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Before and beyond remote learning

Jeramie Sutton, Microsoft Senior Executive, leading Microsoft’s customer and government engagement for schools

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Explore how and why technology was being used before remote learning, how it’s changed, and look at some examples from Microsoft of how things might evolve in the coming years as we look towards a Hybrid Education future. 

Overview – Before and beyond remote learning 

Look back to where we’ve come from and then forward to where Microsoft in education is going to take us. The pandemic has seen a rapid expansion in the use of technology to support remote learning, but EdTech was used long before Covid-19 appeared.  

 

 

Jeramie Sutton, MicrosoftJeramie Sutton

Senior Education Executive

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Keynote: Before and beyond Remote Learning

Jeramie has spent her adult career working in the technology sector. Having supported all parts of public sector from local government to housing to healthcare, Jeramie’s true passion is education which she has helped lead at HP and Microsoft in the UK. Dedicated to helping schools achieve meaningful outcomes through the use of technology, Jeramie’s job is education schools lead for Microsoft, leading executive customer engagement across England, Scotland and Wales. She is also a STEM ambassador, a mentor for youth charity Urban Synergy and a trustee at a large MAT in the South-West. With a personal enthusiasm for helping young people from all backgrounds achieve their full potential she is privileged to support schools, large and small, in using technology to deliver educational transformation. 

Next Steps

Scomis has 40 years of experience in providing ICT services to schools, so we understand the challenges you face and know the solutions that are going to help overcome them. By providing flexible access to technical expertise, we aim to help you to get the most out of your ICT and to exploit relevant, new technologies.  

The last couple of years has seen a rapid adoption of cloud-based learning platforms by schools and we are pleased to have worked with so many of our customers to make them a success. 

Contact us to find out more. 

Other Related Topics 

If you’d like to hear more from other practitioners about how Microsoft technologies are changing teaching and learning in their schools, please refer to the following:

Lara Sorrell, Microsoft EdTech Demonstrator who builds on Jeramie’s presentation by providing a practical demonstration of how Microsoft’s future vision for EdTech is coming alive in the classroom, in the trust and school office, watch here.

The Cornerstone Academy Trust is recognised nationally and internationally as being at the forefront of EdTech for teaching and learning. Find out how they are harnessing technology to collaborate and develop a supportive learning environment, watch here.

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Session Transcript

Welcome to Scomis Live.  Before we start, we have a couple of housekeeping announcements for you.  Scomis Live has up to three different channels running throughout the day.  If you would like to change channels, you can either return to the programme page to select another session that is running at that time, or alternatively, if you know the channel you would like to view, you can click on the channel buttons on the livestream pages to switch.  It doesn’t matter if you haven’t prebooked on to a session as you are still able to change channels.   

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Thank you for attending Scomis Live.  Our next session will start in a couple of moments’ time. 

TARA:  Welcome back, we’re about to hear from Jeramie Sutton, a Senior Executive at Microsoft.  We have been asked how we have attracted such a high standard of speakers at Scomis Live.  The answer is that Scomis has over 40 years’ experience employing IT services to schools.  We have got the relationships and that’s great for us and great for our audience as well.  We understand the challenges you face and we know the solutions that are going to help overcome them.  We provide our customers with flexible access to our technical expertise and we aim to help you get the most out of your ICT and to exploit relevant new technologies.   

The last couple of years has seen a rapid adoption of Cloudbased learning platforms by schools.  We are pleased to have worked with so many customers to make Cloudbased technology a great success.   

Microsoft has, of course, played a key role in education for many, many years and this morning I’m delighted that Jeramie Sutton is able to join us.  Jeramie has exceptional strong EdTech credentials.  She leads customer engagement for schools and is part of the Education Leadership Team at Microsoft in the UK and formally at HP.   

In common with everyone at Scomis, Jeramie’s passion is to improve learning outcomes for all students.  This is about helping students achieve their full potential no matter what their background or situation.  She’s a driven leader, strategic, committing to helping governments and schools deliver educational transformation.  Her credentials go much wider than her day job show, she’s a STEM ambassador, a mentor for youth charity Urban Synergy, and a Trustee at a large primary MAT in the southwest.  Jeramie, welcome to Scomis Live. 

