Education Marketing Manager, MEA
The state of education in the Middle East and Africa is on an upward spiral. The average level of schooling since 1960 has quadrupled and and illiteracy has been halved since 1980. On the other hand, educational quality and a mismatch between the skills taught in schools and those needed in the job market are still very real challenges.
One of the best ways for us to overcome these is by combining high quality teaching with relevant technological tools and training in the classroom. Office 365 and OneNote are key tools for educators who are serious about taking education to the next level in MEA, and here are some reasons why:
1. Facilitating learning in the classroom and developing skills for the future
At the heart of Office 365 is our goal to make collaboration easier and more exciting. While collaboration is a big part of the new workplace, it is just as important for schools. We believe Office 365 helps teachers and students create dynamic learning experiences in and outside of the classroom.
2. Working together and staying organised
OneNote is perfect for the classroom. Essentially a digital three-ring binder, it is fully integrated in the cloud. OneNote helps teachers and students manage information all in one central place. This means everyone can stay organised, share lessons, work together and find new ways to spark their creativity.
3. Managing lesson plans and monitoring progress
At an administrative level, OneNote Staff Notebook is an ideal place for teachers to access documents, forms and schedules, as well as collaborate on lesson plans and set up a personal workspace. In the classroom, OneNote Class Notebook allows teachers to communicate with students, access each student’s work at any time to help them individualise lessons and feedback, and engage with parents for support in their children’s development. We’ve also made a recent update so that OneNote and Learning Management Systems (LMS) are now integrated. This means teachers are now able to launch and manage OneNote Class Notebook from their LMS course page.
4.Taking better notes, keeping everything in one place
For students with lots of notes and research across many different subjects and classes, OneNote Class Notebook helps them organise everything in one place, which they can access easily from any device. They can also work together on class projects and complete their homework without printing a single page. OneNote Clipper is a recent addition making class projects even easier. It allows students to capture any webpage to OneNote, where they can edit, annotate or share it. They can also insert files and add audio to any page of their notebook wherever they are working from.
In class, students can download the teacher’s notes and either handwrite or type additional notes on top of these. If they choose not to take notes, they can take a photo of the whiteboard in the classroom and add it to their notebook for easy reference. A recent update adding Office 365 OrgID support for the OfficeLens iOS app makes this even easier by cropping, straightening and enhancing photos of whiteboards and other documents.
5.Using teacher and student feedback to continually improve
There are many applications for OneNote in the classroom, and the creation of Class Notebooks in 95 countries and Staff Notebooks in 45 countries globally is proof of this. However, we are always looking for ways to improve our customers’ experience – and the recent updates I’ve mentioned are just a few recent examples.
It’s clearer than now than ever that technology accompanied by high quality teaching is what is going to drive the success of the next phase of education in the Middle East and Africa.