“I believe that when students learn at an early age the intrinsic joy of doing good, they grow up to be problem-solvers who will change the world for good in the future.” – Michael Soskil, USA
“The goal of the classroom isn’t to give us facts, it’s to turn us into thinkers.” – John Dinelli, USA
“Letting go of our control as teachers sometimes can lead to better learning.” – Mette Hauch, Denmark
“Being a computer science major doesn’t box you in [to coding],” she says, “There are almost too many options.” – Kaitlin Huben, USA
“I hope to see that our students equip themselves with 21st century skills to prepare themselves for their future careers and have more opportunities in life.” – Tan Been Tiem, Brunei
“We believe in the power of the educator, and the impact educators can have when they are brought together to collaborate and be recognized for their achievements.” – Ann Smith, USA
“My personal opinion is that a teacher is a pedagogical engineer who needs to apply the best learning theory to a specific situation” – Koen Timmers, Belgium
“I knew that I had to work hard to continue my daily life, and I realized that without education and ICT knowledge, I could never proceed.” – Mohammad Mohiul Hoque, Bangladesh
“When a spark lights the fire of motivation, I trust in my ability to guide students further than they believe is possible.” – Jonas Bäckelin, Sweden
“In my vison, students must understand that we can learn in different spaces, because we are always learning. Out of school we see how technology is in their life, so why do we take it away inside of the school?” – José Carlos Duarte Marques, Portugal
For nearly ten years I have been teaching maths and physical education, right now in a business college at Steyr, Austria. I would say, that I have already experienced a lot of different things in my teaching profession and as a “restless” teacher I try to find new ways of teaching mathematics.
So for six years I have been using a tablet PC with a stylus for my lectures and as I discovered OneNote it became the “…one (ring) to rule them all…“. Just joking!
But I was using OneNote all day and soon I started to realize, that this would be the perfect tool to get some collaboration going on between me and my students. So for four years I have had a OneNote-based class binder for every class, where my students and I try to collect all kind of things. We put in all kinds of stuff, from interactive GeoGebra-Applets to worksheets or even Audio and Video files. Everything is stored there and can be accessed very easily from every device and smartphones and tablets are often used to contribute to “our Online-textbook” (as my students call it).
Last year I took the chance to contribute this idea and my/our work to the Microsoft Educator Network as a learning activity. I thought this is just all about using technology, but I was so wrong…
I was not aware that this small learning activity was changing my whole life! The Microsoft Educator Network is not only about technology, it is about the most important ingredient in teaching: the teachers! I was very fortunate to get nominated as an Microsoft Innovative Expert Educator and from that time on, my teaching profession has not been the same. Getting the chance to get to know the most innovative and inspiring educators from all over the world has made a deep impact on me! I started to think a lot more “globally” and was suddenly facing the fact, that there is a very big “movement” going on out there: Giving the best education in the most innovative ways to our students, no matter where they come from, or what precondition they are facing. And the best thing:As a teacher I am not alone! I can count on a big social, professional network!
It is truely inspiring to see all these fellow educators and what they contribute to teach 21st century skills. I am so proud and I feel honored to get to know some of this splendid educators at the Microsoft Global Forum in Barcelona in March 2014. We discussed and exchanged our ideas and collaborated to design a learning activity in 24 hours (my team was lucky and won the Learn-a-thon with this learning activity). Not only the Forum, but the whole social network built upon this Microsoft Innovative Expert Educator-Network has changed my life. Many of the contacts I have made I can now call friends. But let them speek for themselves:
Sometimes all it takes for an amazing project to be born is the ability to listen.
It was March 2013, and Jonathan Grudin was attending the Workshop on the Impact of Pen and Touch Technology on Education (WIPTTE). It’s not immediately apparent from his unassuming aura, but Jonathan is actually a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and somewhat of a legend within Microsoft and beyond as a pioneer in computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW). With years of experience and groundbreaking research contributions, Jonathan certainly has a lot to share, but on this day his ability to listen allowed him to truly hear the needs of educators around the world, planting a young seed in his mind that would come to be nurtured by passionate peers in the company to become the OneNote Class Notebook Creator, launching today.
Whose map are you a servant to?’- I heard this phrase quite recently and thought it encapsulated the strains teachers face when trying to be innovative in their teaching. It raised questions like: Who controls the path taken on the map? What should the most important features be on the map? How could the map be redrawn?
Many teachers feel confined by state examinations and the content that needs to be taught for students to be prepared for them. It is easy to be consumed by this pressure and not too risk innovative practices that may be perceived by some to undermine a students progress towards this destination on the map.
