Empowering teaching and learning with a ‘better together’ approach to technology

In recent months, teaching and learning in the UK (and across the globe) has been flipped upside down – students are also experiencing new ways of learning, which will have a lasting impact on their futures

With so many challenges and changes, it’s more important than ever to assist educators in finding ways that they can connect both in person and remotely with students to keep them engaged, motivated and safe in a digital world.

Microsoft recently asked nearly 500 members of its Microsoft Education community, representing teachers and institutional leaders from around the world, to share what they’ve learned while teaching remotely. They found that 61% expect to begin the next school year in a hybrid learning environment (a mix of remote and in-person learning) and a total of 87% expect to use technology more than ever before when in-classroom teaching resumes. Additionally, over half said, “keeping students engaged digitally” and “student participation” are the top challenges they faced while teaching remotely.

These new hybrid, or blended learning formats require new approaches to be able to create compelling, engaging, accessible and inclusive content. To ensure student engagement across different activities and maintain secure digital classrooms, educators are turning to a range of digital tools and devices to enable remote learning. In fact, more than 150 million students, faculty, institutional leaders and teachers have been actively using Microsoft Education products – such as Microsoft Teams for Education – to engage with students while working from home.

As you look at systems and solutions that can make this happen, it’s important to make the right investments that benefit your staff, teachers and students, as well as improving their productivity whether they’re sat at a desk in the classroom or in their home.  Hardware that works seamlessly, can be remotely managed and enhances productivity and collaboration is crucial for the success of your organisation.

Does a device really matter?

Have a think about the device you are using right now and ask yourself:

1.     How old is it?

Old devices can run slower and take longer to do simple tasks, on top of not being able to run certain modern applications and have security issues.

2.     Does it hold you up in your daily tasks?

A device that runs slow, or takes a while to think about things, can cause frustration and lead to you not been as productive as you wish.

3.     Is it lightweight and portable for when you move about?

Being able to quickly and easily move around with your device is key as we are all so active in our roles right now. One minute you’re in your makeshift home office, the next in the classroom. We need to be able to use a device that isn’t big or heavy and can be packed up and then easily booted up again.

4.     How secure do you feel it is?

What security does your device have and can you quickly login with things such as face recognition which speeds the whole process up?

5.     Do you feel proud of the device or does it just let you do your work?

Research shows that when an employee has a great device it makes them feel valued, take care of the device more and be more likely to stay with the organisation, helping with staff retention levels. In fact, 80% of people recently surveyed by Microsoft agreed that a Surface device helps position their organisation as a top employer.


Those are just a few areas to think about, but there are so many other features to consider when looking at new devices, such as:

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Consistently connected for student data and report uploads as well as communication
  • Durable for use when on site or working remotely
  • Pen capable for relevant sign-offs and project reviews
  • Quick device setup with site inspection software and productivity apps
  • Can be managed by IT remotely
  • Easy to provision and de-provision
  • Predictable and scalable payments

Delivering accessibility and inclusion to transform education and impact lives in the community

Utilising Microsoft Teams and Surface devices has meant that City College Peterborough has one platform as their internal communication strategy that all staff can access as well as holding the learner files – enabling them to do their job and do it more effectively.  They are also able to better support their learners and those in need of additional support whether that be time out of class, help with a project or assistance due to a learning difficulty or disability.

“It’s better as I do more work on the computer than writing by hand, which helps me be more independent. I like that I can chat and send messages to my friends in the classroom. It means I can ask for help from Dee if the classroom is too busy or noisy. I feel happy as I can complete the course on my own,” said Ziah, a student at City College Peterborough.

Attend one of our Surface Modern Workshops

To help with this, we’re partnering with Microsoft to host several Surface workshops in November so that you can learn how Surface and Microsoft 365 can provide an integrated hardware and software experience, while addressing the many challenges organisations are currently facing.

During the workshop, you’ll be briefed on the Surface device family, new approaches to modern management with Windows Autopilot and how Phoenix can bring it all together for you. Workshop agenda:

  • Surface and the Modern Workplace
  • Surface Portfolio Updates
  • Remote Work with Microsoft Teams
  • Modern Management in Microsoft 365
  • Zero-Touch Deployment with Windows Autopilot
  • Surface Device-as-a-Service
  • Live Q&A

The goal of this online event is to show you how Surface and Microsoft 365 address common technology challenges, and how we at Phoenix Software can partner with you to make this as seamless as possible.

For more details, including booking your place and for information that you can share internally with your colleagues, click here:

1. Gartner, COVID-19 Bulletin: Executive Pulse, 03 April 2020 #
2. IBM Study: COVID-19 trilemma tradeoffs: Public health, economic security and data privacy
3. Source: Microsoft: Maximizing Your ROI from Microsoft 365 Enterprise with Microsoft Surface, 2020

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