Microsoft introduces ‘Windows 8 in Education’ to Sri Lanka

Thursday, 22 November 2012 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Coinciding with the global launch of its latest operating system, Microsoft introduced Windows 8 to Sri Lankan students at an event held at Royal College, Colombo.

The event was organised particularly to showcase the built in applications and features in Windows 8 that benefit academic activities of students across the world, said Anthony Salcito, Vice President of Microsoft Education, who addressed a gathering of students, teachers and media via Skype.

The changing landscapes of education have necessitated technological advancements to be tools of education and that is one reason why Microsoft focuses a lot on education, he said.

“That prompted us to design ‘Windows 8’ as a tool that benefits education. It will make the learning process more alive, the interactions more impactful and learning more inspirational,” he added.

Under the patronage of the Educational for a Knowledge Society Project (EKSP) of the Ministry of Education, students and teachers from schools in and around Colombo were invited to join this event which introduced Windows 8 especially for Education sector. Royal College, Colombo was selected as the venue for this milestone event as the first school in Sri Lanka to be selected as a Microsoft Pathfinder School.

The Vice President told the gathering: “We care so much about education and its tremendous potential and as much as we get excited about tomorrow, the real hope, the real opportunity for us is to celebrate the future that all of you possess.  It is limitless, hence, we have to work together to make sure that you reach your potential so you continue to push Sri Lanka forward as a nation.”

Elaborating on providing students with the necessary tools and resources for learning, Anthony Salcito sited Microsoft’s ‘YouthSpark’ as a perfect example. YouthSpark, a company-wide initiative designed to create opportunities for 300 million youth around the world over the next three years, directly supports the ‘Putting People First’ initiative.

Anura Dissanayake, Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Project Director EKSP, commenting on Microsoft’s move to make the Windows 8 debut especially focused on the education sector said: “The workforce of today has changed, job opportunities are different. Students have to prepare themselves for that. In this process technology can guide you, help improve your skills and assist you in pursuing career opportunities. Our mission as educators and policy makers is to help you in pursuing career opportunities and help our students have the facilities and the necessary tools to achieve this. This event to mark the launch of Windows 8 worldwide is also designed to facilitate that. This brings our education system up to date and on par with the rest of the world in terms of readiness to embrace latest technology that’s shaping the IT world.”

The videoconference session over Skype also demonstrated to students how the revolutionary new Operating System (OS) can help students increase their learning curve. At the event Wellington Perera, Developer Evangelist of Microsoft Sri Lanka demonstrated what the new OS would mean to the field of education and showed the cool trends within Windows 8 that makes learning an interesting and fun activity.

Upali Gunasekara, Principle of Royal College, commenting on the new program by Microsoft said that Royal College was privileged to facilitate this event hosted by Microsoft Sri Lanka.

“Advancements in software, hardware and cloud services from Microsoft have opened new avenues for students and teachers. It has expedited the learning and teaching process in schools and created a new line of communication between students and teachers. With this, students and teachers can create presentations; collaborate on projects, and access information when necessary. Technology and education should go hand in hand, if Sri Lanka is to become the knowledge hub of Asia,” the Principal said.

Vinura Welgama, a student of Royal College who participated in the event, commended the efforts made by Microsoft to facilitate academic activities of students. “This is a revolutionary product in every sense of the word. Windows 8 offers an amazing technology which is convenient and advanced. We appreciate the move made by Microsoft to reach out to students in this manner and also to go beyond philanthropy to facilitate education.”

The Principal and a group of students of Rahula Balika Vidyalaya in Malabe - the first girls school and the second school in Sri Lanka to be selected as a Microsoft Pathfinder school – also participated in the event. In addition, students from several other schools in Colombo were also present.

During the event, students were given the opportunity to speak with the Vice President on the features and capabilities built into Windows 8 that are particularly useful for teaching and learning in a school environment and share their viewpoints on the various programs conducted by Microsoft targeting the education space.