Microsoft believes in the power of education to change and affect lives. This value is embodied in the Innovative Teachers & Students National Competition that takes place in Sri Lanka every year in partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Education for Knowledge Society Project (EKSP). This 7-year old national competition is included under a wider scheme called Microsoft Partners in Learning, aimed at using technology to transform lives in the education space worldwide. Those who won the Sri Lanka competition will have the opportunity to join other participants in Asia Pacific’s Innovative Teachers Regional Competition to be scheduled in March 2012 in New Zealand. The 2011 winners were recently announced at the Galadari Hotel Main Ballroom, graced by the honorable Minister of Education Bandula Gunawardena.
Winners of the Sri Lanka Innovative Teachers & Students National Competition
For 2011 alone, the Sri Lankan Ministry of Education (MOE) and Microsoft received a staggering 88,000 entries, proof of the exceptional passion for education and IT of Sri Lankans. The national competition was initially opened for teachers only, but due to the interest shown by students, the MOE allowed them to participate alongside teachers from 2008 onwards. The involvement of both educators and students gave this competition a new dimension, paving the way for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to be adopted in a more creative and innovative way.
The 2011 competition goes a step further by requiring participants to move away from using Microsoft Office and adopt more advanced software, such as Visual Basic®, Visual Studio®, Moviemaker® Photosynth, Auto Collage and Songsmith®, in addition to the usual Microsoft® Office applications, testing their IT competence and creativity.
Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Education and Project Director of the Education for Knowledge Society Project (EKSP) Mr Anura Dissanayake commented that “our teachers and students have shown amazing creativity in the projects they have submitted in the past. Therefore, our decision to extend the scope of the competition was encouraged by the quality of the entries and the enthusiasm shown by our teachers and students.”
In addition, Mrs Yashinka Jayasinghe Alles, Academic Programmes Manager for Microsoft Sri Lanka, said, “We believe this is the right time to move the competition to a higher level. This would allow our teachers the opportunity to compete on an equal footing when it comes to the regional competition and show the rest of the world that our teachers and students are capable of taking our country to greater heights.” Mrs Alles added, “However, this competition is not just about winning or losing. It is about identifying and adopting more effective teaching methods, and giving the winners the chance to share knowledge and experiences with their counterparts around the world.”
“Our teachers and students have shown amazing creativity in the projects they have submitted in the past. Therefore, our decision to extend the scope of the competition was encouraged by the quality of the entries and the enthusiasm shown by our teachers and students.” - Mr Anura Dissanayake, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Education (MOE), and Project Director, Education for Knowledge Society Project (EKSP)
“...this competition is not just about winning or losing. It is about identifying and adopting more effective teaching methods, and giving the winners the chance to share knowledge and experiences with their counterparts around the world.” - Mrs Yashinka Jayasinghe Alles, Academic Programmes Manager, Microsoft Sri Lanka
On 27 January, Microsoft Singapore, together with the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), launched the Authorized Prometric Testing Centre (APTC) for Microsoft certification, making ITE the first Post-Secondary Education Institution to host the facility. The APTC was officially opened at the ITE College East by Ms Jessica Tan, Managing Director, Microsoft Singapore, and Mr Bruce Poh, Director and CEO, ITE.
Mr Sukhdev Singh, Regional Sales Director, Microsoft Learning, Microsoft Asia Pacific; Mr Bruce Poh, Director and CEO, ITE; Ms Jessica Tan, Managing Director, Microsoft Singapore.
The APTC will be open to ITE students and the public to take the globally-recognized Microsoft certification. At the facility, ITE will train students to be certified in, but not limited to, Windows Server 2008 or Windows 7 certification exam. With the certification and training to build overall IT skills and capabilities, graduates can look forward to improving their employability and furthering their careers in fields such as network management, software development and systems engineering.
In addition to this, the certification will also enhance prospects of students to gain admission into local polytechnics to higher-level academic qualifications. Through the APTC, ITE will offer shorter and job-focused curriculum to meet the immediate needs of working adults seeking to upgrade their skills set. The shortened timeframe to attain the certification will enable graduates to achieve market relevant skills in a shorter time, which is a critical factor in enhancing employability in an economy that is already showing signs of a slowdown.
“For many years, Microsoft Singapore has been deeply committed to contributing to Singapore’s talent development and capacity building. By aligning these initiatives with the need for inclusive growth, we are delighted to partner with ITE to address the future employability potential of its students. We believe this long term commitment will contribute to developing a quality workforce, which will in turn be the catalyst to drive the future global competitiveness of Singapore,” said Ms Tan.
