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Tammy Dunbar: Learning on the Edge of Chaos

by Tammy Dunbar
Expert Educator Columnist, USA

teachergeekSuccessful learning is less about what’s memorized and much more about having the ability to make the right connections.

But should teachers be the ones making all those connections for their students?

At the CUE 2015 Conference, TED Prize winner Professor Sugata Mitra spoke about creating a “Self-Organized Learning Environment” or SOLE. As he points out, it’s often called “learning on the edge of chaos” because it requires an educator to truly be the “Guide on the Side” rather than the “Sage on the Stage.” Sugata postulated: What would happen if we presented our students with goal-oriented challenges that allow them choice and provide opportunities to solve problems on their own? In a remote village in India, he placed a computer and track pad in a Hole in the Wall three feet above the ground to see what would happen.

What Sugata discovered, as he outlined in his 2013 TED Prize winning talk and at CUE 2015, is that if children were allowed to work in groups to solve problems and had minimal supervision, there was no limit to their capacity to learn.

If we want students to become problem-solvers, shouldn’t we be giving them challenges and let them get to work creating their own connections? Read More


Meenakshi Uberoi: Dubai Global Forum – Melting Pot of Leaders in Transformation of Education

by Meenakshi Uberoi
Expert Educator Columnist, India

Microsoft’s Global Forum in Dubai was a great ‘melting pot’ of leaders in education and policy makers who are driving transformation in education and supporting students to be equipped for work and life.

It was an honour for me to participate as a speaker in 3 sessions, namely, ‘Concepts & Contexts of Deep Learning’; ‘’Learning Design for Impact’ and ‘Technology Enriched Instruction’ and I am thankful to Microsoft worldwide & Microsoft India for entrusting me with such a great opportunity. As a self-reflection, I would like to share some insights and perspectives gained on the first day of the event.

Vibrant and welcoming opening remarks of Eve Psalti put the event in the right perspective and top gear. Next came the powerful words from Anthony Salcito – ‘Expect More, Do More, Be More’ – to set the tone and lay out expectations for the event.


The 2-day event was abuzz with insightful discussions, new pedagogies to adapt and availability of impactful resources for thoughtful integration of technology to enhance student learning experiences. The open-minded attitude of both the presenters and participants made the plenary sessions fruitful and meaningful.     Read More


Maja Seguljev: Make Your Own Master Plan of Cooperation!

by Maja Seguljev
Expert Educator Columnist, Serbia

Real life challenge! Have you already created your quarterly plan for support the colleagues, students and parents? Do you have in plan to share your knowledge, to teach your colleagues?

Being MIE and MIEE is great honour. We learn and work a lot. We want to do more, because it can always be done better. We bring a positive and active energy in our collective and among students. We share our ideas over internet. But, can we do much more? Always. Create your cooperation project. Share what you know in your school and in schools in the region. Invite colleagues to cooperate.

WHY? There are important message we are sending while we are cooperating with our colleagues: we are responsible to our colleagues, we are responsible to our school systems from which we have grown, we are responsible to our students. We should help them to realise they can be better. Only with our colleagues we will be able to move forward together, to develop new projects, improving education. To develop school system and encourage people we are working with is our mission. Read More


Becky Keene: Try Something New!

by Becky Keene
Expert Educator Columnist, USA

Have you ever noticed that kids seem to have a better handle on trying something new than adults? I think anyone who’s watched a child learn can see that children can switch between pieces of information very quickly, and they can soak up new pieces of information like sponges.

I was at a school last week helping students get started with Office 365 accounts. Our goal was to have each of them login, create a new document in Word Online, and then see how to access it from any other device. As I got students going (by typing in a URL – yuck; then pinning it to their Start screens – hooray), there were a few students at a table who were, I thought, a little off task. As I walked around to help, one had music streaming and another had a game open. The third boy was drawing with his finger in an app. “Hey boys,” I started, “Let’s go ahead and minimize those so you can get logged in.” Frankly, I was a little surprised that they didn’t minimize as soon as they saw me coming, like most off task students I’ve seen. I should have used that clue to understand what happened: they were waiting on me. “I’m already there. See, Mrs. Keene?” a boy showed me, by split screening his app with Internet Explorer to show me his login page, ready and waiting. The others did the same, swiping in their login page that was ready to go. “We’re just waiting for the next direction.”

