Thanks to one of our Oak Ridge Schools parents and advisory board members, Stephen Barnes of Microsoft, several leaders from Oak Ridge Schools had the opportunity to visit the Microsoft headquarters in Seattle, Washington this summer. Principal Martin McDonald shared his appreciation on behalf of the administrative team. He stated, “Mr. Barnes started us off with a tour of the Envisioning Center where we were able to see the home and office of tomorrow. We were also able to learn more about the many partnerships Microsoft engages in with top companies and industries around the world.” He emphasized the value of discussing future careers for which we are preparing our students in our commitment to quality STEM learning. We are always seeking to develop learning that will align with student skills and dispositions while meeting the demands of the 21st century workplace.

The team also met with Gordon Tsai of the Lenovo team to discuss the first generation 1:1 devices that our students use, and took a look at the second generation devices. Mr. McDonald complimented him on his responsiveness to feedback and concerns about the costs of the interactive pens we use.  The team was encouraged that Microsoft is continuing to develop Office 365 for the classroom so it is user friendly, and a better competitor to the Google classroom suite.

The team agreed that one of the highlights of the trip was experiencing the new HoloLens mixed reality viewer. This led to robust discussions about how virtual technologies can be applied to teaching and learning in hands-on courses, including those in which students can earn recognized industry certifications.  Mr. McDonald concluded, “We are so appreciative of the opportunity and the discussions and brainstorming that came out of our visit. Mr. Barnes was a first class host and our experience exceeded all expectations.”

Microsoft Tour HoloLens Experience