5 Tips to Create Micro Learning Videos

June 4, 2018 | 49 views

Microlearning is all about one specific learning objective in a nugget less than five minutes. A microlearning video is meant to fight shrinking attention spans of learners and engage them in the learning process. Having more than one learning objective in a microlearning video increases the probability of detaching learners instead of engaging them.

Spotlight

Lernia Training Solutions

Founded in 2000, Lernia Training Solutions specializes in the creation, delivery, and management of learning for the life science industry. We design customized training programs for companies of all sizes in order to help them meet regulatory requirements and have their employees equipped with working knowledge of the subject matter at hand. Lernia develops comprehensive training strategies, manages the training program from planning stages to delivery, develops curriculum, training materials, and training databases for proprietary systems.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

Online Schooling: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Article | July 20, 2022

In the past couple of years, online schooling has proved its advantages for students in a number of ways. Experts have already highlighted its prospects in the years to come. As India’s online education market is expected to grow to USD 1.96 billion at a CAGR of 52% (over the next five years), online schooling can extend better educational opportunities for all – students, teachers, and parents. Let’s understand the structure and functionality of this schooling choice to help you understand how it works! WHAT IS ONLINE SCHOOLING? An online schooling platform allows students to study through the internet. Students make use of home computers and access the study material through an online portal. Just like a traditional school, an online school must have a trained teaching staff, specialized in teaching online. These teachers conduct online classes and supervise the student’s performance. The digital schooling option is highly flexible and convenient for the students as it allows the handholding of educators through online classes (synchronous learning) while simultaneously allowing self-paced independent study duration (asynchronous learning).

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

The Art and Science of Balancing Screen Time for Online Learners

Article | July 14, 2022

In 2021, Class, a virtual classroom app that combines with Zoom, neared unicorn status after receiving funding from SoftBank Vision Fund II. But, with just 10 months and a string of top edtech U.S. investors to back it up, the app’s spectacular rise only speaks to the boom in online education in the past two years. Online learning has changed. It went from centering around accessibility to becoming the primary delivery method almost overnight. So when it comes to screen time, this newest addition to our already screen-filled lives is uninvited. Especially for children, it only meant that screen time was highly monitored during lockdown. And that change came with struggles. Between configuring the technicalities of accessing online classrooms and figuring out how to engage students, teachers have faced an uphill battle all along. There is plenty of research to suggest that too much screen time has negative health implications, but education has to continue at all costs. 2021 was full of stories of students finding creative ways of avoiding classes or not attending them. One 8-year-old found a loophole in Zoom’s app last year that locked her out of her Zoom class. Even Zoom’s technical team failed to find the issue. It led to a goose chase into discovering that the child was locking herself out by inputting the wrong password over 20 times. Screen Time Vs Screen-Tied Screen time has five types: television, video games, social media, music, and reading. The key is not just to regulate screen time but also the content that is being consumed. Technology may have evolved, but our ability to use it for long durations and to conduct sensory tasks like learning over the internet hasn’t. Between education, video-games, social media and TV, distribution meant calibrating what type of content should be consumed in order to reduce the negative impact. Approximately 75% of all teenagers own a smartphone today. In addition, a majority of young adults report video games as their go-to activity in their free time. While research on the use of video games may be inconclusive, prolonged exposure is nevertheless known to rewire developing brains. There’s also a high risk to susceptible minds with regards to unfiltered and harmful messages from social media, which is a massive source of increased screen time for children and teenagers. All these issues call for a meaningful control of screen time. But in a sea of endless information and uninterrupted content, how do you identify the right balance? Culling Unnecessary Content For educators, the aim is clear: to balance screen time so precariously that children do not lose their will to learn or play. Parents and educational institutions must identify the following objectives through the content they are letting their families consume: Developing digital skills to prepare children for higher education and digital careers Raising digital citizens that use online mediums to contribute to their communities Exposing learners to new ideas and concepts in a safe context Acquiring creative skills, interpersonal expression, and etiquette for engagement online There is no dearth of educational content online, but it is important to achieve a balance between the educational and the entertainment consumption of learners. On occasion, both can be combined through interactive shows and programs that do not expose learners to addictive behaviors. Designating screen-free times, activities, and even locations like meals, traveling, or bedrooms can help learners build a habit of controlling their screen time. To Wrap It Up There is no doubt that the pandemic provided online learning with a much-needed shot in the arm. This also means that screen time has exponentially increased. Thanks to both virtual schools and a complete lockdown on going outside, young learners were left with no option but to turn to their screens. Whether to connect to their peers, attend classes, or spend their free time, learners are faced with a barrage of screen time that can affect their ability to navigate a post-pandemic world. Parents and educators must take it upon themselves to lay down the guidelines that drive the harmonious use of electronics without encouraging total dependence on them.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

