I’m usually pretty cynical about team building exercises, so when I see them on the agenda, my heart sinks…
Today, however, I have to eat my words! In what was an excellent drumming session led by the ‘Drumming Cafe’ troop, you could feel the atmosphere build in the room. A sense of community was built and we were one as we belted out our rhythms. To see the room move as one was an overwhelming experience – and I am cynical at the best of times.
My track as a ‘Fellow’ is different from the other educators and we had a number of workshops with developers within Microsoft. Without breaking any of their confidentiality, there are many exciting times ahead for users of Office Mix and Sway – and I am genuinely excited at the prospect of their impact in the classroom.
Our representatives from Ireland and Northern Ireland had a TeachMeet session with their colleagues from around the world and it was interesting to hear their feedback from the event as they had the opportunity to teach, and learn from, one another. It was with an immense sense of pride that I saw them sporting Inspiration Ribbons given to them by fellow delegates.
In the island of Ireland, we always feel that we are ‘punching above our weight’ in these circles and, again, our representatives didn’t disappoint! It was great to see Gareth Callan from Coláiste Bhailie Chláir, Galway showing Anthony Salcito the work that his school does with OneNote and even more pleasing to hear that the film crews will be around again tomorrow to do a more in-depth interview with Gareth and Lara
In the afternoon, the delegates were given the opportunity to begin working on their collective task. With teams made up off members from around the world, there are many barriers to negotiate – not least language and culture, so I await with interest the work that is brought to us (as part of the judging panel).
As well as this sharing, I had the great pleasure to see the work of Marija Petreska from Macedonia on using shapes within PowerPoint to create infographics. I was blown away by the work she does and must follow this up in the future! What was even more inspiring was the conversation we had about moving our children and societies beyond conflict – the parallels were frightening. Marija is a shining light with the work she is doing.
Finally, the same message is coming through again and again – Microsoft is listening (and listening intently) to the feedback from this conference. It is a listening exercise for everyone and I can’t wait to see the outcomes in the coming months.
In the end, the message is simple – We Are Educators…
And it looks like Microsoft are with us all the way!