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Microsoft brings together European educators to share best practices for innovative ICT use in schools

12-04-2006 (Tallinn)
Microsoft brings together European educators to share best practices for innovative ICT use in schools
Microsoft Corp ypresently, with the endorsement of UNESCO, is bringing together more than 70 forward-thinking educators from 25 countries across Europe for the third annual Innovative Teachers Forum, taking place 11–12 April in Tallinn, Estonia.
The two-day event promotes the innovative use of information and communication technology (ICT) in education and encourages participants to share ideas and best practices with their peers.
With networking opportunities, discussion groups and best-practice showcases, the Innovative Teachers Forum is designed to help visionary educators find fresh ideas to enrich and broaden the learning experience in classrooms all over Europe. This year’s Forum will focus on enhanced e-learning and the classroom of the future, as well as discuss the 21st century workforce readiness needs and explore what teachers can do to better prepare students to meet them.

“UNESCO works towards achieving Education for All (EFA) to ensure that every child would have access to high-quality basic education,” Tarek Shawki, Leader of UNESCO’s CI team on ICTs in education, science and culture said. “Having the most innovative teachers of Europe meet to share ideas on how to innovate in teaching practices and then taking this newfound knowledge back home ultimately benefits the students, from the respective school of the teacher all the way to smaller rural schools.”

The event will conclude with the Innovative Teacher 2006 Awards, given to the six teachers who demonstrate exceptional examples of innovation in the classroom. The nominees are being evaluated by an international, independent group of experts from the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research; the Estonian Information Technology College; St Patrick’s College in Dublin, Ireland; the Educational Portal of the Greece Ministry of Education; as well as Microsoft leaders, and others.

“One usually thinks of innovation and development in terms of research institutions and other narrow segments of society,” said Mailis Reps, Estonia’s Minister of Education and Research. “But every single person can find new and better ways of doing things, if they put their mind to it. Teachers play an important role in helping achieve that.”

Experts in education and technology will address the attendees on topics of e-learning and designing classrooms of the future. Speakers include Professor Predrag Pale, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, University of Zagreb; Guus Wijngaards, Professor of eLearning, INHOLLAND University for Higher Professional Education, the Netherlands; and Conor Galvin, Director for Education ICT Programmes at University College Dublin in Dublin, Ireland.

The Innovative Teachers Forum, held on a regional level with a worldwide event planned for the third quarter of 2006, is a key element of the Microsoft® Innovative Teachers Program. The programme also includes an online component, the Innovative Teachers Network (ITN). The network was created to bring together communities of teachers and help facilitate the creation of collective knowledge.

Through the ITN, educators can publish best practices, lesson plans and other teaching material, and participate in discussions and forums. Components on the ITN include community portals that can be set up locally; professional learning programmes; content from educational partners from around the world; and the ability to tailor sites to specific needs.

“We have always believed that one of the most important uses for technology is to create an educational experience that connects, removes limitations and creates opportunities today and for the future,” said Mark East, regional director of Education Solutions Group at Microsoft EMEA. “Through programmes such as the Innovative Teachers Forums and the Innovative Teachers Network, we are bringing together accomplished educators who share an enthusiasm for ongoing innovation in education.”

The Innovative Teachers Program is part of Microsoft’s worldwide Partners in Learning initiative. Through Partners in Learning, Microsoft is providing significant investments of software and cash grants to deliver ICT skills training, tailored curriculum development, technical support, and research funds and resources to students and teachers. As part of the initiative, Microsoft collaborates with local and international experts and seeks to increase access to latest computer technologies in educational institutions.
Related themes/countries

      · Estonia
      · Private Sector Partnerships
      · ICT in Education: News Archives 2006
      · Europe and North America: News Archives
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