JERAMIE:  Wow!  Thank you very much for that very kind introduction, Tara. 

As Tara said, my name is Jeramie Sutton.  I work at Microsoft as part of their leadership team for education here in the UK.  I’d like to start by saying, first of all, thank you for having me, it is a real privilege to be talking alongside such an esteemed range of panellists yesterday and today.  I’m personally really, really delighted to be supporting Scomis Live. 

So, today, I’m going to talk to you a little bit about the role technology can, has and will play in the future of education.  We know that the past two years has seen the use of EdTech explode, but we had that in our system long before the pandemic.  So, we’re going to look a little bit at the role of technology has played over the years and also look at some of the opportunities that the past couple of years has presented that we could perhaps capitalise on as we move forward. 

So, I’m going to start by making what is probably a very obvious statement but I feel it really needs to be made and that is that education technology is not new, far from it.  I mean, we have got so many examples where we have used technology over the years from the many computer rooms that still exist, I remember back in the 1990s we used to have the robots we would code and they would run around on the primary school floors, the likes of interactive white boards, visionisers.  We have talked a lot about kit, as it were, over the past few years.  We have also always spoken often in terms of being a really unique bestthingsinceslicedbread type innovations.   

If I take something like interactive white boards, for instance.  We had this scenario a few years ago where they were the rage.  They might have a really good use case or more commonly what we saw was actually the training for them wasn’t particularly fantastic, sometimes the integration with the existing systems wasn’t there, maybe IT were or were not particularly trained up on them.  And more often than not, they were almost set up to fail.  The challenge we had in those scenarios was it created an ecosystem of what well, we’ve tried, we have tried to use technology and it didn’t work for us.  And, actually, you then see people using those excuses for years on, but we tried, we tried the computer room, we tried the interactive white boards, it didn’t work or didn’t fit and technology is not for us in our school.  That’s the challenge we have seen throughout the sector. 

What we have also seen in the last couple of years is that the conversation has moved on slightly from kit, although that’s a key enabler for having technology in a school, to looking at some more distinct questions.  So, how we can reduce teacher workload?  How can we better use the data we’re collecting and use that meaningfully in our school scenario?  None of this is new.  We haven’t had the ability to be able to use them.   

As Tara mentioned I’m a Trustee at an multiacademy trust based in Cornwall.  A couple of weeks ago we were doing interviews for our CEO.  I live in Essex.  I joined the interview as a hybrid panellist, that worked perfectly and we ended up hiring someone.  We had a conversation after, myself and the Chair of Trustees, David Parker, talking about hybrid interviewing.  The fact we’re in the 21st century and the fact we can do that is fantastic!   

I remember when he was a head teacher in the 1990s and we spoke about video conferencing and how one day we would be teaching by video conference.  That conversation we had was 35 years ago with David and yet here we are today only two years ago really seeing examples of how we use that. 

Now, we feel like the reason we haven’t been able to move past and develop some of those conversations about technology is for you all of the other longrunning challenges in education that are as important they are today and as they will be in 25 years’ time.  That’s a question of safeguarding, of finance, of attainment and all of those really important topics as an education system will never stop being the numberone priority, they’ve got to be put first.   

What happened two years ago is that something else had to float to the top and that was because with the pandemic.  How we delivered education changed quite literally overnight on the 23rd March.  It changed for all of us.  If you are a young person from going to school to actually if I can’t go to a location which is centrally how we have always delivered education, how do I ensure that some person has access to teaching and learning.  The same with the teacher. 

So, we saw this huge use of technology increase not because we wanted to but because we had to and it essentially resulted in the world’s biggest pilot of educational technology out of necessity only.  We know in the UK alone that displaced ten million students and the impacts have been really dramatic.  It wasn’t an ideal situation, how we’d want to use technology but it did prove the point that actually there is a place for it and it can work. 

But we also know that at the same time, the impact was immediate and it was dramatic in terms of the pandemic and what it meant for young people and their learning.  You know, whether it was looking at the number of months lost in maths learning for primary school children, the Education Policy Institute and the DFE said by September 2020 they’d already lost three and a half months.  That’s something we need to try to overcome.  When we look statistically all of the gains, we have tried to reduce in reducing the attainment gap, we did make some progress but everything that was made between 2010 and 2020 was lost in the first few months of the pandemic. 

