Purpose and inclusivity central to Microsoft’s education strategy

techradar | January 29, 2020

Microsoft was out in force at BETT 2020 and TechRadar Pro sat down with Anthony Salcito, VP Education, to discuss the company’s education technology (EdTech) strategy. The software giant unveiled a range of small enhancements to its Office 365 product suite at the show, spanning tools such as PowerPoint, Teams, OneNote, Stream and Flipgrid. The additions, according to Salcito, “reflect some of the broader trends happening in the world of technology. [Microsoft is preparing for] the next generation of learning that will extend far beyond the classroom.” Exactly what he means by this becomes clear in the context of PowerPoint’s new feature, which allows teachers to broadcast their presentations to remote participants. The tool also supports real-time translation in more than 60 languages, allowing students of various nationalities to engage with the same lesson simultaneously.

Spotlight

“If you build it, they will come,” right? Unfortunately, this is rarely the case for training. Creating a successful program goes beyond selecting courses and implementing a learning management system. Success for your learning and development (L&D) team means high utilization of elearning and strong learner engagement. Yet, engaging learners at your organization can be a daunting task, so we've gathered simple, cost-effective strategies from companies just like yours to share with you.

Spotlight

“If you build it, they will come,” right? Unfortunately, this is rarely the case for training. Creating a successful program goes beyond selecting courses and implementing a learning management system. Success for your learning and development (L&D) team means high utilization of elearning and strong learner engagement. Yet, engaging learners at your organization can be a daunting task, so we've gathered simple, cost-effective strategies from companies just like yours to share with you.

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ONLINE EDUCATION

Surgent Accounting & Financial Education Presents Two New Online CPE Courses

Surgent | October 14, 2022

Surgent Accounting & Financial Education, a division of KnowFully Learning Group, today announced two new online continuing professional education (CPE) courses created to educate participants about the tax implications of matters recently enacted by President Joe Biden. One course examines how the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) impacts auto- and energy-related tax credits, and the other covers the effects of the new Student Debt Relief Plan on individuals and employers"The Inflation Reduction Act's Changes to Auto and Energy-Related Tax Credits (AEC2)" will air on Oct. 19 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET, while "Student Loan Repayment and Forgiveness: Analysis and Impact on Individuals and Employers (SLR2)" will air on Oct. 25 from 10 a.m. to noon ET. Each course will also be available on subsequent dates. Self-study will also be available. "Whether for individuals or businesses, tax planning requires an ever-evolving body of knowledge. Our goal at Surgent is to make that education as seamless and up-to-date as possible for tax professionals,These CPE courses address the tax implications of recent pronouncements that affect millions of Americans and U.S. businesses, and we know each will be extremely useful to our clientele." Nick Spoltore, Surgent's vice president of strategic content development. Surgent released a course addressing the initial impacts of the IRA immediately after it was passed in August 2022. This second course is distinct in that it addresses new details about tax credits that have largely emerged in the months following the IRA's passage.The IRA contains several changes to auto and energy-related tax credits, including some that are new and others that have been renamed. Many, if not most, of these credits reduce the cost of individual and business-related expenses. Surgent's AEC2 course covers the mechanics of the new and revised energy-related credits, such as for energy-efficient commercial vehicles, household-related utilities and improvements, and electric cars.The second course, based on the Student Debt Relief Plan, will help industry professionals to serve as critical resources for a large segment of the U.S. population. It is estimated that 70 percent of the educated workforce will have student loans in the coming years.The SLR2 course will thoroughly examine the Student Debt Relief Plan. Course discussion will also include the importance of year-end tax advice, especially for 2022, due to the Jan. 1, 2023, repayment restart and the income certification requirement; action plans for each student debt relief process; automation of IRS data into the various Department of Education systems; and much more.There is a growing need for tax professionals to better understand the intricacies of student loan debt relief as the IRS and Department of Education are automating this information process starting in mid-2023," said Spoltore. "This course will help practitioners digest the vital tax implications of student loan repayment and college funding, for both employers and employees. Each two-hour course is worth two CPE credits. Learn more about AEC2 and SLR2 and register today. About Surgent Surgent Accounting & Financial Education, a division of KnowFully Learning Group, is a provider of the high-impact education experiences that accounting, tax and financial professionals need throughout their careers. For most of the company's 35-year history, Surgent has been a trusted provider of the continuing professional education (CPE), continuing education (CE) and skill-based training that professionals need to maintain their credentials and stay current on industry changes. More recently, Surgent became one of the fastest-growing certification exam review providers, offering adaptive learning-based courses that help learners pass accounting and finance credentialing exams faster. About KnowFully KnowFully Learning Group provides continuing professional education, exam preparation courses and education resources to the accounting, finance and healthcare sectors. KnowFully's suite of learning solutions helps learners become credentialed, satisfy required credit hours to maintain credentials, and stay informed on the latest trends and critical changes in their industries over the course of their careers. The company provides exam preparation and continuing education for accounting, finance, and tax professionals under the Surgent Accounting & Financial Education brand. KnowFully's healthcare education brands include CME Outfitters, CE Concepts, PharmCon, The Rx Consultant, ChiroCredit, IA Med, EMT & Fire Training Inc., Psychotherapy.net and American Fitness Professionals & Associates.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

