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Unleashing student potential: learnings from my own journey

When I was 14, I got told off at school for not being able to answer a question. I must admit, I was always a little disruptive, but this time it was different. The reason I couldn’t answer the question? I could not read it and therefore couldn’t understand it. I later found out that I had dyslexia but at the time I nor the school knew.

I was so frustrated at not being able to get the help I needed that I went home and threw my laptop on the floor and broke it. Little did I know, this teenage moment of anger actually helped me realise my passion for tech.

Being unable to buy a new computer, I had to fix the laptop. One week later and it was back in working condition. Six months later I had bought more components and built my first desktop.

As a teenager, I saw the industry as very male dominated and thought I wouldn’t stand a chance getting a job at any big company. Two decades later and I am the only Cloud Technical Expert at Microsoft working for the UK and Europe.

Microsoft and I fit perfectly together. Why? Because like me, they care about everyone, everywhere. From small businesses, enterprises, local communities all the way to charities, local schools and national universities, everyone matters. We value people for what they can achieve when they are empowered with the right tools, devices and support.

Cloud helps schools unleash their potential

One sector I’m particularly passionate about is education. Cloud is one of the most powerful resources in the world for productivity, learning, growth and security. Paired with an accessible device like Surface, students are empowered to learn in the way that suits them best. Teachers gain time back to spend it less on paperwork and more with students. It’s the perfect combination – 14 year-old-me wouldn’t know what hit them if this existed 20 years ago!

I work at Microsoft’s flagship store in London. We currently work with over 45 schools and colleges to help them realise the potential of the cloud. We keep the knowledge growing internally in these organisations by helping them with training and any other support. We want everyone to get the best out of our products. That’s why we not only have a dedicated space for in-person training, but also visit organisations away from London in-person and virtually.

Giving schools the tools to empower

Getting support from us will help facilitate teachers, students, and graduates to have better access to information. It will also boost collaboration, communication, and productivity – vital skills in today’s workplace as well as those in the future.

Infographic showing five ways technology can transform the learning experience

But I don’t just see us as the tech people helping you use the tools. We’re empowering the people who carry on that torch to empower others in their school, organisation, or even at home. We’re helping you achieve more by giving you the knowledge you need to be more productive and collaborative. We’re also honoured to encourage you to pass those skills on to others and to collectively build an empowered team around you.

When I look back at that 14-year-old disruptive girl who threw her laptop on the floor I’m proud of the person she became. If I could speak to my younger self, this is the advice I’d give her to help her along her path: Come ready with a can-do attitude, willingness to learn, and eagerness to welcome any challenges and turn them into strengths.

Educators play such a vital role in unleashing student’s potential. With the help from my team, we can help empower teachers to use technology to help develop and coach students. That way, students will cultivate vital skills they need to support themselves in the future.

Miloni Patel headshotAbout the author

As Cloud Technical Expert for the UK and Europe at the flagship Microsoft store in London, Miloni and her team aims to empower clients and to provide the complete solution to each one of them. She enjoys working collaboratively with clients, and helping provide support and training so they can get the best out of their tools and devices.

Miloni has worked with Facebook, and been featured in Forbes for her work with #techmums, an organisation which teaches women tech skills that allows them to enter a new career path, gain confidence in their current career or returning one.