Category Archives: Microsoft
Monday, 23 February was the second and final day of the forum. Once again the Educator’s Track I was privileged to have been asked to participate in a panel discussion called Connecting Educators, Students, Classrooms with educators Sahar Chaer from Lebanon and Manu Mital from India and this was certainly a highlight for me. I was afforded the opportunity to present my Travelling Rhinos Project to the audience, as an example of how such a project can connected classrooms around the world in a meaningful way. What an honour, what an experience!
What did I learn from the forum?
- That passion is the key to great teaching – passion for the students, passion for the content and the delivery of content and a passion for education as a whole.
- Teachers around the world face many of the same challenges, we are united by our profession and dedicated to changing lives. We may speak different languages, but we speak one common educational language.
- I am fortunate to work for a privileged school where we have and use different forms of technology in our classrooms, and we do our best to stay abreast of current trends in education, but South Africa as a whole, is way behind on the technology playing field. As a country we have a long way to go.
- Collaboration across borders, oceans and continents is important in order to foster understanding and tolerance for the many different peoples and cultures of our world. If our children learnt this from a young age, our world could be such a different place!
- That the countries in the world whose education systems are working and are producing top results, treat their teachers with the respect they deserve. However, the selection process to become a teacher is much more stringent, and so it should be. In these countries education is continuously discussed at the highest levels, strategies are developed and plans put in place to educate their children so that they can be the best that they can be, not merely to finish school.
- Cloud technology is the way if the future if it isn’t already. This does, however, exclude a large portion of the world’s children in countries where internet connectivity is poor and bandwidth costs are exorbitant. Our own internet in South Africa is of the slowest and more expensive in the world, and children in rural areas are, in the main, excluded from tapping into this resource that most of us living in a first world situation cannot do without.
- I would have loved to have seen more teacher projects and work on display. I love to learn from other educators who share their ideas and expertise.
- Microsoft has really upped its game and its new offerings are exciting and really innovative. OneNote (on steroids), Office Mix, Sway, the new Surface Pro 3 tablet and Windows 10 are all worth a good look and deeper investigation. Exciting times for educators!
In November four Elkanah House teachers were selected as Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts (MIEExpert15) for 2015. They were recognised by Microsoft for their excellence in their innovative use of technology to help students learn and achieve more. To qualify for the MIE Expert programme teachers from around the world had to submit at least one learning activity to Microsoft to show how they were using technology to enhance learning and teaching. More than eight hundred educators from over 100 countries world-wide were chosen for 2015, of which only sixteen were from South Africa and Lesotho. Of these sixteen, four were from Elkanah House.
The teachers submitted the following activities:
Linda Foulkes (ICT and MOS Trainer at Elkanah House High School): Potential of OneNote and Office Integrated Apps in the Classroom. You can view her activity here: http://goo.gl/VDp6ba. (Sadly Linda has since left Elkanah, but you can follow her on her blog here:https://folklind.wordpress.com/ )
Jacky Louw (Design Technology Teacher at Elkanah House Senior Primary) and Simone Crous (Art Teacher at Elkanah House Senior Primary) entered a joint project: Lights, Animation, Action! You can see Jacky and Simone’s activity here: http://goo.gl/jbNKvu and http://goo.gl/oL0d1X.
Karen Stadler (Head of Digital Learning at Elkanah House Senior Primary): The Travelling Rhinos Project – Save Our Rhinos. To see this activity, go here: http://goo.gl/nokMPx.
As a MIE Expert, over the course of 2015 these teachers can expect:
- Free Microsoft tools and technology, including Office 356 Pro Plus
- Exclusive professional development opportunities
- Opportunities to develop their personal “brand” and career as a thought leader by participating in case studies, speaking engagements and content development
- Eligibility to earn an all-expense paid trip to the Microsoft in Education Global Forums in Redmond, Washington in April 2015 or Dubai in February 2015, or those who are not selected to travel overseas will be given the opportunity to attend the SchoolNet South Africa ICT in the Classroom Conference in Durban in July 2015 at Microsoft’s expense.
They will be expected to share their learning with their peers and also participate in a series of webinars over the course of next year. Each teacher has also received a certificate of recognition for this achievement.
For a full list of the South African and Lesotho teachers who were selected look here: http://goo.gl/5KFUiF
Here is the story as it appeared in ISASA’s Independent Education Magazine – Autumn Edition.