Three Australian schools have been selected as being among the world’s most advanced users of technology in the classroom, Microsoft announced today. The schools will represent Australia in Microsoft’s 2012 Worldwide Partners in Learning Schools Program – an initiative to help teachers and school leaders more effectively use technology in teaching and learning. Proserpine State High School in Queensland, and East Butler Primary School and Waggrakine Primary School in West Australia have been selected from more than 200 applicants as three of 65 global Microsoft Pathfinder Schools. The selection of the three new schools was unveiled at the Microsoft Partners in Learning Schools Forum held at Varsity College, Queensland.
Pathfinder Schools are recognised as those that have demonstrated strong vision for transforming their learning environment and are enthusiastic about collaborating with other educators globally. The schools will play a leading role in helping other participating schools and teachers throughout Australia and the world develop best practices for incorporating technology into their classrooms.
Microsoft Australia’s academic programs manager, Jane Mackarell, said, “The Partners in Learning Schools Program brings together a global community of like-minded schools to discover, share and scale innovative education practices and models for 21st century learning. Australia has always been at the forefront of technology in the classroom, and it’s fantastic to see three local schools and teachers embracing technology in such a positive way to give their pupils the best start for their future in the digital society.”
Representatives from each of the schools will travel to Washington DC in November to represent Australia at the Microsoft Worldwide Partners in Learning Forum. During the four-day event, over 700 educators from across the world will share their experiences and design new ways to provide the best possible learning experience for their students.
Chris Roff, principal, Proserpine State High School in Queensland said the Partners in Learning Schools Forum has provided the opportunity to focus on the school’s efforts to provide students with the very best tools, knowledge and experience to succeed in the future. “To cement the principles of eLearning into the curriculum, teacher mentors have been trained and now support all staff in their efforts to design imaginative and creative new ways to inspire their students. For Proserpine to be recognised as a Pathfinder School and help lead the way for other local educational establishments is testament to all our staff and their hard work.”
Denise Jeffs, deputy principal, East Butler Primary School in Western Australia, said the school prides itself on giving students the best opportunities for the future. Jeffs also said, “To be recognised by Microsoft as one of the leading schools using technology in education across the region is a great achievement for us. The program gives us the opportunity to not only encourage other schools to implement and use technology in a meaningful way in the classroom, but to also learn from other Pathfinder and Mentor Schools around the world. We are looking forward to sharing ideas about The East Butler Apprentice program we have developed with the other schools."
Elisabeth Turner, principal, Waggrakine Primary School in West Australia, said, “Technology in the classroom and providing our students with the skills they will need to succeed in the ever changing digital world we live in has been a key focus for us, and our staff work tirelessly to provide our students with the best possible opportunities. To be recognised by Microsoft in this way and to join the Partners in Learning Schools Program is a fantastic accomplishment.”
For the 12 months following the Worldwide Forum in November, representatives from participating schools will share their learnings with other participating schools across Australia. The schools will work together to help incorporate new and effective teaching methods into the classroom, with a focus on technology and collaborative learning.
Mackarell concludes, “All of the schools share a common passion of embracing and utilising technology to provide the best possible classroom experience, and we at Microsoft are proud to welcome them to the Partners in Learning Schools Program for 2012.”
Note to editors:
About Pathfinder Schools:
Pathfinder Schools are selected because they can serve as regional exemplars for integrating innovative teaching and learning into the whole school environment. These schools can influence other schools within their own community, country and around the world. To be selected, the Pathfinder Schools must prove they have community and professional support for the change process and strong school-level leadership. Leaders at these schools have articulated a vision for what they want to achieve, and the Pathfinder Schools Program will help the school leaders refine the vision, make it stronger and implement it.
After the year-long engagement, some Pathfinder Schools are invited to “graduate” to become Mentor Schools, giving them the opportunity to share the knowledge they gained as Pathfinder Schools with other schools in their country, region and around the world.
About Partners in Learning:
Microsoft’s ten-year investment in the initiative is nearly $500 million globally, underscoring the company’s commitment to helping students and educators around the world realise their full potential. In Australia, the investment in Partners in Learning will reach $15 million by 2013, and so far over 233,000 students, teachers, policymakers and school leaders have been trained since 2004.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential. For more information about Microsoft Australia please visit www.microsoft.com.au.
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