Also at the opening ceremony, Microsoft presented ITE with a cheque for S$10,000 to provide assistance to needy students to get certified with any Microsoft professional exam. It is estimated that more than 80 students will benefit from this contribution over the next 12 months. In addition, these students will also be able to purchase the Microsoft Office suite of applications at a heavily discounted price.
The APTC was established as part of the wider Education Alliance Agreement (EAA) signed between Microsoft and ITE in 2009. ITE was the first EAA partner in Singapore, joining more than 6,000 Microsoft IT Academies worldwide that provide curriculum and IT skills training to students so they can reach their academic and career potential.
Under the ITE-Microsoft Education Alliance Agreement, Microsoft will also offer internship opportunities to eligible ITE students. By doing so, students would have the opportunity to turn their knowledge and skills into actual work experience in the industry.
For ITE Alumni with the passion for entrepreneurship, Microsoft, under its Microsoft BizSpark program, would also provide software, support and visibility to help them start their business.
“ITE’s partnership with Microsoft has enabled us to leverage on an industry leader’s technology and capabilities to enhance our curriculum and improve our skills training, so that when our students graduate, their skills are relevant, they are demanded by industry and are able to add value to their employers,” said Mr Poh.
“ITE’s partnership with Microsoft has enabled us to leverage on an industry leader’s technology and capabilities to enhance our curriculum and improve our skills training, so that when our students graduate, their skills are relevant, they are demanded by industry and are able to add value to their employers.” - Mr Bruce Poh, Director and CEO, ITE
Microsoft Singapore Newscenter: http://microsoftsgnews.com/?p=439
As part of Microsoft’s drive to help empower the next generation of thinkers and leaders, Microsoft has come on board as the main sponsor of the world’s largest change movement by students – the Design for Change (DFC) School Challenge 2011, in Singapore last September.
Running in its second year, the DFC School Challenge showcased 80 participating teams from over 30 Singapore schools. Winners of the DFC Challenge in Singapore were selected by a local panel of judges from the Singapore Children’s Society, IDEO, Ashoka Singapore, the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre, the United Nations Association of Singapore, Microsoft Singapore and the Ministry of Education.
Winning social projects were showcased at SoCh’s annual children’s event – the Be the Change exposition on 12th November 2011, and helped to promote children’s awareness and involvement in various social and environmental issues. The DFC Singapore Challenge and the Be the Change exposition are both run by SoCh in Action – a registered social enterprise, since launching in 2010.
“Students are the future leaders of society and business. Design for Change is the first time we are supporting a competition for primary to secondary school students with similar intent. We are pleased to partner with inspirational organizations such as SoCh in Action, to encourage students to take the lead and be part of the change,” said Ms Verdayne Nunis, Central Marketing and Public Relations Group Manager for Microsoft Singapore. “The program is in line with Microsoft’s global effort to encourage our employees, customers, partners and community at large, to think ahead, and be what’s next.”
Besides sponsorship at the DFC School Challenge, Microsoft Singapore also presented a special award to the team with the most creative presentation using Microsoft software applications, aptly titled the ‘Tools for Change Award’.
The Central Community Development Council (CDC), through its Mayor’s Imagine Fund, which supports innovative initiatives or projects that champion social causes, also leant its support for the Be the Change exposition.
“Through our Mayor’s Imagine Fund, Central Singapore CDC is happy to support initiatives such as the Be the Change exposition where the young are encouraged to be the catalysts for making impactful and positive changes to the community they live in. We hope to promote a greater sense of active citizenry among younger Singaporeans, so as to encourage them to take more ownership of our community,” said Mr Mark Tan, General Manager of Central Singapore CDC.
“Students are the future leaders of society and business. Design for Change is the first time we are supporting a competition for primary to secondary school students with similar intent. We are pleased to partner with inspirational organizations such as SoCh in Action, to encourage students to take the lead and be part of the change.” - Verdayne Nunis, Central Marketing and Public Relations Group Manager, Microsoft Singapore
The Microsoft National Innovative Teachers Competition 2011 was a collaboration effort between Microsoft Indonesia and the Center for Development of Education Personnel, Ministry of Education & Culture, Republic of Indonesia. The winners of this will represent Indonesia in the Microsoft Partners in Learning Asia Forum 2012 in Auckland, New Zealand.