And equally, we know, devices are a huge challenge and despite the fact that now the DFE have provided over 9.1 devices throughout England, at the moment the pandemic struck, 80% of the most disadvantaged pupils didn’t have access to device.  That device doesn’t mean a laptop or a desktop, it might mean a phone.  80% of them didn’t have access to anything.  Yeah, technology that we need is not always in place but there are gaps that have appeared that we can try to address.   

But also, there are opportunities that have been presented because we’ve had that trial of technology.  One of them is around accessibility.  Because, actually, often we think of accessibility and we think of disability in the same breath but that’s not the case.  We should be looking at it in terms of preference.  So, if I think of you and I, I love reading and I might pick up a book or I might pick up a Kindle, equally you might want to consume Harry Potter and you might want to listen to an audiobook.  It is no different in the terms of content but you are choosing how you might want to consume it as an adult.   

What we have seen in the past two years is the ability for us to personalise learning, so a young person can engage in a way that works for them best.  We know that when young people are engaged, they learn better.   

Equally if there is an additional need, whether a young person has dyslexia, for instance, the fact we can now use tools really easily at the flick of a switch, maybe changing the font size, it may be having it can dictate into it.  It may be that it reads out the words to them.  Maybe you’re changing the screen colour and it remembers that forever more so it is easier for them to interpret information on the page.  We now have the ability to embed those tools for all young people and it removes the stigma from using those tools.  Actually, it means we can all start to use them, whether there is an official need or whether it is a preference.  We have seen with these types of tools in the classroom you can do that. 

Now, throughout 2020, seeing the impact that the pandemic was having, Microsoft has commissioned research with UNESCO.  It was based around reimagining education.  With these experiences that we were having, what might it mean for technology as we look to move forward.  One of the earlier and most profound findings is that actually when we stopped thinking of technology as just a vehicle to deliver to, you know, having a laptop is good enough and it does the job and actually when we start to think about how can we use it to collaborate better, how can we use it to understand what is happening and use that for meaningful action then the impacts on attainment progress, collaboration, engagement, they can really start to increase.  What we need to start thinking about as we move forward is how do we bring those into the classroom in what a very different context.  We often talk about we have learned a lot in the past two years and we absolutely have but the context of teaching and learning in the last two years in a fully remote or 95% remote scenario is very different to what it will be in a year.  We’ve got to think about not digital transformation, there’s a lot of skills out there, but digital adaptation.  We have got the baseline and foundation but the content looks different to 2018, to 2019 and 2020 and it will look different in 2025.  Let’s not rip up the rule books, we have got some of those skills. 

It is also for us in looking at the fact that education technology is not an application.  The technology is a really important enabler and it gives us opportunities to do this you can’t do in an offline capacity or from a blank sheet of paper.  It doesn’t take us away from the basics, if you want an EdTech strategy to be successful it needs to be part and parcel of that vision and strategy for the education setting that you’re in, so that means looking at what do want to achieve in two or five years out.  It needs to fit and support everything that you’re looking do in that system and that’s something that we’ve learned. 

We have also looked at the culture part of it because if we would have had the conversation about EdTech three years ago, I would have spoken to you about the fact that it is so hard to get teachers on board, and especially some of those successful teachers, they’ve been having great results with their young people for the past 30 years, they’re not confident in use a digital platform.  And, actually, you ask them to change something and they are like whoa, you know what I’m doing, why am I changing.  The good thing about the pandemic, it has changed that because they’ve had to learn some of those fundamental skills.  We have found even the antitechnology teachers have kind of said, okay, like it or not, I can see there are some benefits to using technology.  We’ve got past a lot of those immediate hurdles around wanting to use it and the desire is there more than it was before.  We have to bring all of those on the journey in terms if we’re going to keep it out of the crisis situation, what does it means for them, their results and for five years’ time, directly linking back to vision and strategy. 

