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“Our task is to prepare students for life in the 21st century. People will have to use technology in accordance with reason and responsibility for the whole planet.” – Tomáš Milička, Czech Republic

Tomáš Milička
Teacher
Gymnasium, Secondary Pedagogical School, Business Academy and Language School
Znojmo, Czech Republic
@tomas_milicka

Tomáš Milička still remembers the moment he realized he could be a good educator.

“It started when one of my students who was working with Microsoft told me I should join the Microsoft Innovative Educators program,” Milička explains. “At first, I thought I couldn’t do that, and that I had no time and no abilities for such things. But it caught my attention, and I started to look at the materials at the Microsoft Educator Community portal.… Visit the author's original post

“OneNote is the core tool we use to underpin all classroom activity, and I see it empowering my students to do more in every lesson.” – Chris Thackray, UK

Chris Thackray
Director of Technology and eLearning
Wimbledon High School
London, United Kingdom
@christhack

For MIEE and MIE Trainer Chris Thackray, teaching effectively is all about providing feedback, and that’s what makes OneNote his favorite classroom technology.

“With OneNote, I can really challenge students’ understanding of a topic by evaluating on-the-fly the notes they might be taking, or the collaborative piece of work they are doing,” Thackray explains. “It goes beyond the classroom, and helps my students to adjust or rethink their approach while the feedback is relevant — rather than when the topic has moved on.… Visit the author's original post

“How exciting is the world in which we live, where language is no longer a barrier?” – Deanne Joosten, Australia

Deanne Joosten
Leading Teacher – Pedagogy and Curriculum Innovation
Phoenix P-12 Community College
Ballarat, Australia
@deannejoosten

Drama is one of the most intimate, high-touch subjects taught in school. So when year 12 students in three rural classrooms (more than seven hours driving distance apart) needed a drama teacher, MIEE Deanne Joosten faced a real challenge.

“The immediate challenge,” Joosten says, “was how to take a very practical subject and teach my own class and three other schools at the same time, without disadvantaging anyone.… Visit the author's original post

“How exciting is the world in which we live, where language is no longer a barrier?” – Deanne Joosten, Australia

Deanne Joosten
Leading Teacher – Pedagogy and Curriculum Innovation
Phoenix P-12 Community College
Ballarat, Australia
@deannejoosten

Drama is one of the most intimate, high-touch subjects taught in school. So when year 12 students in three rural classrooms (more than seven hours driving distance apart) needed a drama teacher, MIEE Deanne Joosten faced a real challenge.

“The immediate challenge,” Joosten says, “was how to take a very practical subject and teach my own class and three other schools at the same time, without disadvantaging anyone.… Visit the author's original post

“Technology will never replace teachers, but a teacher who cannot teach with technology will be replaced by another one who can.” – Zuzana Molčanová, Slovakia

Zuzana Molčanová
Teacher Engagement Manager
Microsoft
Bratislava, Slovakia
@zuzanamol

Zuzana Molčanová knew she wanted to be a teacher from an early age, but she had no idea what that really meant until she stood up in front of her students.

“I realized that students know a lot of information, and that I can learn from them,” she tells us. “[I knew that] if I wanted to be accepted and respected by them, I needed to respect them and be a partner and guide on their journey.”

Molčanová, who now works for Microsoft, helps other educators transform their classrooms with technology — something she did for her own students when she was a classroom teacher.… Visit the author's original post

“Technology will never replace teachers, but a teacher who cannot teach with technology will be replaced by another one who can.” – Zuzana Molčanová, Slovakia

Zuzana Molčanová
Teacher Engagement Manager
Microsoft
Bratislava, Slovakia
@zuzanamol

Zuzana Molčanová knew she wanted to be a teacher from an early age, but she had no idea what that really meant until she stood up in front of her students.

“I realized that students know a lot of information, and that I can learn from them,” she tells us. “[I knew that] if I wanted to be accepted and respected by them, I needed to respect them and be a partner and guide on their journey.”