I have done this training with adults more times than I can count, and they almost never navigate away from the login page. Patiently they wait, not wanting to get away from the screen and forget how to get back. There’s something to be said for patience, and waiting for the next step, and maybe those students should do a better job at that. But I was impressed with the confidence in the students that they could follow directions and then make good use of their wait time, and they weren’t worried that they couldn’t jump right back into our login process when asked.

Read More


Mohammed Khattab: Top 10 Mistakes Teachers Make When Using Technology and How to Avoid Them

by Mohammed Khattab
Expert Educator Columnist, Qatar

  1. Design the lesson so that technology works in the lesson.  Do not build a lesson around a piece of technology.
  • Start with the outcome or lesson in mind
  • The technology is secondary
  • Build a great lesson first and then think of how to integrate tech
  1. Have the students “publish” the work instead of “handing in” the work.  This way students will take more ownership in what they are doing.
  • Tie into CCSS requirement to publish student work
  • Blogging, Tweeting
  • #Comments4Kids
  1. Mistake – not connecting with experts. 
  • Field trip around the world
  • Use Twitter search to locate, then connect via Skype
  1. Do not buy into the “digital natives” hype.  Age doesn’t matter.  It’s the person’s experience.  Students that are comfortable with technology can help students that are not.
  • Kids don’t always know how to use technology as well as we think they do
  • OR may not know how to use tech tools for learning
  1. Always back up your data.
  • Desktop on computers are not backed up.  Keep more important things saved to network or backup source.
  1. Don’t think that everything will go perfectly the first time.  Always have alternative plans if things don’t go as planned.
  • Having a school culture that sees/models failure as an opportunity to grow is important
  • Have a backup plan :)
  1. Give the students a choice.  There are many tools available that students can use to fulfill what you want them to do.  Don’t stick them with a single technology tool (app).
  • Focus on the outcome and let kids figure out how they can get there and show what they know
  1. You will need to change your teaching style.  Become a facilitator of learning.
  • Jerry gave an example of some HS teachers.
  • Need to move away from “sit and get” and be willing to change
  • Let students become the smartest person in the room.
  1. Model good digital citizenship behavior – must model, not just talk about it – cite sources, etc.
  • Probably the most important (e.g., citing sources)
  • Copyright, Fair Use, and how to use Creative Commons need to be taught
  • is a great resource! They even have a scope and sequence available.
  1. We all must use technology in our classrooms and allow students to use their technology in classes.
  • Our kids live on their devices; when they come to school, we tell them to turn off their lives and don’t matter.


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Kemi Olurinola: The Forgotten Technologies

by Kemi Olurinola
Expert Educator Columnist, Nigeria

Early definitions of instructional technology focused on instructional media – the physical means via which instruction is presented to learners. Over the years, many attempts have been made to define this field because new ideas and definitions have affected the practices in this field.

One definition of interest to me is that produced in 1970 by the Commission on Instructional Technology established by the U.S government.

…. Instructional technology means the media born of the communication revolution which can be used for instructional purposes alongside the teacher, textbook and blackboard…………(Commission on Instructional Technology, 1970)

There are two points I would like to focus on in this definition.

