MIE Spotlight: Offering a helping hand to assist teachers with technology

Welcome to the first in our series of MIE Spotlights. In this post we feature Lynette Barker, Teacher Librarian / Learning Technology Coordinator at St Therese’s Primary School.


For the past 2 years I have been a part of the Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) program. Thanks to the amazing learning opportunities the program has given me, and the confidence that comes with knowledge and skill growth I am extending my Hands Held Out work in 2017.

Recently I have been chatting to my principal Duilio Rufo ( a supportive and visionary leader) about formalising professional development opportunities offered at school, initially for our staff and potentially for colleagues within our area.

Hands Held Out is the underlying philosophy of my Microsoft Innovator Educator  work, that is, I offer a hand held out to colleagues in the area of learning with technology. I work beside colleagues, aiming to build their confidence and skills, setting foundations for their growth, so that they may continue to evolve as creative and innovative educators. I encourage them to focus on ‘thinking in learning’ and to consider options for enhancing learning with technology.

Course: Adapting to Change

Learning Intention:

This is a practical technology course. Teachers are provided with a Surface Pro 4 tablet device to ensure the learning is authentic and skills learnt are transferred directly to classroom practice.

By the end of the year teachers will

  • be using pen and tablet technology to change the way they plan, assess and record the learning in their classroom.
  • be familiar with a range of programs that will support flipped learning

Success Criteria:

Teachers are successful if they use the device to

  • collaborate online with colleagues
  • plan and evaluate lessons
  • record student learning via audio and video tools
  • make anecdotal notes re: student progress
  • create online lessons to flip learning in the classroom

Course Requirements

Teachers enrolling in the course are offered exclusive use of a school owned Surface device. This is a significant financial commitment by the principal but one we know will bring great benefits to teaching and learning. To ensure the introduction of the Surface device is successful, and to provide opportunities for teachers to learn about a range of programs including Office Mix, teachers enrolled in this course have committed to the following 4 tasks.

1. Use 1/2  RFF (Release) day to:

  • receive the device
  • learn the basic functions of the device
  • apply personal settings and install relevant apps
  • prepare the device for class use with OneNote
  • enrol in the Microsoft Online Educator Community

2. Attend 6 compulsory workshops run by myself (or guest presenters)

Workshops are:

  • held in Weeks 3, 6 and 9 of Terms 1 and 2
  • offered twice in the nominated weeks (Tues Am and Thursday PM – Teachers may select the most suitable session to attend)
  • approx. 45 mins

Workshops include:

  • Discussions and demonstrations of relevant programs/tools/functions of the device that will have a positive impact on teaching and learning
  • Opportunities for staff to feedback on the use of their device to improve teaching and learning
  • Skype sessions with Microsoft Experts

3. Complete online training modules within the Microsoft Educator Community and become ‘badged’ in given areas – minimum 3 hours per term (teachers may elect to do more). 

  • Teachers are recognised for their achievements via the Microsoft badge reward system which is recognised globally.

4. Use ½ day RFF to reflect on the course and plan for future learning (with Lynette)

I will support teachers in their learning via class visits and demonstration lessons and Microsoft Teacher Ambassadors will be invited to support training/learning as appropriate. This initiative will also assist teachers as they work through their professional goals and accreditation process.

The tagline for the Academy is ‘Change Learning’ but in this instance we are not referring to students – it’s all about the teachers!

It is such an exciting project. I have built the skeleton of a website to support the academy. Bookmark it and watch it grow throughout 2017.

For more information on the Hands Held Out program, visit the website or read more on Lynette’s blog.

Our mission at Microsoft is to equip and empower educators to shape and assure the success of every student. Any teacher can join our effort with free Office 365 Education, find affordable Windows devices and connect with others on the Educator Community for free training and classroom resources. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for our latest updates.