Snapology Celebrates National STEM Day as Leader in Education Space

Snapology | November 08, 2022

Snapology, the No. 1 children's STEM/STEAM franchise and part of the world's first Youth Enrichment franchise platform company Unleashed Brands, is celebrating National STEM Day (Nov. 8) after making tremendous strides in STEAM educational enrichment opportunities, franchise offerings, and helping millions of kids across the country develop foundational STEAM skills. The company is consistently seeing significant growth through franchise signings that will continue into 2023 as demand increases for STEAM-based learning programs nationwide. Since its acquisition and joining Unleashed Brands in July of 2021, the brand has been able to elevate its franchise offerings by launching a reimagined Discovery Center, developing a new business model with "Snapology-in-Urban Air," as well as continuing to offer mobile Snapology programs that allow franchisees to reach more families in the community. For franchisees, these redesigned business models offer a variety of revenue opportunities and the freedom to operate year-round. Year to date, the brand has opened 11 classrooms inside Urban Air Adventure Parks, seven community-based locations and two Discovery Center with one of the revamped Discovery Centers being the first-of-its-kind joint location with sister brand The Little Gym International. Snapology has also invested in perfecting the customer experience by offering new membership programs and gamifying education through their "Passport" program, which aims to encourage children to take classes to earn stamps and degrees to win swag and other prizes. This program entices children to continue their Snapology classes by creating incentives for children to learn fundamental STEAM skills, develop critical social skills and create recurring revenue for franchisees. Since the Unleashed Brands acquisition, Snapology has doubled franchise signings over the past year. In 2023, there are plans to open 15 new Discovery Center locations throughout the country, including debuts in New Braunfels and Cedar Park, TX, Lexington, SC, North Tampa, FL, Rogers, AR, Harrisonburg, VA, Troy, MI, San Diego, CA, and Lehi, UT. "We're incredibly grateful for our company's growth and success which reflects on the progress being made to revolutionize the way kids learn about STEAM, This year, National STEM Day is extra special to our team as we reflect on our success but more importantly, the impact Snapology has made to inspire the next generation of STEAM leaders." Laura Coe, Brand President & CEO for Snapology. The key to success has been the brand's understanding and commitment to play an active role in inspiring the next generation of scientists, engineers and mathematicians through excitement in STEAM concepts at an early age. Snapology encourages social skills and teamwork by teaching science, technology, engineering, art, math, and literacy concepts in a fun way. The brand uses a research-based curriculum, designed to be inclusive to all learning abilities with a hands-on teaching approach that uses LEGO® Bricks and other building toys, along with coding, video game design and robotics that encourage the perfect mix of play, academic enrichment, and social development. About Snapology Founded in 2010, Snapology is the #1 children's enrichment franchise in the country, giving children the opportunity to learn through play with more than 80 enriching, interactive STEAM and STEM programs. With over 180 locations in the U.S. and Internationally, Snapology is quickly growing and impacting children throughout the world with its balance of educational enrichment, social development, and fun. For more information about Snapology including franchise opportunities, visit www.Snapology.com. About Unleashed Brands Unleashed Brands, currently includes portfolio brands Urban Air, Snapology, The Little Gym, XP League, Class 101 and Premier Martial Arts and was founded to curate and grow a portfolio of the most innovative and profitable brands that help kids learn, play, and grow. Over the last 10 years, the team at Unleashed Brands has built a proven platform and know-how for scaling businesses focused on serving families. Its mission is to impact the lives of every kid by providing fun, engaging, and inspiring experiences that help them become who they are destined to be.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