Molčanová, who now works for Microsoft, helps other educators transform their classrooms with technology — something she did for her own students when she was a classroom teacher.… Visit the author's original post

“Minecraft gives me the opportunity to create worlds and environments that make students go, ‘Wow!’” – Laurens Derks, Australia

Laurens Derks
IT Integrator
Abbotsleigh School for Girls
Sydney, Australia
@ICTLaurens

 Laurens Derks loves Minecraft, and he can offer up countless reasons why.

 “Minecraft sparks conversations and creates learning moments that are priceless,” Derks tells us. “In a Special Education environment, I used it to promote social skills. In a year-four science class, I used it to examine building materials, their purpose and the production process. In a year-five history class, we explored the Victorian Gold Rush and simulated a day in the life of a gold miner.Visit the author's original post

“In the past, children were playing together with a ball. Today, they play with smartphones. We need to find a way to communicate with them in their language.” – Julia Janosikova, Slovakia

 

 

 

Julia Janosikova
Physics, Mathematics and Informatics Teacher
Zakladna Skola, Zahoracka
Malacky, Slovakia
@JuliaJanosikova

Bringing real-world activities into the classroom engages students and gives educators new ways to connect with them. This philosophy not only directs MIE Expert Julia Janosikova’s teaching approach, it helped her discover her calling.

“When I was a teenager, I volunteered in the Slovak (Boy) Scout organization, and there I worked with young children,” Janosikova explains. “This affected my career choice and made me see teaching more as a mission and hobby than as a job.”

That experience also shaped the way she shares new activities with her students.… Visit the author's original post

“Through Skype, I have shown my students and their families so many amazing places around the world and created a sense of wonder in them.” – Blair Smith, Australia

Blair Smith
Year 5/6 Classroom Teacher
St Therese’s Catholic Primary School
Queensland, Australia
@mrsmiths56class   

Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Expert Blair Smith says that traveling with his parents as a child opened his eyes to the opportunities available to those with the desire to pursue their dreams. But at the small rural school where he teaches, he found that most students had never even left Central Queensland, let alone the country.

Then Skype changed everything.

“When I discovered Skype in the Classroom,” Smith explains, “I knew this would change the way I teach.… Visit the author's original post

“Engaging students, whether K-12 or adult learners, in real life, inquiry-based problems empowers them to become the protagonists in their story.” – Miguel Guhlin, USA

Miguel Guhlin
Director of Professional Development
TCEA.org
Austin, Texas, USA
@mguhlin

Working with bilingual/English as a Second Language (ESL) students in the small Texas town where President Lyndon Baines Johnson once taught transformed Miguel Guhlin’s views on education. But it was when Guhlin started sharing his teaching experiences with others that he truly found his calling.

“When I moved to East Texas, I began to write about what my students and I were doing, then share it online via the Texas Education Network (TENET),” Guhlin explains.… Visit the author's original post

“In my work, I know that technology alone cannot build the skills of the 21st century. Information technologies are an accelerator, but the power of change lies with teachers.” – Ivan Gionov, Bulgaria

 

 

Ivan Gionov
Senior Teacher
French Language School
Sofia, Bulgaria

Senior IT teacher and Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Ivan Gionov knows how to innovate on a large scale. Gionov’s school was one of the first educational institutions in Bulgaria to introduce cloud technology, and this Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) played a key role in the school’s launch of Office 365. Today, all students and teachers at the school have their own Office365 accounts with the domain feg.bg.

But Gionov also understands that innovation isn’t all about technology.… Visit the author's original post

“I thought I was alone in my ideas for greater understanding and access to technology.” – Linda Sydes, Australia

 

Linda Sydes
Year 5 Primary School Teacher
Meridan State College
Queensland, Australia

Linda Sydes’ favorite classroom activities let her students show their understanding of learning in a creative way – but how they do that is largely up to them.

“Many choose to use Minecraft,” Sydes says, citing a project where her students showed how Moreton Bay (near Brisbane, Queensland) has changed from pre-European settlement to convict times, and from the 1800s to today.

