Posted by Zeid Shubailat
Education Director, Microsoft Middle East and Africa
Last week, nearly 100 educators, experts and school administrators gathered in Mombasa, Kenya for the third annual Pan-African Innovative Education Forum. We thank our generous hosts and partners at the Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa, who held three days of interactive workshops, teacher exhibitions and judging on their school grounds so that we could share and debate the latest best practices in teaching.
We were inspired by the motivation and excitement of the teachers who stayed up late refining their exhibition projects, while the school administrators in attendance led the way with their dedication to finding new ways of improving their schools’ teaching methodologies and learning environments.
At the event’s closing ceremony on August 26 where over 15 countries in Africa were represented, we took the opportunity to recognise and reward the teachers that had demonstrated the most exemplary uses of technology in the classroom to improve student learning.
The regional “Best Practice” winners of the 2010 Innovative Teacher Awards at the Pan-African Innovative Education Forum were:
- Samuel Avornyor of Ghana received the “Innovation in Community” Award for his “Rural Food Processing Industries” project that best connected the educator or learner to a broader school community. In researching food processing techniques Samuel’s students have gone one step further by helping local industries manage their productivity and develop marketing strategies using ICT.
- Linda Bradfield of South Africa received the “Innovation in Collaboration” Award for her “Trash to Treasure” project that best facilitated ease of collaboration among specific groups beyond the classroom. Linda’s project demonstrated how 6 and 7 year olds collaborate with their community of parents and trash collectors to collect and process waste, using ICT to document their story and their learning
- Warren Sparrow of South Africa received the “Innovation in Content” Award for his “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” project that best provided learners with an enhanced perspective on and experience of the content that it covers. To learn about entrepreneurship, Warren’s Grade 4 students designed board games and created videos which were published online so that their parents could follow the project from home.
- Lilian Ofori-Asare of Lesotho received the “Educator’s Choice Award” for her “Amazing Maize” project voted as the most innovative by the Innovative Teacher Finalists. Lilian’s students collaborated with students in Ghana in researching and sharing information about how maize is used as a main meal.
These award-winning teachers, as well as the first and second runners up in each category, will go on to represent Africa at the sixth annual Worldwide Innovative Education Forum on 26-29 October 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa. Held for the first time on the continent, the Worldwide Forum will host approximately 150 teachers from over 100 countries to share ideas and best practices with their peers.
If last year’s Forum hosted in Brazil is anything to go by, we have a great deal of dialogue and debate about the most pressing issues in 21st century education to look forward to. More importantly, the educators involved have a great many solutions to share.