Category Archives: Student Voice

No classrooms. No teachers. No blackboards. No exams.

To celebrate five years of Daily Edventures, we’re sharing some of our favorite posts. This Daily Edventure was originally published on January 10, 2012.


At first glance it’s pretty obvious: Colegio Fontán is different. No classrooms.
No teachers. No blackboards. No exams. Technology supports everything they do.

“Everyone knows the ‘what’ to do in education. We’ve built the ‘how’ instead,” says Julio Fontán, school President.

Colegio Fontan video

Fontán’s parents – both educators – brought their unique brand of education to Colombia from Spain 54 years ago.… 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

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

Bringing diverse students together with technology — Classroom technology eases transition for refugees

Olivier Dijkmans
Elementary School Teacher
Stedelijke Basisschool Omnimundo
Antwerp, Belgium

Olivier Dijkmans’ school is on the front lines when it comes to adapting to a diverse student body, including many refugees who have never attended school, and don’t know how to read, calculate or write.

Olivier DijkmansOlivier, a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, uses everything from green screens to Legos to engage his class that represents different lands of origin, different religions and different education levels.

“This is not an easy challenge,” Olivier tells us, “but it has to be taken, because good education is the key to success for the future of our community and society.… Visit the author's original post

Tech Advice A Click Away

This post first appeared in the September 2016 edition of the College’s Regulus Magazine Three computer whiz kids in Year 8 are acting as technology mentors for the entire Preparatory School student body, and even quite a few teachers. Caleb, Cameron and … Continue reading Visit the author's original post

eLearning Through The Lens Of Key Competencies

In the last week of Term 2 I had the opportunity to present at the NZ Tech Advance Education Technology Summit hosted at Massey University’s Albany Campus. Key topics and subjects discussed include: Inquiry | Creativity | Collaboration – The role of … Continue reading Visit the author's original post

Guest Post: Mr Dekker’s Journey With OneNote & Minecraft

This is a repost of a blog on the official Microsoft Education blog where Mr Wilj Dekkers, a Year 6 teacher at St Andrew’s College and Microsoft Innovative Educator, recaps the journey of his classroom over the last two years with Microsoft … Continue reading Visit the author's original post

Hosting a TeachMeet at St Andrew’s College

This week, St Andrew’s College hosted the first TeachMeet event in Christchurch for 2016 and over 40 staff from 15 different schools attended. If you’re unsure of what a TeachMeet actually is, you can find more at the website  but … Continue reading Visit the author's original post

Presenting At Microsoft Analyst Summit 2016

This week I’ve had the privilege of attending, as well as co-presenting, at the annual Microsoft Analyst Summit for Asia Pacific, hosted at the St Regis Hotel in Singapore.⊗ The focus of this summit was Fuelling Customer Digital Transformation Through Innovation and was an … Continue reading Visit the author's original post

Collaborating With The Future Schools Expo

This week I was excited to receivee correspondence from David Colville, from DataCom Australia. He was present at the 2016 Future Schools Expo in Sydney. His request was that a group of St Andrew’s College students could be made available to share … Continue reading Visit the author's original post

A student’s concussion leads to cutting-edge diagnostic technology – Eric Solender, USA

Three years ago, when high school student Eric Solender was 14, he suffered a concussion playing basketball. “I was coming down for a rebound,” Eric says, “and another kid was jumping up, and his nose slammed me in the back of the head.”

The concussion was very serious, and Eric missed nearly a full year of school while he recuperated. “Thanks to the doctors at Children’s Hospital, I was able to recover from it,” he says. “Now I’m trying to help people that [are] in the position that I was in.”

That help comes in the form of a diagnostic tool that Eric coded and designed using Kinect.… Visit the author's original post

The Five Tenets of Personalized Learning

Cross-posted from the Corwin Connect Blog.

I did not know what I was doing when I decided to change the way I taught. I did not know that somewhere out in the education world there was already a term floating around for some of the ideas I had for change, a term that would capture so many of my ideas in one. It was not until a few years of blogging about the changes I had made that someone left a comment on my blog suggesting I learn more about personalizing learning because it seemed like that is what I was talking about. … Visit the author's original post

Tech Evangelist Encourages Student App Development

Today Mr Wilj Dekkers and Year 6 student Toby Skyped with Hannes Nel from Microsoft New Zealand about a game called “The Adventures of Mr Dot” that Toby had built in Scratch. It was a great chat aimed to help … Continue reading Visit the author's original post

“Why cry when you can try?” – Nathan Lee, USA

Internships are meant to prepare students for the demands and challenges of the workforce. After talking to high school senior (and Microsoft intern) Nathan Lee, we’re learning that today’s interns not only bring a wealth of expertise to their jobs, they have tremendous self-awareness and focus.

