There have been a lot of efforts to curb the negative impact the spread of Covid-19 has on the education system of Pakistan and it looks like a solid solution has come forth as Microsoft is supporting the Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan by deploying Teams for official online and remote learning interactions across more than 100 public and private universities.
“Our strong collaboration with Microsoft has spanned many areas including research innovation, capacity building, and of course the services provided by Office 365. The use of Teams will ease the transition for many of our members into innovative modes of educational delivery, and also help us address the future needs of our students in rapidly shifting employment markets”, says Dr. Tariq Banuri, Chairman for Higher Education Commission in Pakistan.
With the help of Microsoft, a number of virtual classroom features have been developed that will allow seamless distance learning.
A number of applications have been designed and integrated with different universities education and curriculum structure:
1- Microsoft Flipgrid
Used by educators and learners across 180 countries, Flipgrid is a tool for educators that engages students through creating and sharing short videos. Flipgrid includes Immersive Reader, with tools that read text out loud and provides other reading assistance and accessibility features to help ensure all students can participate in the class lecture.
2- Microsoft Streams
It combines the essence of a true classroom with technology with features like being able to record lectures and in built features like One Note can help in written assignments and projects.
Giving a live interactive environment, Whiteboard is an app where educators are able to moderate classroom discussions by muting, recording, and sharing control which drives engagement. For assessments, educators are also able to easily create and grade quizzes in Teams using Microsoft Forms
Transparency and Security:
While these apps are a great way to observe distance learning but there are many predators out their preying on your data. And to tackle that, Microsoft ensures extensive security protocols.
“We are also acutely aware of the online safety for our students as they transition to this new way of learning. Microsoft Teams, as part of the Microsoft 365 (M365) service, follows all the security best practices and procedures such as service-level security through defense-in-depth, customer controls within the service, security hardening and operational best practices proactively protecting our customers from security threats,” added Jibran Jamshad, Education Lead for Microsoft Pakistan.
On the long term, HEC and Microsoft have created the Education Transformation Framework (ETF) – a foundational agreement modeled on the pillars of capacity building, skill certification, outreach campaigns, and the annual Imagine Cup competition. And this will help us in adapting to a new way of living, working, and learning.
“As universities move to remote learning, Teams can provide an online classroom that brings together virtual face-to-face connections, assignments, exams, files and conversations into a single platform accessible on a mobile device, tablet, PC, or browser. Through this partnership, we’ve been able to provide access at the various institutions and are working alongside HEC to ensure the smooth training and rollout throughout the country,” says Jibran Jamshad, Education Lead for Microsoft Pakistan.
Even for school systems HEC is working closely with HEC and UNICEF to bring the best for the students who are stuck at home while missing out on the learning they had in their schools.