Bett 2019 opened its doors earlier this week. This year’s education technology show has a focus on supporting the needs and abilities of students and teachers alike, be that through personalised products and games or recognising the importance of emotion in learning.
According to a recent blog post by the Microsoft Education Team, new research commissioned by Microsoft and carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit stresses the importance of a student’s well-being and positive mindsets when it comes to achievement and success, highlights of which were presented as a Bett keynote. The study also showed that emotion hugely influences cognition, and as such, positive emotions are linked to academic achievement and well-being.
In addition, in order to bring out the best in education and support teachers and students, Microsoft is trying to help educators improve teaching and learning in an affordable and manageable way.
“At Bett this year we have announced new low-cost devices in association with our partners, the Microsoft Classroom Pen and a set of updates to Microsoft Teams for Education, including integration with Turnitin,” wrote Chris Rothwell, director of Education at Microsoft UK in a recent blogpost.
Microsoft also made two announcements at the show on ways to make learning more accessible.
“First, we’re previewing Immersive Reader in virtual reality (VR),” said Rothwell. “It is amazing to see how quickly we’re integrating Immersive Reader across different technologies but seeing it within a VR environment is very inspiring.
The second announcement was Code Jumper, a project from Microsoft Research that we are releasing with help from the American Printing House for the Blind.” Basic coding and computational tools are currently very visual and are therefore exclude those with little or no vision. Code Jumper uses physical blocks to teach the same principles.
“The world is becoming digital, and the role of teachers in preparing their students for a life of rapid change has never been more complex or important. With new technologies impacting our lives, young people need to enter the workforce with the skills to be a lifelong learner, knowing that any single career path could be disrupted.”