Bringing diverse students together with technology — Classroom technology eases transition for refugees

Olivier Dijkmans
Elementary School Teacher
Stedelijke Basisschool Omnimundo
Antwerp, Belgium

Olivier Dijkmans’ school is on the front lines when it comes to adapting to a diverse student body, including many refugees who have never attended school, and don’t know how to read, calculate or write.

Olivier DijkmansOlivier, a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, uses everything from green screens to Legos to engage his class that represents different lands of origin, different religions and different education levels.

“This is not an easy challenge,” Olivier tells us, “but it has to be taken, because good education is the key to success for the future of our community and society. Technology helps a lot, and because of my new way of teaching, I can more easily adapt my lesson plans to the level of the children. I can create an almost ‘unique’ learning experiences where all children [find] success.”

Last year, Olivier saw this success first hand in one of his students, an Eritrean refugee. “Because he could use the Surface device,” he says, “[my student found] an old program that ‘speaks’ Dutch words. He immersed himself in our language, and was able to understand and speak it. That was a real eye opener! It proved to me that technology can used by everyone, with a little training.”

These days, Olivier is also excited about the Water Project, a global effort of nine schools on six continents to raise awareness around water issues and teach 21st century skills. Learn more about the project here. To connect with Olivier, visit his Educator Profile.  

About Olivier Dijkmans

  • Educational background: Teacher training, responsible for safety in the school, MIEE, Teacher of Microsoft Surface Pilot Class Belgium, 2015-2016
  • Favorite Microsoft product, tool, technology: Microsoft Surface Pro 4, OneNote for Classrooms, Office 365
  • What is the best advice you have ever received? Never forget the pleasure in everything you do.
  • Website I check every day:
  • Favorite childhood memory: My first visit to Disneyland Paris.
  • Favorite book: Koning van Katoren, Jan Terlouw.
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