Microsoft recently announced a long-term partnership with Eshe’s Learning Centre, an institution established in Woodbrook over 30 years ago to provide differently-abled children with a first-rate education. To launch the partnership, Microsoft and CMR & Company Limited donated eight HP laptops equipped with Windows 8 to the school.
With a population of 200 boys and girls from ages 5 to 16 years old, and only 17 computers to service their needs, the laptops will further empower and transform the way in which staff work. Not only has the donation fulfilled a critical need by adding additional computer hardware to what is already in rotation but also it comes at a time when the school’s leaders are placing a greater emphasis on learning through technology by utilising best-in-class solutions.
“Eshe’s is in the process of rebranding itself as we are aware that technology is the way of the future. We recognise the value in our students becoming more computer literate and in allowing technology to reinforce the instructions given by teachers,” said Kitts Cadette, Principal, Eshe’s Learning Centre, during the presentation of the laptops which took place on Thursday, September 4th, 2014 at the school.
Gregory Ali, Technology Manager, CMR & Company Limited, agreed that providing access to advanced IT skills and education is a crucial element of the global approach to youth development and worldwide economic growth.
“CMR immediately said yes to the opportunity to partner with Microsoft. We chose to work with the organisation because we are equally committed to creating opportunities for youth that improve their employability and entrepreneurship, education, digital inclusion, and helps unleash creativity and innovation,” Ali said.
“As a provider of technology, this initiative allows us to promote its use and importance for education and it also gives us a chance to have a positive impact on society by enabling the students of Eshe’s to reach their full potential.
Microsoft has also embarked upon a “Train the Trainer” programme at the school. On August 28th, all 34 teachers received training from Yudhistre Vinni Jonas, a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft TT, on the development of mobile applications using Microsoft’s browser-based platform, Windows App Studio. Three teachers, Nekyhlia Sammuel, Jalisa Best and André Paul, are now creating an app for parents that will provide vital information about the school such as key dates, announcements and learning strategies, and they plan to unveil the app in the coming weeks.
“I always thought that creating an app was a far-fetched thing only technical people could do,” said Sammuel. “It was an amazing experience and one that I’m excited and eager to share with my students.”
Microsoft technology is used in 98 percent of schools worldwide. Microsoft Office 365 Education, an enterprise-quality communication and collaboration tool available in the cloud, is currently used by 110 million students, faculty and staff. This always-on cloud service guarantees that student data will never be mined for advertising.
Student Advantage, available for free through qualifying institutions, includes the entire Office suite and more than 4 million students are already getting Office 365 Professional Plus from their schools since it was launched in December 2013. Microsoft Office has also proved valuable to students; a recent IDC study found Microsoft Office proficiency is among the top 20 skills required for high-growth/high-salary occupations.
Windows Intune is a cloud service that allows school IT administrators to manage Windows, Windows Phone, Android and iOS devices connected to their network over the Web, eliminating the need to own each device or to use onsite servers.
Microsoft offers resources to train teachers on new technology, including the Partners in Learning Network that reaches nearly 1 million educators worldwide and includes online professional development, how-to tutorials, and learning activities created by teachers for teachers.
Microsoft IT Academy provides industry-leading technology skills to more than 8.5 million teachers and students in 130 countries to help bridge the technology skills gap. In addition, Microsoft has helped educators around the world successfully incorporate technology into the classroom to enhance the learning experience for their students through programs such as Teaching With Technology.
“Microsoft has great strengths in education. Not just in terms of technology that students use but in academic programmes as well. We are doing immense teacher training globally and here in Trinidad and Tobago, retooling them on how to use technology in the classroom and how to really infuse technology as a whole into the curriculum,” said Monique Ragbir, Marketing Communications Manager, Microsoft TT. “We are happy that we could leverage partners like CMR to benefit Eshe’s and demonstrate the capabilities of Microsoft with regards to servicing students with special needs.”