Youth & Opportunity
Engineering , Math
Greetings from South Africa!
This week I have the privilege of being in Cape Town, South Africa among more than 500 educators, school leaders and government officials who have gathered from around the world to attend the Sixth Annual Partners in Learning (PIL) Worldwide Innovative Education Forum (IEF).
South Africa, with its vibrant economy and diverse culture, is a fitting destination for this year’s PIL Worldwide Innovative Education Forum, the “World Cup” for Innovative Teachers and School Leaders, uniting to celebrate innovation and share best practices to meet the needs of today’s generation of learners.
This week we are celebrating the worldwide finale of a year’s worth of country and regional events, during which 125 finalists were selected to present their innovative teaching from 200,000 participating teachers around the world. They are vying for 12 Worldwide Innovative Teacher Awards that will announced at the end of the event on Friday, October 29th in the following four categories:
Education is critical to the social and economic development of every nation, and to the ability of individuals everywhere to reach their full potential. An engaging teacher is one of the top predictors of student success and this year’s IEF will showcase some of the best:
· Cheryl Arnett, a teacher at Sunset Elementary School, Craig Colorado, used technology to connect her first grade students to a classroom on the opposite side of the globe in Beirut, Lebanon. The classes share ideas, experiences, and learning through the use of digital stories and Web 2.0 tools on the internet. Check out Cheryl’s post about her trip to South Africa here.
· Linda Bradfield, a teacher from South Africa received the “Innovation in Collaboration” Award at the 2010 Pan-African Innovative Education Forum for her “Trash to Treasure” project which facilitated easy collaboration among specific groups beyond the classroom. Linda’s project demonstrated how 6 and 7 year olds can collaborate with their community of parents and trash collectors to collect and process waste, using technology to document their story and what they’ve learned.
· Jonathan Serunkuma of Uganda helped his students rid the environment of waste while generating money for themselves and their communities. The project is coordinated by the Fine Art Teachers, who work hand in hand with the Entrepreneurship and Biology teachers. During this process, the community is also educated about the dangers of poor waste management, and the importance of sorting waste.
· Florence Aulanier, teacher at Lycee Cassini in France, used technology to break down generational barriers and address discrimination. The project introduced students and the elderly to operatic artists and composers. Together, these groups wrote a libretto against discrimination. Participants communicated by Internet to improve the libretto together and ultimately the opera will be performed at a theatre. In addition, students made short movies against discrimination which are made available for viewing on the internet.
Providing quality education to the 1.4 billion students around the world is essential to the future of our society. Technology is one tool can help them achieve their greatest potential. Through the Microsoft Partners in Learning program, these teachers are not only driving transformational change in their classroom, they are sharing their practices and experiences with other educators around the world.
I am excited to see how the educators attending this year’s WWIEF use what they learn to reach, motivate and ensure the success of every student.
To learn more about everything happening in Cape Town this week go here.
Also check out videos of the three U.S. teachers competing in Cape Town this week below.
Lauren Woodman, General Manager Government and Education Engagement Programs
Yesterday in Alexandria Virginia, United Way Worldwide officially opened the Mary M. Gates Learning Center overlooking the Potomac River.
The center, which was made possible by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, includes technology provided by Microsoft and gifts from Deloitte, Nationwide Insurance Foundation, The Principal Financial Group and several individual donors. The center is state-of-the-art with construction based on the goal of attaining Gold LEED certification for high performance green buildings.
Amanda Ponzar from the United Way has a post on the opening over at the Lipsticking blog.
I had the pleasure of speaking at the International Youth Foundation’s Youth Leadership and Livelihoods conference in Washington, DC, today. I participated on a panel entitled “The Global Challenge – and Opportunity – of Youth Employment” with colleagues from public, private and civil sector organizations. The panel could not have been more appropriately named. As the global economy continues to struggle and as demographic, political, environmental and other factors continue to increase pressure on our most precious resource – youth – it is sometimes hard to be optimistic. But working in partnership we can open up many opportunities for our young people despite these daunting obstacles.
In a long week of many meetings and events, this was a highlight. Looking out at the audience of several hundred people – including representatives of local IYF network members, youth leaders, international donors, and foundations, I was reminded of the amazing commitment to youth empowerment that exists around the world.
Our global commitment to youth education and entrepreneurship is part of our Microsoft Unlimited Potential initiative, which invests in programs, products, and partnerships to help catalyze education, innovation and economic opportunity. We also train people in jobs skills that are needed inside and outside the technology sector.
Our partnership with IYF draws on a number of our Unlimited Potential programs, including our Digital Literacy curricula and software donations programs to support IYF’s youth employability initiatives such as entra21 in Latin America and the Youth Empowerment Program in sub-Saharan Africa.
Along with literacy and numeracy, basic technology skills are increasingly essential in every sector of the economy. For example, a recent IDC survey in Europe showed that within 5 years, 90% of all jobs will involve using basic technology, and up to a quarter will involve advanced technology. And in many developing countries, basic technology access and skillscan enable a trajectory into the workplace and continuing education.
Last week we released our 2010 Citizenship report which provides insight into our approach and commitment to addressing economic and social issues and reports on our progress across the company. I want to draw your attention to picture on the cover of our report this year. The girls in this picture all participate in the Global Give Back Circle - a program to give young women in Africa an opportunity to safely complete high school and continue their educations or enter the workforce. It is the promise of youth, especially young girls and women that makes me especially proud to be part of our collective efforts to changes lives and create opportunities.
I encourage you to join the dialogue at http://www.iyflive.net/
Pamela Passman is corporate vice president of global corporate affairs at Microsoft.
Earlier Dan posted how this is the first time we have released our Citizenship report at the same time as our Annual Financial Report to provide a more holistic view of the work underway around Microsoft. One of the added benefits of this coordination was seeing our 2010 Citizenship report on the famous NASDAQ billboard in Times Square.
You can read the report online or download it here.
If you have any feedback on the report please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s a long standing tradition at Microsoft, that each October our employees come together and combine their energy, generosity and creativity to raise money for nonprofits and causes. The Giving campaign is a month long opportunity for our people to get involved and make a difference in their local community. We all know that 2009 was a tough economic year. When we started planning last year’s Giving campaign we expected that the fundraising would be impacted, but we were wrong. In a difficult economic climate our employees dug deep and exceeded our own internal goals, raising over $80 million for nonprofits around the United States. I was personally amazed to see this result.
A year later, we’re ready to start again with the 2010 employee Giving Campaign. Once again our people across the United States are working hard to come up with creative ways to encourage one another to donate money and volunteer time to charities. There are over 300 events planned from a 5K run (or walk, if you prefer); to an internal auction site where employees can bid for over 300 different items (last year’s favourite was a giant baloney sandwich, this year one of our executives is offering to have his head shaved over LiveMeeting); football; poker; ping pong; and foosball tournaments and much much more. The proceeds of these employee events will be matched by Microsoft dollar for dollar, and distributed to nonprofits.
The campaign was kicked off last Sunday with a soccer clinic that had three Sounders coaching and sharing tips with over 180 excited Microsoft kids (and their equally excited parents). The proceeds of the event will go to non-profit Soccer Saves.
Of course it’s not just about fundraising, as Kevin mentioned in his post about the Day of Giving, it’s also about people giving their time to the causes and groups closest to their hearts.
I’ve worked in this company for more than six years, and there are countless reasons I feel proud to be a part of it. None, however, makes me prouder than the giving spirit of the thousands of people I call colleagues. "It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no person can sincerely try to help another without helping themselves", the poet Emerson once said. I think this season of giving helps all of us - giver and receiver.
We’ll share our progress with you throughout the month.
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