Mr Argo Seno from Al-Irsyad Al-Islamiyah Elementary School, Purwokerto, won the Most Creative Award with his interactive action-adventure game. His innovation was inspired from observing the love of gaming amongst his students and he decided to translate this enthusiasm into learning. “My students’ love for gaming has propelled me to want to create more educational games and other forms of learning media as a learning tool for them,” said Mr Seno.
“I wanted to preserve and promote local culture,” said Mr Estu Piratu, elementary teacher at Al-Azhar 14, Semarang. The winner of the Most Innovative Award was looking for a creative way for students to learn about the Javanese script. This was the basis for his winning entry of a puzzle-based game, combining a child’s learning typology of audio, visual and the kinaesthetic. “At the face of globalization, getting in touch with your roots can be a challenge, hence the creation of this CD,” added Mr Piratu.
The winning entry for the Most Original went to Mr Dodik Isdiyantoro from SMPN 3 Satu Atap Miri, Sragen. Mr Isdiyantoro was keen to expound on the practical applications of physics on a daily basis. He created “Simple Plane” - an interactive teaching tool about physics, structured for middle school children. “I am grateful that Microsoft supports teacher’s initiatives through the Microsoft Innovative Teachers Competition. I believe we can use more innovative teaching materials to upgrade ourselves as teachers and to provide a better learning experience for students,” said Mr Isdiyantoro.
When Ms Nura Uma Annisa, the award winner for the Most Edutaining entry in this competition noticed the lack of knowledge about Indonesian culture amongst her kindergarten students at TK Islam Al-Azhar 22, Dimana, she decided to do something about it. She created a way that grasped her students’ attention and engaged them in learning. She developed an interactive multimedia teaching tool she named “Mari Mengenal Indonesia” (Let’s Get to Know Indonesia).
The four Innovative Teacher winners will participate in Microsoft Partners in Learning Asia Forum 2012 in Auckland, New Zealand
To date, Microsoft Indonesia’s Partners in Learning Program has reached over 305,000 teachers and has impacted around 15 million students and teachers. “We believe that teachers today play an important role in helping students become life-long learners. And we, at Microsoft, support all 21st century teachers in their effort to improve teaching and learning experiences through the Microsoft Innovative Teachers Competition,” said Manish Chopra, Marketing & Operation Director, Microsoft Indonesia.
“We believe that teachers today play an important role in helping students become life-long learners. And we, at Microsoft, support all 21st century teachers in their effort to improve teaching and learning experiences through the Microsoft Innovative Teachers Competition.” - Manish Chopra, Marketing & Operation Director, Microsoft Indonesia
For more information, please visit http://kompetisiguruinovatif.com/
In December 2011, a Student to Business (S2B) event in Yogyakarta, jointly organized by Microsoft and the local Microsoft Student Partners (MSP), brought together talents from local universities and Microsoft’s business partners.
Through this platform, students – especially those interested in technology careers – were given an opportunity to engage with business professionals. Attracting at least 60 attendees, the event began with presentations from the Microsoft business partners who talked about their companies, the area of business they were involved in and their specialized solutions. After the presentation, students had to sit for tests, designed by the MSP team and the business partners, to analyze their interests and possible career paths. Based on the results, the participating students were categorized into two different groups – system engineers and developers. The business partners approached these students based on their needs, with some offering the students job positions in their organizations.
The event proved to be highly successful, with both students and business partners benefitting from this meaningful exchange. Business partners discovered new talents that could contribute to their organization’s success, and students could also enrich their resumes and establish important relationships with the industry.
“The Student to Business Job Fair is a great platform for student talents to meet potential employers. It is a good opportunity for our partner companies to tap on fresh talents, and for students to get a better chance at employment,” said Julius Fenata, Academic Developer Evangelist, Microsoft Indonesia.
The Student to Business Job Fair allowed students to form meaningful relationships with Microsoft business partners.
The S2B program is a Microsoft Community Initiative to connect Microsoft partners and students for entry-level and internship positions. A program first started in Italy in 2006, it has since taken place in more than 65 countries, equipping more than 300,000 students with new career skills and giving 15,000 students jobs and internships.
“The Student to Business Job Fair is a great platform for student talents to meet potential employers. It is a good opportunity for our partner companies to tap on fresh talents, and for students to get a better chance at employment.” - Julius Fenata, Academic Developer Evangelist, Microsoft Indonesia
For more information, please visit http://s2b.micresearch.org/
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