Our annual Microsoft in Education Global Forum is one of my favorite weeks of the year. Why? Because I get to meet some of the most amazing educators in the world, hear about the innovative ways that they’re transforming their classrooms, and discuss how we can all work together to solve the challenges that they face in preparing students for the world of work. As we closed the forum for 2014, we were fortunate to be joined by Felipe, Prince of Asturias and Girona. He shared our conviction that teachers, students and parents will all benefit if they can develop the skills necessary to keep up with today’s rapid pace of change.
The closing of the event also saw one of its highlights: the Global Forum Educator Awards. We’re inundated with submissions every year, and 2014 was no exception. The most innovative teaching projects were endowed – both as part of our core awards program and the inaugural Learn-a-thon, which saw educators teaming up with their peers and challenged to use technology to support one of the three Millennium Development Goals (Poverty, Sustainability and Gender Equality). The competition saw some groups work over a 24 hour period to show how their projects would challenge students and solve real world problems; building blogs, communities and websites that would get them off to a great start.
This year, we also introduced The Pitch for the first time. We invited six schools to present their ideas for transforming teaching to our panel of judges, with the winners receiving a share of a USD $50,000 fund to bring it to life. In addition, in partnership with the British Council, all six projects will be incorporated on YouthSpark on Global Giving to help them continue raising funds for their ideas. Below are the projects that our panel decided to invest in – we’re excited to see how these grow over the next year. More details about the projects can be found on the Microsoft Citizenship blog.
Here are this year’s lucky winners – congratulations to you all!
Educator Award Winners
Winner: This is My Voice (Darko Taleski / Sofija Grabuloska – OOU Kiril I Metodij s. Kanatlarci – Prilep, Macedonia)
Project Brief: This project gave youth from underserved communities the opportunity to explore and express their views on problems impacting them and their families, friends and local community. Students aged 13 to 15, from five different villages, created powerful videos, animations, posters, photo stories and other media pieces that communicated the crucial viewpoint of youth about critical topics, and envisioned new solutions to long-standing problems.
First runner up: Virtual Students with Microsoft Tools (Johan Brenes – Colegio Técnico Profesional de Upala, Costa Rica)
Second runner up: Folk Tales Project (Hanna Dudich – "Harmony" - gymnasium, Ukraine)
Category: Knowledge Construction and Critical Thinking
Winner: Poster yourself (Ammani Jeya Pirathaba – Johor, Malaysia)
Project Brief: Students were motivated to learn English through a project that offered a soft transition from a traditional classroom to a virtual one. Students used Bing to research a selected place or thing. They then created a simple movie on the topic using Microsoft movie maker, and a virtual poster to share with their friends – and the world. In the process they learned 21st century skills such as collaboration, critical thinking, global awareness and civic literacy, ICT for learning, problem solving and innovation.
First runner up: Creative Capitalism – Let’s Make World A Better Place (Bijal Damani – SN Kansagra School, the Galaxy Education System, Rajkot, Gujarat, India)
Second runner up: Creating online e-books about environmental issues (Marie Helene Fasquel – Lycée Giraux Sannier, Saint-Martin-Boulogne, France)
Category: Learning Beyond the Classroom
Winner: Digital Education (Jose Luis Alvarado Aguilar – Complejo Educativo Claudia Lars, El Salvador)
Project Brief: Teaching staff, students and parents created a Robotics Club, including students from 5th to 8th grade; selected based on their knowledge in the area. Students participating worked on presentations, competitions and demonstrations at the local and national level; receiving training for more advanced concepts in robotics.
First runner up: Moringa - Little Wonder (Veranique Obiakor – Government Secondary School Kubwa – FCT Abuja, Nigeria)
Second runner up: Wild Wild Weather (Chelsei Fox – Grafton Middle School, USA)
Category: Cutting Edge Use of ICT for Learning
Winner: Entrepreneurship with Kodu Games (Paula Vorne – Maikkula Comprehensive school/Patamäki u, Finland)
Project Brief: Students participated in Kodu-club once a week to learn about entrepreneurship and to be peer coaches to others, in collaboration with the Ludocraft game company and a local professional coaching company owned by a parent. Educators organized games companies, with students taking the roles of leaders and subsidiaries, working with business mentors from real companies. The project ended with a business fair with all partners.
First runner up: Kodu Game Lab (José Carlos Marques – Agrupamento de Escolas de Benfica, Portugal)
Second runner up: SkyDrive on Office 365 (Scott Wieprecht – Saltash.net Community School, UK)
Category: Teacher as Change Agent
Winner: My Profession (Shimaa Ismail – Bani Mazar Industrial School for Girls, Egypt)
Project Brief: This project exposed students to Arab/Islamic folk art of different sorts by allowing them to visit different production locations and learn from experts in that field, then present what they have learned to other students around including drawing what they have seen using special computer tools.
First runner up: The Greek Theater (Thomas Dahnke – Landesschule Pforta, Germany)
Second runner up: Human Impact on the Environment (Cheryl Douglas – Bishops and NGO Teaching Biology Project, South Africa)
That’s it for the 2014 Microsoft in Education Global Forum! We’ll be back next year, and are already looking forward to the innovations that will be on display.
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