The passports of students all around the world were filled with virtual stamps this past week as thousands of students and educators participated in the Microsoft Global Learning Connection on November 5–6, 2019. Students from more than 80 countries traveled a total of 29,249,793 virtual miles during the 48-hour event, far exceeding our target and growing by over 6 million miles year on year.
It was great to see students connecting in different ways using the power of Teams, Skype and Flipgrid. From connecting with another class in a different corner of the globe, to virtually meeting with guest speakers such as entrepreneurs, authors and scientists, students were inspired by new experiences and learning they wouldn’t ordinarily have access to within the confines of their school. We even had students connecting with organizations like Pulitzer Center, California State Parks, Hearts on Fire, the British Red Cross and British Heart Foundation, where students had virtual tours or learned about each organization and how they might be able to contribute to special causes in the future. It was also inspiring to see students using Flipgrid to connect and defy time zones and connectivity challenges by recording video messages for other classrooms or sharing their reflections of the experience.
What makes this event so special is the energy of the students and the compassion they show as they meet students from different countries around the world. From overnight sleep-overs in schools, where students traveled up to three time zones away, to schools that visited all seven continents and all 50 states in the US, participants shared thousands of songs, stories and traditions to build empathy and understanding for one another.
I had the opportunity to personally call 30 classrooms across 25 countries where I learned so much about their history and traditions while also answering questions from students who were interested in the future of technology and Artificial Intelligence. Who knows, the next Microsoft CEO might be in one of those classrooms!
For those who participated, celebrate your experiences and share them with others:
- Download the Global Learning Connection certificate to recognize the participation of your students.
- Get the Global Learning Connection badge.
- Explore a curated collection of Flipgrid topics to continue the conversation and debrief with your learners.
- Create your own Grid for your classroom via Flipgrid! Your students can share their favorite Global Learning Connection moments and you can share the Grid with other classrooms and parents.
- If you connected with an expert during the Global Learning Connection, you can send thank you videos or follow-up questions by creating and sharing the Guest Mode invitation to a Topic within your classroom Grid.
You can continue the fun and learning inspired by the Microsoft Global Learning Connection throughout the year by visiting the Skype in the Classroom community to take Virtual Field Trips, find guest speakers, and connect with thousands of other classrooms. I am also very excited to share that the NEW Skype in the Classroom website is going to be available in preview this December, making your global connections easier and faster!
Every year, Microsoft Global Learning Connection opens the hearts and minds of the students and educators who have the chance to visit people and places they would never be able to physically visit. And those experiences over Skype, Teams and Flipgrid foster human connections that truly shape the perspectives and attitudes of the next generation of global citizens. These young people stand ready to make the world a better place and are well on their way to doing so.