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How Digitally-Enabled Teaching Can Reignite a Love of Learning

How Digitally-Enabled Teaching Can Reignite a Love of Learning

This post is sponsored by Microsoft

Originally published October 2023

By Dr. Elka Walsh, Associate Vice President, Learning & Teaching, at Microsoft Canada

The dedicated teachers I speak with every day tell me that students in 2023 are smart, passionate, and empathetic. They also tell me that today’s students are exhausted, overwhelmed and, in some cases, disengaged, three and a half years after the start of the pandemic.

At Microsoft, we recently commissioned a survey with Fuse Insights of more than 500 Canadian teachers and education leaders to assess the challenges that educators are facing. The results were concerning but not surprising.

According to the survey, most (90 percent) teachers agree that teaching can and should evolve to meet the needs of today’s students, but only half (52 percent) say they’re currently teaching students in ways that are relevant to the skills they need for the future. A majority (79 percent) of teachers believe digital literacy and digital citizenship are essential, but these skills are only taught in 22 and 53 percent of classrooms respectively. And perhaps the most startling: fewer than half of teachers surveyed (48 percent) say current teaching methods are inclusive and only 46 percent feel students are taught in ways that are responsive to their individual needs.

The good news is that if we arm teachers with the skills they need to reach students where they are, we can address these gaps to reignite a love of learning and help students thrive in a digital world. That means making the most of the digitally-enabled platforms that allow teachers to be responsive to individual student needs, and providing professional development that educators need to make the most of these tools. It means reimagining learning models to better align with real-world problem solving.

Microsoft is driving innovation in the education space, working closely with teachers to develop apps, games, and devices to empower student and teacher success.

Immersive Reader, Translator, Dictation, and Live Captions are just a few Accessibility Tools that help foster a learning environment where all students feel included and have the solutions and resources they need to succeed. With Microsoft 365, education accessibility is built in. Teachers are able to design a learning environment where all students can fully participate with a range of inclusive tools built right into M365.

Earlier this year, we introduced Learning Accelerators at our Microsoft Reimagine Education event. This new category of learning tools helps support and streamline the creation, review, and analysis of student progress and development across academic subjects. Tools like Microsoft’s Reflect create a safe space for self-awareness and invite students to visualize and communicate their feelings with the help of an engaging cast of characters called the Feelings Monsters. This free app (built right into Microsoft Teams) helps young learners broaden their vocabulary, promotes responsible decision-making, and allows students to practice asking for help in a safe environment accessible only by their teachers.

These tools empower teachers to do what they do best. When students are more engaged, it helps them feel more welcome and included, which in turn helps improve their overall well-being. With a growth mindset, we can create new experiences for students that prepare them for the future and create a fulfilling life.  

We’d love to connect. You can reach out to us here to learn more about how we can, together, design the future of learning to understand what’s right for you and your classroom.