I was recently invited to the #GearUp event at the Saint Louis Galleria Microsoft Store by Power Blogger Robyn Wright from RobynsOnlineWorld. Robyn was a panelist alongside three other thought-leaders discussing Microsoft’s dedication to helping children globally learn with safe technology that is accessible and user-friendly. Parade magazine’s Editor In Chief Maggie Murphy was also on hand to moderate the panel and highlight Parade’s upcoming Education issue, which Microsoft is a partner. The talk fused together ideas and perspectives from the parenting view, the educational view, and Microsoft’s view as a developer of products and as a seller of their ecosystem.
As a parent myself and a heavy user of Everyday Tech, this was an event that I wanted to participate in. Having an adult aged son who is in college and a daughter headed to the fifth grade, I am always looking for information, resources, and tools to help me as a parent and educational partner with their schools. I’ve always understood education to be a a two-way street—a collaborative effort between the parent and the school. If we don’t do our job to help affirm the teachings of the school, then we fail. And if the school doesn’t encourage parental involvement and the sharing of tools and resources that can be used at home, then they fail. We are all in this together.
During the discussion, much was talked about the importance of technology to help our children learn and grow. Not just from a science and math aspect, but also language and fine arts and creatively. We have to meet our children where they are, as they all have their own ways of learning. Microsoft is innovative with their educational offerings for children, parents, and educators, and that is something that I can appreciate. As a huge Apple ecosystem user (full disclosure here), I still utilize Microsoft tools on a regular basis (Microsoft Office 365 and Bing). While I enjoy the simplicity of Apple’s products, I am more productive utilizing the Microsoft software.
Microsoft has created Bing in the Classroom, a totally safe and unobtrusive search environment for students and teachers so that they can learn and not be sold to. Both Bing in the Classroom and Microsoft 365 are “breadcrumb free”, meaning that the search information of their users is protected. This makes me feel good knowing that when my daughter is online using Bing in the Classroom, she has a “clean” search experience with no strings attached.
Skype is another Microsoft product that is used in the classroom to not only educate, but to connect students around the globe. And that makes for an awesome learning experience.
It is conversations like these that help us become better parents, teachers, and students, and a better world.
Thank you to Microsoft and Robyn for the #GearUp invite.
Oh, and did I mention that we got to take home a fabulous Dell Venue Pro 8 Tablet with Windows 8? The Chicklet is going to love her Back to School gift!