Posted by Sarietjie Musgrave
Head of ICT Innovation in School Education at the University of the Free State, South Africa

The sixth annual Worldwide Innovative Education Forum (WWIEF) kicks off today in Cape Town with a visit to  schools in the area that are leading the way in new and exciting teaching techniques. Here, guest blogger Sarietjie Musgrave, Head:  ICT Innovation in School Education at the University of the Free State, South Africa, tells us why she values WWIEF:

WWIEF gives teachers a truly unique chance to be recognised for the work they do and feel connected with a global network of educators. Teachers can be ambassadors for their own countries and really be recognised for the work that they do – then take what they have seen back to the classroom and share it with their peers to continue to change the face of learning.

When I attend WWIEF each year, I expect to feel inspired. This community of teachers is very passionate and, for me, the event is all about the people that you meet who are willing to share that passion for students across the world. As I walk around the projects on display and listen to the thoughts of both the speakers and other attendees, I love thinking of how what I have heard can be applied to the educators  I work with – from first year teaching students through to someone who has been teaching Maths for 30 years. Throwing in new techniques and ideas helps me to think outside of the box and really collaborate with others to develop the best learning experience possible.

The things that you see at WWIEF may not be complicated – normally the best out-takes are simple ideas done extraordinarily well and can be repeated in any classroom worldwide. Engaging learners with twenty-first century skills should be our goal: putting them at the centre of the stage. Once you’ve been to WWIEF it will always spark something in your own mind and the platform it provides to share your own ideas is like no other. 

My advice to teachers attending WWIEF for the first time this year is to put the competition side of this forum to one side and really focus on connecting with some of the most amazing teachers they will ever meet. Look for ways to feel inspired and don’t go home and keep it all to yourself: take what you have seen and inspire other teachers in your own communities who weren’t here. Together, we can bring exciting new ways of teaching to the classroom and create unique experiences for learners and educators alike.