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GESS Talks to Majed Akl, Director Primary and Secondary Education, Microsoft MEA

GESS Talks to Majed Akl, Director Primary and Secondary Education, Microsoft MEA

We are thrilled to have Microsoft as a Gold Sponsor for GESS Dubai 2022. We chat with Majed Akl to find out more about Microsoft and its initiatives to enhance educational experiences. 

1) Can you tell us a little bit about Microsoft?

Now more than ever your students deserve equitable access to technology. To help, Microsoft Education provides schools with solutions, technologies, and education expertise to accelerate opportunities for all learners. Windows 11 devices work with or without an internet connection, protect against online threats, and have inclusive, built-in solutions that help each student achieve their potential.

2) What initiatives are you working on currently?

Learning devices are considered one of today’s primary learning spaces, and they provide unique ways for students to build skills and improve their education. At Microsoft, we design tools for all learners and create applications such as Reading Progress, Reading Coach, and Immersive Reader to support students attain greater reading fluency.

3) What are the benefits for educational institutions using Microsoft products and solutions

Microsoft education delivers one unified platform for teaching, learning and work, for schools to provide an equitable learning environment. Windows 11, Microsoft 365, and Teams combine as the platform for learning that is Inclusively designed, fosters well-being, accelerates learning and develops career readiness.

4) What would you say is the most unique aspect of your products?

Let’s take a moment to examine what an agile, holistic, and interoperable technology ecosystem looks like:

One unified platform of applications and learning tools lights up core education activities—including collaboration, communication, content creation, and creative and critical thinking exercises. Within this platform, Teams serve as the consistent touchpoint whereby students can access their learning materials, classmates, instructors, and institutions all from one centralized location. The face of learning devices, regardless of their make, model, or OS, is Microsoft Teams— the teaching and learning hub that brings the entire ecosystem together before your eyes. The learning tools built into Teams and across Office apps make it possible for learners of all ability levels to participate and thrive.

Innovative devices with accessibility for all. Microsoft Education devices provide a full spectrum of capability for every school. Whether you’re looking for devices that balance value and simplicity, provide versatility and choice, or are the go-to for advanced performance, there is a Windows device that will fit your overall needs, whether these devices will be primarily used by students or teachers.

Finally, the foundation of this experience connects the institution to the ecosystem by leveraging existing SIS and/or LMS as the authoritative user database to seamlessly create digital identities in Azure Active Directory using  School Data Sync. Our foundational services serve as the core programs that keep the ecosystem organized, secure, and easily managed. These applications make sure everyone in the ecosystem has an identity while protecting privacy, keeping out unwanted bad actors, activating email and storage accounts, and allowing devices to be managed with ease.

5) What would you say is the biggest challenge in the current system that your products provide the solution for?

Designing for today, tomorrow, and the future matters – both in solutions that are less likely to become obsolete and in technologies that are agile and responsive to the evolving needs of K-12 education. Recent events have highlighted the impact of access to devices and connectivity on achieving equitable education outcomes.

More than ever schools need their tech infrastructure to be cost-effective, versatile, with the ability to deliver accessible learning experiences regardless of where the student may be at any given time. Striking that balance between simplicity and value is mission critical for many IT departments.

Microsoft is committed to providing world-class solutions you can trust that accommodate evolving workloads and maximize productivity and learning, while streamlining management so that IT can focus on more important things.

6) Why would customers choose Microsoft for their mixed reality solutions?

There are three main reasons customers embark on this journey with Microsoft:

At Microsoft, we have the largest ecosystem of 1st & 3rd Party mixed reality solutions, therefore no matter what the customers’ needs are today or tomorrow, we can support them. We offer a best-in-class HMD, it is the most comfortable and most immersive mixed reality experience available today.

At Microsoft, we offer the full spectrum of services, from OOB capabilities – our 1st party apps provide fast time to value, to Mixed Reality services like Azure Remote Rendering to a best-in-class HMD.