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Microsoft surface

Dubai College commences era of hybrid education with Microsoft Teams and Surface devices

After successfully switching to remote education due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tech-forward non-profit school built a new hybrid learning model based on Microsoft 365 and Surface devices. 

Using Surface and Stylus devices and leveraging key Microsoft 365 solutions such as Teams and OneNote Class Notebook, Dubai College provides live video lessons with integrated course materials, breaking down physical classroom walls and entering a new age of hybrid education.

Situated in the Al Sufuoh area of Dubai, Dubai College is a not-for-profit British school catering to students Years 7 to 13. Deeply committed to philanthropic as well as academic endeavors, the forward-thinking school has championed holistic education in the tradition of British independent schools, working to produce articulate, well-rounded students since 1978.

With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was compelled to continue lessons remotely. By pairing the capabilities of Microsoft Surface devices, laptops, cameras, and styluses—already widely used by staff and students alike—with Microsoft 365, Dubai College pioneered a seamless, effective shift to off-campus education delivery. This successful move powered its decision to transition permanently to a new hybrid learning model that mixes off- and online capabilities.

A simple teaching toolkit

The Microsoft 365 toolkit seamlessly enabled continued education, sharing and community for Dubai College, thanks to a range of agile functionalities unified through the school-wide adoption of Surface. “We initially chose Surface devices for staff because they are light and portable, facilitating more collaborative learning and allowing to move freely around the class,” explains Dee Saran, Deputy Head of Learning and Teaching. “They’re durable, flexible, with batteries that last the whole day. Then, once we were working remotely, we could instantly use these devices to connect using Microsoft Teams and were able to deliver live lessons throughout the whole lockdown.” 

“With Quick Meet in Teams, for example, we could run assemblies, host professional development sessions, integrate assignments, ensure one-on-one student counselling, and plug in apps to track students’ progress—at a time where monitoring students’ well-being was especially crucial,” stresses Saran. 

“Students really enjoy it too,” echoes Jeremy McIlveen, Geography teacher and Head of Digital Skills. 'I had developed a digital skills curriculum for years 7 and 8 that starts with a Microsoft boot camp where you have to navigate around the Surface Pros and learn how to use Outlook, OneDrive, and all the desktop apps like PowerPoint, Excel. The whole thing is delivered through OneNote. So, they also learn OneNote while doing it.”

“For some of my classes, students actually do all their work in OneNote Class Notebook now, rather than in exercise books,” continues McIlveen. “For other classes, OneNote is a way of distributing material, images, maps—whatever the whole lesson requires.”  

Engaging in a hybrid way of teaching

With over 1,400 active Microsoft 365 users actively engaged on Surface devices, more than 1.2 million files stored in OneDrive and 1.7 million in SharePoint, Dubai College is making the most of staff and students’ easy adoption of Surface and e-learning solutions to pursue the development of hybrid learning, even now that they’ve returned to the classroom. “The pandemic led us to think carefully about our existing teaching values and practices and the ways technology could best complement them. Going forward, we firmly believe that the transformative power of hybrid learning will allow us to offer students a more bespoke and personalized learning experience,” concludes Saran.

We were able to run assemblies, host professional development sessions, integrate assignments, ensure one-on-one student counselling, and plug in apps to track students’ progress. 
Dee Saran: Deputy Head of Learning and Teaching - Dubai College