~ Edite Laka, Audience Engagement Manager for Gulf
“The great aim of education is not knowledge, but action” – Herbert Spencer
We live in an age of action, of doing, of making dreams happen. At Microsoft, we want to inspire people to become more productive through technology while achieving their highest potential – and this mission begins with the youth of today. This is why we are delighted to be partnering with GEMS Education schools in the United Arab Emirates to enable their students and teachers to dream and achieve more together.
At the start of 2015, Microsoft and GEMS Education launched a tailored program titled GEMSTONE aimed at winning the hearts and minds of teachers and students within the 43 GEMS Education schools across the country. This program had a simple objective: drive awareness on the plethora of Microsoft technologies available at their fingertips and the numerous ways in which these tools and resources could be leveraged to make the process of teaching more engaging while adding a dimension of fun to learning. Through this program, all students have also received access to Office 365 ProPlus (now known as Office 2016) via the Office ProPlus Benefit program which will be critical in preparing them for the world of tomorrow.
As technology continues to become more and more ubiquitous, it will continue to engage and empower our educators and learners inside and outside the classroom. From enabling the access of class content, discussions and notebooks across any device via OneNote and capturing class sessions and lecture via Skype to providing a platform for blended learning and lively discussions via Office Mix and promoting teamwork and collaboration through real-time co-authoring of documents, presentations and spreadsheets without the need for a team to be present in one location, technology has become an enabler in every sense of the word today.
At GEMS, we have been privileged to see similar results from students and teachers as a direct result of the GEMSTONE campaign which reached more than 10,000 students over the course of the last academic year. In addition, the launch of the GEMSTONE Student Ambassador Program incentivized students to drive ProPlus activations across their peers in creative ways while SkillUp for teachers allowed 74 innovative individuals to participate in face-to-face workshops focusing on the effective use of technology in their pedagogies. Moreover, these workshops served as a precursor for these teachers to apply for the worldwide Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert program.
Today, GEMS Education continues to drive even more innovation and achievement through the use of technology as a result of its strategic partnership with Microsoft. We look forward to using the best practices gained from this partnership in the roll-out of similar campaigns throughout the Gulf region.