Monday, 2 May 2016

A second report back from MIE Tracy Heath on the Microsoft E2 Educator Exchange that took place in Hungary in March 2016

We featured Tracy Heath's first report-back on the amazing Microsoft E2 Teacher Exchange that took place in Hungary in April in a post entitled 'Learnings and Memories from the E2 Educator Exchange - Hack the Classroom, in Budapest, Hungary' by Tracy Heath, a MIEExpert from South Africa' However Tracy has so much to share that she has submitted a follow-up post entitled 'The Gobal E2 Exchange - a time of unending learning'.  Tracy is a teacher at Brescia House in Johannesburg. 

Tracy's second report-back
"These are further reflection on the Microsoft E2 Exchange as I look back, I'll start at the beginning. It was all smiles from the three South African delegates, in the Ballroom of the Hotel Corinthia, waiting for the opening ceremony to begin.
Tracy, Keshma, Moses
I attended various exciting Breakout sessions
The first was: Teaching with Technology? Absolutely! It was presented by: Virginia Alberti from Italy. Virginia’s message was: If you believe technology could actually make the difference you should be willing to constructively experiment with technology in your class and share all experiences while engaging your colleagues, school, and institutions to promote the change.
The main "ingredients" of her flipped lessons are integrated with OneNote, OneNoteclass, Surface, and Digital inking to actively engage and excite students.  Three parts of her lessons were:
1. lesson designusing Mooc for math teachers
2. presentation using Sway and Skype 
3. monitoring/ assessing through OneNote and Skype

The second session I attended was Jump into Minecraft and get crafting! This was presented by: Neal Manegold and Jaqueline Russell, from Microsoft and Stephen Reid as chair. This session was a hands-on workshop designed specifically for educators. After downloading Minecraft, we learnt the basics to survive our first venture into Minecraft and to survive our first night. We explored some Minecraft projects from classrooms around the world. It was both nerve wracking and thrilling to see how easy it was to get started and to see the possibilities of this learning tool.

The third was 'Going Virtual' presented by Beverley Cripps from Ireland was the most inspiring session that I attended. Beverley took us into her learning space and us educators the opportunity to view different ways that a Virtual Learning Environment can be used using tools like Office Mix, Skype, and OneNote. Some of the examples shared were how a cultural divide in Northern Ireland was broken through the ongoing use of a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), how absent students (particularly those with health complaints) can be included through a VLE, and how a VLE can be used on an international scale. Beverley also pre-recorded the lessons she would miss while in Budapest and showed us a part of what her learners were doing while she was presenting to us!

The group challenge
My group was group 17 under the leadership of Poonam Dogra, India consisted of Oluwakemi Olurinola from Nigeria, Janja Polenšek Davidovski from Slovenia, Gordana Sokol from Slovenia, Dan Tsoi from Hong Kong and myself Tracy Heath from SA. It was enjoyable to work together on a common problem while learning about other teaching experiences.

Three of my group members discussing our hack

The Learning Market Place 
The highlight for me was walking around the Learning Market Place. It was interesting to see what other teachers are doing in their classrooms. It was also nice to see that some of our ideas are the same as what teachers are doing in other countries using similar or the same applications. 



It was fun to meet people from around the globe and share lesson ideas and opinions about teaching. These lessons are all recorded on the Microsoft Educator website and include lesson plans and practical guides as well as notes, photographs and pointers.



We each had our own stands. These are the three South African teachers' stands.

Keshma Patel
Tracy Heath
Moses Sehoole
The Gala Dinner to close the Conference and announce winners
This was a very exciting event to close off the E2 Teacher Exchange.

The South African delegates outside the National Gallery prior to the Gala Dinner.
What a huge privilege to attend such an inspiring gathering. Thank-you to Microsoft for this fantastic opportunity!

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