Collaboration post between Jenny Gilbert and Nikkie Laing.
Recently 6 Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts travelled to Budapest to represent New Zealand at the Microsoft Global Education Conference – E2. For those who do not know the E2 Education Conference is where 240 of the most innovative educators and fellows from 79 countries attend a week-long conference somewhere around the world. During the conference they focus on providing the attendees with opportunities to learn, collaborate, teach and become inspired by others. Here they shared their expertise in integrating technology and pedagogy to transform education. For some participating in E2 is a reminder about the good educators do, they shape their community and build futures. By improving the way they teach, they are able to help improve every child’s future. These MIE-Experts leave E2 with a purpose and a drive to make the learning experience for their students as wonderful and limitless as possible.
The MIE-Experts from New Zealand included Ruby Huang from Howick College, Bridget Crooks from KeriKeri College, Wilj Dekkers from St Andrew’s, Gaye Bloomfield from Nayland College and Chhaya Narayan from Elim Christian College. The last MIE-Expert that travelled to Budapest was Nikkie Laing from Opaheke School, who was invited to present in the conference as a MIE-Fellow. She then wrote a blog detailing her experience that we would love to share with you.
Written by Nikkie Laing, Teacher at Opaheke School and MIE-Fellow at Microsoft Global Education Conference.
“The E2 Educator Exchange is a global event hosted by Microsoft. Teachers from all around the world gather to share their innovative stories of teaching and learning. This year we gathered in beautiful Budapest. The distinctive difference about this event is the emphasis on the teachers themselves, sharing our stories is the focus and the richness that comes from such diversity is incredible. This is not your typical Ed Tech conference, where big names share ever bigger ideas and teachers work out how they will implement them on the micro scale that is their classroom. Instead it’s the implementation that gets shared. We discuss the things that matter the most to us and we share the work we’ve done which we know makes a difference to our learners. The commonalities between learners and educators all over the world are both reassuring and heartening.
This year I was privileged to attend as Microsoft Innovator Educator Fellow. The Fellows are a group of educators who have been MIE Experts for some time and on the basis of their contributions and participation in the programme are invited to join the fellows programme. Some fellows were also selected to present to our expert educator colleagues via breakout sessions. The kiwi in me was determined to ensure that I could keep up with the big kids!
My presentation was on my favourite topic – Using SharePoint Sites and how we use these to strengthen connections with our learners and promote student agency. All the while saving precious preparation and administration time. For New Zealand teachers this is our everyday pedagogy, for global teachers though the way we do things, combined with the relative freedom we have to implement curriculum in this way, is a story definitely worth listening too. It was humbling to win the fellows award for best presentation. Amazing recognition from my knowledgeable and accomplished peers.
Definitely for me the most enriching part of E2 are the connections that are made. I spend many days really getting to know New Zealand and Australian teachers who are passionate about the same things I am. I know from last year that these connections are long lasting. I count these colleagues amongst some of the disruptive and professionally influential people I know!
Then there are the global friends. Teachers who live on the other side of the world and you meet for the first time and instantly know that this is the start of something amazing. Hearing your own thoughts echoed on the other side of the world from a teacher who is passionate about exactly the same things left me stunned and at the same time excited about what we might be able to achieve together.
Participating in E2 helps remind us about the good we do as educators. It helps reaffirm the pedagogies we hold so close and makes us want to do more for others who travel longer more challenging roads to achieve the same outcomes. It gives us new perspectives to consider. It makes us reach out to others because they are within arm’s reach. And so I left E2 thinking about purpose. How can I make learning more purposeful and relevant for my students? How can I be more purposeful in what I’m doing? How can I be more open about sharing the purpose for what I’m doing with others? So, now the real work begins.”
For more blog posts by Nikkie or other primary school teachers please visit this website. We cannot wait to see what she and the other MIE-Experts do in the future.