3 Inclusive Classroom Strategies to Use for Higher Student Enrollment

Article | August 4, 2022

In 2021, the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center reported that student enrollments were at an all-time low. Community college enrollment dipped by 11% while post-secondary enrollment saw a dip of 4.2% year-on-year. The impact of the last two years’ events clearly demonstrates the strain faced by all levels of educational institutions. The shift to the virtual classroom setup also saw parents and students recognize the importance of teaching and learning online. The significance of a virtual classroom is emphasized more than ever. It has forced schools to improve their online teaching infrastructure so that they can keep growing. But this has also affected inclusivity. According to UNESCO, school closures during the pandemic affected 1.2 billion children in 186 countries. In this article, we discuss why virtual learning is in dire need of inclusivity and inclusive learning practices. Why Does Inclusive Learning Matter in the Era of Zoom Classes? Edtech is a booming industry. In 2019, edtech investments reached a whopping US $18 billion. Further, the online education market is estimated to cross the $350 billion mark by 2025. There is no doubt that learning institutions are investing heavily in online learning. But inclusivity is still lagging far behind. The OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) found that 25% of secondary school-aged students from underprivileged backgrounds lack a computer. The writing on the wall is clear. Virtual learning is bound to widen the divide, and its impact will be felt most by underprivileged students. For educational institutions, delivering a positively inclusive learning experience online is essential to attracting students who do have access to educational technology. “In the higher education space, most schools were, and still are, predominantly focused on that in-person campus visit to do all those same things, but it’s expensive and it means only students and parents who travel to campus can get that real-life feel and experience.” - Matthew Pellish, Vice President of Strategy and Business Development at CampusReel Bringing Personalization to the Virtual Classroom Although virtual learning has stripped away the human touch that accompanies a classroom setting, there are ways to make it more engaging and meaningful. Engage students even before the class starts. This can be done by setting an agenda for the session beforehand and asking students to send in their queries and expectations from the session. Turning the greeting into a short discussion is a great way to engage everyone right off the bat. Tools like Zoom make it simpler to personalize every class with features like backgrounds and notes. Use the chat feature generously. Teaching and learning online has to be a one-sided flow of information for it to be effective. However, the chat feature empowers teachers to break the monotony. The best way to keep students attentive is through personalization. Attentiveness can be achieved by asking many questions, even if they are simply yes-or-no questions. It enables teachers to keep a check on engagement and pivot when needed. Simulating a Sense of Community A discussion on an inclusive learning environment is incomplete without mentioning student community building. Online teaching and learning is limited in its ability to provide a sense of community. Since students are physically separated from their peers, one-on-one connections are lacking. Despite the distance, there are a few solutions you can use to reduce the distance virtually. Identify the type of community you want to develop. Whether you’re offering synchronous or asynchronous courses, it is crucial to keep the student-peer-instructor link active. Create a loop of feedback between teachers and students to enable community building. Modern tools offer a number of ways to seek feedback that provides insight on teaching style and the general classroom environment. Create a classroom forum online. Forums offer the best of two-way interactions with a platform outside of the online class. This ensures constancy and inclusive learning even after the class is over. For those who weren’t able to attend due to technical difficulties or poor connectivity, they never lose track of what’s going on. Cultivating Two-Way Interaction Two-way interactions are an integral part of engaging learning experiences. Inclusive classroom activities online may not completely replace them, but much can be done to build a more involved form of communication. One way to design such activities is to use the Kanevsky and Keighly framework to engage students with the five Cs: choice, challenge, control, complexity, and care. Use screen sharing and remote access tools. Physical classrooms offer avenues for students to present to their peers. In a virtual classroom setting, this can be achieved with screen sharing. Empower students to retain better by making them present their perspective and understanding of different concepts. This gives other students the impetus to do the same. Initiate group discussions through your course management system. Inviting students to design the resources and collaborate on group projects will jumpstart in-depth discussions. Many course management systems allow students to share their notes with each other. This creates inclusive learning environment. Finally: Why Will the Online University Experience Will Attract More Students Although learning institutions are beginning to open up for the in-person learning experience, the effectiveness of a virtual classroom is undeniable. Like remote working, remote learning is gaining ground, and inclusive online teaching is inevitably important. A Cengage survey revealed that 68% of students prefer hybrid learning: a combination of online and offline course delivery. In addition, the Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) found that the number of students who enrolled in online-only programs rose from 3.5 million during the fall to 5.8 million. Fostering meaningful, hands-on learning similar to that in a classroom is difficult. Even though student enrollment in online courses is rising, learning institutions are facing the challenge of delivering a highly engaging learning experience. But with an understanding of the learning outcome and the right tools, institutions can develop robust, inclusive classroom activities that every student will want to benefit from. Frequently Asked Questions Do students and teachers prefer online teaching and learning? According to a recent survey by Cengage, about 73% of students prefer some courses to be delivered fully online. In addition, 57% of teachers said they prefer teaching hybrid courses over online-only courses. Is online teaching and learning a growing trend? Yes. Online learning platform Coursera experienced a huge spike in enrollments. In 2021, enrollment increased by 32% and peaked at 189 million. What are the principles of inclusive education? The principles of inclusive education are: Togetherness Participation Acceptance Equality

