Educational innovation through technology: the new Microsoft Australia and New Zealand Expert Educator Program

At Microsoft, we believe that when people collaborate, amazing things can be achieved.  And nowhere is this more evident than in the classroom.

Working in the education sector, I am regularly exposed to all kinds of inspiring examples of schools in Australia and New Zealand working together.  As technology is now firmly integrated in the classroom, it never ceases to amaze me how it enables teachers to collaborate and utilize their collective experience for the benefit of their students and each other.

Recently, 50 teachers from all corners of Australia and New Zealand came together for the launch of the Microsoft Australia and New Zealand Expert Educator Program, a new Microsoft initiative which recognises and supports the work of innovative educators. The program creates a community for these teachers to collaborate, learn from each other, and share their insights with peers and colleagues.

Building on the basis of the global Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert program, the 38 teachers from government and non-government schools across Australia joined 12 educators from New Zealand to discuss how best to use technology to enhance student and teacher learning.

As part of the launch, the group was challenged to work on a transformation project – working collaboratively to design learning experiences that connect their students to real-world problems and issues.   The goal was to identify how our community of educators can do something vastly different and innovative to engage and challenge their students, and themselves, in new ways.

The quality of the ideas were as high as they were diverse, from using technology to raise awareness of different global public health issues, to developing communities of students in Minecraft, and supporting communities after bushfires. While the group had identified brilliant ideas, they also worked to ensure their innovative learning design was both sustainable and scalable.

By considering the needs and motivations of different stakeholders, they examined barriers to innovation in the same ways as entrepreneurs and other innovators would. It will be this leadership that will allow these amazing practitioners to move beyond their own classrooms and lead the future leaders of education. A future of education where learners are empowered and provided with exciting experiences.  A future where teachers focus on supporting the development of the skills and attitudes that will ensure the future success of their students.

With the program now underway I am looking forward to see how this new community of educators will work together to ultimately build a better future for Australian school students, and how they share their experiences with other educators.

To read stories from the Expert Educators, follow the Australian Teachers blog where they will be sharing their experiences in the coming weeks and months.


George Stavrakakis, Education Lead, Microsoft Australia


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