This week, as we celebrate the announcement of the 2014-2015 Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts and Showcase Schools , we're also keeping a close eye on a noteworthy education event taking place across the Atlantic: The Northern Future Forum in Helsinki, Finland.
Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb has invited the prime ministers of the UK, the Nordic countries and the Baltic states – nine countries in all – along with business leaders and global education experts to the event. The aim is sharing ideas and finding new ways of tackling the common challenges encountered in the modern northern European economies. This is the fourth annual event of its kind, and it's no surprise that business innovation and education reform — and how the two intersect — will be the crux of the discussion.
Microsoft is honored to play a key role in these discussions. Kati Tiainen, director of business development in Finland for the Microsoft in Education team, will be leading a roundtable discussion with the prime ministers on the importance of teacher training in education transformation. At Microsoft, we believe that teachers are the single most important force in transforming education, and we work hard to deliver training and support to help them deliver exceptional student outcomes. Microsoft makes professional development for educators and school leaders available free of charge because we know it's the foundation to scalable improvements in teaching and learning.
Tiainen will focus on how teacher training can bridge the gap between the skills today's digital native students need to be productive and successful in their future careers, and how today's educators are prepared to teach those skills. Her background in the Finnish education ecosystem makes her especially qualified to guide that critical discussion.
Tiainen will be live tweeting from the event, and will share insights, perspectives and ideas from the Future Forum. You can follow along @KatiTiainen. And stay tuned right here, as we dig deeper into the outcomes from the Future Forum next week.