Guest post by Anthony Salcito, Vice President of Education at Microsoft
This week marks one of my favorite events of the year, the E2 Global Educator Exchange, when Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts and student ambassadors from around the globe gather in one place to learn, share and collaborate. The 300 exemplary attendees who are with us in Redmond this week share a number of common qualities – perseverance, creativity and curiosity, to name a few.
But above all, they've shown immense courage – in challenging the status quo, in taking teaching and learning risks and in fearlessly embracing change. At this year's E2, they'll be putting that courage to the test in the Global Educator Challenge, where they'll be divided into groups with peers from different parts of the world to design a project using Microsoft technologies. And the theme of the Challenge couldn't be more fitting: Bravery, Courage, and Leadership.
Throughout the week, these life-long learners will be listening to keynote speeches from the likes of Pakistani educator Ziauddin Yousafzai (father of Malala Yousafzai, the youngest-ever Nobel Prize Laureate) and other top education influencers.
Educators will also be attending workshops on everything from increasing productivity with Office 365, to bringing the world into the classroom with Skype, and using Minecraft as an educational tool. And while their teachers are learning and collaborating with peers, the student ambassadors will attend intensive team-building and working sessions, a life-changing experience for students from as far away as Nigeria, Chile and India.
All of the attendees will be previewing new education technologies from some of our most innovative partners and developers, and will have a chance to chat with key Microsoft executives. The event culminates in an awards ceremony at Seattle's famous Experience Music Project, where attendees will be recognized for enhancing student collaboration, building educator capacity and product innovation, as well as for best-in-class projects, learning activities and more.
This event has consistently paid dividends not only for those present, but for the 1.5 million+ members of the Microsoft Educator Network, who can share in the excitement virtually. You can follow all of this week's activities right here on this blog, Twitter, YouTube and at Daily Edventures, hashtag #MSFTEDU. I'm looking forward to sharing interviews, updates and ideas, and can't wait to see what our E2 attendees come up with as they work to define what courage means for 21st century learning.