The media born of the communication revolution: this would depend on the present communication revolution in different countries. According to Marsden et al, those of us in the developed world live in an environment where information is literally everywhere. In addition to physical media such as newspapers, books, and magazines, invisible signals carry data to our smartphones, tablets, and laptops. The uncountable pages in the World Wide Web leave nearly no question unanswered, and using mobile devices to obtain data has become natural. Information and communication technology (ICT) has become so convenient that we scarcely think about it. For those in the developing world, however, information is less than pervasive. Read More


Floyd Chanda: New Beginnings at Libala Secondary School

by Floyd Chanda
Expert Educator Columnist, Zambia

As an MIEE 2015, many thanks to the team that came to train us in December, 2014; that is Mr. Phil Oduor from Kenya and Mr. Victor Ngobeni from South Africa. Personally, I benefited a lot and learned that for ICT to be effective we need to have the basics of knowledge and equipments so as to function. However, I also learned from them that you can also improvise so as to effectively build and share knowledge. Above all, teaching using the Microsoft education applications as an effective and easy way of reaching out to learners.

However, for me and my school we are on the preparation stage. We just finished fixing the computers for our school lab and two other sister schools. We are now currently on setting up the computer lab as shown in the picture below.

Finally, we believe we are on track given the new curriculum in our country Zambia has made ICT and Computer studies compulsory. Thanks for the Microsoft educational applications that has made teaching and learning to be much easier and effective. I look forward to working with other educators interested in interacting and having activities with my pupils via video conferencing once we complete our Computer lab setup. Read More


Sachita Jeeta: Why Did I Start My Website New Tech Primary Resources?

by Sachita Jeeta
Expert Educator Columnist, Mauritius

“As educators we should help facilitate goals and help cast a vision for students that will, not only, stretch their immaginations, but also their beliefs regarding what is possible.” – Sam Pabon

New Tech Primary Resources is a newly developed website. I am still planning how to make the website simple and user-friendly, thus, making it easily accessible to everyone. The website caters for creating, designing and sharing of educational resources to educators and primary schools of Mauritius. Once set up, I planned to make it internationally recognizable where I want to help other educators globally. New Tech Primary Resources is offering its service through social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, StumbleUpon and YouTube where the contents are shared worldwide.

Image source: *preview of the actual website –

Why I started New Tech Primary Resources? Read More


Anutosh Deb: Teaching with Visual Media

by Anutosh Deb
Expert Educator Columnist, India

Anutosh Deb, teaching Art Education and working with 21st Century skills creating ICT based projects in K-12 schools in India. I have been working in the Government sector, Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, for the past about twenty years.

However the past twelve years of my profession has been the most rewarding and satisfying. Though I am basically teaching Art, I am more at ease teaching with ICT. Doing so I have been widely acknowledged for my ICT based works, creating number of online collaborative projects with students of my school and with other teachers and students of different schools globally.

I was fortunate that my work was acknowledged by Microsoft and I had the opportunity to represent India at the Microsoft Global Forum in 2014 held in Barcelona, Spain. The best part of the forum other than meeting Educators worldwide was interacting personally with Mr. Anthony Salcito. This moment is a motivation to continue the work in the future.

Read More


Tammy Dunbar: A Genius Idea!

by Tammy Dunbar
Expert Educator Columnist, USA

teachergeek“Have you heard of Nancy Wake?” Isabella had just run up to my desk and her eyes were wide with excitement. “I read a story about her when I was younger, and I thought she wasn’t real. But I just found out that she IS real and she was a spy and they called her the White Mouse! May I please study Spies in World War II for my Genius Hour project?”

Genius Hour, or 20% time as some call it, is a movement that started more than 60 years ago. The 3M Company (originally known as the Minnestoa Mining and Manufacturing Company) started their “15 Percent Program” in 1948, which allowed all employees to pursue ideas that came up in the course of their work day but which they did not have time to follow up on. nancy-1Art Fry, a 3M scientist, wanted a bookmark for his church hymnal which would stay in place without runing the book, and his inspiration became the Post It Note. Then Google came along about 50 years later and expanded the idea to “20 Percent Time” which produced Gmail and Google Earth. Now, Genius Hour has come to the classroom, where students are invited to explore what they are passionate about and then share their new knowledge with the class. Read More