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

It’s no secret that Learning and Development plays a vital role in engaging employees, attracting and retaining talent, and nurturing leadership. In fact, L+D Departments are often the driving force in initiating their companies’ competitive edge.However, there have been some big shifts in the evolution of learning strategies worldwide, and here, we reveal the key trends that will impact the ability of business leaders to successfully guide their organisations to success.

Spotlight

It’s no secret that Learning and Development plays a vital role in engaging employees, attracting and retaining talent, and nurturing leadership. In fact, L+D Departments are often the driving force in initiating their companies’ competitive edge.However, there have been some big shifts in the evolution of learning strategies worldwide, and here, we reveal the key trends that will impact the ability of business leaders to successfully guide their organisations to success.

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ONLINE EDUCATION

BackTo.Biz Launches to Provide Free Online Learning Tools to Help Small Businesses Pivot, Recover and Grow

BackTo.Biz | August 31, 2021

A coalition of leading businesses and non-profits today partnered with Howard Schultz, the emes project, and CreativeLive to announce the launch of BackTo.Biz: a free online learning program created to help small businesses develop knowledge and skills to accelerate their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Featuring a collection of 400+ individual video lessons, articles and tools from a diverse and renowned set of innovative entrepreneurs, the BackTo.Biz program is designed to help small business owners expand their knowledge and skills on a wide range of topics, including: hiring talent, selling online, building their brands, pivoting business models, creating new revenue streams, finding their ideal customers, managing stress and more. The BackTo.Biz program was funded by former Starbucks ceo and chairman emeritus Howard Schultz and the emes project, and co-created with CreativeLive, a global leader in online learning. To reach as many small businesses as possible and share additional best-in-class learning resources from top tier brands, BackTo.Biz has teamed up with a coalition of non-profit and business leaders to raise awareness of the program, including: Ascend, Chase, Community Reinvestment Fund USA (CRF), Facebook, Grow with Google, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, Intentionalist, Main Street America, Microsoft, Reimagine Main Street, Salesforce, Starbucks, Shopify, and CO— by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "Small businesses, the very fabric of our communities, are struggling due to seismic changes in consumer behavior and the economy that have been unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic," said Howard Schultz, former Starbucks ceo and chairman emeritus and founder of the emes project. "BackTo.Biz provides valuable lessons and skills to help small businesses adapt, pivot, and thrive in this critical moment." "Online learning has the power to help small businesses develop actionable skills to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic," said Chase Jarvis, ceo of CreativeLive. "The free content taught by a diverse group of renowned entrepreneurs on BackTo.Biz will help small business owners recover and grow stronger than ever before." ABOUT BACKTO.BIZ BackTo.Biz is a free online learning program created specifically for small business owners brought to you by CreativeLive, a global leader in online learning. Featuring a collection of 400+ individual video lessons, articles and tools from a diverse and renowned set of innovative entrepreneurs, the BackTo.Biz program was developed to support, inform and inspire small business owners as they navigate the seismic shifts to the economy and consumer behavior caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

Verizon introduces BlueJeans for Remote Learning

Verizon Sourcing LLC | October 28, 2021

Verizon Business today announced new BlueJeans Meetings enhancements, including a bundle of features to support hybrid and remote learning. Available as part of specific BlueJeans Meetings plans, or for education customers at a special discounted rate, the new BlueJeans Remote Learning feature pack allows instructors to build a custom teaching experience without the overhead associated with hosting traditional online classes. Despite connectivity, education and delivery challenges faced by universities and corporate training leaders at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers and students are realizing the benefits of leveraging remote learning tools for education. Adopting an engaging approach to online teaching could further improve operations and students’ experiences. Intended for the classroom setting, online instruction or corporate learning sessions, BlueJeans’ Remote Learning features focus on making the teacher a central part of the learning environment and provides the opportunity for educators to bring their own unique style into the remote setting. “Teachers are telling us they’re lost, and they’re struggling to keep students engaged in today’s live virtual setting. Having to spend time playing administrator and technical support expert is minimizing their ability to think through compelling, interactive ways to deliver the curriculum virtually. By bringing together our comprehensive education, collaboration and training features into one consolidated experience, we’re making it easy for teachers to operationalize their learning environment so they can go back to focusing on what matters most—educating students.” Amy Jefferson, Head of Americas Revenue and Growth, BlueJeans by Verizon Simplified, Customizable Classroom Management By turning on the Teacher Dashboard, BlueJeans provides instructors with all the necessary classroom management tools they need in one place, making it easier for educators to navigate the complexities of virtual teaching environments so they can focus on having fun with teaching. Designed to save teachers time from the administrative duties of hosting a virtual class, these tools provide easy access to arrange students in gallery view or spotlight a presenter, share content, chat and so much more. Furthermore, going beyond “just meeting” virtually, instructors will now have the ability to build a custom teaching experience that is best suited for their lessons, students and teaching style. This dynamic view intelligently arranges participants on screen, giving full visibility to the instructors of everything that’s happening in their classroom. ​Inclusive and Engaging Learning Environment As a core element of effective learning, student engagement has traditionally been harder to unlock in virtual settings. Optimized for student engagement, BlueJeans’ Remote Learning features allow the entire class and instructor to collaborate and engage with the information being discussed. The always accessible chat wizard, breakout sessions, participant reactions, intelligent highlights and multi-participant whiteboard increases opportunities for everyone to engage during a live teaching session. Key Remote Learning features include: Customizable Layouts: See your entire classroom in one view along with all the tools needed to effectively run and manage your session. Flexible Views: View the entire class in gallery view or the way you like. Sort the video layout on participation level, alphabetical or in priority of raised hand first. Student Rosters: Know your audience. Keep track of who is joining the session and who is in the waiting room (if activated). Floating Chats: Never miss a beat or simply multi-task with the new floating chat wizard. Continue messaging while sharing content, whiteboarding or annotating. Teaching Apps: Elevate the effectiveness of remote learning sessions with quick access to all the essential teaching applications, such as Collab Board, Breakout Sessions, Polling/Q&A and Smart Meeting highlights. About Verizon Verizon Communications Inc. was formed on June 30, 2000 and is one of the world’s leading providers of technology and communications services. Headquartered in New York City and with a presence around the world, Verizon generated revenues of $128.3 billion in 2020. The company offers data, video and voice services and solutions on its award-winning networks and platforms, delivering on customers’ demand for mobility, reliable network connectivity, security and control.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

