People 'n' Issues

Ordinary heroes honoured

July 30th, 2015
Alongside the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft announced its Upgrade Your World initiative, a program where the company highlights and rewards educators for their work done in shaping the lives of South Africa’s future leaders.

Microsoft South Africa recently launched Windows 10 at a fan event held in Newtown, Johannesburg. Together with the launch of Windows 10, the company also encouraged those in attendance to support the year-long initiative, Upgrade Your World, a global initiative which celebrates people and organisations of action who are making a difference around the world.

The Upgrade Your World programme celebrates those who inspire and empower others, led by Microsoft’s vision to help people achieve more through technology and in celebration of the Windows 10 launch.

Microsoft is partnering with ten global NGOs including Keep a Child Alive and Special Olympics, as well as 100 national non-profits from around the world, as part of this year-long initiative to help them upgrade the world, with a total $10 million (around R125 million) cash investment being made in support of their missions and to promote awareness of their causes.

Highlighting the work done by committed teachers

In conjunction with the global initiative, Microsoft South Africa, Pinnacle Africa and Torque IT are joining forces to honour the work done by committed educators charged with the tremendous responsibility to prepare the next generation of business and political leaders, inventors and innovators.

“As Pinnacle Africa’s local brand, Proline is proud to be associated with Microsoft’s education initiatives in South Africa and our core values of ‘People, Product, Passion’ are reflected in the Windows 10 products we are demonstrating at the event,” said Rodger Green, Proline Brand Executive at Pinnacle Africa. “By being the first local vendor offering devices pre-installed with the Windows 10 operating system, Proline intends to continue empowering people to achieve more through technology and reach their potential,” Green added.

On 1 August 2015, Microsoft SA will launch a competition on the Microsoft SA Facebook page which aims to acknowledge and celebrate innovative teachers, who are integrating technology into the classroom to make the learning process more collaborative and memorable for learners. Schools and students are encouraged to nominate their teachers on the Microsoft SA Facebook page by commenting in 30 words what makes their teacher a potential Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert. Ten teachers stand a chance to win some awesome prizes from Microsoft, Pinnacle Africa and Torque IT to keep them innovating in the classroom.

These include Windows 10 computer training courses from Torque IT, an Intel Classmate device sponsored by Pinnacle Africa, Lumia 430 smartphone from Microsoft SA, as well as admission to the Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIE) Programme, which was created to identify and assist global educator visionaries who are using technology to pave the way for their peers in terms of innovative teaching methods and the use of 21st Century skills. The competition closes on 21 August 2015 and winners will be announced on 10 September 2015.

“Our educators of today are responsible for developing the leaders of tomorrow, it is key that they are provided with the correct tools as well as shown how best to use them. The launch of Windows 10 and the Upgrade Your World campaign not only says thank you for their continuous efforts, but provides them with a Windows 10 device plus the skills to use the device, which will aid them greatly with their day-to-day tasks in their respective schools,” says Morne Hugo, Microsoft Business Unit Manager at TorqueIT.

How innovating educators are leading the way for peers

Microsoft’s Innovative Educator Expert programme enables teachers to become innovation thought leaders, who build educator capacity in their community through training and coaching their colleagues as well as speaking at conferences. Local MIE, Phuti Ragophala, who is the principal of Pula Madibogo Primary School in Limpopo has attended two Microsoft in Education Global Forums for instance, with the first of these occurring in Barcelona during 2014 and the second in Dubai this year.

MIE Experts also have the opportunity to try out new Microsoft products as these are released to see how best to integrate these into their lesson plans and collaborate with innovative educators across the globe, using Skype in the Classroom. Local MIE Karen Stadler, is an ICT integration teacher from Elkanah House in Cape Town, and she uses technology to make learners in over 100 classes across 55 countries aware of the plight of rhinos in South Africa. Through her ‘Save our rhinos’ project, Stadler aims to raise awareness of rhino extinction and to unite the voices of children around the world in support of rhino conservation.

“There are hundreds of committed teachers in South Africa doing their best for their students every single day,” says Anthony Doherty, Windows business group lead at Microsoft South Africa. “Thanks to the Upgrade Your World initiative and the launch of Windows 10, you have the chance to show your appreciation by upgrading their world.”

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