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innedBeing a Microsoft Innovative Educator and more recently asked to be a ‘Fellow’ I have gained many insightful views to the direction that Microsoft have been taking in regards to education and their role in it.

What I have been most impressed about is the ‘light-touch’ of this vision in the way that It has been gradually unveiled to us within the Innovative Educator programme and through the Educator Network. The focus has always been based around seeing and celebrating the good practice that goes on in classrooms, worldwide, and how much they can learn from us as well as giving us the tools to help improve our practice. From all my dealings with people in the company, there has been nothing but positivity and praise. Indeed, this can be seen in Anthony Salcito’s DailyEdventures Blog – something that  I had the recent privilege of being interviewed for at the latest Bett Show. This engagement demonstrates to me that Microsoft Education continues to move strongly in the direction of listening.

Listening to what educators are doing in the classroom; listening to what educators feel is important to them and listening to see how we can celebrate these achievements in Global Gatherings. I relish my time working with the many different people who are working hard around the world to improve the lives of children as well as enhance the teaching and learning process.

But this has to be a two way relationship and I am more than happy to be a person who uses and celebrates the many different products that Microsoft has to offer. With the latest introduction of free Office365 into classrooms and homes in Northern Ireland, there are even greater opportunities for our education system. As well as this, within our C2k Managed network, we get access to the office apps as well as being able to use MovieMaker Live or install Worldwide Telescope and, just this week, Minecraft being delivered to every Post-Primary School in Northern Ireland through CultureTECH.

In an earlier post, that I have to complete, I celebrated the use of OneNote as an educational tool. As much as I learn it each day, the more I see that I can do and haven’t used it to its full potential. This is a programme that has so much potential across the range of schools.

My most recent acquisition has been my Surface Pro3. This has been a game changingpro device and one that has endless potential in the classroom. As the W8.1 environment evolves into W10, I can see it getting more of a place in my workplace.

surface3The impending launch of the Surface 3 make this tablet device even more appealing and I look forward to seeing it in action and reporting on how it is used in the classroom. I was a great fan of the original Surface RT and still feel that it can be a major asset to the classroom. Many of the apps are well suited to the daily use of pupils and teachers, alike. I look forward to seeing, for example, the excellent work that Kate Murray (@kateingalway) from Clontuskert School in Galway will do with hers and the use Chekhov Story Maker. Innovators such as Kate show that the right tools in the right hands can transform lives and expectations.

I firmly believe that the Surface 3, in tandem with the Surface Pro 3, will show that Microsoft have their eye firmly on supporting the creativity and productivity of teachers and children alike. Hopefully, there will be more to report on the forthcoming Surface 3 release and its impact in the classroom.

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