Saritasa Develops Virtual Reality Training Program for Loadstar Railcar Inspecting & Loading

Saritasa Technology Solutions | September 21, 2022

Saritasa Technology Solutions, a software partner delivering innovative products and solutions to clients, has developed a new virtual reality (VR) training system for Loadstar, a provider of logistics and product handling services. The system provides a safe, interactive training environment that is faster, more efficient, and safer than previous training programs.Loadstar is the first logistics and product handling company to deploy VR for staff training. In an industry that emphasizes on-the-job training and keeping workers in the field, Loadstar has adopted a different strategy. They put safety and education at the forefront by bringing the on-site experience to trainees using VR. Saritasa developed a comprehensive general purpose railcar inspection & loading application. Trainees can practice completing all the steps required for a standard inspection without the need to travel on-site or work with trainers. Using VR, trainees get hands-on interaction, including visual quizzes and realistic animations. VR provides a more realistic experience and shortens the training process from weeks to days. We believe that our employees' overall safety and well-being start with training, said Stephen Williams, Manager of Operational Excellence.Traditionally, our industry has relied on classroom sessions and manual field training. Some employees have described it as 'death by powerpoint,' and they're not wrong. Loadstar is always looking ahead, and we wanted to bring the latest technology to our training program to create the safest environment possible. By working with Saritasa, we have designed a state-of-the-art training program that is more cost-effective and efficient. Before adopting VR for railcar inspection & loading training, Loadstar used extensive classroom training with lectures, presentations, and study materials. Once the classroom training was complete, new employees needed to apply the material they just learned to real-life field operations. This process could take several weeks as training was entirely dependent on how many and what kind of railcars came on-site on a particular day. Now, they are able to onboard and qualify operators in a fraction of the time. Using VR not only speeds up hands-on training but also standardizes training procedures. On-site, the quality of training can vary due to any number of factors; the manager on duty, the amount or type of railcars on-site, and environmental hazards. VR training eliminates any variance and provides a solid basis for every employee. It emulates field training to provide pre-site training experience, reducing the time and cost required for on-site training. "Developing a virtual training program for Loadstar is the ideal project for Saritasa's creative and skilled technologists, There are many steps in railcar inspection training, including examination around, under, and on top of different types of railcars. Our 3D design team was able to replicate a realistic environment while optimizing headset performance, and we are extremely pleased with the outcome." Aaron Franko, VP of Immersive Technology at Saritasa About Loadstar Loadstar provides product-handling services to refineries, chemical plants, barge lines, terminals, and distribution sites, loading and unloading cargo of all classifications into railcars, trucks, barges, and ships. Loadstar operates docks, tank farms, terminals, and warehouses, managing marine, rail, truck, and pipeline logistics. The company has its headquarters in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. About Saritasa Headquartered in Newport Beach, California, Saritasa aims to empower global brands with innovative, customized solutions that fit their needs and support an ever-evolving technology ecosystem. Saritasa specializes in custom software development, mobile development, augmented reality and virtual reality development, IoT solutions, web, database development, and DevOps. Founded in 2005, the Saritasa team employs over 140 employees and has delivered thousands of successful software, hardware, and mobile app projects to a range of clients across multiple industries.

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