Australia has long been a leader in using technology to improve learning opportunities for students.  Globally, Australia is seen as one of the most forward thinking countries in the world when it comes to transforming education. At Microsoft, we are excited to see the innovative ways in which Australian schools are embracing technology, how teachers are integrating this into their teaching methods, and how students are reacting and responding to the opportunities technology makes possible.

Over the last ten years, via the Partners in Learning program, Microsoft has been recognising the efforts that are being made by schools and teachers, in Australia and around the world, to integrate innovative, creative and cutting-edge applications of technology in the education experience. The Microsoft 2014 Expert Educators and Mentor Schools program continues that mission, and we are pleased to announce that two institutions and one outstanding teacher from Australia are heading to Barcelona, Spain for the Microsoft in Education Global Forum.

Selected as part of the Mentor Schools program, Campbelltown Performing Arts High School in Sydney and Immanuel College in South Australia have both been recognized for their ongoing commitment to pushing the boundaries of their students’ educational experience. Both schools have shown their dedication to remaining on the forefront of learning improvement, where technology improves the teaching and learning in the schools. The two Australian schools will join a global group of 80 Mentor Schools at the Microsoft in Education Global Forum in March

Additionally, we are happy to announce that Terry Byers, from Churchie Anglican School in Brisbane, QLD has been named a 2014 Expert Educator. Terry, e-learning manager, has pioneered his school’s IT program and is offering groundbreaking insights into the classroom as an environment, how technology should be effectively integrated, and how best to use technology to increase a student’s performance and cognitive ability. Terry, having been selected from more than 20,000 applicants, will join with 250 Expert Educator counterparts selected from schools around the world.

During the year to come, both the educators and school leaders will be heavily involved in advising Microsoft on education innovation. They will provide insights on new products and tools, and will help us understand how technology works – or doesn’t work – in real-life classrooms.  The Expert Educators and Mentor Schools programs represent Microsoft’s deep commitment to education by providing tools and training to spark a holistic transformation of learning that makes a real impact on educational outcomes and offers young people a stake in a promising future. The initiatives form part of the Partners in Learning program, through which Microsoft strives to offer great training and collaborative experiences for educators and school leaders across the world.

Expert Educators and Mentor Schools receive a range of benefits from the program to enable the continuation the fantastic work they are doing for their schools, including: 
• An invitation to attend the Microsoft in Education Global Forum, Barcelona taking place in March 2014
• Surface devices for their schools
• Insider access to Microsoft strategy and technologies
• Professional and career development opportunities and certifications including peer coaching

More information is available by clicking on these links - Expert Educators and Mentor Schools.

I am excited to see the unique and innovative ways that these Australia-leading educational institutions are changing the way they are teaching our future generations. I also look forward to showcasing their work on the global stage at the Microsoft in Education Global Forum in March 2014.

Sean Tierney
Academic Programs Manager
Microsoft Australia