It is important to look at the unique context.  There are lots of blueprints out there for how to deliver a great EdTech strategy but looking at one thing that one school is fab if you are the same as them.  A high school down the road from me has a different learning context with the MAT in Cornwall.  They are at different stages in education technology.  We really need to apply these in the context that you’re in, whether that’s down to the funding, what the infrastructure looks like, and how many devices you’ve got, what your appetite is even, all of that has to be taken into account because if we try and cookie cutter it, you’re not going to find the results are there that you are needing. 

The last bit is of course around capabilities.  We know that traditionally there has been a gap in terms of teachers knowing how to use the technology but also IT.  We all know that technology moves on super quickly.  If you learnt how to use a server back in 2006 and you’re the IT person leading that in an educational context, there’s a little bit of learning you need to go down in order to support the environment in the way you need to.   

Equally when it comes to cyber security, there are so many more attacks now and we’re more vulnerable you need to have someone who understand the uptodate threats so they can proactively look to secure your environments.  That IT capability is absolutely crucial to ensuring whatever you put in place, you’re safeguarding your environment and your young people. 

 

I think with all of the experiences that we’ve had though we are a bit of a crossroads because there are not many people in the education sector who will sit there and say we didn’t have any benefits from it.  Fundamentally we have all proven there are a lot of things to be gained from using education, whether it’s in the classroom, in the back office, connecting the maps, using the dates, there are definitely benefits there.  It is down for us to decide to proactively move forward.  It goes back to what I said earlier, we’ve had a great experience but the experience in the context will look different so we’ve got to proactively decide to pivot to that and tailor what we were doing.  We will all have examples of where we have done that by the way, we have great experience in the pandemic and we have chosen to go back to the way things were before.   

 

My own personal experience I was a big gym goer before the pandemic.  Clearly, that stopped for quite some time.  I moved to an online workout thing which to be honest I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would have done.  There is nothing wrong with doing it like that.  It was more convenient and it was cheaper.  But yet the moment we’ve been able to go back to the gym, I’ve dropped my subscription and gone back to the gym despite the fact that I quite liked what I was doing before.  So, if we take that, you can enjoy something and still continue doing it moving forward. 

 

The same goes for education.  Let’s make sure we’re consciously deciding because those habits will be lost quite quickly if we don’t decide to make them part of something more meaningful and just think of them in the crisis context that we had. 

 

So, now we kind of look at well, what will the next decade bring and I think the better question here is not will it be, what will it be, what should it be?  We now have an opportunity based on the last two years’ experiences to think differently about what we want the education sector to look like in the future.  We know that our working habits have changed, and most employers’ habits have changed.   

 

If you look at Microsoft, we’ve now changed really our whole policies around where we live and how we work because we want our employees to be able to work in a way that is much more blended with their family lives.  We’re not the first and won’t be the last organisation to be doing that based on those experiences.  So, whilst I’m no Mystic Meg and I can’t tell you what the future will look like, we can use those recent experiences and look further back to say well, actually society and the world has changed constantly, we’re always evolving we can look to some of those trends to inform whilst we don’t specifically know what are some of the things, we can draw down on to help us build a world and education sector that supports an unknown future for our young people. 

 

Now, I know many of you might have seen things like this before.  But I think it’s a really nice illustration in terms of actually how we have innovated throughout the last few hundred years and, you know, we look at things like the steam engine which was originally invented in the late 1600s, by 1764 we had strides forwards in the efficiency of these types of vehicles and the importance here was the start of the Industrial Revolution and the ability for the firsttime to be able to transform and produce materials at mass and move them at scale.  It is a really moment for time for us considering that now we all like to order things on our phone.  If you can get it within a half an hour, job’s a good one and why wouldn’t you?  We have seen that evolve quicker as we have gone on. 

 

We look at electricity, the patents were first put in place by Thomas Edison back in 1870.  Interestingly he founded General Electrics, a company still going on today.  Now, the reason this is an important innovation is because the patent going in that 1870 was one thing, but actually the next 20 years spawned a huge host of competition, loads more innovation for light bulbs for them to be higher wattage and cheaper to make and less vulnerable and less breakage.  What you see when you get those profound inventions, they spurn more creativity and more innovation as they go on. 

