Across the region, from mature to developing countries, technology is playing an integral role in delivering improved educational outcomes. Teachers and schools are integrating ICT into the learning process to ensure students are equipped with the right skills in the real world.
“The level of sophistication and use of technology across the globe and in this region has really expanded and changed. Ten years ago, we were talking about how to use basic applications such as Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, today it is about the cloud and mobile devices,” says Felicia, a 22-year veteran who has been supporting educators, school leaders and policy makers in education transformation through Microsoft’s Education Programmes.
As part of Microsoft’s Education Programmes, Microsoft organises the annual Microsoft in Education Global Forum, which recognises the best examples of how individuals and schools are using technology.
This year, 250 Expert Educators and 80 Mentor Schools were selected from more than 22,000 nominations through a rigorous application and judging process. Of these, 80 Expert Educators and 10 Mentor Schools are from Asia Pacific.
“We are celebrating the 10th anniversary of Microsoft’s Education Programmes this year. But what is even more exciting is the great innovative projects coming from all across the region, including Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and more. For the first time, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are joining us at the Global Forum.”
Felicia highlights some of the inspiring examples of educators doing innovative work in their classroom:
1. Making English lessons fun and real in Bangladesh
Working with the British Council, Mohammad Mohiul Hoque from Naziria Naymia Mahmudia Madrasha, Chittagong, has been using video chat and other communication tools from the Microsoft Office suite to connect his students with students in the UK and within Chittagong. Access to technology is relatively low in the country, so students get very excited and engaged when such tools are integrated into the curriculum.
2. Raising awareness of social issues in the Philippines
Students aged 11 to 18 in Iloilo are delivering important social messages, related to drug addiction and teenage pregnancy, to their community through social networks. According to Zoilo Pinongcos, students are much more engaged because they are working on real-life scenarios and they feel that they can make a real impact.
3. Digital stories enable learning in Malaysia during haze
Johor Bahru was badly hit by a haze crisis last year when the pollution index reached the hazardous level. While schools were shut, learning continued in virtual classrooms where students worked in groups to create digital stories and share them online. Ammani Jeya Pirathaba, the teacher responsible for the project, found that students were more motivated and designed complex digital stories with minimal instruction.
“During their tenure as Expert Educators and Mentor Schools, we work very closely with them to lead innovation in education. Expert Educators are part of a coaching group where they work together with their international peers. In addition, each Mentor School gets a global education expert to support the school leadership in their education transformation,” shares Felicia.
Many of these education champions will advocate and share their experiences on effective uses of technology in education with other educators and policy makers. They also mentor their peers and help train them in education technologies.
“Among these Mentor Schools, the outstanding ones are further selected as ‘World Tour Schools’ and open their doors for other educators, school leaders and officials from education ministries to visit and see the great work they are doing. We currently have World Tour Schools in Australia, Singapore and New Zealand,” says Felicia.
“If you are a teacher, principal or education policy maker who is keen on being part of this community committed to delivering 21st century learning with technology, we welcome you to join us at the Partners in Learning network!” adds Felicia.
Report: Kelly Ng