“Students built the first settler camps, the second fleet ships, soldiers barracks, and the Storey bridge,” Sydes explains.… Visit the author's original post

“I have trained over 1000 teachers.” – Simon Kiteme, Kenya

Simon Kiteme
Head of Science Department
Kwa Ngindu Secondary/TSC
Kenya, Africa
@smpkiteme09

It can be easy to take today’s sophisticated classroom technology for granted. But when an internet connection isn’t a given and teachers haven’t yet embraced technology, school leaders must be extra-creative.

For Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Expert Simon Kiteme, that meant becoming the first East/Central African educator to take — and pass — the Microsoft Certified Educator training. And once he became certified, Kiteme helped his fellow educators learn how to use technology to support student learning and success.… Visit the author's original post

“Working with [a disabled] student really challenged me… I learned to be more flexible, and to focus on the possibilities rather than the limitations.” – Anna Mendoza, Australia

Anna Mendoza
Teacher and English Domain Leader, E-pedagogy
Gleneagles Secondary College
Victoria, Australia
@mrsannamendoza

As students spend more time watching videos, Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE) Anna Mendoza is worried that student attitudes about reading have become increasingly negative.

“Whilst I appreciate a multi-modal approach,” she says, “this is having a huge impact on their literacy skills and ability to accurately comprehend and infer information from text.”

To combat the problem, Mendoza is working hard to embed reading into her school’s classrooms daily, and is using testing data to target the gaps they present with.… Visit the author's original post

“I cannot imagine teaching without cloud applications.” – Tomasz Lukawski, Poland

Tomasz Lukawski
Head Teacher and Computer Science Teacher
Primary School No.3
Zabki/Warsaw, Poland

Music may seem like an unusual path to computer science, but for principal and classroom teacher Tomasz Lukawski, it proved to be just that.

“I used to be a music teacher,” Lukawski explains. “From the beginning, as soon as I bought my first PC, I composed music on the computer and accompaniment for the school vocal group. Computer science so fascinated me, that I decided to teach it.”

These days, Lukawski takes full advantage of technology to not only manage his school and communicate with parents, students and teachers, but to take the curriculum to the next level.Visit the author's original post

“In times of fake news, the understanding of statistics is not only a mathematical competence, it is a political one.” – Torsten Traub, Germany

 

 

Torsten Traub
Middle School Teacher, MIE Expert
Realschule Neureut
Karlsruhe, Germany
@EduBlackforest

Working as a teacher in Singapore was a career-defining experience for Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Expert Torsten Traub.

“I learned a lot by talking and working with great educators from all over the world and from a lot of different cultural and educational backgrounds,” he explains. “I started to read teacher’s blogs, I watched great TED Talks, and I began studying again.”

Since returning to Germany, Traub has used Twitter to build – and tap into – his Personal Learning Network.… Visit the author's original post

“We must teach competencies rather than content. Students must learn how to solve problems and face new situations.” – María Florencia Conforti, Argentina

María Florencia Conforti
English Teacher
Belgrano Day School
Buenos Aires, Argentina
@florconforti1

Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE) María Conforti may teach English literature and grammar, but she’s just as interested in helping her students learn how to think. And when she taught the novel Pax last year to her fourth grade students, she put that approach to the test.

“After reading the novel, I asked my students to make an object that might be useful for any of the characters in the story,” Conforti explains.… Visit the author's original post

“There aren’t 25 equal students in my classroom, there are 25 different individuals, dreaming different dreams and hoping for different future lives.” – Susanna Jilka

Susanna Jilka
Teacher
PraxisMittelSchule PH Wien
Vienna, Austria
@woodstocksj

Connecting her students to new classrooms and experiences is a big part of Susanna Jilka’s mission.

“It’s a small world – isn’t it? Every child deserves an education!,” Jilka says. “I like to work with other students from around the world, so we do a lot of Skype calls to gain knowledge, to share our work, to collaborate and to experience that education is the window to our future.”

