Teachers have long been the custodians of growth, change and inspiration in their students. Brian Aspinall is adding another layer, dedicating his career to grow, change and inspire educators and education itself, now and into the future.
After spending his school years as a keen student and a decade of his professional life shaking things up in the classroom and going beyond the timed exam model, Brian is now Program Director of STEM Education for Fair Chance Learning in his homeland of Canada. His job is to empower educators to achieve more and go bigger in their classrooms, thanks to modern teaching tools.
“It starts with making the students believe they can achieve,” Brian says. “Having conversations and telling them that they can reach their full potential. I believe all kids can do great things given a fair chance and that technology is one driving force in that medium.”
Without hesitation, Brian cites Minecraft as one of the most powerful Microsoft tools to use in the classroom, saying that it not only inspires the kids, but the teachers as well. While students are able to build structures and construct their own knowledge of the world around them, Brian suggests teachers also learn about shifting their assessment and evaluation practices.
Like many of his fellow Microsoft in Education peers, Brian sees the future of education shifting away from academic marks and formal testing, and moving toward portfolio-based assessment.
“When we put students at the forefront of learning we must remove a standard,” Brian says. “For so long, time has been the constant at schools – we place kids in isolated settings, start a clock and judge them based on what they can produce when finished. It is a different time today – a time where we believe all kids can achieve.”
He sees this new age of education coming to life with the help of helpful technology tools like one-stop-shop OneNote, Skype Translator for creating a truly global learning experience, and Snip to help capture and annotate everything that happens on the screen along the way.
Join our conversation on Twitter and tell us how you go bigger in your classroom.
Our mission at Microsoft is to equip and empower educators to shape and assure the success of every student. Any teacher can join our effort with free Office 365 Education, find affordable Windows devices and connect with others on the Educator Community for free training and classroom resources.