The herculean efforts put forth by educators and school leaders around the world each and every day often happen in the shadows. In classrooms of all shapes and sizes, these everyday heroes work day-in and day-out to prepare our children to succeed in an increasingly complex world. We expect much of our educators – after all, the future is literally in their hands — but rarely do we stop to recognize them. So when I have the opportunity to shine a light on their efforts, it’s a very good day.
Today, I have the honor of announcing Microsoft’s 2014 Expert Educators and Mentor Schools. These exclusive, year-long programs were created to recognize educators and schools who are on the leading edge of education innovation, paving the way for their peers in the use of technology to improve learning and student outcomes. Expert Educators were selected from over 22,000 educators in 158 countries, while Mentor Schools came from nearly 250 schools in 75 countries.
We’ve offered educator and schools programs for more than 10 years and years and we’ve seen incredible advances in what educators and school leaders are doing with technology, both inside and outside the classroom. In the early years, using interactive whiteboards as a teaching tool was groundbreaking (and rare). Over time, 1:1 programs and mobile devices have become more common in the educator’s toolkit, and the project-based, differentiated learning these tools enable gets more and more sophisticated.
For many reasons, not least of which is the urgent need global companies like us have for a well-educated and prepared workforce, we at Microsoft are deeply committed to doing whatever it takes to effect a holistic transformation of learning. This isn’t transformation for the sake of change. Rather, it’s about making a real impact on educational outcomes and offering young people – regardless of circumstance — a chance at a promising future. Creating opportunities for youth certainly runs deep at Microsoft as seen in our global YouthSpark initiative that includes Imagine Cup, DigiGirlz, DreamSpark and more.
Selected today are 250 Expert Educators and 80 Mentor Schools representing nearly every corner, or should I say classroom, of the world. During the year of their award, educators and school leaders will be heavily involved in advising us on education innovation. They will provide insights on new products and tools, and will help us understand how technology works – or doesn’t work – in real-life classrooms. For this, we are extremely grateful.
But perhaps more important than the role they play in helping us do better for today’s students is the influence they will have on their peers. When today’s winners gather at the Microsoft in Education Global Forum in Barcelona this March, they will collaborate, share insights and ultimately, help educators and schools around the globe better prepare students for the 21st century. And I couldn’t be more proud of the role that we at Microsoft play in the process.
Posted by Anthony Salcito
Vice President, Worldwide Education, Microsoft