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

Remote Working is Shaping the Future of Schooling

Article | May 11, 2022

For so long, we have deeply embedded technology in our everyday lives. Working and learning from home complement each other, creating an ecosystem of solutions. Even as organizations continue to lean towards remote offices and hybrid working, the same may not be possible with learning. Businesses worldwide have blazed the trail for remote working. The past two years have seen both, formal education, and work taking a big virtual leap. While virtual learning has been around for some time, we have thrust it into the mainstream only because of the events following the pandemic. Remote work is no longer a trend or the domain of freelancers and tech workers. While organizations learned to maintain their productivity even as their workforce was scattered, schools and learning centers weren’t far behind. Schools could shift learning online using the principles and technology businesses were using to stay productive. Working and Learning from Home, Together Zoom classrooms are no match for the physical learning environment provided by a school.Although online education existed as a part-time alternative, traditional schooling has always been a holistic, on-premise experience. Virtual schooling cannot be dismissed, as proven by the last two years. It is especially significant in today’s remote work era and as a precursor to it. While there were mixed feelings about accepting the new normal, families enjoyed several benefits including lowered education costs, zero travel time, children’s safety, and a newfound work-life balance. Virtual schooling has become the norm. It worked only because parents could also stay back and help create a learning environment at home while they worked. They have now become integral to their kids’ learning and growth. “In the higher education space, most schools were, and still are, predominantly focused on that in-person campus visit to do all those same things, but it’s expensive and it means only students and parents who travel to campus can get that real-life feel and experience.” - Matthew Pellish, Vice President of Strategy and Business Development at CampusReel Cultivating the Workforce of the Future Virtual learning will provide children with the bandwidth they need to become competent in a world where remote working is the standard. They will have already conquered the learning curve. Remote learning will equip learners with the technical understanding, attitude, and collaborative spirit needed to excel in a technology-driven world. In addition, it will prepare them not just for hybrid workplaces but for a hybrid life that promotes work-life balance. Just as remote work enables easy access to talent worldwide, remote learning will help students access elusive academic programs and high-quality education in a flexible setting. Final Word The future has been transformed forever, and virtual schooling is gaining traction. It also looks set to follow the footsteps of remote working, a concept that is now solidifying in the form of hybrid workplace policies. Higher education institutes are realizing the advantages of virtual learning. They are incorporating a remote angle into their course delivery to make it faster, efficient, and more accessible. Will hybrid learning be the future of schooling? Looking at the course that online learning is set upon, it will.

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Spotlight

Lernia Training Solutions

Founded in 2000, Lernia Training Solutions specializes in the creation, delivery, and management of learning for the life science industry. We design customized training programs for companies of all sizes in order to help them meet regulatory requirements and have their employees equipped with working knowledge of the subject matter at hand. Lernia develops comprehensive training strategies, manages the training program from planning stages to delivery, develops curriculum, training materials, and training databases for proprietary systems.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

