This year I was privileged to attend as a Microsoft Innovator Educator Fellow. The Fellows are a group of educators who have been MIE Experts for some time and on the basis of their contributions and participation in the programme are invited to join the fellows programme. Some fellows were also selected to present to our expert educator colleagues via breakout sessions. The kiwi in me was determined to ensure that I could keep up with the big kids!
My presentation was on my favourite topic – Using SharePoint Sites and how we use these to strengthen connections with our learners and promote student agency, all the while saving precious preparation and administration time. For New Zealand teachers this is our everyday pedagogy. For global teachers though the way we do things, combined with the relative freedom we have to implement curriculum in this way, is a story definitely worth listening too. It was humbling to win the fellows award for best presentation. Amazing recognition from my knowledgeable and accomplished peers.
For me the most enriching part of E2 are the connections that are made. I spent many days really getting to know New Zealand and Australian teachers who are passionate about the same things I am. I know from last year that these connections are long lasting. I count these colleagues among some of the most disruptive and professionally influential people I know!
Then there are the global friends. Teachers who live on the other side of the world and when you meet for the first time, you instantly know that this is the start of something amazing. Hearing your own thoughts echoed on the other side of the world from a teacher who is passionate about exactly the same things left me feeling excited about what we might be able to achieve together.
Participating in E2 helps remind us about the good we do as educators. It helps reaffirm the pedagogies we hold so close and makes us want to do more for others who travel longer more challenging roads to achieve the same outcomes. It gives us new perspectives to consider. It makes us reach out to others because they are within arm’s reach. And so I left E2 thinking about purpose. How can I make learning more purposeful and relevant for my students? How can I be more purposeful in what I’m doing? How can I be more open about sharing the purpose for what I’m doing with others? So, now the real work begins.