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Kalpana Kishorekumar: BETT Asia 2014- A Road to Transformation

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by Kalpana Kishorekumar
Expert Educator Columnist, Brunei

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“Learning is a lifelong process”, so I have heard and believed! But BETT ASIA made me to witness it and now all I can say is “so I have experienced”!

“BETT ASIA” is Asia’s premier gathering of senior education leaders where they exceptionally remain open minded to discuss about technology altered landscape of learning, by placing tools of innovation and inspiration into the hands of educators, decision makers and other key educational professionals.

Privileged to attend BETT ASIA 2014 SCHOOL LEADERSHIP SUMMIT, 3rd – 4th December 2014, at Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre, Singapore should I thank my luck or Microsoft? Of course, my association with Microsoft has taken me to places that I have dreamt and associated me with wonderful people who are super awesome! A conference of its kind, which educators, policy makers and MIE Experts would love to attend and being an MIE Expert 2015, I enjoyed every aspect of it… I am blessed to attend this high end conference with people who are currently making a change in their country, their school or in their classrooms. It also encompassed people who initiate this change, some awe-inspiring people like Microsoft etc.

A gala night to recognize and appreciate Showcase Schools in ASIA was organized by Microsoft on the 2nd December 2014 at Stamford American International School and Mr. Mark Sparvell, Senior Partners in Learning Manager for Showcase Schools, Microsoft in Education delivered the formal welcome speech. “Microsoft in Education, shine the light on the showcase schools and lead the way ahead by celebrating their success in learning, he said”. While revealing the future message for showcase schools Mark also added that, “there are quite a number of challenges in education, but we at Microsoft want to work together with school leaders and educators in providing feasible solutions”.

The top notch people from Microsoft graced the event including Mr. Anthony Salcito, Vice President, Microsoft in Education was present to appreciate the globally renowned Showcase Schools with the recognition they earned.

A Micro- panel discussion was piloted by Mark Sparvell was steered among three Showcase School leaders of Brunei Darussalam, Korea and Vietnam. The best practices that the schools adapt in implementing technology in learning was briefly discussed. Some of the insights drawn by the principals are given below;

Brunei : Mdm Kho Guik Lan – Chung Hwa Middle School, BSB

Showcase school recognition gives us a leverage that we bind technology in a highly prolific manner. This status will help us to concentrate more into real world issues as our school is globally connected. . “Microsoft is not an optional technology tool for educators, it is essential”, stated Mdm Kho.

Korea: Myoung Hee Shin – Mirue Elementary School

“In this world of today, teachers are exposed to technology and we have many potential tools that can be used in the classroom. Since Microsoft is essential for kids and student we believe that it would be best choice” said Mdm Myoung!

Vietnam – Thomas Annis – American International School

“I am proud to be in this community of school leaders as it opens the door for more endless opportunities. Our envision equals all perspective, as learning happens anywhere and everywhere,” stated Mr. Thomas.

Here are a few highlights that i want to discuss about this conference, first one that is worthy to mention is the Microsoft in Education Mr. Antony Salcito’s address, ” What powerful models of learning do the latest technologies make possible?”. A key presentation that exposed the School Leaders to the latest technologies developed by Microsoft that can impact learning, tools such as One Note, Office Mix were discoursed. The new tools like SWAY was demonstrated, the transition of KODU to Project SPARK was discussed too. The transformed site for Partners in Learning Network to EXPERT ZONE was presented and that was the limelight of his presentation.

Though the conference witnessed many tracks at the same hour, the School Leaders Summit was totally terrific with electrifying speakers like Simon Breakspear from Learn Labs – Australia. His session was totally engaging and provocative, challenging and totally outstanding. Thoughtful lectures delivered by specialist like Dr. Sharon Oviatt [President and Director – Incaa Designs, USA] – “the promise, possibilities and pitfalls” was very engaging. Her presentation on ‘Computer Interfaces Can stimulate or Undermine Our Ability to Think’ was totally astounding as it raised some valid questions among the attendees!

One of the finest presentations was delivered by Paul Woods on “A FRAMEWORK FOR LEADING EFFECTIVE CHANGE”. He explained the new mantra ‘ADKAR’ [Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforce], it ignited a spark among the school leaders and experts that no one could deny. The thought “Leading change is not just professional development or training” triggered many open hearted discussion among the school leaders! The contribution of mentors like Rob Sieben, Ken Richardson, Tony Bryant, and Stacey Quince was brilliant that the interactive sessions were totally a blast!

On the whole, the summit beheld many School Leaders concern as they were competent enough to voice out their experiences and apprehensions on issues such as ,”How do we help staff integrate technology while maintaining the focus on student learning and not on the technology?” was very solicitous.

With two amazing days of exemplary learning experience, BETT ASIA 2014 was a great success and I am thankful for this wonderful chance to attend such an event and my appreciations are due to the partners of the event like Microsoft, HP, Intel, Blackboard etc.

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