129 Dubai teachers earn Microsoft badge

129 Dubai teachers earn Microsoft badge

Dubai - The MIEE certification helps teachers find creative ways to apply digital learning into existing teaching practices.

By Saman Haziq

Published: Fri 14 Dec 2018, 8:24 PM

Last updated: Sat 15 Dec 2018, 8:32 PM

A Dubai Gems school has celebrated a feat unparalleled in the UAE and the region, perhaps in the world as well - to have 129 teachers who are now certified Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts (MIEE).
The MIEE certification helps teachers find creative ways to apply digital learning into existing teaching practices.
As part of introducing innovative teaching technology more effectively, The Kindergarten Starters (KGS), Dubai, adopted the strategy to use Microsoft Education as the basic professional development mechanism for its teaching staff, allowing them to improve and make their methods more effective.
In attendance at the KGS recognition ceremony for MIEE achievers were Michael Gernon, chief education innovation officer - Gems X, Krish Gopi, chief disruption officer at Gems, Sir Christopher Stone, global chief education officer for Gems MENASA, and Michael Guzder, vice-president for education.
Microsoft Educator Community is a free platform that has a number of personalised tools for students, teachers and parents. It offers free courses divided into flexible, self-explanatory, step-by-step modules that include text, videos and scripts that guide the user through the course.
At the end of the course is a test that implements a minimum passing mark of 80 per cent. Some modules are 30 minutes long, others run up to 50 minutes, and some even go for a few hours. Over 150 courses can be done online. It is not time- or place-bound and can be done at one's own convenience.
To become an MIEE, one has to be a member of the Microsoft Educator Community and then earn 1,000 points by doing a couple of courses. However, some KGS teachers have managed to attain about 50,000 and more points, which means they are continuously learning.
Bhawna Sajnani, chief digital and innovation officer at KGS, said: "With a limited time in a classroom, if the teacher has to understand the level of a class, the teacher can simply log on to one of the tools (Microsoft Forms) and ask the students to do the same. She then gives a quiz to all through the tool and as soon as they reply, the teacher can understand their level of knowledge. The teacher can get immediate results and help the child lagging behind. Similarly, there are other tools for managing teams, projects, presentations and trainings for the school staff."
Asha Alexander, principal of KGS, said: "We are looking to get our entire school staff of 300 people Microsoft-certified by March. This is not just a one-time certification because, in order to be MIEE, we have to be using it and updating our results regularly and every year. Based on the results of the usage, we will get our certification. Teachers have to continuously innovate and use these tools innovatively to impact learning in the classroom."
Addressing the teachers at the ceremony, Alexander said: "The wonderful thing that Microsoft gave us was a free educators' community platform and our teachers ensured that we made very good use of it. Today, we have 128 MIEEs - a feat unparalleled in the Gulf region and, perhaps, in the world. Becoming Microsoft experts gave teachers the digital tools they needed to find creative ways to apply digital learning into existing pedagogical methods and inspiring learning scenarios in the classroom and beyond."
Marwa Alimaher Meheia, the first head of Arabic and Islamic studies department at Gems to get the MIEE certification, said: "Microsoft tools have greatly enhanced our teaching skills and, for the first time, the Arabic department has also become MIEE.
Previously, we only knew certain regular tools such as PowerPoint and Excel, but after MIEE, I and my 23 Arabic teachers can do our meetings even without meeting physically. I am able to go through all their projects and files, through these tools and life has become much easier and more organised."

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