NTU Singapore steps into the future with Microsoft cloud-enabled Smart Campus

Microsoft | February 14, 2022

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, a research-intensive public university ranked among the world's top universities, has partnered with Microsoft to fuel innovation and transform the future of education with its cloud-enabled Smart Campus. With a digital-first strategy and the adoption of technologies such as Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams Phone, NTU Singapore is set to accelerate innovation and thrive amid the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. As of January 2022, NTU has successfully converted over 2,600 fixed phone numbers, to the Microsoft Teams Phone system. With the cloud-based phone system, calls become richer and more collaborative, as NTU employees can make and receive calls on their business number from all their internet-enabled devices, while using the same tool they use to chat and host video meetings. In addition to cost savings for the University, employees remain productive, as they can also seamlessly transfer their calls across multiple devices, including laptops, PCs, tablets and mobile phones. The cloud-based phone system was adopted in 2019, when NTU rolled out Microsoft 365, which includes Microsoft Teams Phone, enabling hybrid learning and remote work. At the height of the pandemic in the first quarter of 2020, the transformation to Microsoft 365 enabled the University to successfully shift within one week from more than 1,000 in-person lessons weekly to online learning for 30,000 students. Ms Tan Aik Na, Senior Vice President for Administration at NTU Singapore said, "Innovation has always been core to the University's DNA. This digital transformation in partnership with Microsoft marks a significant milestone in our commitment to embrace a culture of innovation, promote maximum efficiency, foster sustainability and improving the lives of our students and employees through empowered learning and living experiences." Technology plays a key role in powering the 200-hectare campus, which includes a living lab of digital experiments - from running an autonomous electric bus to testing drones for Singapore's airspace. This forms part of the global university's 2025 vision in equipping its Smart Campus with cloud-first technology and agile infrastructure. As the university adapted to respond, recover and reimagine its future during the pandemic, NTU Singapore partnered with Microsoft to create and sustain an environment that fosters flexibility and innovation on and off-campus. "Fostering a culture of continuous learning in the education sector for our future is key as we keep pace with global changes that shape our education sector in Singapore. Universities like NTU Singapore are stepping in the right direction as they accelerate their digital learning ambitions, embrace change, transform our education system and ensure the readiness of our future workforce," said Lum Seow Khun, Director, Public Sector Group, Microsoft Singapore. Embracing trusted technology for quality learning and teaching experiences Before the onset of the pandemic, the institution marked its first step in cloud enablement, having embraced online collaboration and communications by adopting Microsoft 365. This foresight enabled NTU Singapore to swiftly adapt to changes brought on by the pandemic, and allowed the university to pursue uninterrupted learning and teaching experiences through virtual meetings and online lessons on Teams during the nation-wide lockdown in April 2020. The institution also recognised the importance of seamless collaboration between the faculty and students as they worked from the safety of their homes. Paving the path toward a future of education where agility is the norm, NTU Singapore's deployment of Microsoft 365 strengthens the University's future-readiness while creating student-centric learning environments. "We previously deployed Microsoft 365 to enable productivity on an intelligent and secure cloud. As it turned out, Microsoft 365 became indispensable during the COVID-19 circuit breaker season and now serves as the foundation for hybrid learning and teaching experiences that benefit both our faculty and our students." Alvin Ong, Chief Information Officer at NTU Singapore Connecting the NTU community – anytime and anywhere Microsoft Teams Phone, Microsoft's cloud-based phone system add-on for Microsoft 365, which links local landlines to Teams accounts, was another factor that enabled NTU Singapore to adapt quickly to remote teaching and learning experiences. Campus staff had the flexibility to take calls on their Teams-integrated mobile phones with the help of Teams Calling, a modern voice platform built on Microsoft Cloud, allowing them to make and receive phone calls from anywhere – including their desk and video phone, mobile phone, computer, or modern Teams displays. By eliminating the need for existing physical phone infrastructure, NTU Singapore enjoyed cost savings in equipment, maintenance, and international call costs from cross-border research center projects and the provision of online exams and classes for stranded students overseas. Aligned with NTU Singapore's 2025 vision to harness the power of digital technology to enhance learning, teaching and research, IT managers also leveraged Microsoft Teams and other integrated tools within the platform to create an asset tracking system for IT asset reviews and pre-emptive checks to be conducted more efficiently. The university is now able to allocate resources toward higher-value tasks and innovation, accelerating the institution's broader mission to be future-ready, agile and resilient. Facilitating change by empowering users With varying departments and different ways of working, NTU Singapore needed a flexible solution that could meet diverse needs from campus staff to local and foreign students. To address this, the institution opted for Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams Phone as it catered to two extreme types of users. These include tech-savvy professors who can program software and non-technical administrators who need simple tools, such as email and instant messaging. NTU Singapore also employed flight path planning, a friction-reducing strategy to help users embrace technology that could enhance their campus experiences. Transforming and shaping the future of education in Singapore Beyond Microsoft Teams Phone and Microsoft 365, the university plans to roll out its new cloud-based student management system built on Microsoft Azure, amongst other ongoing initiatives to leverage technologies like chatbots and AI. "With a partner like Microsoft, we are confident of achieving our ambitious agenda in our NTU Singapore 2025 vision," said Alvin Ong. With a successful user-empowered change management program and cloud enablement roadmap in place, the digitally connected university is well-equipped to realise its 2025 vision, leading the way in fueling innovation while shaping the future of education. About Nanyang Technological University, Singapore A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has 33,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and Graduate colleges. It also has a medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, established jointly with Imperial College London. NTU is also home to world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI) and Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N). Ranked amongst the world's top universities by QS, NTU has also been named the world's top young university for the past seven years. The University's main campus is frequently listed among the Top 15 most beautiful university campuses in the world and has 57 Green Mark-certified (equivalent to LEED-certified) buildings, of which 95% are certified Green Mark Platinum. Apart from its main campus, NTU also has a campus in Novena, Singapore's healthcare district. Under the NTU Smart Campus vision, the University harnesses the power of digital technology and tech-enabled solutions to support better learning and living experiences, the discovery of new knowledge, and the sustainability of resources.

