Two Western Australian teachers have been recognised for their innovative use of classroom technology with an exclusive invitation to visit Microsoft Corporation’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington.
Phil Lockhart, of Wyndham High School, and Hugh Soord, now with Curtin University of Technology, were among only 12 teachers worldwide to receive a personal invitation from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates as part of a program to support digital technology learning in classrooms.
Education and Training Minister Mark McGowan said the invitation reflected the outstanding innovation being shown in WA public school classrooms.
“Australia is a world leader in applying state-of-the-art technology to the classroom, and much of that talent and creative thinking is evident in our schools,” Mr McGowan said.
“The way children learn is constantly changing and in a State as big as WA we must use the latest technology to ensure all students receive the best education possible, regardless of where they live.
“This invitation means that Mr Lockhart and Mr Soord are recognised as being among the best and brightest teachers in the world, and I am sure they will bring back a wealth of ideas that will further benefit students.”
The pair initiated a unique ‘virtual classroom’ partnership in 2006 when Mr Lockhart was teaching at Oombulgurri Remote Community School in the Kimberley and Mr Soord was at Como Secondary College.
“We hooked our classrooms together using technology, developing a curriculum program and having Como students operating as mentors for my students,” Mr Lockhart said.
“In Oombulgurri, the program benefitted all students and was particularly positive in helping my indigenous students with literacy.”
Mr Lockhart said he was delighted to have been chosen for the trip to Seattle as part of Microsoft’s Partners in Learning program.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to go to Microsoft and look at how we can apply their technologies to our environment,” he said.
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