Last week, over 1,000 innovative educators, school leaders and government officials from nearly 100 countries gathered at the Microsoft in Education Global Forum in Barcelona. Their aim? To learn from each other’s experiences and join forces to find new ways of transforming education for the 21st century.
Technology is a vital part of 21st century education, but it can also be a minefield. With a constant stream of new products and tools being introduced to help support education systems across the world, educators and governments desperately need help to make sure that they know how to navigate this minefield and make the most of all the benefits which technology can bring to the classroom.
This event was an opportunity to help strengthen that support, bringing together industry experts to share their own ideas and celebrate the achievements of those who are leading the way in this field. They talked about how to prepare students for the 21st century classroom, how to inspire students through gaming, and how to nurture young entrepreneurs.
The Forum wasn’t just about sharing ideas and discussing challenges, but celebrating the achievements of educators and communities across the world too.
|Preparing students for the 21st century classroom
March 20, 2014
During the final day of the event, The Pitch Competition saw six schools from across the world win funding to bring to life ideas of how to use technology to transform education. In the Dragon’s Den style final round, Broadclyst Primary School in the UK was awarded a $25,000 grant for its Global Enterprise Challenge idea. During the challenge, students from around the world will connect to run an international company, competing against other students to become the most successful company globally. The idea was chosen as a winner for the opportunities it will give students to increase their awareness of cultural diversities, to gain an understanding of world markets and currencies, as well as honing their communication, collaboration, teamwork and problem solving skills through the use of technology.
“We’re really excited that we have been given this funding by Microsoft to turn our idea into a reality,” says Jonathan Bishop, Headteacher, Broadclyst Primary School. “This global challenge will promote social interaction within teams and across countries and require children to solve problems, share ideas, communicate effectively and through the use of mobile devices and Office 365 encourage anywhere, anytime learning, both at home and at school for all involved. These are vital skills for our young people to develop, and we should be harnessing technology in any way that we can to help them to develop those skills.”
The event drew to a close on Friday with an awards ceremony which called out specific teachers for their achievements and innovative uses of technology. Scott Wieprecht from Saltash.net Community School in the UK was crowned runner up in the Cutting Edge Use of ICT for Learning category. Scott developed an initiative to encourage a group of students with a keen knowledge of Skydrive on Office 365 to become the 365 support network for their school community – both staff and students. The project simultaneously allows Scott to free up his own time to focus on teaching by passing that responsibility on to his students, but also gives them a sense of responsibility but allowing them to own the support network themselves.
|The Pitch Competition winners
March 20, 2014
Microsoft has been supporting the education community in many ways and in the last 15 years, has invested $750 million in teacher training and professional development, to give educators and young people across the world the support they need to get the most of technology in the classroom and beyond.