‘How are you learning?’ Microsoft deploys power of virtual reality in its 21st century classroom

Microsoft is kick-starting the classroom of the future in Malta...

Microsoft’s 21st Century classroom project was launched at St Benedict’s College in Kirkop, where it has been piloted for the past weeks, with a demonstration of how virtual reality can be used for educational purposes.

The project is an investment by Microsoft of around €50,000 and is expected to kick off in the next scholastic year to give 1,500 students in ten State, Church and independent schools the opportunity to experience Microsoft’s latest technologies through the use of virtual reality in the class.

The ‘21st Century classroom’ will be permanently set up at the Microsoft Innovation Centre where more schools and students will have the opportunity to experience the use of technology in today’s education processes.

“We have been testing this project at St Benedict’s College with the constant guidance and assistance from our Microsoft Education Transformation Framework and the collaborative effort between the ST Benedict’s College, the Education Ministry and Microsoft,” Kevin Schembri, Senior Account Executive at Microsoft, said.

“For the aims of this project, we have been working to weave Microsoft’s solutions and technologies into the teaching process so to understand better how our resources can boost and make the teaching and learning experiences more effective.”

Mary Downing, Business Development Manager of the Microsoft Innovation Centre, who is overseeing the whole project, said: “It is more important than ever before to give teachers, educators and students the technology that can help them self-direct their learning experience a little bit more. A case in point is our suite of Microsoft Learning Tools which today have around ten million users around the world which have been proven to improve reading levels by up to 10%. More importantly, technology is helping teachers create an all-inclusive learning environment for all students. In fact, it is Microsoft’s commitment to help teachers create a Universal Design for Learning environment.”

Universal Design for Learning is a set of scientifically proven principles that guide the development of flexible learning environments that accommodate individual learning differences and give all students equal opportunities to learn.

To date, the Microsoft Innovation Centre in Malta has hosted around 900 workshops and training courses for over 12,000 students, teachers and professionals. Microsoft’s investment in the MIC over the past four years has been of over €3 million. In 2016, the Malta MIC was handpicked by Microsoft's MIC Programme to benefit from an interactive Innovation Pilot Workshop for 200 students in partnership with Microsoft’s Learning Experience Team.