Showcasing the heroes in education each day on Daily Edventures is a privilege. And today, I am especially humbled to bring to light some of the best and brightest educators out there –teachers and school leaders who each day work in the face of monumental challenges to bring their students the best education possible. Microsoft Expert Educators and Mentor schools are inspiring examples of how individuals and schools are using technology to prepare their students for the 21st century, and I am honored to announce the winning Expert Educators and Mentor Schools.
Members of both programs are part of an exclusive, year-long program designed to recognize educators and schools that are on the leading edge of education innovation. Expert Educators were selected from nearly 22,000 educators in 158 countries, while Mentor Schools came from nearly 250 schools in 75 countries. These educators and schools are using technology to transform education, often overcoming overwhelming obstacles in order to prepare their students to be 21st century leaders.
Winning Expert Educators are not only doing innovative work in the classroom, but they are actively mentoring others and creating change within their own education systems. For example, one of our winners created digital literacy courses and produced audiobooks for non-native speakers and the blind, and then designed a multimedia center to allow any student or teacher to access their work and experiment with broadcasting language lessons. Yet another designed a history project for their students to study medieval history. Students took in-person tours of medieval castles, researched and compiled all their information, and then created virtual tours that could be used by other teachers and students who could not visit the castles in person. These innovators set an outstanding example for their peers.
Or take winning Mentor Schools like GENTE (Gin Exp Novas Tecnologias Educacion) in Brazil, and Campbelltown Performing Arts High School in Australia. At GENTE, the focus on personalized learning has completely transformed their curriculum and learning outcomes. Each student creates his or her own online “formative itinerary” that lists the skills they already have and the ones they need to develop. A digital adaptive evaluation system monitors what the student has learned, and where they can improve. At Campbelltown Performing Arts High School (CPAHS), action learning project teams explore four key areas of 21st-century learning: project-based learning, personalized learning, flexible learning spaces and student voice. CPAHS is firmly committed to practices that improve learning outcomes for students and prepare them as 21st century citizens who have the capacity to reflect deeply, collaborate effectively, think critically and work creatively.
The Expert Educators and Mentor Schools programs are designed specifically to help enable major transformations for both the educators and the schools. This year’s winners will benefit from the access to technology that they receive as part of Microsoft’s ongoing programs. We also see the programs as a “fellowship” of sorts: winners will not only work extremely closely with Microsoft, but they will also have access to a global community of world-class educators and schools.
We believe that innovation begins when leaders think big and collaborate with other leaders to discover best practices. And to this end, today’s winners will be connecting with other innovative district and school leaders worldwide at the Microsoft in Education Global Forum in Barcelona in this coming March. The Global Forum is always a time of great collaboration, team-building and celebration, and I am very excited to meet each of these winners at this once-in-a-lifetime event.
And of course, Daily Edventures will be featuring the Expert Educators and Mentor Schools throughout the year, exploring their stories, challenges and triumphs. I look
forward to sharing even more about this incredible program and our winners in the days and months to come.
Congratulations, 2014 Expert Educators and Mentor Schools! You make us proud.