I have been hinting for quite some time about a new innovation centre project I’ve been working on. Well, on Monday the Centre of Excellence for Leadership, Innovation and Learning (CELIL) was officially launched in partnership with Microsoft Ireland, Stranmillis University College, Queens University of Belfast (QUB) and the Regional Training Unit (RTU) of Northern Ireland.
From our official press release:
Its mission is to equip educational professionals and leaders with the vision, insights and skills needed to bring schools into 21st Century Learning. Through this partnership between Stranmillis University College, the Regional Training Unit and Microsoft, the Centre will provide development opportunities for educational professionals at both the pre and in-service stages.
Located in Stranmillis University College, the Centre will provide opportunities for educational professionals at Stranmillis and beyond, to access the latest technologies as well as receiving the hands-on training required to ensure they are fully prepared to optimise the challenges of a 21st century curriculum and learning as highlighted in the Northern Ireland Curriculum and Microsoft’s Innovative Schools programme.
For example, teachers will be able to access, the Microsoft Peer Coaching Programme which gives them access to teachers around the world who have been leading in this area. In addition, the Innovative Schools Curriculum on Change resources gives teachers materials and advice on how to implement changes into their classrooms and schools. Attendees will also have the opportunity to undertake the IT Academy Training and Certification programme as well as the opportunity to explore the advantages of using Microsoft Surface to develop learning resources for their classes.
The Regional Training Unit of Northern Ireland (RTU) will be a core Associate Partner in the Centre, assisting and advising on a variety of aspects of Teacher Education and Career Professional Development (CPD), including leadership development, blended learning methodologies and systems wide capacity building.
Leading international teacher education expert Professor Michael Fullan presented to teachers educators and policy makers at the opening. Recognised as a worldwide authority on education reform, Professor Fullan is engaged in training, consulting, and evaluating change projects around the world. Speaking at the opening he said: “I commend the vision of Stranmillis University College, RTU and Microsoft in opening a centre dedicated to Leadership, Innovation and Learning. Due to a changing world and the complex mix of social, economic, technological and ecological challenges which we confront, education reform is essential and a cohort of leaders in education who will embrace innovation and the latest tools to optimize learning are required to lead the way.”
Dr Anne Heaslett, Principal of Stranmillis University College said: “We are delighted to be part of this exciting partnership which will enhance our capacity to be a leader in Teacher Education and related professional development. This partnership is about encouraging our students and staff to become leaders in innovative practice. We are committed to preparing our students with the knowledge and skills they need to best cope with the demands of 21st century learning communities and workplaces, and the challenge of optimising learning for all.”
Dr Tom Hesketh, Director of the Regional Training Unit applauded the link between leadership, innovation and learning which the Centre symbolised noting that these three elements provided the building blocks for an effective schooling system. He welcomed also the opportunity that the Centre provides for closer working relationships between key partners involved in pre and in service professional development noting that leadership capacity building needed to begin early at pre service levels, form an integral part of professional development and focus at all times on maximising the learning of all who work within schools, both staff and pupils.
Paul Rellis, General Manager Microsoft Ireland noted: “Over the past 7 years, Microsoft, in partnership with schools and educational leaders all over the world through its School of the Future and Innovative Schools programmes has developed an approach to 21st Century Learning. We are bringing this learning to the Centre to offer teachers and related professions the opportunity to enable the learning process with latest technology and innovative thinking in order to equip our young people with the skills they will require for the knowledge economy. The skills required to succeed in the workplace of today and tomorrow have changed and the Centre will equip the education leaders of the future with the knowledge and insight they will require to teach these skills to students within the existing curriculum.”
Yesterday, Prof Fullan delivered a workshop to 180+ Head Teachers from NI and Ireland at the Glenavon Hotel in Cookstown. The topic was “Motion Leadership- The Skinny on becoming Change Savvy”. It was a fantastic session that I think everyone in attendance walked away from having been inspired by his deep understanding of the challenges that face Educators in delivering meaningful and impactful change. You can access all of Prof Fullan’s resources HERE. I would highly recommend his books.
Now the real work begins. So Schools and Teachers out there that want to know how best to use the centre, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.