 

We then move forward to the tech age.  The 1960s is super interesting because it wasn’t the first time, we started use technology and having grand ideas.  The first time we spoke about AI was back in the 1950s.  It was the first time we saw some of these super computers.  Super computers at the time would have filled a school sports hall.  Those early computers would have more compute power than a phone like that, in fact, if any of you are like me, are wearing a smart watch, probably more power in one of these than what you had in one of those old computers.  We have seen the computers have got smaller and the number of those types of innovations have got more.   

 

Technology is much more accessible now.  It’s much more at our fingertips.  Any one of us now given a couple of days’ training, if that, can design an application.  In the next five years there are going to be 400 million more apps created in than in the previous five.  There is so much more innovation happening and taking place, we should be looking at this and going well, what we do know is the world will be full of tech and we can see that because it’s been happening, how do we enable people to use what is going to be readily available at their fingertips to be creative enough to be able to use that and be fit for purpose when it comes to those industries. 

 

I think it is important we don’t just look at  we’re not just not looking at industries as such.  I think we should be looking at the innovation in all different types of sectors.  I use social media as one example of these.  Social media 20 years ago didn’t exist.  In fact, the first one I started using was back in Facebook, 2006 I think I joined.  What this chart is really showing is the progress it takes to get from starting and founding those companies to one billion users.  You can see that as the companies have developed and been created the impact and ability to touch that many people have decreased.  In fact, even if you look at TikTok, it took five years to get from 0 to one billion users in 2022.  Instagram by 2023 will be at two billion users.  So, whilst we can talk sometimes about the big roles that we are going to need, the big technologies, I think for me what is more important is the fact that well, who in TikTok is editing those pictures, who is securing the Cloud environment for TikTok?  Who is sorting the content and being creative in different ways?   

 

It is not just about the technology itself although we know that in the STEM in particular areas, there is a huge skills shortage, the number of people fit for tech jobs, but actually all of the jobs that go alongside that are not highly technical but do require technical confidence, ability and skill to be able to work there.  We need to be making sure we are equipping young people with all of those skills.  It won’t be the technology industry they need them for, it will be every industry. 

 

All of that being said, I think it is good to look at what some of those bigger technologies are the World Economic Forum released the Future of Jobs Report back in 2020.  This was looking at what some of the biggest technologies that will be needed across all industries in 2025.  You can see there is everything from power computing, which many of us will be more familiar than we are before because of the likes of Office 365 being used so much more today than they were a couple of years ago.  There is a lot around date and connected devices, robots and drones, none of these are new to us anymore.  These are not unknowns, so we need to make sure we are giving them the experiences to learn the skills to use these in dramatic capacities as well as part of their normal day jobs.   

 

Now, from a Microsoft standpoint supporting that skills journey from as early as possible all of the way through a person’s education is super important and it starts with things like Minecraft.  The reason for this such a lovely use is because it’s all about creativity as much as it is about technology.   

 

So, I visited a school a couple of months ago.  They were talking about how they were using Minecraft and they’d been studying the Titanic.  This young boy loved it so much and so interested in the Titanic, he had gone home and he had built on Minecraft a replica of the Titanic that you could walk through and you could see different parts of the ship on it.  It took him six weeks to do that.  He filmed a video of him going through it and uploaded it to YouTube.  Now, that young boy was nine years old.  It is not just that he’s learning about the Titanic, he is learning about those curriculumbased subjects that are so important but he is learning to code as he’s doing.  He is bringing the creativity into doing that.  He is building on his skills.  I know if you are in today’s earlier session we were talking about selfdirected learning.  When they’re engaged, they will go the whole hog and go that little bit further.  We should be giving them the opportunities to build those skills and use it that way. 

 

If students want to work in Cloud or Azure, the Microsoft version, or big data, or artificial intelligence, we can help students get the competencies that are really highly valued by employers so that when they leave college or university, they can go in there with the right skills that are fit for purpose and they’re modern so that they are able to really adjust the industries they want to work in as quickly as possible.  We don’t know what the future will look like but we know that skills are a big part of it.  Whilst you can’t plan for an unknown future, you can provide them with the baseline skills to make them fit for no matter what it will look like.  What does this really mean for education?  What does this mean for me as an educator or as a senior leader?  I think that’s really important; I talk to you as someone who is an expert in technology.  You will be looking at this as an expert in education.  We need to merge the two together for you.  It is a huge topic and it is a complex topic in its own right.  I don’t think it’s going anywhere and neither do you given the experiences have you had and hopefully some of the positive impacts alongside others that you would have seen in the past couple of years. 