Jilka sees many benefits to building these connections for her class, from seeing how other students learn to improving their English skills.… Visit the author's original post

“Resources are not the problem. Our ability to work with, around and without the resource to achieve the student learning outcome is what matters.” – Abdikadir Ismail, Kenya

Abdikadir Ismail
Principal
Mwangaza Muslim Mixed Day Secondary School
Maralal, Kenya
@Abdiism

At the recent gathering of Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts (MIEEs) in Toronto, one enterprising school leader earned the nickname “No Problem” – and for good reason. Abdikadir Ismail leads an under-resourced school so remote that it “can’t even be found on Google Maps.”  But despite the challenges, Ismail has the attitude that any problem can be solved with hard work and a bit of ingenuity.

“At E2, I saw inspired educators and learners seated all around me,” he shares.… Visit the author's original post

“The biggest challenge facing education is teaching for a future that is unknown.” – Ben Eilenberg, Australia

Benjamin Eilenberg
Teacher/STEM Coordinator/Media Coordinator
Silverton Primary School
Victoria, Australia
@ben_eilenberg

Ben Eilenberg may have come from a teaching family (his father was a lecturer, his mother a speech pathologist, and his sisters are secondary teachers), but he wasn’t prepared for what he experienced at one of his first teaching jobs.

“I walked in to a school that had only one computer per classroom and that was it, no other technological resources available,” Eilenberg recalls. “It made me think about what the students were missing out on, and how this is preparing them for the future.… Visit the author's original post

“Innovation is not trying something too strange and new. It is returning to your old places, using Microsoft tools to inspire students, making things more productive and organizing a better community.” – Tran Thi Thuy, Vietnam

Tran Thi Thuy
English Language Teacher, MIE Expert
Duc Hop Upper Secondary School
Hung Yen Province/Vietnam
@TdGreenhouse

Educators overcome obstacles every day to ensure their students get the best education possible. For Tran Thi Thuy, that meant bringing her own network connection to her rural Vietnam classroom. It also meant investing in her own career so that she could take her teaching to the next level.

In just one year, Tran completed courses in 21st Century Learning Design, Teaching with Technology, Teaching with Technology Basics and MIE Trainer Academy Learning Path through Microsoft in Education.… Visit the author's original post

“Being introduced to the Microsoft Surface was an education game-changer for my fixed-technology mindset.” – Summer Winrotte, USA

Summer Winrotte
Digital Instructional Coach and Math Teacher
Tecumseh Junior High, Lafayette School Corporation
West Lafayette, Indiana, USA
@SummerWinrotte

For Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert Summer Winrotte, using technology in her classroom wasn’t always a given. In fact, she was downright skeptical about its usefulness.

“I can remember when university education programs and K-12 schools began talking in earnest about using laptops in 1:1 programs — one assigned device for one specific student,” says Winrotte. “I was the new teacher that would say things like, ‘That will never happen in my classroom,’ or ‘Math classrooms are different.’”

Winrotte says she had two major questions that she would always ask herself: 1) How can utilizing a laptop (in a futuristic paperless classroom) be equally effective in all content areas?… Visit the author's original post

“I thrive on promoting my students and their ideas. Microsoft in Education gave me and my students a voice. It gave my students validity, support, encouragement, and inspiration that was lacking in the most imminent way.” – Patricia Ragan Stokes, USA

Patricia Ragan Stokes
Business Teacher
Fayetteville-Manlius High School
Manlius, New York
@PatriciaRagan1

For MIE Expert Patricia Ragan Stokes, attending her first MIE event in 2012 was a career-defining experience.

“As a business teacher, my overriding mission is to get my students hired, promoted, or accepted into the college/career of their dreams,” she explains. “I was literally feeling like I was hitting dead ends as a teacher who wanted to push boundaries. That’s when I found out I was accepted to go to the forum, and that I would be competing with other educators from around the country.… Visit the author's original post

“I found OneNote a year ago, and it was love at the first sight.” – Piia Martikainen, Finland

Piia Martikainen
Teacher, Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert
Torkinmäki School
Kokkola, Finland
@PiiaMartikainen

“I’m interested in games and new approaches in education. I found OneNote a year ago, and it was love at the first sight. Two of my colleagues and I had an opportunity to get 1-to-1 tablets for the sixth-grade students. OneNote changed my thinking and working — it was the answer to my dreams.” – Piia Martikainen, Finland

