As part of the Microsoft Partners in Learning program, Microsoft presented awards to enthusiastic teachers who used technology innovatively.

Julia Breem from Howick College has won the 2011 Microsoft Innovative Educators Award. She will also be given a professional development package worth more than NZ$5,000. Howick College has been named as a Microsoft Pathfinder school as the teachers were proactive in incorporating information and communications technology (ICT) into their lessons in an innovative way.

“I feel so excited and honoured to be recognized for my passion in engaging students. It is very rewarding to see them being motivated with the project and this assures me that I have done the right thing. I hope that the project can change the perception of Physical Education in the school community,” said Julia.

With the purpose of encouraging critical thinking through student collaborations, Julia developed a project using Green Screening, Microsoft Movie Maker®, Microsoft OneNote® and Microsoft SkyDrive®. Through this project, the students were able to develop leadership skills by tracking their own progress with a learning journal, and evaluating their performance consistently. The successful project helped to raise the percentage of student achievement and level of students’ involvement in their activities.

“It is highly inspiring to see these teachers adding value to students’ education through the effective use of technology. We look forward to supporting more educators who embrace technology within classrooms,” said Evan Blackman, Education Manager, Microsoft New Zealand.

In a global competition held by Microsoft, Chris Clay emerged as one of the winners of the 2011 Global Forum Educator Award on 10 November 2011. As the Head of Science Learning at Auckland’s Botany Downs Secondary College, Chris designed an online community and collaborative teaching platform that allows students from his class to discuss and tackle real-world biological challenges.

Through this platform, Chris can upload podcasts of his lectures in advance, and the students are able to share notes and discuss biology with each other or with Chris using Wiki and forums. ­The platform has since expanded to connect more than 30 schools across New Zealand.

“The whole experience at the Innovative Educators Forum was amazing, especially since I was able to meet other educators who are also passionate about integrating ICT into education. I strive to maximize all my students’ learning experience with the aid of technology,” said Chris.

“It is highly inspiring to see these teachers adding value to students’ education through the effective use of technology. We look forward to supporting more educators who embrace technology within classrooms.”

- Evan Blackman, Education Manager, Microsoft New Zealand