Microsoft Research Blog

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Enhancing learning through the cloud

April 24, 2014 | Posted by Microsoft Research Blog

Most parents want their children to have access to the best educational opportunities at schools with broad, enriching curricula. Students attending such schools may find themselves challenged with finding sufficient time to study any one subject adequately—in or out of the classroom. MyCloud, an innovative e-learning platform developed by Microsoft Research Asia, helps solve this problem by providing students and teachers with an interactive space for collaboration, exploration, and enrichment.

Students from Singapore Nan Chiau primary school, which has been using the MyCloud e-learning platform since 2011 for Chinese language instruction.
Students from Singapore Nan Chiau primary school, which has been using the MyCloud e-learning platform since 2011 for Chinese language instruction.

Originally developed to assist in teaching Chinese to students in Singapore, MyCloud is a web-based, interactive platform that allows teachers and students to extend learning beyond the classroom. Students can use a tablet, smartphone, laptop, or desktop computer to access the platform and complete assignments. Having grown up with technology, today’s students are very comfortable with using it in an educational setting; in fact, the high-tech aspect of this innovative platform captures students’ attention and interest, promoting engagement and fueling an intrinsic motivation to excel academically.

By using MyCloud, teachers can upload assigned lessons directly, knowing that their students can readily access their assignments and easily follow their instructions. It also enables teachers to upload supplemental activities and lessons, thereby complementing and expanding upon the material covered during limited classroom time. These supplemental activities not only broaden and enhance course content; they allow students to learn at their own pace, as the student controls MyCloud. Students can take uploaded tests on the e-learning platform to help them assess their progress with their studies. And the audio component is particularly valuable to students who are learning a foreign language, as they can practice their speaking and listening skills and readily learn new vocabulary. Video uploads will soon be added to promote students’ learning even further.

The value of this e-learning platform is evident at Nan Chiau Primary School in Singapore, which has been using it since 2011 for Chinese language instruction. Teachers at Nan Chiau understand that students must complete time-consuming exercises to learn Chinese vocabulary and tonal inflections, but the time allotted for classroom instruction is limited. MyCloud has allowed the students to pursue their mastery of Chinese on their own time and at their own pace, reinforcing the significance of the rate at which individuals learn, while enhancing students’ enjoyment of learning. Students have shown increased proficiency in Chinese language as a result of using the e-learning platform, and Microsoft’s partnership with Nan Chiau Primary School demonstrates how schools can successfully use its technology to enhance learning and empower students.

—Winnie Cui, Microsoft Research Asia, Senior UR Manager

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