Learn more about how OneNote has transformed Piia’s teaching through her Learning Activities and her Educator Profile.Visit the author's original post

“As primary teachers, we have to teach everything. It can be overwhelming. So I find it best to start with one subject area, get the kids in small groups, and get them to share their work with their friends.” – Natalie Burgess, Scotland

Natalie Burgess
Primary Teacher and ICT Coordinator
Microsoft UK Teacher Ambassador
Paisley, Scotland

Natalie Burgess has a history of turning the tables on technology training by having her students teach full-class lessons to fellow students, and support teachers as they work to adopt 1:1 approaches in the classroom. All of this is made possible by Glow, Scotland’s national digital learning environment. Learn more about Natalie’s journey here, and be sure to connect with her on the Microsoft Educator Community.Visit the author's original post

“I think a great leader brings people alongside them, never belittles them, encourages collaboration and works to bring them to their potential. Good leaders share, serve and nurture.” – Sandi Adams, USA

Sandi Adams
Technology Project Specialist
Cherokee County School District
Woodstock, Georgia, USA
@sandiadams

With 16 years of experience under her belt, Adams is not only an MIEE, she’s also a Surface Expert, Skype Master Teacher, Microsoft Certified Educator and Master Trainer. She regularly researches emerging technologies, trains staff on tools and classroom integration, trains students, and evaluates hardware. In fact, in all, Adams has spent over 20 years championing new technologies in schools. But seeing herself as a leader has taken some getting used to.… Visit the author's original post

OneNote makes learning accessible for all – Jeff Petty, USA

Jeff Petty, Principle Program Manager, Accessibility
Daniel Hubbell, Senior Program Manager, Accessibility
Microsoft Corporation Seattle
Washington, USA

For students with unique learning needs – and their teachers – one-size-fits-all education tools don’t always work. It’s not a small problem. In fact, an estimated 1 in 5 students are dealing with dyslexia, and over 70 percent of classrooms have special education students or readers that span four or more grade levels. But thanks to the efforts of Microsoft’s Accessibility team, and team members like Jeff Petty and Daniel Hubbell, educators now have help.… Visit the author's original post

Higher expectations lead to better results – Jeff Charbonneau, USA

Jeff Charbonneau
Science Teacher and STEM Coordinator at Zillah School District and Washington Student Achievement Council Member
Washington, USA
@JeffCharbonneau

“I have learned that by setting my expectations higher than most would consider ‘high school’ appropriate, students respond by doing even more. Ultimately, by raising the level of rigor in the classroom, students will stay more engaged and be more likely to succeed.”

Jeff Charbonneau was named the 2013 National Teacher of the Year. Learn about his experience and his journey back to his classroom here.Visit the author's original post

Florida teacher reaches for the stars – Jason Mocherman, USA

Jason Mocherman
Astronomy Instructor, Planetarium Director, Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert
Florida, USA
@jmocherman

“In 2009 our school was rebuilt. At the time, I was running a 50-seat planetarium that had been in the school since 1968. We were running daily planetarium field trips for thousands of elementary students. Due to the economic downturn of that time, the planetarium was cut from the building project. With the help of many, I was able to raise the money needed to rebuild this facility.… Visit the author's original post

“Through Skype in the Classroom, I can not only take my children to places they would never be able to visit, but I can also empower them to make a difference in the world.” – Kristy Griffin, UK

Kristy Griffin
Year 3 Teacher/Computing Curriculum Lead
Bolsover Church of England Junior School
Derbyshire, UK
@misskmgriffin

After attending Microsoft’s E2 Educator Exchange last year, Kristy Griffin returned to her classroom inspired to do more. This MIE Expert was already using technology to engage her students – she calls herself a full-fledged OneNote Avenger – but she discovered a new opportunity with Skype in the Classroom.

“Through a recent Skype Virtual Field Trip with the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB), my children were able to adopt a penguin whom they named Oreo, and are now collecting bottle caps in class to save seabirds,” Griffin explains.… Visit the author's original post