Winning teacher receiving the award from Upali Marasinghe Secretary of the Ministry of Education
Secretary of the Ministry of Education Upali Marasinghe, recognised the two winners who succeeded at the Microsoft Expert Educator online Competition 2014/2015; at an informal ceremony held at the Ministry last week, participated by both MoE an Microsoft officials.
Plaques were also presented to last year’s winners who attended the Microsoft in Education Global Forum held in Barcelona.
This year’s winners Chamila Priyanka Bandara, a teacher from the Nugawela Boys’ School Kandy and Pradeepika Rupasinghe, from Sri Sumangala Girls’ School Panadura, will have the unique opportunity of being part of a select group of 2015 Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Experts who will visit Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, Washington.
The two teachers will be in a position to hone their professional development skills, provide direct feedback to product groups, and collaborate closely with other MIE Experts from around the world.
The winning teachers from last year who have put their new skills and expertise into practice has trained a number of their peers in digital literacy and built awareness on the MIEE programme, use of blogging, creating their own blogs, participation in tweetmeets etc. The teachers have benefitted vastly from the experience gained from the Online Competition as well as the knowledge exchange gained at the Global Forum in Barcelona where they had the opportunity of interacting with international peers.
Shiroma Weeratunga, teacher from the Embilipitiya President’s College said, “Attending the Microsoft forum in Barcelona was a great experience for us. We were able to exchange knowledge with teachers from more advanced countries. I was a part of a group of teachers who came from the UAE, the Dominican Republic, Serbia etc. and although sometimes it was difficult to communicate due to language issues we were able to work well together. I found that their classrooms used more technology than was available to us in Sri Lanka but I had no difficulty in contributing towards a project my group had to do on ‘how to use technology effectively in the classroom.’ We had 24 hours to get it together and present it as a group. I gained a lot being part of it.”
Apart from the Secretary of the Ministry, additional Secretary Hemantha Premathilake, Niel Gunadasa (Director ICT), Sumudu Wijesooriya Assistant Director ICT Branch from the MoE graced the occasion, which also had the participation of Country Manager for Microsoft Sri Lanka & Maldives Imran Vilcassim, Senior Education Programmes Manager Yashinka Jayasinghe Alles and Manager – Community Affairs Janaki Karunaratne.
The Secretary was given a short summary of Microsoft Sri Lanka’s past and present initiatives in the education sector including the Innovate Teachers & Students Competition which has reached national proportions, ICT centres for youth and teacher training etc. done in collaboration with the Ministry.
A number of future projects for which Microsoft sought the Ministry’s support were also discussed and included the launch of Industry Specific Curricula such and BPO, Media and Journalism, Agriculture, Apparel and Tourism, for 10 Computer Resource Centers as a pilot project with the aim of broad basing to the 100+ CRCs in the future.
Upali Marasinghe, Secretary of the MoE who said that the kind of projects Microsoft introduced are of value to the education sector said that it was important to have an year long strategic plan for future programmes that would be implemented.
The discussion ended with the giving away of awards to the teachers.