“Discovering the Microsoft Educator Community was a huge turning point for me as an educator.” – Liz Wilson, UK

Liz Wilson
Class Teacher, 21st Century Learning Lead
Danesfield School
Marlow, United Kingdom
@Primarymrsw

No matter how old you are, few things can capture attention like a game. That’s why gamification is gaining such a foothold in the world of education. For Liz Wilson, a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert and MIE Master Trainer, using the gamification pedagogy as well as games like Minecraft Education completely transformed her classroom.

“I absolutely love using Minecraft in the classroom,” says Wilson. “It is such a fantastic, versatile technology that can be used across the curriculum to inspire students and enhance their learning experiences. My children adore Minecraft and using it in lessons immediately brings a buzz of enthusiasm to their learning — whatever the subject.”

She especially likes “the sandbox nature of the game,” which allows her students to explore new concepts in math, inspires new ideas for story writing, and recreates historical landmarks. “I always encourage my children to work together on their projects — developing their problem-solving, communication, and collaboration skills while continually being creative learners,” says Wilson.

Another major turning point for Wilson was the moment she discovered the Microsoft Educator Community. “When I first logged in and was shown the vast array of resources available, I wasn’t sure where to start,” Wilson shares with us. “There was just so much that looked so good! However, I soon discovered that I could earn points and badges, which appealed to my gamer persona. I was desperate to earn more than my colleagues and soon embarked upon a quest to do just that.”

Throughout her journey, she earned badge after badge, all while learning more and more. “Through this wonderful resource, I discovered a huge array of new technologies that can be used in the classroom and got all the training I needed to feel confident in bringing them into my lessons,” Wilson says. “Without the Microsoft Educator Community, I wouldn’t be using Sway or Office Mix and I wouldn’t have been introduced to 21st century learning — something that I now feel extremely passionate about building in all the students I teach.”

When it comes to advice for other teachers who are thinking of broadening their technology toolbox in their classrooms, Wilson has some words of wisdom: “I think it is important for teachers to spend time reflecting on their practice and exploring new ways of doing things that can not only save them time, energy and stress, but can also provide students with higher quality learning experiences,” she says. “Technology is a clear answer to this, for example, setting whole class tasks through OneNote Class Notebooks, saving time and paper!”

One of Wilson’s favorite lessons – where children are asked to work together to use problem-solving skills to help design and build a new home, all within a limited budget – can be found on the Microsoft Educator Community. You can also connect with Liz at her Microsoft Educator Community Profile.

About Liz Wilson

  • Educational background: I studied Primary School Teaching at Brighton University. I went on to teach at Claygate Primary School for two years and have been teaching at Danesfield School (A Microsoft Showcase School and Microsoft Training Academy) since September 2012.
  • Favorite Microsoft product, tool, technology: Minecraft and Sway
  • What is the best advice you have ever received? Mistakes help us learn! – ‘Suckin’ at something’ is the first step to being kinda good at something’ – Adventure Time
  • Website I check every day: Twitter!
  • Favorite childhood memory: Playing with my siblings in the garden after family BBQs in the summer sun.
  • Favorite book: The Firework Makers Daughter by Phillip Pullman

 

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