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Microsoft launches new Teams features to support the future of global education

microsoft | June 17, 2020

Microsoft today announced ‘Teams for Education’ features to engage and prepare students and teachers for new remote and hybrid learning formats in the upcoming school year. These features include expanded audience view of up to 49 participants, custom backgrounds, class insights, and virtual breakout rooms, among other new features. Surveying nearly 500 members of the Microsoft Education community, comprising teachers and institutional leaders from around the world, Microsoft found that there has been a strong uptake in the use of remote learning tools. 61 percent expect to begin the next school year in a hybrid learning environment—a mix of remote and in-person learning—and 87 percent said they expect to use technology more in physical classrooms.

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Microsoft’s "Minecraft" is for learning 50 million downloads of free education content.

Microsoft | May 21, 2020

Minecraft,” the Microsoft-owned game known for its user-driven content has been at the forefront of mainstream games that utilize educational content. Much of this content, which was at first fueled by educators in the “Minecraft” community before Microsoft brought it in-house. Minecraft: Education Edition” has for the last few years played host to virtual curricula that have allowed students to visit and learn about global monuments. Minecraft, the Microsoft-owned game known for its user-driven content, creative use of blocks and monsters that come out at night, has been at the forefront of mainstream games that utilize educational content. The studio’s “Minecraft: Education Edition” has for the last few years played host to virtual curricula that have allowed students to visit and learn about global monuments, sharpen math skills, understand coding or take puzzle-filled explorations to places as varied as the human body or a NASA-approved jaunt into the International Space Station. Much of this content, which was at first fueled by educators in the “Minecraft” community before Microsoft brought it in-house in 2016, had previously been available only to schools and teachers and worked in tandem with Microsoft educational accounts. In March, however, Microsoft made an assortment of “Minecraft’s” popular educational tools available for free, with easier access for all players via the “Minecraft Marketplace.” And players have flocked to it. Microsoft reports that there have been more than 50 million downloads globally of educational content since it was made available for free March 24. It’s further evidence that virtual worlds are not just places to play or escape but vessels to learning, connecting or even taking part in digital events. Just this weekend, for instance, “Minecraft” was home to a mock commencement ceremony for UC Berkeley, which featured remarks from Chancellor Carol T. Christ alongside musical performances. It was one of many “Minecraft” graduation ceremonies happening around the globe. Learn more: GOOGLE LAUNCHED READ ALONG, AN AI ANDROID APP HELPING KIDS IMPROVE READING SKILLS . “Microsoft reports that there have been more than 50 million downloads globally of educational content since it was made available for free March 24. It’s further evidence that virtual worlds are not just places to play or escape but vessels to learning.” ~ Microsoft Says The UC Berkeley event, said Helen Chiang, the studio head at “Minecraft” developer Mojang Studios, happened organically. When viewed alongside more commercially minded endeavors, such as rapper Travis Scott unleashing a single in “Fortnite” via an interactive experience that attracted more than 27 million participants, this pandemic moment is arguably accelerating an entertainment and cultural landscape in which persistent and evolving virtual worlds don’t just live alongside content crafted by traditional media gatekeepers but become equally as vital. “Minecraft: Education Edition” has for the last few years played host to virtual curricula that have allowed students to visit and learn about global monuments, sharpen math skills, understand coding or take puzzle-filled explorations to places as varied as the human body or a NASA-approved jaunt into the International Space Station.” How it all evolves is something of an unknown, as evidenced by the fact that “Minecraft’s” own educational suite was birthed via the game-playing community rather than with the company behind it.“The example right now of universities and college campuses,” says Chiang, discussing “Minecraft” graduations at schools around the globe, “it actually would have been really difficult for us to re-create all these colleges. The fact that we have a tool that passionate Berkeley students can go build their campus, and passionate MIT students can build their campus, that’s where the magic happens. It is not that we do all of these things.” While no one knows yet how the gaming audience will shift when the world begins to emerge from the grips of COVID-19, it’s become clear that interactive entertainment is uniquely positioned for this moment. Almost daily we discover inventive tactics that users are wielding — not just via “Minecraft” or “Fortnite” but also “Animal Crossing,” Nintendo’s friendly, task-filled game that has become a coronavirus-era phenomena.“Minecraft,” which is turning 11 and is considered by many to be the top-selling game of all time, has now sold more than 200 million copies, says Chiang, and boasts 126 million active monthly players. In April alone, the game saw a 25% increase in new users over the previous month. People are also playing together — “Minecraft’s” multiplayer sessions surged 40% in April. While “Minecraft’s” popularity has never been in doubt, as Mojang Studios gets deeper into the game’s second decade, the company has been looking to expand the “Minecraft” brand. Mojang recently released the augmented-reality mobile game “Minecraft Earth” and on May 26 will issue the hack-and-slash game “Minecraft Dungeons” across multiple platforms. Learn more: EDTECHS DESIGNED THE BEST APPLICATION OF VOICE TECHNOLOGY IN AWS CHALLENGE. WHICH GETS YOUR VOTE?

