November 20, 2018
“Creating something new for the first time is never simple, but if you’re passionate about the ‘why’ behind the work, and can build strong relationships with all stakeholders, it will never seem like hard work.” – Meredith Roe, Australia
Virtual School Program Manager
Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA)
Microsoft Innovative Educator Meredith Roe is all about collaboration. And what makes her most excited is seeing her students connecting with others – whether that’s in their classroom or beyond the four walls of their school.
“The skills developed when collaborating online with a broader network of classmates from different locations creates such rich learning experiences and is so important for academic, social and emotional development,” Roe tells us. “Microsoft Teams is the perfect way to do this, allowing students, teachers, and guests to come together in the one environment to share and connect in several ways.”
Roe also uses Teams to create collaborative communities for ongoing professional learning, keeping her files, resources, conversations, OneNote, favorite websites, and calls all in one place.
“Being able to use Teams beyond any face-to-face days of training I run has been essential to developing strong relationships with my online teachers and it allows me to stay connected to my own networks,” she adds.
As a virtual learning expert, Roe relies heavily on technology. Developing a small senior secondary (high school) campus in remote Western Australia, some 500km from the main campus in a larger regional town, she saw that virtual learning enabled her to work with colleagues to create engaging and affordable online learning opportunities for students located across her vast state.
“Witnessing the first group of students graduate and acknowledging their immense growth in academic, social, and emotional competencies over their two years with us strengthened my desire to continue working for improved accessibility and diversity in education for all students,” Roe explains. “My biggest takeaway from these experiences has been that creating something new for the first time is never simple, but if you’re passionate about the ‘why’ behind the work, and can build strong relationships with all stakeholders, it will never seem like hard work.”
Like most educators, Roe sees preparing students for a successful transition to further study or employment as one of the biggest challenges she faces.
“The curriculum is full, and teachers are under pressure to get through a significant amount of content, in preparation for testing,” she says. “It can be difficult to work out how to embed the future-focused skill sets that students will need, and to do so in a way that is meaningful and clearly articulated to students. I’m working with colleagues to highlight ways in which you can use technology to build relationships in the online environment, for the benefit of social and emotional competency development, which I believe will be critical for a technology- focused future.”
Connect with Meredith at her Microsoft Educator Community Profile.
About Meredith Roe
- Educational background: BA Education, Graduate Certificate in Career Development and a Graduate Certificate in Leadership. Part-way through my Masters in Education.
- Favorite Microsoft product, tool, technology: Definitely Teams!
- Favorite book: I’m enjoying Better Together: How to Leverage School Networks for Smarter Personalized and Project Based Learning by Lydia Dobyns and Tom Vander Ark. It’s a great validation of the work being done in CEWA’s Virtual School Network.
- Website I check every day: LinkedIn, Twitter
- Favorite childhood memory: Family summer holidays at the beach.
- What is the best advice you have ever received? “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.”