Portugal’s Microsoft Kids Experience: Creative Learning Engagement Under the Sea
While we typically highlight the work of innovative teachers here at Daily Edventures, sometimes our own colleagues surprise us with a creative approach to learning innovation. When Microsoft Portugal opened its new headquarters office in Lisbon, they knew they wanted to share the space with the community. And interest from area schools gave them a unique opportunity to do just that. After receiving a number of requests for school visits, the team created the Microsoft Kids Experience, a program designed to build partnerships within their community and to get area students excited about – and fully engaged in – education technology.
The program, designed for students aged six to 10, takes advantage of the office’s proximity to Lisbon’s Oceanarium (Europe’s second largest aquarium, just across the street) with activities that celebrate marine life. The goal of these activities is to show how technology can simplify information gathering, sharing of work, collaboration and problem-solving.
Upon arriving at the office, kids are divided into four groups, each with its own “ocean.” With Windows 8 tablets and computers, they are invited to imagine and draw the bottom of the sea, putting themselves (sporting virtual diver’s masks) into their drawing through photographs. These creations are then shared between the various groups, while the older students conduct research to discover which species are hiding behind the scientific names assigned to them. The results of this research are stored in a OneNote virtual notebook and shared between all participants.
According to Vanya Neto, director for education and citizenship at Microsoft Portugal, “Technology is essential to prepare the younger generation for success in our increasingly interconnected and global world. With the Microsoft Kids Experience, Microsoft wants to show you how simple it can be to develop these skills, and put them within the reach of the largest possible number of students, helping them and the country build a successful future.”
This free program is a great example of the power of technology – and specifically Windows 8 devices – to engage students and build important skills. We salute our Portuguese team, and look forward to seeing what they create next!
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