The Microsoft Partner Network is a collective name denoting people, applications, resources, and content that have successful solutions in mind. During the pandemic, remote working, learning, and socializing became the norm. Microsoft Partners offers a great way to learn and develop while away from your usual workplace.
Within the Partners Network are segments such as Microsoft Education, the Device Partner Center, and the Advertising Partner Program. These are just some of the many offerings available. So whether you’re training new essay writers for content creation, or trying to go green and repurpose old hardware, the network has something for you.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the top apps and content for distance learning that is available through the Partner Network. Many of these applications are being given away free for the time being, so get on board quickly before the offers expire.
How does it work?
Microsoft is one of the world’s largest companies. It is ubiquitous and certainly not going away anytime soon. Their extensive list of partner companies develops software that works seamlessly within the Microsoft ecosystem. Learning tools are a key part of this offering. Applying to join the network as a partner is easy, and can be done via their website.
Some partners in the content niche
Online teaching relies heavily on being able to distribute materials to students, and have them be able to access materials at a moment’s notice. Luckily, there are several standout partners in this line of work.
Britannica, of the Encyclopedia Britannica, is freely giving away emergency resources to every single school in the United States. These resources cover both social studies, such as history, as well as science. Known as LaunchPacks, these digital learning tools are essentially pre-planned lessons that also contain free ebooks.
Lifeliqe has also shared some free resources with schools and students. Included in the giveaway is a complete science curriculum, with content suitable for kindergarten pupils all the way up to the twelfth grade. This curriculum includes thousands of cutting-edge 3D models, which are available in augmented reality and virtual reality settings.
If XR is something that interests you, then VictoryXR should be next on your educational hit list. Their XVR.Direct offers 48 different units aimed at middle- and high-school students. Their VR programs include dissections of frogs, pigs, cats, and fish.
FluidMath creates research-backed edtech products, especially for the distance learning market. Their products cover K-12 as well as university-level mathematics. Collaboration is key in their minds, their tools allow students and teachers to share a virtual space. For educators, there is also the ability to design and hand out different assignments and tests. Rather brilliantly, the software has auto-marking features for papers and can be integrated with Microsoft Teams.
Teaching at a distance
Teachers have had to contend with a lot during the pandemic. With students away from the classroom it can be difficult to foster the same environment. Distractions are plentiful, let alone the issues some pupils may have with stable access to computers and the internet.
Explain Everything is a collaborative canvas that allows students and teachers to share their ideas, thoughts, and proposals together. It integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Teams and is available for free for schools.
Virtual learning leans much more heavily on graphic design and good looks. Presentations during regular classroom lessons are often a bit lackluster, with images hastily thrown together from Google. Who remembers the endless array of pixelated pictures? Thankfully, Pickit has something to rectify this; Pickit is a licensed image database and it is available for free until the end of summer 2021.
The Bottom Line
The pandemic has pushed us into finding new ways of learning. Microsoft and their Partner Network have really stepped up to the plate in terms of offering technology that is usually rather expensive, at a discounted or free rate. As we move, hopefully, towards the end of the pandemic, we’ll see if these techniques will continue to blossom, or whether a return to the classroom will have everyone relieved to be away from their computer. Most likely, we will see a blended form of learning, with the good parts of both distanced and in-class teaching melded together in a new and positive whole.
About the author
Jenny Stiller is a writer and lecturer. She decided to venture into the academic world as an educator to help students improve their academic performance. Also, she loves sharing her knowledge with readers in her blog posts. Currently, Jenny works as a part-time guest writer at Handmadewriting.