Due to the spread of Covid-19, schools and universities worldwide responded, and distance learning has come to the forefront of education methods to help the education sector thrive under new circumstances.
To make the transition to distance learning more accessible, Microsoft created cloud-based solution resources, tools, and guides to help schools, educators, students, and their families as they navigate the new normal economy.
In addition, through Microsoft Windows 10 and Microsoft Office 365, educators can deliver a unique experience to students, helping them learn more conveniently, enhance their educational experience, and encourage collaboration.
What is Distance Learning?
Distance learning is the way of educating students online. It is a shift from face-to-face learning in a physical classroom to learning face-to-face in an online setting. Unlike learning in a physical classroom, distance learning depends on online communication and the transmission of materials. This includes lectures, activities, and learning materials sent via the internet.
In distant learning, students study from home in a digital or online classroom in distant learning, where teachers and students interact and collaborate virtually using the latest digital technology.
This modality is a typical style of teaching now heavily used by colleges and universities. The pandemic and the lockdowns that followed put distance learning through various modalities adopted by elementary and high school students.
Modalities can include modular learning, online classes, blended learning, and homeschooling. Schools had to quickly create online-based teaching opportunities, often simultaneous with creating new curriculum fit for the new modes of teaching and learning. It is where Windows 10 and Office 365 made both educators’ and students’ lives easier.
To cope with online demands, you need to have a reliable operating system trusted by many and tested through time and an office software flexible and dynamic enough for the sudden shift to homeschooling. Because of the many challenges in adoption, educators and students need a trusted partner in distance education.
Common Types of Distance Learning
While there are various online learning and teaching opportunities, only a few are well supported by existing structures and developed teaching methods.
1. Video Conferencing
Using video conferencing is a popular method for teachers to communicate directly with students during live classes. It may be a one-on-one session or a class-like situation in which several students communicate to the educator live.
2. Synchronous learning
The synchronous learning modality happens when all students study simultaneously, but the teacher is in another area. It often involves video or teleconferencing, which remotely connects teachers and students.
3. Asynchronous learning
The asynchronous learning setup is a less connected but still less restricted format. Instead of live-streaming classes, students are allocated learning tasks with deadlines. Additionally, they then do self-study to complete the assignments.
The open-schedule online classes offer much more flexibility. It is similar to an asynchronous course system, but there are no deadlines. Open-schedule online classes are perfect for students who have other responsibilities, such as professionals or stay-at-home parents.
A fixed-time online course is a form of synchronous course that allows all online users to visit a single virtual site at a specific time and location. Compared to more linear synchronous lectures, this enables students worldwide to communicate and communicate online.
The computer-based distance education is asynchronous, fixed-time lessons on computers, usually in a computer lab. It is most prevalent in established organizations where the necessary devices are already available.
7. Hybrid learning
The Hybrid learning style is a form of combined learning in which students study the same lesson in real-time (i.e., synchronous distance learning), but others are fully present, and others learn remotely.
What are the benefits of distance learning?
It’s still uncertain how schooling will go amid the pandemic. Some countries have a plan in place. Others are likely to stay remote for at least the end of the year.
Definitely, it was disconcerting at first for most of us, but there are many benefits of distance learning. The concern is that you were probably too stressed to notice them at the time, mainly because the changeover happened so quickly.
Here are some of the benefits of distance learning using Windows 10 and Office 365.
1. Keep students engaged
Remote learning is anything but dull! Transform your virtual classroom with creative, interactive, and inclusive ideas. Create immersive classroom resources using PowerPoint and Sway. Invite experts to drop in with Skype in the Classroom. Ask your students to weigh in on Flipgrid.
2. There’s no need to commute
Remote learning and remote working mean you don’t have to worry about getting your child to school on time. It’s almost like you’ve been granted extra time in your day. If your child is running a little late that day, it’s not the end of the world.
3. Easy access
Many people find it impossible to attend traditional classes. Work and family commitments will get in the way. Distance learning makes schooling more available. Students will need a device as well as an internet connection.
4. Anyone can meet virtually
It is easy to keep in touch with students and educators using Teams. You can form teams for classrooms or groups of educators. Teams allow you to communicate, upload messages and files, and video chat from any device.
5. Share content with students
Students can save conversations, files, and collaboration in one place. Post a conversation starter and share a file in a channel. Upload necessary files you don’t want students to edit in the Class Materials folder. Set up the Class Notebook in your class team to open up even more content-sharing possibilities.
