“I thought I was alone in my ideas for greater understanding and access to technology.” – Linda Sydes, Australia
Year 5 Primary School Teacher
Meridan State College
Linda Sydes’ favorite classroom activities let her students show their understanding of learning in a creative way – but how they do that is largely up to them.
“Many choose to use Minecraft,” Sydes says, citing a project where her students showed how Moreton Bay (near Brisbane, Queensland) has changed from pre-European settlement to convict times, and from the 1800s to today.
“Students built the first settler camps, the second fleet ships, soldiers barracks, and the Storey bridge,” Sydes explains. “To share this work with the class, students are asked to make a PowerPoint with a sample of Office Mixes. These show a movie of certain sections of their Minecraft World, and thus their presentation shows Moreton Bay changing over time.”
Everything changed for Sydes when she became a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE) last year.
“Until I saw the opportunity to be accepted into the Microsoft Community, I really thought that the things that I was trying to do with technology and young students were really just me pushing the boundaries of what I was teaching them — and I thought I was alone in my ideas for greater understanding and access to technology.”
Sydes has found a community of educators who are passionate about teaching students through technology, and who “understand that tools like Minecraft are not just fun to play around with. They increase students’ knowledge and understanding of curriculum-based subjects, and of course, their creativity and critical thinking skills.”
Taking advantage of the community in her own school – home of two MIEEs — has made a difference, too.
“I am working with a fantastic team of teachers and leaders at Meridan to make sure that students are engaged with technology and are able to access the curriculum in a variety of ways,” Sydes tells us. “We are allowing for differentiation and feedback through technology, and we believe that this is assisting our students to not only become global citizens and global learners, but to master the curriculum and ultimately improve their assessments.”
Connect with Linda on her Microsoft Educator Community Profile.
About Linda Sydes
• Educational background: Bachelor of Education, University of Tasmania
• Favorite Microsoft product, tool, technology: Office Mix
• Website I check every day: Facebook and Real Estate.com
• Favorite childhood memory: Camping, playing at the beach and in the bush, and reading lots of books.
• Favorite book: At the moment, I am enjoying the Game of Thrones series. I love any action or mystery book where I can’t guess the ending.