The world’s problems are often complex, lacking a straightforward solution and well-defined approach—a reality many educators today are trying to prepare their students for.
To develop their students’ future readiness, Microsoft Innovative Educators Experts (MIEEs) in Asia are bringing real-world problems into the classroom. Through these activities, they aim to inspire students to reflect more deeply on social issues and encourage them to apply concepts learnt in class to address these real-world issues, with the help of technology.
Here are two MIEEs in Asia who are empowering their students to explore new solutions with the use of technology to help solve the most pressing issues impacting their community:
Wan Azrina Binte Muhamad Zuki (Malaysia): Food for Thought about Wastage
On average, about 3,000 tons of food is discarded by households daily in Malaysia—enough to feed two million hungry people. Add in other forms of food waste, and that number goes up to a whopping 15,000 tons.
To help raise awareness about the issue, Wan Azrina Binte Mumad Zuki, MIEE from SMK Kubang Kerian, Malaysia, designed a five-lesson project and challenged her students to find creative ways to inform their community about food waste. After learning about the impact of food wastage, the students conducted research on current measures and efforts to cut down on food waste, also examined ways to improve upon these existing efforts.
The lessons culminated in Wan Azrina’s students creating their own tools to reduce food wastage in households. They leveraged their math and physics knowledge as well as Solid Edge to design and create innovative food storage containers that encourage storing of leftover food. To further increase public awareness about food waste, the students created a 2D game using Unity and designed flyers using Office 365 tools such as Paint 3D.
“My students were able to combine what they have learnt in their classroom with technology to find innovative and effective ways of reducing food wastage in Malaysia,” said Wan Azrina. “This not only helped them understand how to apply their learnings from the classroom, but also enabled them to hone their creativity, problem-solving and critical thinking skills.”
Michael D. Morella (Philippines): Bridging the Gender Equality Gap
Although the Philippines has the narrowest gender gap in Asia, Michael D. Morella, Social Studies teacher at Pinagbuhatan High School, Philippines, believes that more can be done to alleviate gender inequality in the country.
To deepen his students’ understanding of this delicate and complex social issue, the MIEE developed Project BRIDGE (Building Responsive Intercultural Development in Gender Equality). The module consisted six learning activities to help students learn about gender roles in different societies, analyze the challenges faced by different members of the community, and gain a better appreciation of gender diversity issues.
At the end of the module, students worked together to build a Minecraft world to showcase gender equality, record a two-minute tour of the world, and present it to other classrooms via Skype. To facilitate better groupwork, Morella encouraged his students to use tools such as OneNote to take down discussion notes and collaborate outside of the classroom.
“With the use of technology, I was able to create an immersive and collaborative learning experience for my students,” said Morella. “It increased their engagement levels and deepened their understanding of the complex concept of gender equality, all while helping them develop their 21st-century skills such as communication and creativity.”
Empowering the next generation of creators
By bringing real-world issues into the classrooms, these educators are empowering students to create their own futures. Using tools that enable immersive learning and mutual collaboration, they are enabling students to achieve more in the classroom, and equipping them with the knowledge, skills and confidence to build the world they envision.