A Partners in Learning Institute Reunion: Learn from the Masters

In today’s Daily Edventure, alumni Arjana Blazic, a Zagreb German and English teacher, and Bart Verswijvel, a Pedagogical Advisor at European Schoolnet’s Future Classroom Lab in Belgium, share their experiences as part of the Partners in Learning Institute. The two educators met at the Seattle Institute in 2011, and along with the other attendees, forged deep and continuing connections. Both Verswijvel and Blazic say they are “lifelong learners on a never ceasing quest for knowledge, and along the way we are having lots of fun – because learning is exciting and enjoyable.”

Blazic and Verswijvel have been collaborating in various areas, including a recent “Learning Odyssey” in the eTwinning Learning Lab. Together, they presented workshops on the topic of the pedagogical value of eTwinning projects at the recent eTwinning Conference in Lisbon, Portugal. And their collaboration continues to grow, as they share what they’re learning with teachers around the world through the Partners in Learning network.

Here, the committed educators talk about what they learned at the Institute, and about what they’ve done since then to foster innovation in their students and among their peers. This Thursday, April 4, they’re holding a reunion (via Microsoft Lync) for other attendees and any others who’d like to learn what the program is all about. Join them – and learn from the masters!

In 2011, 50 innovative educators from the Partners in Learning Network were selected to attend the Microsoft Partners in Learning Institute 2011 in Seattle.

We were both delighted and proud to be among the top 50 who would travel to the Microsoft Headquarters in Redmond, Washington. It was a real privilege to be there and to learn how to improve our teaching practices, how to effectively teach with technology, how to prepare our students for life in the 21st century and how to train other teachers to implement innovative teaching and learning practices.

During this activity-packed week, we worked creatively and effectively with colleagues from 31 countries from across six continents. We took part in various workshops and discussions, delivered two-minute presentations at a TeachMeet, designed interesting and useful learning activities and mingled with the top 100 US educators who attended the US Microsoft Innovative Forum. We also went on field trips, did some bowling, socialized in Seattle pubs and clubs, spent a wonderful night at the Gala Dinner at the Space Needle and forged friendships for life. Indeed, we’ve stayed in contact ever since on the Partners in Learning Network and on our Facebook page, fondly nicknamed the Dirty Fifty.

The Partners in Learning Institute has hugely impacted our professional and personal lives. We have inspired and motivated not only our students, but also our fellow teachers to change education and to bring innovation into the classrooms. All of us have actively participated in various educational activities in our countries and have implemented and disseminated the knowledge we gained at the Partners in Learning Institute.  Most of us have been interviewed by Anthony Salcito for Daily Edventures, and are honored to be among the global heroes in education.

A year and a half later, we’re organizing a follow-up event which will be held online in a Lync video conferencing room, courtesy of the Partners in Learning Network. (Link to it here) The main part of this reunion will be dedicated to the Partners in Learning Alumni, who will speak about their successes, projects, ideas, experiences and will describe how they have grown both professionally and personally since Seattle.

The Reunion will take place on April 4, 2013 at 7:00 pm CET (check your time zone here). To join this extraordinary event, please follow this link.  The room will be open half an hour before the event.

– Arjana Blazic and Bart Verswijvel 

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