Wednesday 9, December 2015

Dubai – MENA Herald: A total of seven schools from the UAE have been selected by Microsoft for the 2015-2016 Microsoft Showcase Schools Program for their distinction in transforming the learning environment and using mobile and cloud technology to deliver more personalized education to students. Microsoft announced the news in a blog post that went live recently.

In 2016, 400 new Showcase Schools will join the 160 schools already participating in this program, making the UAE schools part of a total of 560 schools worldwide.

The selected schools include Princess Haya bint Alhussain School, Dubai, Al-Baydaa for Girls School, Ras Al Khaimah; Mzeirea School, Ajman; The Westminster School, Dubai; Al Amal School for the Deaf, Sharjah; Gems Wellington Academy, Silicon Oasis, Dubai and Al Ghob School for Basic Education, UAE.

Microsoft has also appointed four students from two of the schools as ‘Microsoft Student Ambassadors’. Lidia Sharon, Alka Sathyan and Justin Gutierrez from The Westminster School, Dubai, and Kulsum Suleman and Shreya Manna from Gems Wellington Academy, Silicon Oasis, Dubai are part of the 279 Microsoft Student Ambassadors around the world. They will help bring technological opportunities to their campus, helping other students find out about the initiatives Microsoft has put in place for schools. They will run workshops, host tech events, work alongside Microsoft professionals, and aim at growing and nurturing a community of tech-savvy students. The program will serve as a great platform to boost skillsets of the students, positioning them to seek better opportunities in their careers.   

As a Showcase School, the schools will work closely with Microsoft to lead innovation in education and communicate a vision for education enabled by technology through mentoring other schools in the community on transformational educational practices. These schools will focus on  personalized (learner focused)  learning, amplified by  one-on-one deployments, and will make use of Office 365 and other Microsoft solutions, for example, Office Mix, OneNote, Skype to make education more effective.  

In addition to getting recognized on a global scale, Microsoft Showcase Schools receive a plethora of benefits such as insider access to Microsoft strategy, solutions, technologies and partner product trials, publicity and promotion via social media and other Microsoft channels, and opportunities to scale their innovations by connecting with world-renowned educators and specialists. Schools will also be able to access leadership-specific resources from experts, student and teacher ambassadors appointed by Microsoft which can help in enhancing the education potential of schools.

“With UAE government heavily focused on driving innovation as evident with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Smart Learning Program (MBRSLP) and the recently presented ‘smart teacher’ project at the UAE Innovation Week 2015, Microsoft is well poised to support the country in its endeavour of transforming the nation,” said Ahmed Ameen, Regional Education Lead at Microsoft Gulf.

“At Microsoft, we believe that technology alone cannot build 21st century skills. Technology is an accelerator, but does not enable change alone. We believe in the power of the educator and the school leader, and the impact they can have when they are brought together and recognized for their achievements. The Microsoft Showcase Schools program is a whole-school approach to transformation,” asserted Ameen.