E2 | Education Exchange 2018: The future of the world is in our classrooms today

When 400 of the world’s most innovative educators gather together in one place, amazing things happen.

Last week, Microsoft held the fourth annual E2 | Education Exchange. This event is one of the highlights of the year, where we have the opportunity to celebrate the incredible work of the some of the most innovative educators from around the globe. The essence of E2 is celebration, recognition, collaboration and inspiration – it’s a humbling experience and a strong reminder of the role companies like Microsoft can play in continuing to elevate and congratulate the many heroes in classrooms around the world.

This year, 300 educators and 100 education system leaders connected in Singapore for E2. After our recent events in Redmond, USA, Toronto, Canada and Budapest, Hungary, it was great to bring the event to Asia – and to a country well known for excellence in education. Singapore is often recognized as one of the world’s best: cited in a recent OECD-led study, Singapore rated first in math and science, and has one of the highest literacy rates in the world.

Out of 8,000 MIE Experts around the globe, the MIE Experts at E2 earned their place at the Singapore event through local competitions in their home countries. During the event, educators shared ideas, collaborated on projects and worked together to make progress on some of the most challenging areas of education. Just as important, attendees were energized by meeting like-minded educators, forming sustaining friendships that continue to blossom many months and years after the conclusion of the week.

The educators that are part of our MIEE community are some of the best experts on Microsoft technology in the classroom. E2 presented a perfect opportunity for the educators to share their feedback and usage scenarios with many of our Microsoft education engineering team members.

The event kicked off with a special welcome to Singapore from Microsoft Singapore Country Manager, Kevin Wo. We also heard from teacher Jenny Ferries, who illustrated how an unrelenting passion and a positive attitude can result in unexpected outcomes, and how to encourage girls to aspire to STEM careers. Following this opening day keynote, the keynotes from Day 2 and Day 3 were livestreamed on the Microsoft Education Facebook group. The keynotes included Molly Zielezinski, who spoke about social/emotional skills, and Aggeliki Pappa, who shared “Hacking Dyslexia,” among others.

Here are some highlights from the week:

  • The Learning Marketplace is a mini trade show with every educator showcasing their work. The Learning Marketplace gave participating educators the chance to see how other teachers are using Microsoft technologies in their classrooms in innovative ways, and let Microsoft employees see how teachers and students use what we create. Teachers gathered new lesson ideas, made connections, and left inspired.
  • The Technology Showcase: Educators were able to get hands-on with some of latest technologies from Microsoft, like coding micro:bits, exploring the great resources our partners have for the modern classroom, giving feedback to product teams, and creating their own projects on site.
  • Microsoft Certifications: During the event, educators could get certified as a Microsoft Certified Educator (MCE), Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) or Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA). Over 180 educators took exams during the event. This was an ambitious undertaking, as many of the courses are new and require increased proficiency in the tools.

What was particularly humbling during the week was the opportunity to meet with Richard Appiah Akoto, 33, who many may know from his photo sketching Microsoft Word on a chalkboard to help his students learn digital skills even without devices. Richard’s relentless drive to overcome obstacles and inspire his students is just one example of the many educator heroes in classrooms around the world doing amazing things for their students. You can read more of his story here.

For education leaders and policy makers attending E2, there was a dedicated track, with topics like The Changing Role of the Teacher, Innovative and Inclusive Computer Science Education Programs for All, and Skills for a Future that Works – all moderated by thought leaders and industry experts from around the globe. Education leaders collectively imagined the education system of 2030 and left invigorated to transform their systems back home.

The week culminated with the gala reception, where 60 educators were recognized for their project challenges centered around the four themes of algorithmic thinking, decomposition, abstraction, and pattern recognition. Team 47 (Decomposition) was the overall winner, with Wejdan Alfaraj (Saudi Arabia), Neal Oates (United Arab Emirates), Jiri Maczko (Czech Republic), Mone Denninger (Austria), and team coach Gloria Enrique (Ireland).  This team hacked an existing lesson to include innovative ideas to spark student creativity, empower all types of learners through global collaboration, and impact the environment positively. The judges were blown away by the team’s ability to clearly communicate their ideas and by how well they worked together to meet this challenge, while including strong ties to computational thinking throughout their lesson.

Thank you to everyone who participated in E2, whether in person or via our Facebook live online event.

Educators are my heroes and the community of Microsoft Innovative Educators is truly humbling. Each day, you help your students thrive by providing the best learning experiences possible, preparing them to lead our world tomorrow. These educators have the support of students who are doing amazing things in their classroom and working to solve some of the biggest challenges the world faces today. Together, these educators and their students are changing our world.

 

Join us and become a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert

 

We invite all educators to join the Microsoft Educator Community – there you’ll find on-demand professional development and training courses that can lead you to becoming a certified Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE). After becoming a certified Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE), you can continue your journey toward becoming a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE). Nominations will open in April 2018.