Lee’s journey to becoming a Microsoft intern started when he took steps to overcome his shyness and discover his strengths. In eighth grade, he decided to dabble in drama.

“At first it was really awkward and terrifying, but I said ‘might as well go with it,’” Lee says.… Visit the author's original post

A student’s story: How OneNote changed a life – Kyle Madinger, Canada

This is a story of struggle, perseverance, and ultimately, triumph.

Our story starts with a young Kyle Madinger, born on Christmas. “Kyle was a Christmas baby, and was always the youngest in the class,” his father Brent tells us. “So he was always a little behind developmentally.”

For Kyle, this presented itself through organizational and legibility issues in particular. His challenges led him into homeschooling and a special education classroom.

Then, in middle school, something life-changing happened: “One of his educators suggested a tablet as a way to get him better engaged with school,” says his father.… Visit the author's original post

#CEM15 Guest Post – Explore The World With Mystery Skype

This post was written for the Christchurch Connected Educators blog as part of Connected Educators Month of October 2015. You can read the original post here. Mystery Skype is a fun activity being played by classrooms all over the world and presents … Continue reading Visit the author's original post

“I’ve seen the impact that tutoring programs can have on a student’s success – especially struggling students.” – Chris Hopkins, USA

Chris Hopkins may be a program manager intern at Microsoft, working with engineers and organizing development projects, but education is his passion. Fortunately, the two aren’t mutually exclusive. Through his internship, Hopkins is gaining the valuable skills he’ll need to make Boost Tutors, an organization he founded, a success.

What inspired Hopkins to focus his efforts on education? His time working at King’s Academy in Jordan (during his gap year between high school and college) played a big role.

“I didn’t teach, but I did things that made teaching possible,” Hopkins tells us.… Visit the author's original post

Better Heart Health through Technology – Team #idontgiveanapp, Italy

Their team name may suggest a certain nonchalance, but Italy’s Team #idontgiveanapp is anything but apathetic about the well-being of its target users. The team, winners in the recent Imagine Cup World Citizenship Semi-finals in Seattle, have created the HeartWatch app, designed to detect cardiac arrhythmia and help patients better manage their health.

Constantly checking users’ heartbeats via the Microsoft Band, HeartWatch notifies users about any anomaly their heart may experience. In serious cases, HeartWatch even notifies a selected list of friends and relatives, via SMS.… Visit the author's original post

Innovative App Aids Early Detection of Parkinson’s Disease – Team PROGNOSIS, Greece

What if by learning a language, you could have the power to change the world? If you ask Konstantinos Mavrodis, that language already exists – it just needs to be taught.

“Coding is a language,” he says. “We have English, we have Greek – that’s mine – but we have coding as well. So, we should learn how to code in early ages. Coding should be part of everyone’s life because it’s a way of communicating. It’s really useful, and helps everyone.”

Konstantinos and his Team PROGNOSIS Imagine Cup teammates Despina Efthymiadou, Dimitris Iakovakis and Vicky Bikia – all software engineers – used their coding skills to create something that indeed holds the promise to change the lives for many with Parkinson’s Disease.… Visit the author's original post

Pregnancy Planning Made Easy – Team Boby, Taiwan

Want to get pregnant? There’s an app for that, thanks to Taiwan’s Team Boby, which recently won the 2015 Imagine Cup World Citizenship semifinals in Seattle.  The team of four (Wang Zhenghong, Yang Wenqian, Lai Hezhun, and Xue Zhihao) from National Cheng King University, has created a unique tool to help couples determine the optimal time for conception.

Inspired by the sister of one of their teammates who has struggled to conceive for 10 years, Team Boby identified a problem that affects millions, and developed an innovative way to solve it.… Visit the author's original post

“When you let the students’ creativity come into play it can just escalate from there, and really become something they’re motivated to do.” – Team EnCourage, Germany

It’s one of my most favorite times of the year: time for the Microsoft Imagine Cup World Finals! Imagine Cup is the global student technology program and competition that provides opportunities for students across all disciplines to team up and use their creativity, passion and knowledge of technology to create applications and games. Each year, the event is not only inspiring (seeing what these students across the globe develop is amazing!) but it’s also a ton of fun.