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

NTU Singapore steps into the future with Microsoft cloud-enabled Smart Campus

Microsoft | February 14, 2022

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, a research-intensive public university ranked among the world's top universities, has partnered with Microsoft to fuel innovation and transform the future of education with its cloud-enabled Smart Campus. With a digital-first strategy and the adoption of technologies such as Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams Phone, NTU Singapore is set to accelerate innovation and thrive amid the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. As of January 2022, NTU has successfully converted over 2,600 fixed phone numbers, to the Microsoft Teams Phone system. With the cloud-based phone system, calls become richer and more collaborative, as NTU employees can make and receive calls on their business number from all their internet-enabled devices, while using the same tool they use to chat and host video meetings. In addition to cost savings for the University, employees remain productive, as they can also seamlessly transfer their calls across multiple devices, including laptops, PCs, tablets and mobile phones. The cloud-based phone system was adopted in 2019, when NTU rolled out Microsoft 365, which includes Microsoft Teams Phone, enabling hybrid learning and remote work. At the height of the pandemic in the first quarter of 2020, the transformation to Microsoft 365 enabled the University to successfully shift within one week from more than 1,000 in-person lessons weekly to online learning for 30,000 students. Ms Tan Aik Na, Senior Vice President for Administration at NTU Singapore said, "Innovation has always been core to the University's DNA. This digital transformation in partnership with Microsoft marks a significant milestone in our commitment to embrace a culture of innovation, promote maximum efficiency, foster sustainability and improving the lives of our students and employees through empowered learning and living experiences." Technology plays a key role in powering the 200-hectare campus, which includes a living lab of digital experiments - from running an autonomous electric bus to testing drones for Singapore's airspace. This forms part of the global university's 2025 vision in equipping its Smart Campus with cloud-first technology and agile infrastructure. As the university adapted to respond, recover and reimagine its future during the pandemic, NTU Singapore partnered with Microsoft to create and sustain an environment that fosters flexibility and innovation on and off-campus. "Fostering a culture of continuous learning in the education sector for our future is key as we keep pace with global changes that shape our education sector in Singapore. Universities like NTU Singapore are stepping in the right direction as they accelerate their digital learning ambitions, embrace change, transform our education system and ensure the readiness of our future workforce," said Lum Seow Khun, Director, Public Sector Group, Microsoft Singapore. Embracing trusted technology for quality learning and teaching experiences Before the onset of the pandemic, the institution marked its first step in cloud enablement, having embraced online collaboration and communications by adopting Microsoft 365. This foresight enabled NTU Singapore to swiftly adapt to changes brought on by the pandemic, and allowed the university to pursue uninterrupted learning and teaching experiences through virtual meetings and online lessons on Teams during the nation-wide lockdown in April 2020. The institution also recognised the importance of seamless collaboration between the faculty and students as they worked from the safety of their homes. Paving the path toward a future of education where agility is the norm, NTU Singapore's deployment of Microsoft 365 strengthens the University's future-readiness while creating student-centric learning environments. "We previously deployed Microsoft 365 to enable productivity on an intelligent and secure cloud. As it turned out, Microsoft 365 became indispensable during the COVID-19 circuit breaker season and now serves as the foundation for hybrid learning and teaching experiences that benefit both our faculty and our students." Alvin Ong, Chief Information Officer at NTU Singapore Connecting the NTU community – anytime and anywhere Microsoft Teams Phone, Microsoft's cloud-based phone system add-on for Microsoft 365, which links local landlines to Teams accounts, was another factor that enabled