From chalkboards to smart boards: Leading innovation in education

From chalkboards to smart boards: Leading innovation in education

Across the country, Microsoft Innovative Education (MIE) Experts are reshaping the future of classrooms with the aid of technology. Here are some success stories.

By HT Brand Studio | Published: Mar 28, 2018

When former President APJ Abdul Kalam said, "Teachers have a great mission to ignite the minds of the young", he indeed had a point. If schools are to merely focus on what students need to know to pass exams, but not enable them to think out-of-the-box, would education serve any meaningful purpose? Recognizing this, Microsoft Education has come up with the Microsoft Innovative Education (MIE) Expert programme that brings together the power of technology and the vision of educators to create a lasting impact.

MIE Experts celebrate innovation in education by incorporating technology into classrooms. Through use of Microsoft tools such as OneNote, Sway, Office 365, and Minecraft, they help build essential 21st-century skills in students, such as creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving. The fact is that although technology has the ability to bridge gaps in education, it alone cannot build such traits in students. Teachers have to act as the facilitators of change, thereby becoming new leaders in the education space.

Let's hear from some of the experts about how the journey has been.

Sonia Wadhwa | IT Manager and HOD, ICT, The Sanskaar Valley School, Bhopal

Becoming an MIE Expert is like embarking on a life-long journey of learning. The association brings ample opportunities for professional development and global collaboration. You get to know about how fellow educators are embracing technology for better learning engagements, and have access to quality teaching resources. In the last two-and-a-half years, I have attended a lot of webinars, training sessions, and tweet-meets that enhanced my confidence. Among the best experiences were being recognized at a global teachers' meet in Budapest, and my students bagging the first prize at the Young Innovators' Summit. I can chat with global education experts via Skype, and my students can do collaborative projects on key issues like sustainable development. My students also regularly take part in the Microsoft Office Championship, which equips them with the required skill set for the future. Clearly, today, learning is longer limited to the four walls of a classroom.

Ranjitsinh Disale | Assistant Teacher, Zilla Parishad Primary School, Madha Tehsil, Solapur

I teach at a school which is located in drought-prone area of Maharashtra. There, parents are completely unaware about the importance of education. Becoming an MIE Expert helped changed this perception, and opened the doors to a futuristic world. Today, although my students don't have passports, they can connect with their counterparts in nearly 90 countries, thanks to Microsoft. Using tools such as OneNote, Skype, and Kahoot, they are regularly encouraged to think out-of-the-box. In the last three years that I have been with the programme, I got a chance to share ideas with like-minded educators around the globe, explore the various aspects of technology, and improve my conversational skills. I also designed a QR-coded textbook, for which I got to represent India at the Education Exchange Summit in Canada. My innovation was lauded by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Currently, I host Virtual Field Trips on Skype, whereby I can teach students of more than 94 countries. With Microsoft, every day is a day of learning. All I would say is that this programme is the best learning platform; there is a feeling of being valued and understood as an educator. And that's why I love it so much.

Pooja Sachdeva | Coordinator - Technology Integration, Faculty - MYP Digital Design, Pathways World School, Aravali

Ever since I joined the MIE programme three years ago, there has been no looking back. The initiative has helped me grow both personally and professionally. For instance, I have conducted programmes for renowned educators, and spoken at numerous forums. I have participated in competitions where I was bestowed the titles of 'OneNote Expert' and 'Digital Educator'. I have also collaborated with leading educators on many projects, including an e-book. All this has made me a more confident person. In our school, educators use tools such as OneNote, Sway, Team, and OneDrive, all of which has benefitted them a lot. In short, Microsoft's programme is all about empowering every person to achieve more; it helps students as well as teachers to develop skills that can match the growing competition in the education arena.

Vineeta Garg | HOD, Computer Science, SRDAV Public School, New Delhi

As an MIE Expert, I get a chance to learn, unlearn, and relearn so many teaching pedagogies every day. I can create e-text books on OneNote, and lesson plans and quizzes on Office Mix. All these are much appreciated by my students, as they can easily understand them. The Immersive Reader feature of OneNote immensely helps my students with special needs. Using Skype in the classroom has, especially, facilitated a whole new world of learning. My students get to connect with people around the world, thereby instilling in them an understanding of globalization. In April 2016, I got to interact with world-class educationists at a global teachers' meet in Budapest. Now, my day doesn't end with the school bell. It ends with the desire to acquire newer skills. It ends with the urge to empower students with the knowledge that will enable them to become a life-long learners and problem-solvers. Thanks to Microsoft for making learning so easily accessible, anytime and anywhere.

Arti Chopra | Principal, Amity International School, Gurugram – Sec 46

The MIEE programme enables educators to familiarize themselves with technological changes in the field of education. This is a must in today's Internet era, where educators need to modify their style of teaching to match up with 'netizens'. Acquisition of collaboration, communication, and critical thinking skills are the other benefits of joining the MIEE programme. Ever since I enrolled as an MIEE, learning has become a part and parcel of my life. I not only gained knowledge by doing online courses free of cost, but also got hands-on experience through live webinars. I got introduced to collaborative platforms such as Yammer and Kaizala; I also got a chance to present my work at the E2 International Educator's Conference in Budapest last year. Speaking amid international IT experts added to my confidence, and helped me acquire respect for my contribution to the IT field. Getting nominated as a Skype Master Teacher and as a Microsoft Educator Expert Fellow has strengthened my resolve to acquire more skills. At present, I am learning to make games with the help of a Microsoft tool called Minecraft. It has benefitted both me and my students. I am truly thankful to Microsoft for helping me lead a tech revolution in my school.

You, too, could pave the way for better learning opportunities by becoming an MIE Expert. Click here to know more.