My journey with innovation and the use of technology started back to 2009. The first time I have heard of the Innovative Teachers Contest in Tunisia was at that time, 2009. I am not a novice in terms of using technology in the classroom, but the situation in the schools where I have taught were not suitable as they lack equipment or even internet in two of them.
During the academic years 2010/11 and 2011/12 there were no contest because of the Tunisian revolution, so no one really knew what is going on and the country was in turmoil.
During the academic year 2012/2013, the Tunisian Ministry of Education and Microsoft Tunis decided to bring back the contest to life. This time, things were more organized and in a professional way. There was first a registration online, then a training done by an expert to explain everything to the participants. The 21st Century Skills, MS tools for teaching, evaluation criteria and all the need information for a participant. A deadline was decided and everything was well organized. It was the first time that I participate in the contest. During the project, which was named “Pollution”, I discovered many new tools that were exciting for me as well as for my students. Tools such as Autocollage, Bing!, Songsmith and others. I have already great experience with the Office Suite, so I brought my experience in the classroom and helped my students to acquire some basics. We worked mainly on Word and PowerPoint. Our school did not have internet connection at that time, so I managed to get my home 3G modem in the class whenever we needed internet connection.
I won the 4th place on the contest of 2013. I have learnt a lot from the experience and spent the summer of 2013 reading about the possible way to incorporate technology in my lessons in spite of the lack of technology in our school. The fourth position was such a good news in our region, which helped us to get our school connected with internet and our computer lab renovated by our Regional Board of Education in August 2013. This was a nice surprise to all students and colleagues at the beginning of the 2013/2014 academic year.
During the 2013/2014 academic year, I started even before the announcement of the contest. We started in October 2013 and finished our project in March 2014. The project was entitled “ Eat Well, Be Well”. We dealth about the good health habits. In this project we used a lot of technology included advanced ones. Apart from MS tools such as Windows Movie Maker, PowerPoint, Autocollage, Word, Paint, Onedrive, we used Notepad++, Dreamweaver too. The help of teachers of other subjects was paramount to help us finish the project.
I won the 1st prize during the 2014 contest. I was so happy as well as my students and the school. Media coverage was there too with our school visited by our National TV channel , some newspapers and regional radio stations.
The main purpose was not just to compete in the contest, but to teach students the skills needed, and mainly the 21st Learning skills and how technology can help them in many ways:
- Learn on their own following their own pace.
- Many resources are over the internet, so they can easily learn from reliable resources and find information quickly.
- Learn how to work together in a collaborative way
- Learn by learning, which means that while they are carrying a subject about pollution, they will access the net and use the computer to produce a presentation, which allows them to learn how to use PowerPoint or acquire new skills.
Now, I have been selected as a MIE Expert 2015. In the last few weeks, I discovered that I know only a little! What I have learn from the various resources and the webinars I attended is huge. I discovered new tools such as Sway and Office Mix, and more to come!
I have known many new lovely people in the FB webpage of the official MIE Expert 2015 Facebook Group! In addition, I discovered many things like blogs, activities, schools, subjects of other colleagues.
I hope that I will make it to Redmond on AprilJ and benefit from this opportunity, which I was given, and let others know about it in the hope that one day we will have a better education for all people over the world to have a better world.