Monday, 18 April 2016

Reflections on the E2 Educator Exchange in Budapest, Hungary, by Keshma Patel, a MIEExpert from South Africa

This is a report back on the Microsoft Educator Exchange E2 event in Budapest from one of our South African MIEExperts, Keshma Patel. Keshma is a teacher at Micklefield Primary in Cape Town


"What an honour it was to be selected as one of three South Africans to attend this year's Microsoft E2 Global Exchange conference in Budapest, Hungary! Besides Budapest being a beautiful city rich in culture and history we had plenty to learn and even more people to meet.


Some of my highlights:

1. Meeting amazing teachers both from South Africa and around the world
:
Having the opportunity to interact with dedicated, talented and inspired teachers was by far the best part of the E2 for me. From working on our Hack the Classroom challenge to sharing ideas at the Learning Marketplace, this conference was built around the sharing of ideas and working towards a common goal. These two factors are so crucial for any teacher to be successful in today’s world. Meeting other teachers from across the globe, made me realise that every classroom no matter where in the world, are facing similar challenges. WE ARE NOT ALONE!!! We are also not that far behind and after collaborating with teachers I realised how on par some of our schools in South Africa are with the rest of the world.

Group 14: Gamify: A few of the amazing teachers that I got to meet
 
The four South Africans At the awards ceremony –
this took place at the National Arts Gallery

 2. The Learning Marketplace and digging into exciting new Microsoft tools and tricks:
There is so much out there that makes our teaching and our learners learning that much easier, from efficient add-ons, the life changing OneNote and of course Minecraft. On the last day of the conference we got to learn from each other at the Learning Marketplace. This was certainly a highlight and we came away with loads of different and interesting ideas to teach concepts in our class. One of my favourites was by a teacher from Sweden, Ana Girgensohn. She had used Minecraft to teach her class about the water purification system that their town uses. They had to use Minecraft to recreate the system within the town.

A teacher from Taiwan – her class created toy dolls
The three South African stands
Asa’s project using Minecraft
3. The 21st Century Skills
This year’s conference focused on developing 21st century skills in the classroom. Communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and computational thinking formed the basis of our learning. I have come back filled with ideas and inspired to teach my girls to be successful women in the 21st century. This excited me the most as for the first time in history we are finally starting to look at ways to restructure the education system and prepare our learners to be globally aware citizens.



Being able to attend this conference has made me extremely grateful and proud to be an educator. We are part of such an exciting time in education and Microsoft sure is leading the way by creating a space where teachers are embodying and are actively engaged in practising and sharing these 21st Century skills.

I am looking forward to share my new knowledge with both the girls at Micklefield and my fellow teachers!"


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