Over the last 8 years Microsoft has made a significant shift in the way it engages with its education customers and works towards improving education. Under the banner of Partners in Learning we have entered into literally hundreds of partnerships and alliance agreements with governments, not for profits, academia, inter-governmental agencies and other businesses, all with a singular focus – how can we share our commitment towards improving educational outcomes through pooling resources and sharing accountabilities. This is at the heart of our strategic partnership focus for education, and we have been able to support some impressive improvements.
Highlighting a couple might help explain – first let’s begin with an important partnership with UNESCO, Intel, Cisco and ISTE to create and launch the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers. Through this partnership Microsoft developed the Teaching with Technology professional development program, fully mapped to the UNESCO CFT. This program is free to teachers around the world through the Partners in Learning Network. This program combined with the Microsoft Certified Educator certification is allowing governments and education systems globally to rethink how they develop, measure and recognize teacher competencies. This is quite an improvement for teacher professional development. We’ve also been working hard on the Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills (ACT21S) partnership, again involving Intel and Cisco along with the University of Melbourne. Over 250 education researchers and leaders from around the world, and thousands of students have piloted the new assessments. This work is now shaping OECD’s PISA 2015 global assessment, as well as IEA’s TIMMS global assessment. Again, what an improvement.
However at Microsoft we believe the reward for doing a good job is the opportunity to take on a harder job. With that in mind we announced an even bigger challenge this week, and something that has not been done before in the global education community. Working with organizations such as the Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership (ATISL), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Collaborative Impact, the European SchoolNet, Intel, Michael Fullan Enterprises, OECD, Pearson Education, Promethean and leading academics we have created a vision for improved learning for all students in the release of the New Pedagogies for Deep Learning whitepaper.
This whitepaper has been developed through the leadership of Michael Fullan – global leader on system improvement – with a foreword from Sir Michael Barber, and contributions from over 20 global leaders in the education field representing all sectors. It articulates the challenge for systems and schools towards New Pedagogies for Deep Learning; around the current lack of an agreed definition and framework of the new pedagogic roles, practices and measurements of teaching and learning enabled through smart application of educational technology in informal and formal settings. Just as businesses like Microsoft have had to redefine and adapt new ‘business processes’ to see the benefits of technology investments, you might think of these new pedagogic roles, practices and measurements in teaching and learning as the new business processes for education infused with technology.
I encourage you to take time to read this paper, share it with your colleagues, consider nominating a cluster of schools to participate and following the progress over the next 3 years. I believe this partnership has the potential to radically change our thinking around the roles, practices and measurements for teaching and learning in the future and improving outcomes for all of our students.