Australia’s most innovative schools gather in Melbourne

Some of Australia’s most innovative schools and teachers will gather in Melbourne this week to help foster national digital education practices by sharing and showcasing best practices already being adopted in schools across Australia.

Now in its second year, the Innovative Schools Forum is the first of three forums for 2011 that the nation’s top public schools will be involved with over a 12 month period, in which Australian teachers will showcase their world-class teaching practices. This forum will be attended by 20 public schools from across Australia, selected by each State Department of Education to be involved in the Microsoft Innovative Schools Program. The program has been designed to align with the Federal government’s Digital Education Revolution, and will help support this policy at the school leadership and jurisdictional levels.

The Innovative Schools Forum brings together schools, teachers and Departmental representatives from each state or territory from across Australia. By fostering collaboration and learning between schools at a national level, the forum provides a rare opportunity for education leaders to share ideas and network about how they are making the digital education revolution a reality.

Microsoft’s Innovative Schools program partners with influential educationalists, educational thought leaders and senior policymakers from the Departments of Education from all over Australia and the world.

Bruce Dixon, CEO, Ideas Lab, says, “It is increasingly critical that students, our leaders of tomorrow, have access to technology to better prepare themselves for the 21st century. Initiatives such as Microsoft’s Innovative Schools program are invaluable in helping school leadership teams share ideas and innovative teaching and learning practices, to help build this capacity in our schools.”

“Microsoft believes that Australia has a brilliantly progressive attitude to technological innovation in teaching and learning. This gathering of some of Australia’s ground breaking public schools represents how Australia is leading the way in using technology in the classroom to get students engaged and excited about learning,” said Jane Mackarell, Academic Programs Manager, Microsoft Australia.

“There is a great opportunity for Australia to play a global leadership role in equipping students with the right skills to help meet the demands of a digital age and these forums provide school leadership teams with a rare opportunity to share ideas, discuss innovative practices and collaborate on the best way to give our children a world class digital education.”

Simon Reid, Principal of Mooroolbark College welcomed the first 2011 forum in Melbourne, saying: “It is wonderful to be part of an amazing initiative, established by Microsoft. It has allowed us to connect with schools around the world on best practice in using ICT for teaching and learning. I anticipate our staff will use much of what they learnt at the Forum to support our own approaches to learning and teaching. The experience also allows us to make a contribution to best practice for the effective use of ICT, as well as sharing this with our neighbouring schools.’

Meredith Wenter, Deputy Principal, Kirwan State High School, added: “From our perspective as a school, we are very excited to be working with Microsoft as a world organisation. At school, we are doing a lot to promote cross- and inter-cultural learning and this definitely marks the way forward in the two areas. We are interested in the notion that technology is not just about using a computer but also about good pedagogy and by association, digital pedagogy. Often in education we start with ensuring everyone has a computer, but it is really about using technology to assist good learning. It also a good opportunity to further develop a national and international network.”

For more information about Microsoft Partners in Learning and Microsoft’s Innovative Schools Program, please visit: or:

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