Excitement abounds

Salvador Brazil As you may already know, I’m leaving for Salvador, Brazil on Sunday along with David Stinson who is competing in this year’s Worldwide Innovative Education Forum next week. Joining us at the event will be Dr. Victor McNair, Senior Lecturer at the University of Ulster, who will be participating as a Judge for the event. Also attending from the Republic of Ireland as invitees of Dr. Kevin Marshall, Microsoft Education Lead and Academic Programme Manager Ireland, will be Mr. Tommy Maher of Scoil Naomh Fiachra whose school has been selected as a new Pathfinder School in the Microsoft Innovative Schools Programme and Mr Seamus Ryan who has led the establishment of Dunshaughlin Community College as a Microsoft Global School of the Future (now referred to as a Mentor School).

Make sure you follow the activity on this site along with my Twitter Feed (@tjinbelfast)

But the excitement doesn’t end there. I will have my busiest weeks and months (and hopefully years ) when we get back. Just a few of the things I’ll be working on are:

  • The opening of a new Innovation Centre!!!. As you are surely aware, I managed the STIC on behalf of Microsoft for the past 5 years. The STIC was part of the European Education Research and Innovation Centre (EERIC). Well, that Centre has closed and I have been tasked to “find a new home”. Well, I’ve done that. Working in partnership with Stranmillis University College, Queen’s University of Belfast School of Education, the Regional Training Unit (RTU) of NI, and Classroom 2000 (C2k)  we will be launching the Centre for Excellence in Leadership, Innovation and Learning (CELIL). Our global STIC/EERIC partners, HP, Cisco Systems and Intel Corp will also be involved with the new Centre. There will be lots of news and activity to follow in the near future, so watch this space!!

Stranmillis QUB School of EdRTU bannerC2k

  • The re-launch of the Northern Ireland Innovative Teachers Network site. If you have visited the NI Innovative Teachers Network site recently you will have noticed a complete makeover has taken place. It looks much better and the navigation is much smoother and faster. if you’re not already a member, make sure you sign up to get access to Free software, Educational Video links, discussions, Communities and much more. I would recommend you register with a Live ID. If you don’t already have one, you can do it HERE. This will make sign on much quicker and easier and will allow integrating your registration on the new Partners in Learning Worldwide Network site in the coming months.

NI ITN refresh PiLs network

  • The launch of the Northern Ireland Innovative Education Forum Awards Competition– As I have done for the past 3 years, I will be running a competition for Teachers in NI to show how they have used ICT in delivering their classroom curriculum in innovative ways. The winners of the NI competition will win an all-expenses paid trip to Berlin next March to compete against Teachers from across Western Europe. Winners of the WE competition are automatically invited to the Worldwide competition in Nov. 2010. Rumour has it that it will take place in South Africa!! David Stinson is going to Brazil because of his success in Vienna last march. 2 Great trips for his hard work. Not bad!! Details will be available in early December and you will find them here, on the NI ITN site, RTU’s website and C2k’s website. You must be a registered member of the NI Innovative Teachers Network to participate


  • The launch of the Microsoft Innovative Schools Network–  Microsoft will be formerly be launching the new Innovative Schools Programme in Brazil next week. The 12 Global Schools of the Future will become Mentor Schools and share their experiences and learning from their 3 year participation. There has been 30 additional schools selected from around the world to become Pathfinder Schools and will build on the lessons and experience of the Mentor schools along with developing and sharing their work and innovation. I will be working with schools from NI  interested in the next round of submissions for Pathfinder accreditation. There will be toolkits and free content available in the next few weeks.

Innovative Schools

  • Launch of the NI Imagine Cup Competition– In the past, students and schools who wished to participate in the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2010 Competition did so by going to Dublin to show their work. This year we will be running a competition specifically for students in Northern Ireland with the winner automatically invited to the finals in Dublin next April. Winning teams in Dublin will then be invited to compete at the worldwide competition in Warsaw Poland in July 2010. Presentations to interested schools and student team will begin in late November. If you’re interested contact me (i-tomj@microsoft.com) or Michael Meagher (v-mmeagh@microsoft.com), Academic Programme Manager Ireland. Michael has taken up Liam Cronin’s post for those who have dealt with Liam in the past.

Imagine Cup 2010

  • Microsoft Community Affairs (CA) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) – for the past 5 years I have led the CA and CSR activity in the north on behalf of Microsoft. Along with the work we do with FIT NI, EGSA, Action MS and BITC. We will run 2 major projects this coming year:
    1. Internet Safety Day– once again Microsoft volunteers will partner with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Community Liaison Officers and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) to deliver internet safety presentations to Primary schools across NI. This will take place in concert with the EU Internet safety Day 2010 on Feb. 9th. Last year we reached over 1800 students and 100 Teachers.
    2. Microsoft NGO Day in NI– working with not-for profits and charities to share resources, training and skills to the wide NGO audience in Ireland. A similar day is taking place in Dublin on Nov. 26th.


I’m sure I’ve left something important out but that seems to be enough for you to take on board for now. So visit the site often, bookmark it, sign up for the RSS feed and let me know how I can help you.

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