By Erliza Matacot
Expert Educator Columnist, Philippines
Change is constant. According to Mahatma Gandhi, “We must be the change we want to see in this world.” As a teacher, I know that I can make a difference in bringing my 21st century students in the right path of embracing the technology.
During the first year of my teaching in a private school, I noticed how dedicated I was as a teacher. I directed musical plays, I trained my students in different school level competitions, and also managed our campus journalism.
After five years of serving in a private school, I needed to accept the new challenge for me as a teacher… and that is to serve public school students.
Transferring to a public school was of course a new beginning of my journey as a teacher. But what makes it exciting and wonderful is when I was able to attend the Global Filipino Teachers (GFT) training. It is a training program for teachers given by the Coalition for Better Education and is sponsored by Globe Telecom and Department of Education in the Philippines. In this training, I met Microsoft. It was 2010 when I created my account in Hotmail and signed up for Partners in Learning. There, I was amazed with the different free tools offered by Microsoft. We learned how to use AutoCollage, Mouse Mischief, Moviemaker, and even Songsmith. In the GFT training, we also taught how to design Project-Based Leaning.
Now, I’m using different Microsoft tools in giving my assessments and different learning activities to my students. I love using Power Point in presenting my lessons to my students. I also use PPT and even Mouse Mischief as tools for my interactive quiz games. MS Word is indeed a part of my life, for I use it for the completion of my paper works. I also use AutoCollage to document our school activities. In addition, MS Excel is also being used to compute my students’ grades.
After learning how to design Project-Based Learning, I decided to give PBLs to my students every year. My first Project-Based Learning was entitled Food and Nutrition. There, my students learned to appreciate the value of proper diet. With the help of nutritionists and dieticians, my students learned to design their own dietary meal plan. I saw how my students collaborated to one another and to the other teachers to finish the given tasks to them successfully.
After the first year of the success implementation of my project-based learning, I designed another PBL to my students. It is the Collect and Bequeath project. In this project, my students studied if the lack of school supplies affects the school performance of the students. This project engaged my students in the real-world situation. Completing the project made my students to be more eco-friendly for they needed to collect plastic cups, bottles, and used white paper that can be sold in the junkshop. The amount collected was used in buying school supplies which were given to our less fortunate students.
Collect and Bequeath project was submitted in the 7th Innovative Teachers Leadership Award by Microsoft Philippines last 2012. Luckily, my project has been qualified in the contest and I became one of the 7th ITLA finalists last March 2012. It was a great experience meeting different inspiring educators in our country showcasing their own different project-based learning. I learned many things in this competition and I also gained new friends.
Now, as I was chosen to be one of the Microsoft Innovative Educators Experts (MIE Experts) around the globe, meeting new educators in different countries is really overwhelming. Viewing their different learning activities is indeed inspiring. This time, I know that I need to undergo another change… and that is to share to my fellow educators my journey with Microsoft.
I had done last December 1-5 my Teaching with Technology and Project-Based Learning trainings to my co-educators. I am happy and proud sharing my wonderful experiences with Microsoft. Next year on April 2015, I will train again 60 teachers in our school and another 60 teachers within our division about Teaching with Technology and Project-Based Learning courses.
Do not be afraid to face changes. Embrace new challenges. These are what we supposed to do as innovative teachers. And soon, will see how being innovative teacher can make a big difference not only to our own nation but also across the globe.