There’s no shortage of innovation happening in schools today. I see it every time I visit a new school – whether it’s in my own backyard or on the other side of the world. But while all of that innovation is encouraging, it tends to happen in isolation – in a single classroom behind closed doors or in a few schools or districts. In order for meaningful changes to take hold in education, we must find a way to scale this good work. So I’m especially excited to announce that today, we’re taking an important step toward making that happen. Education policy makers, school and district leaders, government leaders and teachers will gather tomorrow at one of Microsoft’s Innovative Schools, Cornwallis Academy, in Kent, England, to learn how they can scale innovative teaching and learning in their own schools, districts and countries. Cornwallis Academy is part of 33 schools participating in the Innovative Schools World Tour, which officially kicks off in March of this year. These schools have demonstrated true innovation through personalized learning, physical and virtual learning spaces, online learning, and more, and are opening their doors to help others scale such practices. Host David Simon, headmaster of the Cornwallis School, is ready. “We’re looking forward to sharing what we’ve accomplished and the lessons we’ve learned along the way,” he told me. “But we’re even more thrilled for the opportunity to collaborate with this impressive group of innovative school leaders.”
But today’s field trip is just the first step. Participating school leaders from all 33 selected Microsoft Innovative Schools are getting ready to greet key decision-makers from around the world, who will visit their schools to experience first-hand how these highly recognized schools have successfully implemented technology to support world-class learning environments. Participants in the tour will see how these school leaders have applied their vision to re-imagine pedagogy and teacher capacity, helping their schools raise attendance, improve student behavior, increase test scores, inspire students and help them develop 21st century competencies.
The Innovative Schools World Tour will shine a light on some of the most ground-breaking education practices taking place in this new era of digital learning on nearly every continent. Leaders visiting these schools will experience open classrooms and collaborative teaching, anywhere/anytime learning, 1:1 technology access, inventive assessment practices, and individualized, student-centered learning. The Microsoft Innovative Schools participating in the tour are part of an elite program that seeks to drive system-level changes where school leaders develop a vision to transform their school community into an environment that fosters 21st century learning and pioneering teaching practices. These schools have demonstrated excellence in leadership and a culture of innovation; teaching, learning, and assessment; teacher capacity building and unique physical and virtual learning environments. And soon, each of these schools (you’ll find a complete listing at the end of this post) will play a critical role in influencing leaders who can make a real difference in re-shaping education policy and decisions for the better.
Because seeing is believing, I applaud the school leaders for their willingness to collaborate, share and open their doors so that schools and students around the world can benefit.
Innovative Schools World Tour Participants1. Silverton Primary, Melbourne, Australia2. Dallas Brooks Primary, Melbourne Australia3. Varsity College, Brisbane, Australia4. Ngee Ann Secondary, Singapore5. Crescent Girls Secondary, Singapore6. Nan Chau Primary, Singapore7. Botany Downs Primary, Auckland, New Zealand8. Ferguson Intermediate, Auckland, New Zealand9. Cornwallis Academy (Primary & Secondary), Maidstone, UK10. Saltash Community (Secondary), Cornwall, UK11. Hellerup Primary, Copenhagen, Denmark12. Julio Verne Primary, Valencia, Spain13. Santa Maria La Blanca College, Madrid, Spain14. HAEF College, Athens, Greece15. Doukas, Athens, Greece16. Metsokangas Comprehensive (Primary & Secondary), Oulu, Finland17. Björknäs (Primary & Secondary), Stockholm, Sweden 18. Lycee Aline Mayrisch (Secondary), Luxembourg City, Luxembourg19. Kuršėnai Laurynas Ivinskis Gymnasium (Secondary), Kuršėnai, Lithuania 20. The National College of Computer Sciences (Primary and Secondary), Romania 21. Center of Education 548, Tsaritsyno (Primary & Secondary), Moscow, Russia 22. High Tech High (Primary & Secondary), San Diego, California, USA23. St. Thomas School (Elementary & Middle), Medina, Washington, USA24. Kent Schools (Primary & Secondary), Kent, Washington, USA25. Cincinnati Country Day (Primary & Secondary), Cincinnati, Ohio, USA26. School of the Future, Philadelphia, USA 27. Colegio Fontán (Primary & Secondary), Envigado, Colombia28. NAVE School (Secondary), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil29. Al Makassed High School, Beirut, Lebanon 30. King’s Academy (Secondary), Amman, Jordan31. Futures Tech High School, Cairo, Egypt32. Eunice Girls High School, Bloemfontein, South Africa33. St. Cyprians (Primary & Secondary), Cape Town, South Africa