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Using technology in the classroom is a debatable topic. One thing is not debatable – technology is quite unavoidable. Slowly but surely, technology is making its way into schools and classrooms across the globe. Some educators are welcoming these changes with open arms, while others are still somewhat reluctant to accept the inevitable.
This is not necessarily a bad thing! Introducing technology in the classroom can raise productivity, increase participation, elevate grades and scores, and create an overall engaging and challenging environment for students. It really depends on the teacher, and on how these innovations are introduced.
At Microsoft Virtual Academy, there are 37 courses which provide educator resources and tools. These educator courses have been available for several years on MVA, and more courses are being added.
Examples of the top courses in the educator section are Teacher Academy – In the Cloud File Storage, Collaboration and Communication with Office 365, Hour of Code Event Training, Teacher Academy: Get More Out of Office Online and OneDrive, and Teacher Academy: Windows: The World Is Your Classroom.
Course Review: Create a Survey in Excel Online
One of the most popular courses in the section is Create a Survey in Excel Online, instructed by Becky Keene and Natasha Chornesky. It is a very quick and easy course, meant for educators who are interested in getting more out of Excel in their classroom.
There is only one topic covered in this course: how to create an Excel survey online. These kinds of surveys can help teachers get the information they need, quicker. This Level 100 course is probably the shortest course in the entire Academy. It is only several minutes long, and it's worth two points. This course is rated 5 out of 5 stars, and has no prerequisites.
Chornesky is a Microsoft LeX Academic, and Educator Experience Lead for Microsoft's Academic Team.
Keene is Kent School District Technology Integration Specialist and Microsoft Innovative Educator.
Course Review: Teacher Academy: The Ultimate Collaboration Tool: An Introduction to OneNote
Another very popular course in the educator section is Teacher Academy: The Ultimate Collaboration Tool: An Introduction to OneNote. It has no formal instructor, and is essentially a series of slideshows with voiceover.
The topics covered in this course are:
- Course Introduction
- Getting Started with OneNote
- Enhancing Productivity with OneNote
- Getting the Most out of OneNote
- Delivering Curriculum with OneNote
- OneNote Class/Staff Notebook
- Course Summary
- Reference Library
This course is worth 301 points. Includes eight modules, and five assessment exams. Using OneNote effectively can make a huge difference in the flow of the classroom, and educators who have started using OneNote have not looked back. This course is rated 5 out of 5 stars.
This is one of the more unique courses with the Academy. It is one of the only ones which consists of a slideshow presentation from start to finish.
Being an educator can be tough. It is a very demanding job, and at times it can be very frustrating. Technology aims to make things easier, and there is no place where this is more evident than in the classroom. Using technology in the classroom – whether it is at a traditional school or at a home-school setting – is a recipe for success. Obviously, it has to be done right.
Even those who are not too keen on letting technology into the classroom, can still use technology to their advantage. Using the wide range of educational programs available, teachers and educators can make their life a whole lot easier.