NTU Singapore to adapt quickly to remote teaching and learning experiences. Campus staff had the flexibility to take calls on their Teams-integrated mobile phones with the help of Teams Calling, a modern voice platform built on Microsoft Cloud, allowing them to make and receive phone calls from anywhere – including their desk and video phone, mobile phone, computer, or modern Teams displays. By eliminating the need for existing physical phone infrastructure, NTU Singapore enjoyed cost savings in equipment, maintenance, and international call costs from cross-border research center projects and the provision of online exams and classes for stranded students overseas. Aligned with NTU Singapore's 2025 vision to harness the power of digital technology to enhance learning, teaching and research, IT managers also leveraged Microsoft Teams and other integrated tools within the platform to create an asset tracking system for IT asset reviews and pre-emptive checks to be conducted more efficiently. The university is now able to allocate resources toward higher-value tasks and innovation, accelerating the institution's broader mission to be future-ready, agile and resilient. Facilitating change by empowering users With varying departments and different ways of working, NTU Singapore needed a flexible solution that could meet diverse needs from campus staff to local and foreign students. To address this, the institution opted for Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams Phone as it catered to two extreme types of users. These include tech-savvy professors who can program software and non-technical administrators who need simple tools, such as email and instant messaging. NTU Singapore also employed flight path planning, a friction-reducing strategy to help users embrace technology that could enhance their campus experiences. Transforming and shaping the future of education in Singapore Beyond Microsoft Teams Phone and Microsoft 365, the university plans to roll out its new cloud-based student management system built on Microsoft Azure, amongst other ongoing initiatives to leverage technologies like chatbots and AI. "With a partner like Microsoft, we are confident of achieving our ambitious agenda in our NTU Singapore 2025 vision," said Alvin Ong. With a successful user-empowered change management program and cloud enablement roadmap in place, the digitally connected university is well-equipped to realise its 2025 vision, leading the way in fueling innovation while shaping the future of education. About Nanyang Technological University, Singapore A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has 33,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and Graduate colleges. It also has a medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, established jointly with Imperial College London. NTU is also home to world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI) and Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N). Ranked amongst the world's top universities by QS, NTU has also been named the world's top young university for the past seven years. The University's main campus is frequently listed among the Top 15 most beautiful university campuses in the world and has 57 Green Mark-certified (equivalent to LEED-certified) buildings, of which 95% are certified Green Mark Platinum. Apart from its main campus, NTU also has a campus in Novena, Singapore's healthcare district. Under the NTU Smart Campus vision, the University harnesses the power of digital technology and tech-enabled solutions to support better learning and living experiences, the discovery of new knowledge, and the sustainability of resources.

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Microsoft launches new Teams features to support the future of global education

microsoft | June 17, 2020

Microsoft today announced ‘Teams for Education’ features to engage and prepare students and teachers for new remote and hybrid learning formats in the upcoming school year. These features include expanded audience view of up to 49 participants, custom backgrounds, class insights, and virtual breakout rooms, among other new features. Surveying nearly 500 members of the Microsoft Education community, comprising teachers and institutional leaders from around the world, Microsoft found that there has been a strong uptake in the use of remote learning tools. 61 percent expect to begin the next school year in a hybrid learning environment—a mix of remote and in-person learning—and 87 percent said they expect to use technology more in physical classrooms.

