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How Microsoft is modernizing the classroom with technology

Microsoft in schools
(Image credit: Future)
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Microsoft in schools

(Image credit: Future)

Microsoft is a strong believer in empowering students to be independent through technology. Earlier this week, the Redmond-based company held a special education event at its flagship retail store to show what it and its partners are working on to help empower the children of tomorrow through their studies.

From accessibility programs, Minecraft virtual classrooms and HoloTours in Windows Mixed Reality (opens in new tab), Microsoft enriching learning with the latest technology.

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Snap + Core First

Microsoft Education

(Image credit: Future)

Some school laptops, like the Dell Chromebook 11 (opens in new tab), come with lights to help students too shy or unable to raise their hands, but what about after the teacher calls on them? Snap + Core First (opens in new tab) is a symbol-based communication application designed to help those with speech and language disabilities express themselves in the classroom.

Immersive Reader

Microsoft Education

(Image credit: Future)

Part of Microsoft’s free Learning Tools, Immersive Reader (opens in new tab) can improve reading and writing for people regardless of their age or ability. The program can read text out loud, break it into syllables, and increase spacing between lines and letters for easier reading.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Education

(Image credit: Future)

Microsoft Teams (opens in new tab) might seem simply like a Slack competitor for businesses at first blush, but it has also become an important tool for classrooms. The application can help drive collaborative classrooms, making team work on shared projects simpler, while giving students a space where they can all be heard no matter their ability to communicate.

OneNote

Microsoft Education

(Image credit: Future)

OneNote (opens in new tab) is a powerful catch all tool for written notes, drawn diagrams and marking up papers. However, it’s made even better with all the collaborative features built into it, plus the ability to plug it directly into Microsoft Teams makes sharing the virtual classroom easy.

Sound Trap

Microsoft Education

(Image credit: Future)

Like Audacity on steroids meets Office 365 or Google Drive, Sound Trap (opens in new tab) is a collaborative music making and sound mixing application made for everyone. Better yet, the software is all available on the web, so its platform agnostic; users on PCs, Macs or even Chromebooks can easily join add their own tracks, play with the synthesizer and add their touch to the music.

Fluid Math

Microsoft Education

(Image credit: Future)

For everyone who went to school and remembers how terrible those algebra questions that asked you about ‘two trains leaving the station at different times,’ be jealous that there’s a better way now. Fluid Math (opens in new tab) adds a visual cue to equations, so you can really see which train arrive first and see the real impact numbers can have on life.

Education Workshop

Microsoft Education

(Image credit: Future)

STEM is all the rage in schools and Microsoft is putting the curriculum to practical experiments. The Education Workshop (opens in new tab) is a collection of fun and practical experiments that has kids creating a controllable robotic hand, testing water quality and launching HotWheels cars through a loopy de loop. All the experiments are available for free online and are designed to be easy to construct from household items.

Microsoft MakeCode

Microsoft Education

(Image credit: Future)

Programming can be tough to get into, but Microsoft MakeCode (opens in new tab) turns the process into a simple and visual plug and play interface. Once kids get the hang of programming robots or Arduino-controlled lights, they can switch the interface to JavaScript and really start learning how coding languages work.

Minecraft: Education Edition

Microsoft Education

(Image credit: Future)

Minecraft has proven to be a great educational tool already in its base form, but the Education Edition (opens in new tab) turns the experience into virtual classrooms. We got a short demo in which we created compounds from basic elements. Then we constructed a balloon by combining helium, latex and some twine to help some pigs fly.

Code Connection

Microsoft Education

(Image credit: Future)

Plugging directly into Minecraft: Education Edition, Code Connection (opens in new tab) lets you code scripts to automatically build structures in the game. Alternatively, students could give Agent Trials a try and program a robot to navigate through maze in Minecraft.

Windows Mixed Reality: HoloTour

Windows Mixed Reality

(Image credit: Future)

Go around the world and take a step back in time with HoloTour (opens in new tab) in Windows Mixed Reality. It’s one thing to read about the Roman Circus Maximus, but HoloTour lets you experience the scale of locations as if you’re right there. On top of that, the experiences blend together real-life 360 video with computer generated graphics for interactive experiences.

Kevin Lee was a former computing reporter at TechRadar. Kevin is now the SEO Updates Editor at IGN based in New York. He handles all of the best of tech buying guides while also dipping his hand in the entertainment and games evergreen content. Kevin has over eight years of experience in the tech and games publications with previous bylines at Polygon, PC World, and more. Outside of work, Kevin is major movie buff of cult and bad films. He also regularly plays flight & space sim and racing games. IRL he's a fan of archery, axe throwing, and board games.