Inspiration in Africa – 2010 Worldwide Innovative Teacher Awards announced

The Partners in Learning  Worldwide Innovation Education Forum in Cape Town is a celebration of all the incredible teachers and education leaders. Throughout our week in Cape Town there were so many inspirational and thought provoking moments.

The stakes are high for students around the world today. Acquiring knowledge is no longer enough. Throughout the week we discussed how we must prepare students for jobs that don’t yet exist and these teachers are making great strides to do just that. Technology, when used the right way can provide students with a personalized path for success.

Throughout the week we saw amazing projects that connected students across oceans, tackled environmental cleanup in Africa, and enabled anywhere anytime learning in the Cloud, just to mention a few.

The 125 teachers who came to Cape Town from around the world understand the critical importance of giving students the skills they need to meet the untold demands of the next decade’s job market. This exceptional group started amongst a pool of 200,000 competing and winning at country and regional levels.

All of these educators are inspiring examples of teachers that learn for their peers and development amazing lessons to provide students with the skills they’ll need to be successful in 21st Century job market.

During the week, the teacher projects were judged by an international panel of education experts. I’m pleased to congratulate the winners of the 2010 Innovative Educators Awards and send heartfelt congratulations to all of those that competed throughout the year. By making a difference in the life of even one student, these teachers have already won the best prize available.

It’s not too early to start thinking about the 2011 competition. We are excited that the worldwide event will be held in Washington, D.C. next fall. To learn more about how to participate in the 2011 Innovative Education Forum, check out this site http://www.microsoft.com/education/pil/partnersInLearning.aspx

Innovation in Community Award

Best Practice: Samuel Avornyo(Ghana), “Rural Food Processing Industries”:
Students were exposed to some of the food processing techniques used by local industries and then identified and shared ways these industries could maximize profit through quality packaging, developing marketing strategies for their products and keeping proper records using ICT.

First Runner-Up: Barry Corrigan (Northern Ireland): “Making Homework Count – Engaging Parents”:
Designed to break the cycle of child and parent frustration over homework when assistance is not available, pupils were provided with additional tools to support their learning. Students could e-mail with teachers, access materials and contribute to discussion forums using the online regional learning platform, Learning NI, all enabling learners to exchange ideas as well as develop the art of debate.

Second Runner-Up: Simone Timms (Australia): “It Takes A Community To Raise A Child”:
This project created opportunities for busy families to engage in their children’s education through the sharing of knowledge. The teacher looked beyond obvious materials and resources to create a multitude of opportunities for students to develop assessment strategies in keeping with their learning styles. 

Innovation in Collaboration Award

Best Practice: Martin Ryum and Mette Hauch (Denmark), “Teachers Leave Them Kids Alone”:
Expert groups of students enaged in peer-to-peer teaching and learning through producing, editing and analyzing a 5 minute film in only one week’s time. Recognition is made of the fact that some children are IT experts and can educate their peers and teachers.

First Runner-Up: Jan Webb (UK), “Working in a Classroom Without Walls”:
Students engaged with peers in Singapore on a Healthy Living Project and had a virtual fieldtrip with peers in Brunei to learn about the rainforest. The project presented an opportunity to work with a class from another country, to share results from science experiments, to present information and to understand diversity in the world.

Second Runner-Up (tie): Ian Fogarty (Canada), “Xenotransplant Debate”:
Students learned complex thought through a semi-fictitious bioethical issue debate. After researching a variety of stakeholder perspectives, deciding on a position, and creating a political party with an associated media campaign, students engaged in a town hall debate and bill proposal.

Second Runner-up (tie): Anna Karlsson (Sweden), “ICT Enriched Learning”:
Students worked to design, construct and program a robot through the use of technology and mathematics in a laboratory environment and were encouraged to bring an entrepreneurial and creative approach and attitude to their work.                                                                                                           

Innovation in Content Award

Best Practice: Pat Yongpradit (USA), “Game Programming with the Microsoft Zune to Promote High School Women in Technology”:
This project encouraged female students to engage in game programming.  Using XNA Game Studio as software and the Microsoft Zune as hardware provided students a comprehensive experience in game design and deployment that mirrors industry experiences. 

First Runner-Up: Adriana Silva de Oliveira (Brazil), “School on the Cloud”:
Aimed at breaking down barriers between teachers and students, this programe made use of the internet in order to facilitate learning and make it more enjoyable for students of the “digital age”. Learning materials were made available online via the school blog so that students as well as parents could assess them after school hours and track learning tasks and projects through the year.

Second Runner-Up: Peter de Lisle (South Africa), “Biodiversity”:
 This project involved using thinking and research tools to find out about biomes and involved the creation of a collaborative spreadsheet tool to evaluate the best biome to live in. Learners then used creativity tools to create a biome as a context for a computer game, and to design a suitably adapted creature to live in it. Finally they narrated an adventure in their biome.

Educators Choice Award

Best Practice: Tareq Mahjoub, Tareq Mahmoud, Shahzlan Al Saffar, Omar Ashour, Futooh Khareetah, Majdi Daoud (Arabic Region), “Accepting Eachother”:
Created by a group of teachers the project aims to answer the question: “We are all human beings, how can we accept eachother despite our differences?”. The project includes: dramas, creating brochures and a press article, producing a documentary and a music concert, establishing a blog and creating presentations. Through this, students gain understanding of “tolerance, communication, dialogue, peaceful coexistence and acceptance of others.”

First Runner-Up: Preesheila Bheem singh Ujoodha (Mauritius), “Wellness and Fitness for Life”:
Students conducted research on causes and cures of the epidemic proportion of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) such as Diabetes and Hypertension. They shared this information with peers in the community and through tools such as Glogsters, Auto Collages, posters, video clips, brochures and blogs which they created. 

Second Runner-Up: Ricardo Espino González (Mexico), “Electronic Logbook”:
Educator best practices and teaching methods are captured digitally and made available to others as a means of collaboration and to ensure that the years of experience of retired teachers are not lost to the academic world in the future.

Posted by Anthony Salcito
Vice President for Worldwide Education