6. Lesson plan and collaborate anywhere
Using the cloud, you can build or view all of your files in one location. Share files when necessary without being stuck in email chains, or collaborate at the same time. This way, you will stay in touch with other educators at your school while still ensuring that all you need is backed up and accessible, whether you’re in the classroom or not.
7. Virtual trips
A virtual trip is an enjoyable way to educate students and is an immersive resource which many teachers focus on to improve interaction.
Furthermore, distance learning encourages students to go on simulated field trips. These “trips” allow students the chance to visit places relevant to the curriculum. Through these activities, students can learn in an immersive manner.
Some Applications of Office 365 with Distance Learning
Microsoft Office 365 applications provide educational tools that can adapt for distance learning. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Access, and Publisher are common Office 365.
Let’s look at some short descriptions of the most common apps utilized in Office 365 and how it helps students and educators nowadays.
Everybody knows Microsoft Word. One of the most useful app, not just for school use but also for work or business. It allows you to type all your thoughts and more down. You can create here some posters, leaflets and more.
Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet app that helps students to collect and update details. It has formulas that enable automatic calculations and simplify your work without spending too much time and effort.
Teachers can create their grading sheets here, and parents to make attendance sheets on their own if they are homeschooling. Take a look at the steps below.
To create a basic grade sheet:
- Open Excel and create a new, blank worksheet. In cell A2, enter the name of your class. Enter any additional detail, such as a teacher’s name, quarter, or dates, in cells A3 through A5.
- In cell A7, type “Student Name.” In cells B7 through E7, type “Grade” or “Score.” Followed by the date of each test or the quarter number. Then, enter “Grade Average” in cell F7 and “Letter Grade” in cell G7.
- Select cells “A7” through “G7.” Select “All Borders” from the drop-down arrow in the Font group of the Home page. To shade the heading row, change the font size to “14” and choose a color from the Fill Color drop-down.
- Click on cell “F8.” Click the “AutoSum” drop-down button in the Editing group of the Home tab and select “Average.” Select cells “B8” through “E8” and press “Enter.” Click the lower-right corner of cell “F8” to select the Fill Handle. Drag the cursor down to fill the cells in the column.
- Enter student names into the cells in column A. Enter corresponding grades in columns B through E. Each student’s grade average value will automatically appear in column F.
The presentation application has been around for a long time now. It’s vastly improved over the years and now allows you to create professional presentations with a host of options. It helps users to present a speech using a collection of slides.
Students and teachers alike can use this for presentations. They can create images, video presentations, and more.
An application for collecting handwritten or typed notes, drawings, and audio commentaries The note-taking program allows you to share your notes with other OneNote users conveniently. It is also ideal for taking notes on the go.
Mostly of students use this for notetaking. They organize it by subjects by creating different tabs for each class. It also has a feature that automates if you put a date, it’ll ask if you want to put it in your calendar.
A personal information manager software system mainly used for email can be used in integration with the Microsoft SharePoint server to share documents, calendars, and information within an organization.
It also includes task managing, contact managing, note-taking, journal logging, and web browsing.
Why Use Windows 10 and Office 365 for Distance Learning?
Windows 10 devices are the safest and best devices for remote and hybrid learning and accessible professional development. While Office 365 collects cloud resources and software for content development and sharing, connectivity and collaboration, task management, and project planning.
With this softwares, Microsoft provides a range of technologies to help educators find their students’ right experience.
Students can choose courses that fit their schedules and resources. They can also choose the location and teaching styles that best suit their needs. The students will interact with their laptops and PCs using speech, pen, touch screen, and gesture to find the right learning style for them using Windows 10 and Office 365.
However, the flip side of freedom is the discipline required to make the most of the lessons. Students need to self-motivate to get the work done, especially in systems that don’t require them to be present at some specific time or place.
In addition, Windows 10 and Office 365 devices can also be outfitted with a full range of assistive technologies. Teachers can effectively create inclusive environments to help each student overcome the challenges and achieve in the classroom.
Conclusion: Distance Learning is the New Standard of Education
Windows 10 and Office 365 for Education is the perfect solution for modern learning and classroom instruction nowadays. They provide excellent tools and software for both students and teachers. These productivity tools also enhance classroom learning and teaching and take it beyond the classroom.
Apart from them, Microsoft’s Personalized Learning Initiative proves to be an excellent new way of classroom instruction. It allows for effective student-to-student, teacher-to-teacher, student-to-teacher collaboration, and communication.
Thanks to this collaboration of classroom instruction and technology, students can become more responsible and independent learners. Microsoft is setting a new standard in education.