Earlier this year Microsoft advertised the availability of nine positions throughout New Zealand for teachers interested in being recognised as innovative educators in their use of Microsoft products. St Andrew’s College was the only school to have two staff members selected into this programme:
- Mrs Jacqueline Yoder (English teacher and Yr11 Dean)
- Mr Ben Hilliam (Maths with Statistics teacher)
The evaluation criteria to be selected included:
- Ready to share your passion for Microsoft with peers, both face to face, and through social media, blogs and videos
- A creative, innovative technology advocate
- An educator interested in developing strategies to benefit and share with other educators
- Energised, with a friendly and outgoing personality
- Able to work autonomously and within a team
- Display confident and articulate presentation and written communication skills
- Full-time educator in Y1-13 or in a higher education faculty of education
- #1 fan of Windows devices and services – 3+ years’ experience on a Windows device using Microsoft Office and other key Microsoft applications
Each applicant was required to submit a written application, and those short listed were interviewed via Skype and needed to present a 5 slide Powerpoint. Having been selected, Mrs Yoder and Mr Hilliam were presented with a new Surface Pro 3 to keep, along with a number of other rewards, including an all expenses paid trip to Sydney, Australia for an intensive weekend with other Innovative Educators from around New Zealand and Australia.
Mr Hilliam has written a reflection on the weekend in Sydney that can be read in full here, but a small quote is:
It is amazing that there are so many incredibly passionate teachers out there who are showing incredible competency in how to become more competent! These teachers all know they need to continually update their practice and push the boundaries to improve the success of their students …
I had a wonderful time, met some wonderful people and was left inspired by some wonderful ideas. I can’t implement everything all at once, but I will start with something small.
Mrs Yoder added:
It was incredibly exciting to attend the forum with a group of teachers who were constantly seeking out innovation in their teaching practice through collaboration and embracing new ideas within e-learning.
As part of the weekend they were able to tour the Microsoft offices and see their flexible working environment:
It is very pleasing to see these two teachers recognised for their efforts in successfully integrating technology into their teaching practice and their stories are ones that we have shared regularly already. Mr Hilliam’s work with OneNote, Miracast and a Surface Pro was blogged about here, along with his experimentations with Office Mix in the classroom.
Meanwhile, Mrs Yoder was an original innovator with OneNote at the College, heavily influencing other English teachers such as Dr Jeni Curtis which was blogged about here and more recently an article was published on her teaching practice in the College Regulus Magazine.
With the creation of a new role of eLearning Integrator at St Andrew’s starting in 2015, our goal is very much to take the practice of our innovators and make it commonplace across all our classrooms.