“There are still too many teachers who choose not to use technology in class, either because they do not know how to or because they do not want to change.” – Ann Michaelsen, Norway
One of my favorite aspects of having profiled innovative educators over the past few years has been seeing teachers’ practices evolve, and witnessing the fruits of their labors. When we last spoke to Ann Michaelsen in 2013, she – along with her 27 students – had recently published a book, Connected Learners: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Global Classroom, using OneNote, OneDrive and a host of social media tools. The book was designed to help high school teachers and their students shift from isolated, teacher-centered classrooms to student-driven, digital environments.
Since then, Michaelsen’s student co-authors have experienced the rewards of participating in a high-profile project. One student noted: “I can remember several instances when I actually forgot I was doing school work, because the task I was given was so appealing that I almost could have done it outside school.” And Michaelsen’s work has gained international attention – most notably in this recent BBC feature, and through her information-rich blog.
These days, Michaelsen’s expertise and perspective are widely sought after. Earlier this year, she had an opportunity to influence education reform all over Europe through her participation in the Horizon Report Europe. The study aims to help education ministers, governing boards, and school leaders strategically approach the evolution of teaching, learning, and creative inquiry.
While she’s seen a great deal of that evolution take place already, Michaelsen still sees room for improvement. “I’m looking forward to better software in schools to help teachers monitor the students’ learning,” she tells us, “and I look forward to seeing a more student-centered LMS.”
For more of Ann Michaelsen’s insights, check out today’s Daily Edventure.
What inspired you to become an educator?
My French teacher in high school inspired me to be a teacher. His student-centered pedagogy combined with his ability to see every student [as an individual] inspired me.
What was a defining moment in your career when you felt proudest to be an educator?
My proudest moment has to be when we published our book on Amazon and the PLP Press. To get feedback from many different parts of the world and to see how proud the students were was great.
Why do you feel passionate about innovation and technology in the classroom?
Technology helped us when we wrote the book and has made the connection with those who contributed possible. We use technology to connect with students in different parts of the world and I know my students appreciate this because I can read about it on their blogs. The latest venture was talking with Ewan McIntosh on the Scottish referendum.
What’s the biggest obstacle you or your country or region has had to overcome, or will have to overcome, to ensure a quality education for students?
In Norway, we are lucky. We have the infrastructure and we have the technology in class — at least in high school. I would say the largest obstacle is the time it takes teachers to use technology in class. There are still too many teachers who choose not to use technology in class, either because they do not know how to or because they do not want to change.
In terms of education innovation, what are you most excited about for the future?
I hope schools will collaborate more between countries. And, I hope that [education] — with the use of technology — becomes more relevant and interesting for the students.
About Ann Michaelsen
Teacher and Administrator, Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert
Sandvika High School
- Birthplace: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
- Educational background: English teacher, Master in School Leadership
- Website I check every day: My students’ blogs.
- Favorite childhood memory: Summer cabin with my family.
- Favorite book: Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne
- Favorite Microsoft product, tool, technology: Windows Surface Pro and the Office 365 app on my phone.
- What is the best advice you have ever received? Remember to talk with your students and let them have a voice in the classroom.