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Microsoft focuses on future of blended learning at GESS 2021

15th November, 2021; Dubai, UAE: Microsoft today took its ongoing messages of lifelong learning and youth empowerment to the Global Educational Supplies and Solutions (GESS) conference in Dubai. Organised in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Education, GESS Dubai has been running for 14 years and is seen regionally as a major focal point for the industry.

“Microsoft is a leader in the education space, having empowered tens of thousands of students and teachers to continue their education journey through Microsoft’s tools, most notably Teams, at the height of the pandemic”, said Ahmed Ameen Ashour, Regional Education Director, Microsoft, Microsoft UAE. “We are excited to be back at GESS Dubai, the biggest education event of the year in MEA, focusing on the next chapter in blended learning, and how the lessons of the past period can help us shape the teaching and learning experience of the future”.

At GESS Dubai 2021, Mark East, Worldwide General Manager (EMEA and Asia) of Microsoft’s Education Industry Group, gave a keynote on post-pandemic transformation and how to plan for a skilling journey that will deliver regional economic growth in the wake of the changes brought about by COVID. Microsoft’s Jaye Richards-Hill, Senior Education Specialist with the MEA HQ Education Team, spoke to Future Leaders Track attendees on ‘Skills for Employability – Enabling the Workforce of the Future’.

As part of the Leaders Track, Microsoft’s Harb Bou-Harb, Senior Director of Education MEA, addressed delegates on the skilling and employability of the workforce and how advancements in technology, the rise of cloud, socio-economic and demographic changes are shifting expectations and placing new demands on society.

At the Microsoft GESS 2021 booth, the company highlighted how technology can enhance learning in the hybrid era, and showcased solutions in the areas of security and analytics. It also demonstrated how Windows 11 can come together with Surface Hub and Minecraft to enhance the education journey for teachers and students. Microsoft partners Clasera, GamaLearn, and Impero also exhibited from the company’s stand.

Microsoft’s participation in GESS Dubai 2021 comes just weeks after Expo 2020 Dubai collaborated with the company to launch an immersive Minecraft platform for exploring the Expo site, demonstrating how the future of blended learning can extend beyond classroom walls.

The Minecraft: Education Edition (M:EE), aimed at students from kindergarten to grade 12, offers lesson plans for teachers to use in their classrooms, allowing students the chance to further explore Expo 2020 Dubai’s subthemes and the ways in which they can build a more sustainable world. Lesson topics range from artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to culture and the study of migration. All lessons link back to the Expo 2020 world, whether as part of an activity asking students to build something new inside the site or conducting research on some of the structures and pavilions.

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