Wednesday, 6 April 2016

A report back on the Microsoft Educator Exchange E2 event in Budapest from one of our South African MIEExperts Moses Sehoole

Pablo Picasso once said: 
“Action is the foundational key to all success…”

I want to tell you about my amazing trip to Budapest with Microsoft as a MIEExpert, along with two other teachers from South Africa and Angela Schaerer from Microsoft in March this year.


My background in using Microsoft applications
After attending a Microsoft Education Master Training on ICT integration in teaching and learning in 2015, I have never looked back. I was very motivated and inspired by the presenter Mr Victor Ngobeni. He encouraged all the participants to complete all the modules on the Teaching with Technology course which is available online. I completed the modules and went further to be recognised as a Microsoft Innovative Educator. Despite the challenges and obstacles along the way, I never gave up, but kept on working hard and nominated myself to be Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert.

On the 16th November, 2015 I was announced a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, joining the more than 5,600 educators in the MIE program worldwide. I was excited and happy to see that my efforts to integrate technology in classroom were recognized. Each year, Microsoft selects innovative educator experts to share ideas, try new approaches and learn from each other through a global community dedicated to improving student outcomes through technology.

Selected to attend the E2 event in Budapest 
As Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts, we built capacity on using technology both in classroom and curriculum to improve the students learning. Furthermore, as part of the program, Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts are selected to attend the Microsoft Educator Exchange Event (E²), annually. This year the annual Microsoft in Educator Exchange Event (E²) was held in Budapest, Hungry in March 2016. For this year 2016, three Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts were selected out of 63 Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts 2015/16 to attend and it happened that I was one of them. From right to left below:
1. Moses Sello Sehoole - Mankuroane Technical and Commercial High, North West Province
2. Tracy Heath - Brescia House School, Gauteng
3. Keshma Patel - Micklefield School, Western Cape and
4. Angela Schaerer (Microsoft in Education: Academic Programme Manager)

I could not believe the news for almost a week and for the first time in my life I boarded a flight to Budapest, Hungry. It was an honour to be invited to the Microsoft in Educator Exchange Event (E²) in Budapest, Hungry. Thank you Microsoft for the opportunity. What an amazing trip!


What is the Microsoft Educator Exchange event?
TheMicrosoft E2 Global Exchange is Microsoft's annual education event recognizing and celebrating the achievements of educators in integrating technology on daily teaching. The purpose is to share experiences, collaborate on projects and learn new techniques to integrate technology into the classroom.

My Trip to Budapest
MONDAY, 7th March: Arrival in Budapest
On my arrival at Budapest airport at around 11:00, I met Angela and boarded E² shuttle to the Carinthia hotel. We had the whole of afternoon off and toured Budapest for site seeing. What a beautiful city with a lot of history.


TUESDAY, 8th March: Opening of the Educator Exchange Event
The conference started on a high note with Hungarian dance which demonstrated a lot of energy, impressive locomotor and non-locomotor movements. What an amazing dance to start a day, just awesome! Don Grantham, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft Central and Eastern Europe, was afforded an opportunity to welcome all educators and dignitaries present.


Minecraft - MIEExperts and Fellows
MIE Experts, Brian Aspinall from Canada, James Protheroe from the UK, and Andre Spang from Germany shared their stories on how to use Minecraft in the classroom. Each of these presenters taught different subjects and came from different cultures with different educational systems. Many MIE Expexts were impressed afterwards about how fascinating it was that they were able to talk about the same tool and how it has positively affected their classrooms.

Educator Challenge - MIEExperts and Fellows 
We were placed in groups and were given a project. We were asked to create classroom hacks on one of the five assigned personas – Gamify, Personalize, Minimize, Decolonize, and Strategize. We were expected to collaborate, be creative, think out of the box, make new friends that will last a lifetime and have fun! As educators, there was excitement as we were put together to solve problems.


Challenge: Our task was to identifying a common problem we all faced in the classroom. Propose an innovative solution that is reasonable to implement taking into consideration the technology available to the team members in their home situations. The hack had to match assigned persona. We had to create an Office Mix of 3 minutes to describe the problem, how it affects learning, the solution and how to implement the solution.


All the groups worked on their challenges for two days, during which lifelong friendships were forged and cultural barriers were broken down. The MIE Fellows played a vital role and shared their ideas with the their groups during the Educator Challenge.I was in Group 37.
Group 37 - Paula Vorne, Finland (Fellow)
1. Brendan Cawley: Ireland
2. Zhanar Demeubayeva: Kazakhstan
3. Sukhmeen Kaurcheema: India
4. Azizul Othman: Malaysia
5. Moses Sello Sehoole: South Africa

Breakout sessions: MIE Fellows 
MIE Fellows presented on their area of expertise during Breakout Sessions for three days with enthusiasm. One of the sessions was a highlight for me:

I attended the Minecraft Applications, STE(A)M Curriculum, presented by Neal Manegold and Jaqueline Russell (from Microsoft)_ and Stephen Reid. Minecraft has a natural application throughout STE(A)M applications. I learned more from Engineering, Sciences, and the Arts examples on how Minecraft could be applied in my existing curriculum.