 

So, I just think it is important to labour the point on some of the things we have mentioned throughout this, which is your leadership is absolutely essential.  If you are not making it clear that the way we do things is supported through technology from the moment we walk into the school doors to the day that we leave, from the moment we get home we’re marking books, but let’s hope there is not too much of that, actually, it won’t filter down in the strategy that it is super important and people must get behind as opposed to choose to get behind. 

 

The hard thing about all of this is that, you know, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was everyone’s education strategy.  This will take time.  I think looking ahead makes it more digestible for your teams, your communities and your parents to get involved with, because trying to do it all in one big bang will be pretty overwhelming, really expensive, that’s a given, but also, you’re going to have the skills from the teams to support, are you going to rebuild the foundation steps to build upon?  Maybe not.  I think really looking at and let’s break it down into chunks and what works for you in term one, year two and three and so on is the way you can build something that is sustainable over time and, actually, you know is going to deliver the results that you need to fuel young people. 

 

CPD is super important and, you know, you will all know this and all of you will have seen this given the amount of CPD that your teachers have gone through.  I ask you to think about what I said earlier about that digital adaptation because maybe I’m overthinking this but teachers, I speak to are pretty knackered, because of the experience personally we have all lived through.  Also, in an educational context you have been under so much stress and pressure being around safeguarding and exams and making things work offline and am, the stresses around Ofsted and making sure people are still progressing, have you had to think about this, on top of how do I use Teams, and I can turn off different features, how do I make sure that Jeramie who might have dyslexia can use the content.  The moment we’re learning something new, often it is no, I’m done, I’m learned out, I can’t learn anything else.  So, I think that CPD is really important.  But helping them see you have got the skills, we’re just tinkering with them, as opposed to going we’re changing it all and we have something new is more acceptable to get them on board with your strategy than that wholesale change which people are tired, they’re burnt out.  We can help you to do that. 

 

I guess the last part is underpinning and supporting that with Cloud.  Whilst technology is an enabler and it can permeate and it should permeate to everything you look to do; all of these four parts are important before we get to Cloud.  We want you to connect your data and young people and share resources and not duplicate what you’re doing and do things online and make the best use of your assets, like virtual interviewing, for example.  But the ability to do that and understand what you need, what is right for your environment, what components make it up and how do you do that securely and how do you make sure you’re not putting any part of the organisation at risk from a safeguarding perspective by following the right steps that is so, so important.  I think that’s something where you can lean on the tech industry and organisations like Scomis to help you build that.  You are experts in education but when you go to the big MATs, you need to be experts in finance, marketing, how do you attract more people and not just across the whole location.  You have to be an expert in so many difference areas that, actually, it is down to us to help you to be an expert in the technology field because it is what we do, right.  So, please lean on that expertise because there are a lot of resources out there both in terms of speaking to teams directly, services and expertise you can buy in and lots of freely available resources that I can take you through. 

 

So, I think one we are looking at it from a pure technology standpoint if you are building these systems, I will leave you to look at the slides, they will be available through Scomis after the session, but let’s build things that are flexible.  We know we have been able to adopt now on the fly and absolutely we never have a scenario that we have to adapt so dramatically like we did at the start of 2020.  How do you build things that are personal and you can do inperson remote and, actually, Jeramie who is virtual doesn’t have a different experience from Tara who is in person?  How can I dictate my poem and Tara can write it and we can do that easily and it works for both of you and it doesn’t add that workload burden for you as a teacher?  

 

Equally someone with an additional need, how do we ensure that everything is inclusive and also that inclusiveness is not stigmatised?  And how do you bring that into the classroom so it feels natural and everyone gets the experience they need?  

 

Lastly how can we make sure it is engaging.  While it is super important it has to be secure and work for the environment and has to support all of the important and normal things in a school, we can be fun!  We can be innovative and we can use things like Minecraft.  When we are learning and playing, students can get the most out of the experience in the school.  Let’s work and collaborate together so you can absolutely do in a classroom offline but there are really unique and cool ways to do that in a virtual experience.  So, let’s allow those opportunities to flourish and create those ecosystems where that can happen. 

