Ollie BrayOllie Bray: Innovative Teacher AwardThe potential of games technology for schools, and pioneering work in Scottish schools in particular, were given international recognition in Vienna yesterday (March 26) at the European finals of Microsoft’s prestigious Innovative Teachers Awards.

Ollie Bray, depute headteacher of Musselbrough Grammar School, East Lothian, Scotland, took first place in the Innovation in Community section for his presentation of “Thinking out of the XBOX” at the Innovative Teachers Forum 2009 (full results below). The winners from the European forum now go on to take part in the Worldwide Innovative Teachers Conference in Brazil in November.

“Preparing students for life and work in the 21st century means that there has to be a fundamental change in how the teaching profession employs technology both as a learning tool and something to also be taught," said Mrs Andrea Rittersberger, of Konservatorium Wien University, who was acting head judge at the Vienna event. “The winning projects stood out as examples of best practice in addressing the changes and challenges with teaching today.”

The European Innovative Teachers Forum, now in its sixth year,was created as a supportive space in which outstanding teachers can collaborate, share good practice and celebrate their success. It is part of Microsoft’s Partners in Learning programme which has a budget of almost $500 million worldwide over 10 years. It is free to join and teachers share project work, ideas and professional development resources online.

More than 150 education policymakers and teachers from 40 countries across Europe attended the Vienna event, hosted by Microsoft Corp., to share ideas, experiences and best practices on integrating technology and innovative teaching into the curriculum.

While the awards reflect innovation with technology the focus is firmly on learning, and standards are extremely high, which was evident at the 2008 Worldwide Innovative Teachers Forum in Hong Kong in 2008.

Vienna results
Innovation in ICT Usage
First place: Serbia, Slavica Juric, The story about bread
Second place: Bulgaria,    Krasimira Dimitrova, Journey through Bulgaria
Third place: Slovakia, Pallo Peter, Nature Explorers

Innovation in Community
First place: UK, Ollie Bray, Thinking out of the XBOX
Second place: Sweden,    Anna Ljunqvist,     The Paperless Classroom
Third place: UK,    Mandeep Atwal,    Young Voices

Innovation in Content
First place: Belgium, Isabel Schapdryver, Secondhandshop
Second place: Northern Ireland, David Stinson, Pupil E-portfolio
Third place: Greece, Diplaris Dimitriou, From Newton to CERN

Special Award
First place: The Netherlands, Andrea Brauns, Sound Lottery

More information

Innovative Teachers Forum and Partners in Learning
Ollie Bray’s award winning presentation on using Guitar Hero in schools on the Innovative Teachers website (registration required to sign in).
Kristen Weatherby and Stuart Ball , who are responsible for the Innovative Teachers programme in the UK have created a blog on the Vienna event.
Ollie Bray will be presenting at TeachMeet NEL 2 on Tueday, March 31, in Rainham, East London
Futurelab article on Microsoft's Innovative Teachers Forum

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