WEDNESDAY, 9th March
Keynotes: Anthony Salcito, Stephen Reid and various educators

Microsoft in Education World Wide Vice President Anthony Salcito opened day 2 with some creativity demonstrating how technology can empower learning. He kept the conference theme alive, #Hack the Classroom. He demonstrated Microsoft tools with live connectivity on Skype by skyping an Arctic Explorer. He connected live with an Explorer who was conducting research on climate change and educators were afforded opportunity to ask questions live. It was really amazing. He also invited three educators onto the stage to demonstrate how they hack their classrooms. Really it was amazing and inspiring because the message was loud and clear: educators are making innovations happen every day in their classrooms.


Breakout sessions with the MIE Fellows
I attended several of these:

a) Yammer - a 21st century learning environment for students.
This was presented by Miroslav Dvorak, Czech Republic. I learned how to use the enterprise version of Yammer to create a social network in your classroom. Students use social networks on a daily basis, but schools lack control over them. Yammer provides both: control over the system and yet serves greatly as an internal social network where students and staff can communicate across barriers.

b) Sway - Create interactive lessons and collaborative environments using Sway.
This was presented by Laurence Juin, France. I learned how to build a rich learning environment with Sway and how to embed student work to allow for peer feedback, and show how to add tweets, photos, and videos to create an easy-to-share online classroom production.

c) STEM Makers Fair.
On the evening of March 9th from 16:45 – 18:45 we had an opportunity to meet and network with Microsoft Product/Engineering Teams, receive Minecraft Tutorials and experience new Microsoft Devices. The MIE Experts were able to try out some prototype kits and lessons and gave feedback directly to the team. Stations were designed to be 15, 30, or 45 minute activities self-paced and multiple levels. MIE Experts with science and technology insights did an amazing and awesome projects. I had an opportunity to have conversation with Microsoft in Education World Wide Vice President Anthony Salcito. What a breathtaking moment for me.


THURSDAY 10th March:
Closing Keynote: Dominic Regester: British Council

The last day of the conference was amazing with a keynote address from Dominic Regester, senior school advisor for the British Council. He spoke about promoting a friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and the people worldwide. He also shared information about an online living library for educators to share good practice about diversity and inclusion.

Breakout Sessions: MIE Fellows
A highlight for me was the session called 'Learning to learn in a digital way' presented by Gergely Nádori, Hungary. Our students are digital natives but this does not mean that they use technology for learning. Digital learning is needed for almost all of our students. I learned how one school developed a 20 lesson program which was delivered to them in a OneNote class notebook to teach digital literacy, and the effect the program had on the school.

The Learning Marketplace
At about 10:45, the learning market was opened. All MIE Experts showcased their learning projects, walked around and learned more about the work of fellow MIE Experts.


On the other side MIE Fellows were given a great task of judging group challenges Office Mixes and selected the winners for that night award ceremony. After a stressful and demanding task, they also visited learning the Marketplace to witness the projects. The Microsoft E2 Global Exchange brought MIE Experts under one roof to learn and relearn from each other in a positive way.


Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony at the National Gallery

The objective was to reward groups that were spot on with the task given to us with regard to the #Hack Challenge. The evening started with a welcome beverage, followed by announcing the Awards presentation. The Office Mix winners were announced and received certificates and awards. We really enjoyed the dinner, the amazing history of Budapest, and we had great conversations at the Budapest National Gallery. We were all winners because I made new friendships and collaborated on how best we can empower our learners through technology. What an inspiring, motivating and awesome event to attend.


The, National Gallery was established in 1957 as the national art museum. It is located in Buda Castle in Budapest, Hungary. The National Gallery is the largest collection of Hungarian arts with one hundred thousand artefacts, from the settlement of the Magyars until the present day.

Get involved in the Microsoft MIEE program 2016/2017
If you are a teacher who likes to be innovative in the classroom, think about entering Microsoft's Innovative Teacher MIEExpert program in 2016/2017 when applications reopen later in the year. You can learn more about the program at this link http://bit.ly/1H4gKcB on the Microsoft Educator Community. You could be the one attending a Microsoft E2 Teacher Exchange next year!

My positive attitude has determined my altitude on adaily basis. That is why I go extra miles because every child matters. As an old Chinese proverb says:

 Those who want to leave an impression for 1 year should plant a corn: Those who want to leave an impression for 10 years should plant a tree: 

Those who want to leave an impression for 100 years should develop a human being”

#HACK THE CLASSROOM 2016

Get involved in the Microsoft MIEE program 2016/2017
If you are a teacher who likes to be innovative in the classroom, think about entering Microsoft's Innovative Teacher MIEExpert program in 2016/2017 when applications reopen later in the year. You can learn more about the program at this link http://bit.ly/1H4gKcB on the Microsoft Educator Community. You could be the one attending a Microsoft E2 Teacher Exchange next year!






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