“We need creative minds because there’s no easy or obvious way to achieve great solutions for the challenges the world faces today.” – Cristina Isern, Spain

If you have been following along with our coverage of the Microsoft in Education Global Forum, you know that this year was a special one for many reasons, chief amongst those being the involvement from students. Whether in The Pitch Competition, or as a part of the Saltash.net Community School team, students played a starring role at the Forum, and brought a much needed voice and perspective that must be embraced as we work together to move education forward.

Cristina Isern, a business school student at ESADE in Barcelona, and a member of the E3 Entrepreneurship Association at ESADE, volunteered at the forum as a coach in The Pitch Competition. As a mentor to the Gayaza High School team from Uganda – whose project seeks to create an online library, won second place in the competition and secured $15,000 to help make their project a reality – Isern won’t soon forget her experience at the Global Forum.

My colleague and I were in contact with the school leaders both before and after they got to Barcelona, helping them deliver an engaging and structured presentation,” says Isern. “It was very rewarding to see the school winning $15,000, but even more, seeing how we were able to help a little bit in the success of such an inspiring and promising project as the E-market Library.”

For Isern, taking part in the Global Forum meant that she could use her education to make a difference, and that will stay with her into the future. “It was a great experience as a university business administration student to attend the Global Forum and be inspired by so many innovative minds,” she added. 

Enjoy today’s Daily Edventure with Cristina Isern.

What drew you to the field of education? Why is it important to you?
I believe education can make up some of the best parts of a person’s life. It’s crucial that those who are fortunate enough to get an education realize this, and that those who realize this are able to get one.

Can you tell us about a favorite teacher, or someone who made a difference in your education?
Only those teachers who genuinely cared about me on a personal level ended up making a difference in my education. 

Please describe how your professional achievements have advanced innovation in education.  What has changed as a result of your work?
This is just my first time participating in an educational project from a more professional point of view. I hope my work has encouraged the team I coached for The Pitch to keep dreaming big, being creative and working hard to make their project come to life and change lives.

How have you applied technology in innovative ways to support your work?
I use a tablet for my everyday university work. It really helps me keep my work organized and it’s reduced by hundreds the amount of paper I’d otherwise have needed.

In your opinion, how has the use of apps, cellphones, and mobile devices changed education? And your work?
For a business administration student like me, these technologies are extremely useful not just in the learning process, but also to keep track of all the groups I have to prepare projects with for the different classes.

In your view, what is the most exciting innovation happening in education today?
The international projects, like the Microsoft in Education Global Forum, and many others that even little schools are promoting within their student body and faculty. It is exciting and enriching to get to learn so much from different people and education systems.

Is there a 21st century skill (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, or creativity and innovation) that you are most passionate about? Why?
Creativity and innovation. It’s not a surprise coming from a member of the entrepreneurship association E3 at ESADE.  We need creative minds because there’s no easy or obvious way to achieve great solutions for the challenges the world faces today.

What is your country doing well currently to support education?
Right now, education is a hot topic in Spain. There are some new policies that might not be supporting education that much. Some of them are more of a consequence of the economic crisis, but some others are cultural.   

How must education change in your country to ensure that students are equipped to thrive in the 21st century?
The teaching profession and the opportunity of having an education should be much more valued.      

If you could give one educational tool to every child in the world, what would it be? Why?
I’d give them a laptop or tablet to enable them to capture what they learn in class, explore it further through the Internet (articles, videos, apps…) and actively communicate with teachers and other students. I also think all students should have passionate teachers who make the learning process interesting and fun. 

About Cristina Isern
Student, ESADE Business School and Member of E3 Initiative
Barcelona, Spain

  • Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain
  • Current residence: Barcelona, Spain
  • Education: Currently, Bachelor in Business Administration at ESADE Business School
  • Website I check every day: Websites related to business and entrepreneurship or the music industry.
  • Person who inspires me most: I’m just very inspired by people who fight for the right thing or talk honestly in spite of knowing how impossible or how much trouble it can be. There are many examples, from musicians to teachers.
  • Favorite childhood memory: New York and dance summer camps
  • Next travel destination (work or pleasure): Maybe San Francisco.
  • When was the last time you laughed? Why?  Today, when brainstorming about possible travel destinations with my university friends.
  • Favorite book: At this moment, Stieg Larsson’s Millenium trilogy.
  • Favorite music: From different places and different styles.
  • What is the best advice you have ever received? Just to enjoy how lucky you are instead of worrying about little things.
  • Your favorite quote or motto: “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou
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