The focus of any education technology must be on the skills that students and learners need and how technology can be used as an enabler to develop skills, says technology multinational Microsoft South Africa MD Zoaib Hoosen.
The role of any education technology must be to empower educators and learners to focus on learning outcomes. Technology cannot replace great teaching, but it can allow for new approaches to learning that will help teachers challenge, inspire and engage learners.
Microsoft South Africa has been leveraging its partnership with the Western Cape Department of Education since 2015 to determine how best to use technology as an enabler in imparting skills such as critical decision-making and creativity to adapt to the changing world.
“Microsoft and the Department of Education believe that technology in the classroom should be transparent and provide learning experiences built on simplicity, engagement and digital skills development.”
The new classroom systems must allow for creation, collaboration and exploration, and accommodate any learning style, while remaining grounded in learning outcomes, says Cape Town Science Centre director Julie Cleverdon.
Microsoft exhibited various education technology systems at the centre last month and provided training for teachers regarding the implementation of new curricula and the use of technology systems to present their lessons and make them more interactive, engaging and educational.
“Microsoft’s goal is to bring about widespread digital transformation in schools, harnessing technology that fosters collaboration and the sharing of ideas to provide children and young people with the relevant skills they will need in an ever-changing world,” says Hoosen.
The shifting expectations of learners and the learning process are paramount and must be the driving forces of conversations about how best to use technology in the classroom. Specifically, a foundation and long-term vision for how technology can impact on learning outcomes must be explored and developed.
“By leveraging technology in the classroom, learners will learn how to provide solutions for tomorrow’s problems, create opportunities for self-employment, generate innovative new business models and create thriving businesses that will employ tomorrow’s digitally empowered workforce,” concludes Hoosen.