 

One of the things I won’t talk about too much here but to lets you know it exists, the education transformation framework which is something that Microsoft created in conjunction with UNESCO.  It is something as a leadership team you need to think about to make sure that your education technology strategies will be successful.  Now, there are these four pillars and we have lots of supporting information to sit behind these and we can take you through it in a three halfday workshop.  We can also send you material that you can digest at your own rate.  It gives you a bit of confidence that there is method behind the madness.  It should give you some support in terms of what should I be thinking but what does it really mean when translated into business terms.  All of that is freely available and we can share that with you to help you on that digital adaptation journey. 

 

You know, lastly, let’s just make sure that when we’re building these and we have got an opportunity no to about build from the grounds up in most cases but, you know, really enhance what is already there, many of you will have invested in your own platforms and devices, your knowledge base amongst your systems, let’s build them to make sure that we are developing the right skills in our systems as we move forward and the knowledge is there for both of your educators, but also your young people. 

 

Let’s also make sure what we build is inclusive and it is inclusive for everybody and it enables that experience that young people can learn in the best way for them and get the best possible progress and attainment that this he can. 

 

Lastly, let’s make sure that you’re safe and secure and you’re using something that is trusted and you feel support to your system and doesn’t create any vulnerabilities and that is super important that you have that confidence in any systems that you have in place.  Microsoft and organisations like Scomis can help you do that. 

 

So, what I’m going to finish on is Microsoft’s global commitment and ethos to education and all of us believe this.  I passionately believe that we are here to help you and our collective vision is to ensure we are empowering every learner and educator on the planet to achieve more.  Thank you very much for listening.  Tara, I will hand back to you. 

TARA:  Wow!  Jeramie, that was absolutely wonderful to hear you speak.  So, interesting to hear you talk about how tech can be a great leveller of accessibility and that history lesson of great transformations and sequence of innovation and the uptake and the embracing and the speed of embracing new technology and new applications. 

We’ve got a couple of minutes for some questions and I’m just looking at the ones coming in.  I have to say the one that I’m most curious about is actually, “How has it changed for you over the last two years?  How have your working processes altered?” 

JERAMIE:  Quite dramatically, really.  We see now that the ability for everybody to be able to support their need for their direct family and friends when we’re working in a remote capacity has been a real eye opener in a lot of cases.  We have seen people who travelled fairly consistently, they now see the benefits of being home for bedtime and bath time and having a routine that works for them and is better for their health and wellbeing, for instance.  So, we have changed our processes and, actually, we all work completely 50% remotely.  If you want to for any reason do that more, you can sort that with your line manager depending upon your role, to ensure that we have a real blended balance between our lives.  If I want to work from 6.00 in the morning and work to 09.00 and I have a break to volunteers in the community and until 11.00, I work from 11.00 to 6.00 to make up that time, I can do that and that’s my choice.  As long as my working duties are being physical filled and my customers are being supported in that time, that’s the way we want our employees to be empowered to ensure work works for them and life works for us as well. 

TARA:  That’s so interesting and it actually leads into another one of the questions on the question panel, which is about what you’ve noticed regarding societal change with regard to work and skills that we think about for our students today. 

JERAMIE:  A brilliant question.  Microsoft’s released some recent research around this in terms of people now expect flexible working.  People will leave their jobs if they’re not going to be able to get that benefit moving forward.  I would take away the word benefit, it should be just the standard that we can be more flexible and it doesn’t mean being in the office 24/7.  The expectation of young people and millennials is very different to other generations.  Now, they’ve had the ability to not work in a static environment and it always be this is how we do things; it has been empowering for a lot of people.  So, I think check out the research, I mentioned that people have a link to, but it is really trying to see even in two years, even my own personal view on it has changed.  I used to travel 80% of the time and often abroad.  I had to say no to plans at the weekend.  Now, I’ve got a bit more respect for my personal life so I think that many people have had those and yeah, in the good employers out there, they’re responding to that in kind and making sure that our working styles reflect that much more than they have done previously. 