Today we’re featuring Team EnCourage — Cole Bailey, Dominik Doerner, Rene Brandel, Tobias Roddiger – an international group of four computer science students studying at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany.… Visit the author's original post

Team Tether: A New Twist on Social Networking from New Zealand – Team Tether, New Zealand

You know the saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”? Three Imagine Cup students from the University of Auckland in New Zealand — Team Tether — have used that idea to create an app to bring the concept to life.

“Tether is a platform that helps you discover and leverage the talent in your social network,” they say. “With Tether, finding trustworthy and passionate people with the skills you need can be done instantly. You’re also helping those close to you get discovered for what they really love doing.”

As World Finalists in the Innovation category, Team Tether – also known as Alyssa Ong (user interface), Opender Singh (software developer) and Vivien Lei (business and legal) – are tapping into existing social networks to help friends find reliable help or even get discovered.… Visit the author's original post

Imagine Cup 2015: Malaysia Game Designers Explore Native Folklore and Rituals

Teachers have many creative options when it comes to teaching about other cultures, but today’s Imagine Cup team – Malaysia’s SwinDesign — has designed an immersive game to do just that. Their game, “Tao: The Sacrifice” is a horror exploration game inspired by the folklore and rituals from the Melanau tribe. Players navigate around the map searching for clues and solving puzzles to proceed to further levels. The game uses both 2D and 3D design.

“We didn’t want to use a very conventional approach for making a horror game,” team member (Landon Chia) explains.… Visit the author's original post

What About the “P” In Your B.Y.O.D.?


The final quarter of last year, our classroom was a limited B.Y.O.D. zone, meaning yes, bring your own device but check it at the door unless we had a purpose for it.  I instituted this because I felt we were getting distracted, myself included, we were having a hard time resisting the instant temptations that our smartphones seem to provide for us.  So we left them out of the room and the students were just fine with it.  I was too.  … Visit the author's original post

This Is For the Kids

This is for the kids who made me cry.  Who wore me out, who tore me down.  This is for the kids who wondered why.   Who dared to speak, who dared to question.  This is for the kids that didn’t give up, that saw something in me I would have never seen myself.  Who questioned persistently, who had the audacity to say they were bored.  And who never ever thought that school should be about the teachers and not about the kids.… Visit the author's original post


My love of reading never had to survive my childhood.  My love of reading never had to survive well-meaning teachers, at least not when I was young.  When I grew up, teachers weren’t really that bothered with what we read, or how much we read every night, just that we read.  That we grew.  That we became better.  They didn’t ask us to keep logs, to record minutes, to stick post-it notes whenever we had a thought.  They didn’t tell us which box to pick from or give us a label.  … Visit the author's original post

Guest Post: Our Coding Journey – The Beginnings

This guest post comes from Miss Briony Marks who has guest posted here before with her work in maths. Today it is her story of working with Year 7 students in our Preparatory School, introducing them to the basics of coding. … Continue reading Visit the author's original post

Graduation Day: A Bright Future for Isabella

Isabella Garcia-Mendez will graduate from Manteca High School this week with a considerable leg up on many of her peers. This graduating senior, who speaks three languages and plays multiple musical instruments, plans to major in political science at the University of California Berkeley next fall. And while much of her academic success comes from drive and determination, her community’s dedication to education transformation helped prepare her for her next steps with up-to-date technology and skills.

When Manteca Unified School District (MUSD) began to envision a new way of teaching and learning for its diverse and economically challenged community, it had students like Garcia-Mendez in mind.… Visit the author's original post

A Few Ideas for Using Skype in the Classroom

There are technology tools that come along and make your day easier, that make your day better.  There are technology tools that integrate themselves so seamlessly into your lessons that you soon forget what life was like before.  There are tools that you know you can rely on whenever you need them.  And then there are tools that encompass all that and oh so much more.  Tools that elevate your teaching ideas to places you never thought they could have gone.  … Visit the author's original post

Mr Hilliam Attends Microsoft Educator Exchange E2 Conference

At the start of this term, Mr Ben Hilliam, flew to Seattle in the United States as a guest of Microsoft to attend their Global Educator E2 Conference. His attendance was based on his earlier selection as a Microsoft Innovative … Continue reading Visit the author's original post

Reflections from the AIS NSW ICT Leadership & Management Conference 2015

I have been fortunate to attend the AIS NSW (Association of Independent Schools of New South Wales) ICT Management and Leadership Conference over the last few days and I thought I would share a few reflections on it here. As this … Continue reading Visit the author's original post