Fortunately being part of the Microsoft Innovative Expert Educator network has exposed me to a group of educators who, in their own way, are trying to redraw the ‘map’. One that not only recognizes the importance of mastering content but also the enduring skills that a student will need to be successful in life. These include global citizenship, communication, critical thinking and collaboration. They are: rethinking assessment practices that allow for the measurement and development of these 21st century skills; looking to provide real purpose and meaning to a students learning; and how to show students that they can have an impact on communities either locally, nationally or internationally.
One of the proudest moments of my teaching career came recently when with a colleague we redesigned a unit of work which had been based purely on content related to the science of food. In the redrawing of the ‘map’ the unit was now focused on the enduring skills of citizenship and collaboration. Inspiration for the change came after a visit to a local food bank where I was informed that over 50 families came for support each week and worryingly their stores were almost empty. Ruby, my colleague, and I set about challenging the students to work collaboratively to design and source a food parcel that would feed a family of four for a week. They needed to know all the science concepts they did before but had a meaningful purpose to engage with the information as they knew they could have a real impact on families that needed their support.
When the students were presented with this idea their first question was ‘Are we actually going to do this or just plan it?’ When they realized they were going to actually design and deliver food parcels they visibly sat up and engaged with the task and it remained like this for the next three weeks. Ruby and I learnt from this that the risk of redrawing the ‘map’ was more than worth it.
The start of a new school year often brings fresh inspiration, and brand new ways to teach important life lessons. This year is no exception. Back in July, we told you about an exciting new way to teach 21st century skills while engaging students in a collaborative, international project: the Global Enterprise Challenge. And with only a week left to register before the September 30 deadline, now is the time to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The brainchild of Broadclyst Community Primary School (a Microsoft Mentor School), the Global Enterprise Challenge gives 10 and 11-year-old students from all over the world a chance to run international companies – producing, marketing and pitching products for a chance to win a trip to Microsoft HQ in Seattle, where they will see a real global enterprise in action. It’s an inspired approach to project-based learning, and a creative way for students to practice the collaboration, critical thinking and communication skills they’ll need for their next steps in life.
To learn more about how the Global Enterprise Challenge works, check out a blog post from the Microsoft in Education Team. With less than a week to go before registration closes on September 30, it’s time to sign up TODAY. We looking forward to announcing the winners (could it be YOUR class?) in Seattle next year.
When it comes to the world of work, the only certainty is change. That’s why we talk so much about 21st century skills, and what today’s employers look for in their employees of tomorrow. Simply put, access to a world of infinite information has changed how we communicate, process information, and think. Innovation, creativity, and independent thinking are increasingly crucial to the global economy, and it’s vital that students – and employees — adapt.
So today I’m very happy to share my discussion with a former colleague and long-time friend, Harry Patz. Harry – a 20-year veteran of the technology and media industry, has just undergone a pretty major career shift by realizing his life-long dream of writing and publishing a book. Harry’s first book, The Naive Guys: A Memoir of Friendship, Love and Tech in the Early 1990s, was just recently published and I was honored to write the forward for my friend.
Harry and I not only worked together after college, but we also attended high school together. It was our early days at Microsoft that inspired Harry to write his book. Today he shares the process he went through to learn to write, self-publish and market his book – all skills that were not necessarily part of Harry’s toolbox. And – you guessed it — Harry had to adapt.
“A number of folks said to me…you’re crazy to self-publish, go pitch it to a publisher,” Harry says. “And I could have done that, but after I did all the work writing it…I wanted to put the power into my own hand. It’s hard to think you can be all things…you need to know what skills you’re good at, and where to outsource help.”
What does Harry think it takes to adeptly change course? “You want to continue to challenge yourself to build new skills,” he says. “I had to learn and embrace some very new experiences and it invigorated me to enter a new creative side of my world. It’s also a bit scary in some ways. You don’t have a security blanket beyond you.”
I want to thank Harry for sharing his story with us here at Daily Edventures. While it’s not our usual subject matter, Harry’s dynamic shift to new skill sets as he changed careers is certainly applicable to today’s students, who will be entering a radically changed workforce. Enjoy!
Harry Patz, Jr. is a twenty-year veteran of the tech and media industries. He has been a participant of the Nantucket Atheneum Writer’s Group since October, 2013. Harry contributed a short story, “Off Season” for the group’s published anthology collection, The Moving Pen: A Nantucket Atheneum Writer’s Group Anthology, published in June, 2014.
Harry holds an MBA from The Johnson School at Cornell University and a BS in Management from Boston College. He splits his time between Westchester, New York and Nantucket, Massachusetts.
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