Verizon Explores the 5G Future of Learning at Arizona State University 5G Innovation Hub

Verizon | January 14, 2022

Verizon and Arizona State University are exploring how 5G can enable immersive educational experiences and transform the future of learning. To do this, Verizon has launched a 5G Innovation Hub at the University's Learning Futures Collaboratory, Studios and Emporium. Students, faculty, entrepreneurs, and corporate partners can now work together at the Hub to test and create 5G-powered educational experiences that are more inclusive, equitable and accessible. Digital equity is on the national agenda as leaders aim to address the digital divide, deepened during the pandemic. And in Arizona where as many as one million residents, including more than 200,000 students, do not have regular access to the internet, ASU has been instrumental in leading a series of initiatives aimed at surfacing solutions to help further close the digital divide. The first program to launch out of the 5G Innovation Hub at ASU will be “The Digital Equity Jam” sponsored by Verizon, AWS and Inseego. This program kicks off in early February 2022. Competing teams will develop use cases showcasing how Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband and mobile edge compute can be used to help bridge the digital divide. Focus areas will include health, climate, poverty, human rights and education. The winning team will receive project seed funding, access to intensive summer entrepreneurship training in partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and VentureWell, and the opportunity to pitch their venture to CGI in fall 2022. “Working with ASU, we have an extraordinary opportunity to research and develop new 5G-enabled experiences that can improve remote learning and help bridge the digital divide. Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband’s super-fast speeds, high bandwidth and low latency can enhance applications ranging from immersive education to connected communities. By collaborating with ASU’s researchers, we hope to accelerate the innovation process and develop technology that will harness the full potential of 5G and edge compute.” Tami Erwin, Verizon Business CEO “We are in the most transformative technological moment since the early stages of the industrial revolution. And even with the social, political, and economic impacts that we are still learning to navigate as a society, there have been incredibly meaningful results from this use of technology,” said ASU President Michael Crow this morning during a keynote with Erwin at the Smart Region Summit. “Who gets educated is no longer socially stratified, we are able to unleash human creativity in ways not possible before…and so what these technologies that leverage broadband at the fastest speeds and most advanced level imaginable allow us to create is an environment in which the person, the learner, becomes emotionally connected in the story around the learning process itself. At ASU, we’ve become, with this next phase of our partnership with Verizon, the furthest at the tip of the spear to be empowered with technology and continue to improve the ways in which we learn, work and live.” Additionally, ASU plans to continue testing and deploying a variety of immersive educational experiences, powered by Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband and mobile edge compute. Students will be able to enter a Dreamscape pod where they can experience a Biology class in virtual reality (VR). Remote students will have access to a VR and web browser version. 5G use cases being explored will also include a career arcade using VR, where students can experience a day in the life of certain careers. 5G applications are also being tested for athlete performance analytics applications and virtual fighter pilot training. This engagement is part of Verizon’s broader strategy to partner with enterprises, startups, universities, national labs and government/military to explore how 5G can disrupt and transform nearly every industry. Verizon operates five 5G Labs in the U.S. and one in London that specialize in developing use cases in industries ranging from healthcare to public safety to entertainment. In addition, Verizon is collaborating with several customers to establish 5G Innovation Hubs on-premises as part of an ongoing initiative to co-innovate and create new 5G applications. Verizon's long-standing relationship with ASU includes collaboration and support for Verizon Innovative Learning, Verizon's award-winning education initiative addressing barriers to digital inclusion and a key program under Citizen Verizon, the company’s responsible business plan for economic, environmental and social advancement. The initiative includes bringing 5G to schools, enabling more robust, immersive learning experiences via technologies like artificial intelligence, 3D printing, augmented and virtual reality. Students leverage technology, social innovation and design thinking through a project-based online curriculum, developed by the J.Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute at ASU, to positively impact their communities. Verizon's partnership with ASU also extends to Verizon Innovative Learning HQ, a free next-gen online education portal that includes content curated by ASU, among other academic institutions, that provides immersive AR and VR experiences paired with lesson plans. Through Citizen Verizon, the company is committed to providing 10 million youths with digital skills training by 2030, among other goals. About Verizon: Verizon Communications Inc. was formed on June 30, 2000 and is one of the world’s leading providers of technology and communications services. Headquartered in New York City and with a presence around the world, Verizon generated revenues of $128.3 billion in 2020. The company offers data, video and voice services and solutions on its award-winning networks and platforms, delivering on customers’ demand for mobility, reliable network connectivity, security and control.

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