Microsoft in Education Global Forum; Barcelona, Spain
TESTIMONIAL by Jessie Mann
2014 Microsoft Expert Educator
2014 Learn-a-thon Sustainability Winner
To explain the experience of the Microsoft in Education Global Forum is impossible. No words strung together can describe the opportunity to connect with likeminded, passionate, innovative teachers from around the world. All words fall short when trying to describe this life changing experience. The appreciation Microsoft has for educators is evident, admirable and extensive. I do not believe any other company parallels this commitment and support.
Microsoft has the tools it takes to organize, create, implement and support all learning processes, projects and pedagogical practices. Educators from nearly 100 countries shared diverse and expansive learning activities and stood proudly to speak of the platforms that Microsoft provided. This is something to be celebrated by a company that embodies a focus to make the world a better place.
We have a rich, diverse planet and that was evident by the nations, languages, cultures, and relgions represented at the Forum. Sadly, our planet’s diversity is often not utilized or celebrated because it is also divided, broken, selfish and stalled. Education really is the key to change and after the Forum, I believe that we can bring forth this change.
Participating in the Learn-a-thon was some of the best professional development I have ever taken. As teachers, we too often forget what it is like to be a student, faced with many pressures and challenges. This design and project simulated many of the expectations we place upon our learners. Working within a time limit, on a specific task, with individuals we just met (many speaking different languages), was challenging. That said, Microsoft products bridged the gaps and we were all able to communicate and connect our world in news ways.
It was enlightening to think that people of such different backgrounds, speaking different languages, can come together to create projects that will deepen student learning regardless of any barriers. When we began the Learn-a-thon we started as strangers who were disconnected and unable to communicate. In the end, we were all colleagues; working together to deepen student learning.
The impact of this event cannot be measured, nor described. I leave the Global Forum with inspiration, excitement and a drive that I cannot explain. What I assure you, is that education systems in all corners of the world will continue to benefit because of the ingenuity and support from Microsoft. The Global Forum may have literally ended but figuratively it has just begun. The time to act is NOW!
*Thank you Lia and Marilyn especially for this incredible experience, all the support and for giving me the push I needed.