The Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert programme

We are approaching the end of August, which is when the new Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts (MIEE) are normally announced.   I am looking forward to hopefully continuing as an MIEE for what will be my seventh year as an MIEE.   I note I am also a Microsoft Certified Educator (MCE), although I did my MCE before I got my MIEE status, although normally the route is the other way round.  So why is the MIEE status useful?

Recognition and Applications

I think the first thing to say is that it isnt the status that is useful although it is always nice to have a little pin badge and recognition.    The most important feature of the MIEE programme is the community.    I often use the phrase “the smartest person in the room, is the room” and if we take this as true, the combined experience and knowledge of MIEEs across the world is huge, backed up by various opportunities to share, discuss and collaborate.

As to the application process, this isn’t a massive effort as if you are already using technology in school, you will likely already have evidence to support any application, therefore meaning all that is required is 30mins to an hour to actually do the application itself.

Tweetmeets and Sharing internationally

Through my MIEE status I have had the opportunity to take part in tweetmeets, being part of a team of educators from across the world leading the discussion on twitter on a variety of different educational technology topics.   I have found these opportunities very useful as they allow you to share thoughts and ideas with educators from different contexts including different school types, age ranges, nations with differing education systems, differing values and cultures, and different access to technology resources.   And it is this broad sharing that I believe is the biggest benefits of the programme.   I believe the more I appreciate how education differs, and also is the same in schools and classrooms across the world, the better my understanding of education, teaching and learning, and the better I can be in supporting the use of technology in schools.

I have also had the opportunity to collaborate directly with educators in other countries as a result of the MIEE programme.  This includes working with a teacher in Saudi Arabia as a guest native English speaker to assist his students in their English language studies, plus discussing professional development with educators from Azerbaijan.   Again, I believe these experiences enhance my understanding.

Connection Calls and Face to face events

As part of the MIEE there are also the regular connection calls where latest updates on Microsoft solutions are shared, where efforts of MIEEs are celebrated and where resources and ideas are openly shared.     And there are also the face to face events, such as the MIEE gatherings at the BETT conference where you get to meet in person those individuals who previously you had only seen on a connection call teams video call.     Sadly I have missed out on the BETT meetup over the past couple of years although this is something I hope to address in 2023.

Conclusion

The Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert programme is excellent in providing access to a wide range of educators, to info on development of the Microsoft suite of products, to resources and the thoughts and ideas of educators from across the UK and the world.  

And with that I now await this years announcement and hopefully beginning my seventh year as a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert.

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Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE)

MIEE Letter

I recently received an email from Microsoft confirming my acceptance as a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE) for what will now be my fifth successive year.    Over that time, I have found the MIEE community to have gone from strength to strength and to have grown what it has to offer to those who are accepted into the MIEE cohort each year.   This has greatly helped me as an individual and in turn, I believe, has greatly helped my school.

Probably one of the biggest benefits of involvement in the MIEE programme is the community that it provides you access to.    The MIEE community are very eager to share their ideas and resources making use of a MIEE Microsoft Team (below) as well as all the usual social media channels to share.

MIEE Teams

This has given me access to a wealth of resources including video help guides, tip and tricks resources and displays for around school, to name but a few.    This has saved me a massive amount of time and provided me an almost constant flow of professional development materials which I could use and/or pass onto colleagues throughout the school.   It is also a great place to reach out to for support or answers to questions; Many a query raised with me by staff in school has been answered with support from the MIEE community.   This community has also provided me a blueprint for the kind of internal EdTech community I think we should each seek to build within our schools and across schools within our local areas.

Another benefit of the MIEE programme is access to information and occasionally demonstrations of new functionality which Microsoft are planning to introduce.   This has been particularly interesting in relation to seeing how Microsoft Teams has developed, seeing for example the plans for user changeable backgrounds for meetings before this was introduced to the public.    This little extra insight has helped in planning and preparing within the school for the introduction of new features to Microsoft products.

TweetMeetThe MIEE community has also allowed me the opportunity to get involved in a couple of TweetMeets this year.   These twitter-based events last about 1 hour and focus on a given educational topic.   These have been a great opportunity to interact with educators from across the world and get their thoughts and views which in turn has helped widen my perspective.   This global perspective is another significant advantage of the MIEE community as the community itself is built up of educators from across the globe working in different contexts both within their individual schools but nationally in the different counties.   As such I have been able to seek out a diverse range of opinions and ideas which has helped me in decision making within my own context and school.

The majority of my interactions with MIEEs has very much been virtual in nature, via twitter, via Teams, etc, however there have also been opportunities to meet others face to face.   During last year, through the MIEE community, I became aware of and then took part in a Microsoft Bootcamp where I had the opportunity to meet with a work with a number for staff from the Further and Higher Education sector.   This was very useful for me as the context was slightly different than my own independent school context and therefore provided me plenty of opportunities to compare and contrast what we are doing with what colleges and universities are doing.    In Jan 2020 there was also a meetup at the BETT conference in London including a trip to the Microsoft store in London; Sadly, on this occasion I missed this event due to other commitments.

I also need to mention other opportunities such as the MIE Expert Strava group which was just started the other day;   This has allowed a number of MIEExperts who are interested in fitness/wellbeing and in particular in running to share their efforts.  I have found this highly motivational and am on target to complete 25km of running this week with the groups help, assuming tomorrows run goes ahead and is completed as planned.

Overall, I have very much enjoyed being a member of the MIEE community.    I suspect the value you take from it is related to the effort you put in, in being involved and contributing to discussion, sharing resources and ideas, etc.  I myself have found myself getting more involved each year.    I personally look forward to continuing my involvement in 2020/21 and to leveraging the MIEE community in helping and supporting myself personally and professionally, plus my school and its community.   For those considering whether to apply for 2021/22 I would certainly recommend it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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