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Microsoft’s "Minecraft" is for learning 50 million downloads of free education content.

Microsoft | May 21, 2020

Minecraft,” the Microsoft-owned game known for its user-driven content has been at the forefront of mainstream games that utilize educational content. Much of this content, which was at first fueled by educators in the “Minecraft” community before Microsoft brought it in-house. Minecraft: Education Edition” has for the last few years played host to virtual curricula that have allowed students to visit and learn about global monuments. Minecraft, the Microsoft-owned game known for its user-driven content, creative use of blocks and monsters that come out at night, has been at the forefront of mainstream games that utilize educational content. The studio’s “Minecraft: Education Edition” has for the last few years played host to virtual curricula that have allowed students to visit and learn about global monuments, sharpen math skills, understand coding or take puzzle-filled explorations to places as varied as the human body or a NASA-approved jaunt into the International Space Station. Much of this content, which was at first fueled by educators in the “Minecraft” community before Microsoft brought it in-house in 2016, had previously been available only to schools and teachers and worked in tandem with Microsoft educational accounts. In March, however, Microsoft made an assortment of “Minecraft’s” popular educational tools available for free, with easier access for all players via the “Minecraft Marketplace.” And players have flocked to it. Microsoft reports that there have been more than 50 million downloads globally of educational content since it was made available for free March 24. It’s further evidence that virtual worlds are not just places to play or escape but vessels to learning, connecting or even taking part in digital events. Just this weekend, for instance, “Minecraft” was home to a mock commencement ceremony for UC Berkeley, which featured remarks from Chancellor Carol T. Christ alongside musical performances. It was one of many “Minecraft” graduation ceremonies happening around the globe. Learn more: GOOGLE LAUNCHED READ ALONG, AN AI ANDROID APP HELPING KIDS IMPROVE READING SKILLS . “Microsoft reports that there have been more than 50 million downloads globally of educational content since it was made available for free March 24. It’s further evidence that virtual worlds are not just places to play or escape but vessels to learning.” ~ Microsoft Says The UC Berkeley event, said Helen Chiang, the studio head at “Minecraft” developer Mojang Studios, happened organically. When viewed alongside more commercially minded endeavors, such as rapper Travis Scott unleashing a single in “Fortnite” via an interactive experience that attracted more than 27 million participants, this pandemic moment is arguably accelerating an entertainment and cultural landscape in which persistent and evolving virtual worlds don’t just live alongside content crafted by traditional media gatekeepers but become equally as vital. “Minecraft: Education Edition” has for the last few years played host to virtual curricula that have allowed students to visit and learn about global monuments, sharpen math skills, understand coding or take puzzle-filled explorations to places as varied as the human body or a NASA-approved jaunt into the International Space Station.” How it all evolves is something of an unknown, as evidenced by the fact that “Minecraft’s” own educational suite was birthed via the game-playing community rather than with the company behind it.“The example right now of universities and college campuses,” says Chiang, discussing “Minecraft” graduations at schools around the globe, “it actually would have been really difficult for us to re-create all these colleges. The fact that we have a tool that passionate Berkeley students can go build their campus, and passionate MIT students can build their campus, that’s where the magic happens. It is not that we do all of these things.” While no one knows yet how the gaming audience will shift when the world begins to emerge from the grips of COVID-19, it’s become clear that interactive entertainment is uniquely positioned for this moment. Almost daily we discover inventive tactics that users are wielding — not just via “Minecraft” or “Fortnite” but also “Animal Crossing,” Nintendo’s friendly, task-filled game that has become a coronavirus-era phenomena.“Minecraft,” which is turning 11 and is considered by many to be the top-selling game of all time, has now sold more than 200 million copies, says Chiang, and boasts 126 million active monthly players. In April alone, the game saw a 25% increase in new users over the previous month. People are also playing together — “Minecraft’s” multiplayer sessions surged 40% in April. While “Minecraft’s” popularity has never been in doubt, as Mojang Studios gets deeper into the game’s second decade, the company has been looking to expand the “Minecraft” brand. Mojang recently released the augmented-reality mobile game “Minecraft Earth” and on May 26 will issue the hack-and-slash game “Minecraft Dungeons” across multiple platforms. Learn more: EDTECHS DESIGNED THE BEST APPLICATION OF VOICE TECHNOLOGY IN AWS CHALLENGE. WHICH GETS YOUR VOTE?

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