I had the privilege of being a member of the United States delegation at the Microsoft in Education Global Forum in Barcelona, Spain, earlier this month. During this event, I tweeted many examples the power of the Global Forum.
Being able to organize and create project based learning activities with like-minded educators from all parts of our planet is one such example of the power of the Global Forum.
On Thursday morning, March 13, I sat down at a table with an educator from Taiwan, Indonesia, France and Tunisia. We were given a one-word topic – poverty – and asked to create a learning activity from this one word.
We started simply as Team 28 but eight hours later, five teachers from four continents, teaching at three different grade levels, created one project, “Five Countries Fighting Poverty”, that will help all of our students in their learning in so many ways. That is the power of the Global Forum.
Here is the breakdown of our roles:
- I teach middle school environmental science. My students will research how poverty affects the environment and how the environment affects poverty in the five participating countries.
- Woro Wulan, from Indonesia, teaches second grade. Her students will learn about each country and illustrate what poverty looks like to them.
- Hsueh-Wen Fang, from Taiwan, teaches high school literature. His students will research and write about poverty in the participating countries from a literary perspective.
- Mansar Rached, from Tunisia, teaches high school mathematics. His students will research and compile all the data (numbers) associated with poverty in the participating countries.
- Marc Aurelien Chardine, from France, teaches high school physics. His students will collect all the data from the other students and build an augmented reality manipulative to house the data. Students will be able to manipulate an augmented reality model of Earth. In each of the five countries, the students will be able to access all data from all participating students from five countries.
There were language and cultural differences that came into play but at no time would it become a barrier to reaching our goal. I was so impressed at how much every member wanted to contribute. I was swept up in the enthusiasm of my team members. We brainstormed and entertained ideas from everyone. We agreed on a structure and roles for completing the learning activity. We worked together to create a realistic learning activity that will be implemented in our classrooms.
There are not many conferences where this kind of global learning activity could be created. That is the power of the Global Forum.
At home, I am ahead of the curve among educators. At this table, on this day, I was working hard to keep up with a team of focused and driven overachievers. I admire them greatly and was honored to be grouped with them. I learned from each and every person I came in contact with during this event.
It was humbling; and that is the power of the Global Forum.
So where do I go from here? When I have been exposed to so much knowledge, ability and passion, what is my next steep? The Microsoft in Education Global Forum is a hard act to follow.
It is my obligation as a professional educator to pay it forward. I have created an action plan for the next year that will provide professional development, enhanced by my experiences at the Global Forum, to countless educators, both locally and globally. My plan includes mentoring as many of the nearly 13,000 educators in my school district through monthly Teach Meets with area teachers, small group professional development with teachers at my school and district-wide professional development.
I will present at School Advisory Council and Parent Teacher Student Council meetings.
I have a social media professional learning network that covers 50 countries. I will use this global reach to spread the word that there is a group of passionate, knowledgeable and dedicated Microsoft Expert Educators who can help teachers better their craft, and as a result, improve the educational opportunities for their students.
And that is the true power of the Global Forum. To learn more about the work I do day to day, visit his blog – The Innovative Educator.
- Todd LaVogue