Ich fühle mich sehr geehrt und bin wahnsinnig stolz, dass ich für den offiziellen Microsoft in Education Blog (worldwide) einen Beitrag verfassen durfte. Dabei ging es mal ausnahmsweise nicht über OneNote oder Office 365 😉, sondern tatsächlich um ein Thema, dass mich seit Jahren beschäftigt und hinter all meinem Tun steckt: Wie können wir nicht nur als LehrerInnen Technologie mit Gewinn einsetzen, sondern unseren SchülerInnen dabei helfen, diese Werkzeuge für ihr eigenes Lernen zu nutzen.
This post was originally written for Microsoft Education and can be found here
Switching from subjects to skills: Teaching students born in the age of technology
The following is a post from MIE expert, Kurt Söser. Kurt has a passion for adapting technology to suit the needs of coming generations, and educating his fellow teachers on how to develop innovative, technology-enabled learning environments.
They’ve been called “digital natives,” but today’s students don’t necessarily know how best to use the technology around them. Our students hail from a true technology age – they don’t know what folders or files are, because they have barely seen or used it in their regular interactions They just take a picture with their smartphones and do not bother with where it is stored, or how it is named. They have a different approach to using technology compared to an older generation. And that opens up possibilities.
Students are often consumers, not creators, and I don’t see them use technology for learning purposes all that often. And that’s what school and education should be about: creating knowledge and understanding. In my opinion, technology is essential in doing just that.
Students need an educator and a mentor to show them how to use technology for learning, for making their lives easier and for creating their own futures. That’s why it’s so important that we have teachers and educators. We have to show them that tech is just a tool, and how they have to develop lifelong learning abilities not only to adopt those tools, but to actively create a future for themselves.
The idea of passing on knowledge in such a way, becoming a founder of the future, has driven me since a young age. Back when I was 12 or 13, I wanted to be a teacher. I always wanted to work with people, with children. Maybe there’d be just one child you could reach in your class, I thought, that you could influence in his or her life path to come. And maybe that child would be the next Bill Gates, or the next president. It’s a truly inspirational thought for me.
My mom always wanted to become a teacher, but her parents couldn’t afford to get her into the higher education system, so she could never fulfill her dreams. She and my dad always encouraged me and supported me whenever it came to education. I am super thankful for that.
There are a lot of cool things you can pass on to the younger ones. You can both help and influence them positively, and if you’re teaching young adults you’re forced to stay young, too. You have to develop and grow in this environment of 16-year-olds, and I like being part of that development process. I like being challenged every day to grow with the kids.
Nowadays I teach Mathematics, a subject where some of the topics are hundreds, even a thousand years old. Some topics we teach in school have not changed in hundreds of years. I think it is important to learn these things in school and learn where we and our culture are coming from to create a brighter future, but there are also a lot of topics coming up that challenge our education. We have to actively take these challenges and prepare our students for the future – and there’s a lot of help out there along the way.
Having spent years working with OneNote in my classroom, I was asked to join the Microsoft Education Summit in Austria, where I presented my use of OneNote in my math classes. I was encouraged in 2013 to apply for the MIE (Microsoft Innovative Educator) Expert program, and I did a small video back then about my use of OneNote and tablet PCs in my math lessons.
Out of 23,000 applicants, I was nominated with 250 others as a Microsoft Innovative Educator. That changed my life completely and, in 2014, got me a place in the Microsoft Global forum (now the Education Exchange) in Barcelona. It was really great to get into this family, as I like to call them. So many splendid educators and teachers from all over the world are willing to share their experiences and connections. The energy is unbelievable.
The year after I was nominated to become an MIE Fellow, after which I held some workshops in Brussels and other events, ultimately getting me a ticket to the Education Exchange in Redmond, in May 2015. It was amazing to be on the Microsoft campus, meeting other MIE Fellows and educators. And there was this one session – Satya Nadella took the place in front of us and talked to us for about 30 minutes, sharing Microsoft’s vision for education. It was another life-changing moment for me, joining my visit to the Kakuma refugee camp, where I teamed up with the best and most inspiring educators from all over the world.
I really love to exchange ideas and pass on my knowledge, especially when it helps other educators to see the potential of technology in education. And thanks to social media, I can get in contact with this awesome network of MIE Experts from all over the world.
When it comes to teaching with technology at hand, a lot of topics are already perfectly laid out, perfectly prepared for our students out there. There are tons of free, high quality learning resources out there, all at your fingertips. If my students don’t understand my explanation for solving a quadratic equation, there’s another one out there.
Tech is certainly an accelerator, but for me it is important in how it shifts the how and the what of what we teach. In mathematics, we have technology that can solve equations with greater accuracy, but it is the human brain (and heart) that has to get behind the simple steps of a solution that lead into bigger things and the mathematical concepts behind them. And that’s where an educator steps in, to have a conversation about skills and concepts.
That’s why we as educators have to shift from teaching students in subjects, to teaching students in skills. I dream of a school where we do not have subjects like math, science or history. Instead, I envision topics like collaboration, creativity, communication and critical thinking. I see us making use of technology and tools to bringing groups of educators and students together and creating a bright future.
Kurt is currently working on the #HackOneNote Project , where he wants to establish a community of educators to create free, interactive and multimedia learning resources based on OneNote. Kurt also supports Project Kakuma, which strives to offer free education to African refugees via Skype.
To learn more about Microsoft Education and our tools and technology that help foster inclusion and support personalizing learning for every student, click here.