Microsoft Global Forum 2014

Microsoft Global Forum

Teachers Designing 21st Century Learning Activities across the Globe

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Microsoft Global Forum in Barcelona where over 700 educators gathered to share their practice and to learn from one another. The event was an opportunity for the other judges and me to view the teachers’ work from across the globe and to see how they designed 21st century learning tasks using digital tools.

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Microsoft Partners in Learning (PIL) is a philanthropic programme that supports teachers to create and share their learning activities. This year teachers were asked to use the 21st Century Learning Design rubrics in creating their projects. These rubrics were developed by the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) and they are an excellent framework to assist teachers design learning activities where their learners have opportunities to develop their 21st century skills. The rubrics are freely available on the PIL website and the judges all agreed they provide a wonderful structure for designing and assessing if such skills are present in a learning activity.

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The standard at this year’s event was extraordinary and it was wonderful to see some truly wonderful examples of how teachers and their learners had used digital tools to implement real-world projects in their communities. The range of projects was truly diverse with some teachers working in ICT rich environments while others were working with limited technology and large numbers of learners. Despite these differences in terms of materials all the teachers used the available technology to great effect. They shared their projects with each other and the judges during the course of the event. The database of projects is a wonderful example of teachers sharing their professional practice with others online and it can act as a rich source of ideas for other teachers.

If you would like to check out the entire list of projects click on the screen grab below to access the full list projects – it is well worth the visit.

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If you would like to access the projects that won prizes at the event click on the link below. However I like to think that all the teachers were winners and being chosen to present their work at the Forum was an amazing achievement.

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Some projects that I found particularly interesting

There were many wonderful projects but the following two projects are an example of the types of projects were engaged in.

The Human Impact on the Environment from South Africa

Click on the link below to take you to the activity where a group of Cape Town students and their teachers researched a real world issue in their locality and come up with recommendations. This is project was aimed as second-level students and looked at the impact we have on our environment.

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Another really interesting project for second level students was developed by Kelli Etheredge, titled The Research Project with a Purpose. Make sure you check out the Resources page also when you visit the link below.

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Below is a really interesting primary example from the US created by Joli Barker a 2nd grade teacher in Texas. Her project is titled The Heart Code Project and it combines gaming with writing in a primary school classroom. Take a visit and see what she and her students have created.


The Irish Connection

There were also 3 Irish teachers present at the Global Forum also and I have included links to their projects below.

David Walsh from Ratoath with All you need to know about marketing

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And Barry Corrigan and Gerard Duffy from Northern Ireland. Barry’s project was called Using Kodu in the Classroom (click below)

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While Gerard’s was titled Carbon Footprint online (click the image to visit the project).

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So take some time and visit these projects and view the work of other teachers using digital technology to design and implement 21st century learning activities with their learners. There is a wealth of materials here and hopefully you might get some ideas for your classroom from the extensive list of projects.

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