- This event clearly identified itself as an event about learning and not just technology.
- The projects presented by teachers were diverse, but all focussed on teaching and learning, and how technology complemented that process.
- The host country of South Africa clearly illustrated how education is a driving force for transformational change.
All this in a global context , which is such a unique feature of the Microsoft Partners in Learning programme, to be able to bring teachers, schools and educators from across the globe to share best practice, ideas and innovation.
I have listed a number of blog posts below describing the event. But here are my own experiences that I would like to share.
I am always drawn to projects where teachers have gone ‘over and above’ to provide engaging learning for their pupils. Two teachers from India, Asija Himani and Krishna Sharma had projects that I found inspiring. Krishna’s project inspired her students to attend school, but the amazing fact was she is doing this with 215 students and one laptop , that she has bought herself, and will take her 15 years to pay back the government loan. Asija’s project was how she had created a scheme of work for the application of mathematics. This involved students using fractal mathematics to measure cancer cell development. I was amazed at how she had brought two very complex subjects to a level of understanding that was accessible for her students.
It was also great to catch with some old friends. Chu Tsz Wing, a teacher from Hong Kong who I met at last year’s event, was back with a Microsoft OneNote project inspired by a conversation we had together last year. This was very humbling to know that it is possible to have such an influence.
Also, meeting the people of Capetown was a pleasure and a surprise, especially hotel worker Desmond, who greeted me in perfect welsh. He had lived in Machynlleth for a while, we welsh are global people.
Finally, I must thank the UK Team that attended. Jan Webb and Simon Horleston, for their fantastic presentations and efforts to talk to as many people as possible. They both reached the semi finalist stage of the competition , with Jan going on to win an award in the Collaboration category. Congratulations to both of them. Many thanks to Steve Baker and Merlin John , who had the arduous, but rewarding task of judging some of the 150 projects. Thanks also to our two Mentor Innovative School Headteachers, Tony McDaid from Calderglen High School and Madeline Cotson from Huyton Arts and Sports Centre for Learning, and finally Maureen McTaggart for her insightful and complementary comments and great company.
If you would like to find out more about Microsoft Partners in Learning and how you can take part in an Innovative Education Forum, then register for the next event being held in the UK. It’s free and spaces are filling up fast.