Office 365 and Windows 10 in Algoma District Schools
In support of the Algoma District School Board‘s vision to engage learners in innovative experiences that maximize achievement, build confidence to develop responsible citizens, we are very pleased to have partnered with Microsoft to bring Microsoft Office and Office 365 to all students and teachers.
We are focused on preparing our students for success in a collaborative, engaging, dynamic, technology-intensive, and increasingly connected world. The Algoma District School Board is responding to these changes by supporting students and teachers in a rapidly changing, tech-driven, globalized environment. By investing in Office, we are equipping our students with the leading suite of tools to support the knowledge and skill development needed for today and for the future.
The Algoma District School Board recently replaced the existing fleet of Chromebooks with Windows 10 devices to further enhance the use of Office. This strategy was endorsed by Senior Administration, School Administrators, Program Staff, and the I.T. Department.
The decision to move to the Windows 10 devices supports our overall vision and continue d digital journey. We believe that Microsoft provides an incredible learning experience in our classrooms. Teachers and students are accessing Skype to connect with other classes, authors, experts, and professionals to globalize their learning experiences. The core suite of tools like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel are used extensively to collaborate on projects, create content, and then share it with teachers or other audiences through OneDrive. Sway is being used by students to quickly and dynamically present their learning to a wide range of audiences. Most recently, Forms have been introduced and teachers are using them to assess student understanding of content and provide immediate feedback to support student learning.
OneNote and Class Notebook have been transformational for many with its functionality and accessibility features. Students are able to create content through embedding audio, video, images, and speech-to-text through ‘Dictate’. The text-to-speech capabilities using the ‘Immersive Reader’ removes barriers for students and allows them to focus on the learning. Digital content is easily captured, organized and accessible for both students and teachers. Teachers are using Class Notebook to manage their digital content, as well as to capture and archive documentation of student learning.
The Algoma District School Board proudly supports our Educational Technology Leads, who are building positive relationships and assisting teachers with the integration of technology into the curriculum, and effectively using technology as a learning and teaching tool. The Educational Technology Leads have been a vital component for the implementation of Office 365. They collaborate with colleagues in job-embedded professional learning at their schools to support the integration of technology into real-world, authentic learning tasks enabled by technology like planning deep learning tasks and assessment practices. They are also showcasing and demonstrating current technologies like Sway, OneNote, and Forms to colleagues and students, and are providing school-based technology in-service for small group training and one-on-one support. The Educational Technology Leads nurture teacher-to-teacher, teacher-to-student and student-to-student learning partnerships at the schools.
The Educational Technology Leads participate in on-going professional learning as a collaborative group to explore new technologies and deepen their understanding and efficacy with technology-enabled learning and teaching. They recently participated in a Microsoft in the Classroom professional learning session with Dustin Jez from Fair Chance Learning. Future Microsoft in the Classroom professional learning sessions are being planned to explore innovative and creative ways to amplify learning.
The Algoma District School Board is supporting a shift in innovative practices and continuous improvement. As a system, we believe that providing our students and teachers with access to Microsoft Office in the Classroom and Windows 10 devices will provide them with access to the premier tools for innovation and success.
We are looking forward to future developments from Microsoft, and its commitment and support in the education sector.
Marty Stilin is the K-12 Technology and Data Management Coordinator with the Algoma District School Board.