Jordan Belmonte, is Education Programs Manager, Microsoft Nigeria . In this interview with Emeka Aginam at the recently concluded Microsoft Innovative Educator national forum, she shared insights on how best to utilize free professional development resources available through the Microsoft Educator Network. According to her, there is need to break barriers limiting Nigerian teachers from adopting ICT.
Overview of MIE Nigerian national forum
Driven by a shared vision of education transformation, the Microsoft Innovative Educator National forum united a melting pot of cultures as 50 educators from across the six geo-political zones in the country congregated in Lagos Nigeria recently. This two-day forum broke the mold of many corporate events as the informal proceedings promoted continuous collaboration and input from all event attendees.
Educators previously frustrated with a broken bureaucratic system, a lack of infrastructure and apathetic colleagues were re-energized through presentations, hands-on workshops, and collaborations with their diverse fellows. The participants engaged in a variety of activities designed to stimulate thought leadership including:
The development of localized lesson plans that utilized Microsoft technology in the classroom to promote 21st century skills. Exploration of the barriers preventing Nigerian teachers from adopting ICT followed by group sessions where participants designed train the trainer programs to address these challenges.
Hands on demonstrations and advanced training on how to use Microsoft’s solutions in the classroom and how to best utilize free professional development resources available through the Microsoft Educator Network.
Goals of the capacity building for the Nigerian teachers
The simple answer, we care about building a better Nigeria and know educators can act as catalysts for change. At Microsoft we believe education is the key to economic development and competitiveness. Providing education through life-long learning opportunities is crucial to fostering the social and economic conditions needed for entrepreneurs to succeed, for workers to prosper in an information economy and for citizens to realize their full potential.
However, we know that technology alone cannot develop the 21st century skills students require. Technology is an accelerator, but alone it does not enable change. We believe in the power of the educator, and the impact educators can have in unlocking new & better ways of teaching and learning.As agents of change the Microsoft Innovative Educators (MIEs) in attendance were challenged to collectively train 20,000 teachers by 2017, conducting a series of in-person training in their geo-political zones.
For global teachers
The Microsoft Innovative Educator Program is available to teachers from across the globe with 3,700 global experts involved this year. However, this forum was specifically for Nigerian MIEs and was the first of its kind for the MIE program in Nigeria.
Criteria for participation
The forum was open to all 2016 MIEs. This year’s MIEs ranged from rural primary school teachers to PHD education technologists and Federal Ministry of Education employees, all marked by their passion for transforming Nigerian’s education system through integration of ICT in the classroom.
MIEs are selected twice yearly through an online application process, the main selection criteria is their potential to act as a global visionaries. For that we seek self-driven educators who are passionate about their careers, inspiring students with outside-the-box thinking and demonstrate resourcefulness and entrepreneurship skills.
An ongoing theme of this forum was how to create change in a resource constrained environment, utilizing existing things Nigerian teachers and students have such as desks, mobile phones and the strength within one’s self.
The key benefit of this forum was that we came out of it with a lot of content and ideas on how to utilize technology within Nigerian classrooms. This localized content will be extremely valuable as our MIEs take on the 20,000 educators empowered challenge.