TARA:  And to go a little bit deeper on to that and you touched on it a bit with the kind of blend of creativity and technical skills when you were talking about the kids who  oh, gosh  what is the ship?  The. 

JERAMIE:  Minecraft. 

TARA:  The Titanic.  When you were talking about the nineyearold kid and the walk through of the Titanic, that blend of creativity and skills.  Can you talk a little bit more about what we should expect for our students in this refreshed world where we really can think about not what it can be but what it should be? 

JERAMIE:  Yeah, I think it’s about creating the ability to have those experiences where they can be more creative and learning doesn’t have to be one way only.  I think if we can  almost if you can give the airtime actually for young people to learn and not realise that they’re learning and actually think in ways that we as adults often don’t think, I think it is the important way.  To be honest, none of us are five any more so we don’t know what our brains are going through, do we, in terms of how we want it live and work.   

But I do remember a really profound example from an offline, or hybrid working scenario last year in Scotland and there was a whole class of 29 and one young girl was working from home.  They were doing an experiment with a tea bag.  The teacher was really worried that this young girl was going be really excluded because they weren’t in class.  They went away for ten minutes.  She came back and she was absolutely buzzing.  They had asked her do the experiment in one way; she had done the experiment in three ways.  She roped her mum in to help her.  She had the best results and she enjoyed it the most because she had the ability to be more flexible and be more creative in how she learnt.  If we allow young people to  not order their own boundaries but not set them so powerfully, they have their own learning experience and it might be more powerful than we ever will know. 

TARA:  It is so interesting.  It goes pack to popular thought about selfdirected learning so much. 

JERAMIE:  Absolutely. 

TARA:  A couple more questions.  Are there any specific blogs or free resources that Microsoft provides for schools? 

JERAMIE:  Yes, we have a whole host of resources and communities that we have to support everything from senior leaders to teachers to parents to students themselves.  So, in particular, we have something call the Microsoft Educator Centre and Microsoft Learn.  This is where teachers can go online and access a whole different range of resources for CPD and that can be everything from a halfday session or a whole day session, all free and available to accessible.  We have a lot of stuff on the Microsoft website that you can access directly from blogs to some of the research I have mentioned and a lot of the resources around leadership support in particular. 

Of course, we have everything we do through our partners and you will have a whole host of resources that you have access to, you know, from workshops and everything else that you can provide with Microsoft out to those customers.  And also, things like on Twitter the Microsoft education UK page, there are a lot of things that we provide for our partners like Scomis that go into detail and depth depending on how you want to engage with us. 

TARA:  I have to say that’s really good place to stop.  Jeramie, I just learnt so much listening to you speak.  Thank you once more. 

JERAMIE:  Thank you. 

TARA:  You’re welcome.  If you you’d like to hear more from other practitioners about how Microsoft technologies are changing teaching and learning in their schools, we have got some more sessions on this subject this afternoon.  Jeramie’s colleague Lara Sorrell is a Microsoft EdTech demonstrator and she’s going to build on Jeramie’s session, providing a practical demonstration of how Microsoft’s future vision for EdTech is coming alive in the classroom and in the trust and school office.  That’s at 2.30 pm this afternoon. 

And you can hear from the Cornerstone Academy Trust here in Devon, recognised nationally and internationally as being at the forefront of EdTech for teaching and learning.  Come along and hear senior leaders David and Alex talk about harnessing technology to collaborate and to develop a supportive learning environment.  We join the Cornerstone team at 3.30 pm this afternoon. 

So, now we’re going into the morning break.  I look forward to seeing you again at 12.00 midday, so there’s a choice of three sessions then.  Jonathan Bishop, CEO and headteacher of Cornerstone Academy Trust.  He’s going to be talking about insights into how a Trust can transform their use of MIS.  That’s following Cornerstone’s move to Arbor in April 2021. 

The second option for you is Phil Wheeler, he’s coming back to talk to us about how you can empower SEND students to learn independently using EdTech.   

And, finally, last but not least, you can come and hear how Scomis can help you on your future journey with EdTech with Debbie Foweraker, Head of Scomis.  So, whether you’re already a customer or thinking of joining the Scomis family, you will find out something new about us.  See you back here after the break.  We will see you at 12.00.