Nov 18 2009 by Donald Morton, Stirling Observer Wednesday
A GROUP of four Stirling High School teachers are just back from Brazil after meeting with colleagues from 30 other countries at a special conference.
Stirling High School is one of only two Scottish schools picked to participate in the Microsoft Innovative Schools Programme which works to support schools around the world to break down barriers to learning.
Thirty-one schools from 30 countries met at a four-day conference in Salvador, Brazil to discuss practices in the different schools and learned from prominent pioneers of good practice such as Dan Buckley, now principle consultant and head of personalisation at Cambridge Education.
They will now share their findings with the staff of the Stirling school.
Representing Stirling in Brazil were Alan Hamilton (business education); Michael Mullin (computing); Mark Rushton (RME) and depute headteacher Lesley Allen. The team said:” The Microsoft Innovative Education Conference was a once in a lifetime opportunity for all four of us to talk to, share ideas with, and learn from educators from all over the world.
“We learned about education systems in New Zealand, Finland, Sweden and Canada and talked to teachers from the Philippines and Africa.
“We learned a lot, talked a lot and met many interesting and fascinating new friends. The challenge now is to maximise the experience for learners in Stirling High School and beyond.”
Head teacher Pat Scullion added: “We currently use technology in a variety of ways to access, process and communicate information.
“One example of this would be the use of our national intranet known as ‘Glow’.
“Pupils in a variety of subjects such as history and science can, at any time, pose questions to their teacher who will then get back to them with an answer. Another example would be our use of ‘Glow’ to videoconference with people in other countries such as France and Malta.
“We are currently looking at different ways of structuring the pupil week in order to better facilitate this type of learning.”
The Partners in Learning Network is the next generation of the Innovative Teachers Network (ITN), a network expected to serve more than two million teachers and school leaders by next year. The network has evolved to include advances in social networking technology that will help teachers and school leaders do their jobs better by connecting them with one another.
At its core, the network helps promote practices that school leaders and teachers can use to improve students’ skills such as critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration, communication, contextual learning, creativity, and information and media literacy.
The Pathfinder Schools will work with 12 regional Mentor Schools, chosen primarily among participants in the Innovative Schools Pilot Programme, which ran over the last two years. Some Pathfinder Schools will have the opportunity to share the knowledge they gain as Mentor Schools in the future.