MIEE Fellows vow to ‘mentor and inspire other teachers’

Gabriela Willis, Grade 4 educator, and Gizelle Simpson, head of digital innovation at Wynberg Girls’ Junior School.
Gabriela Willis, Grade 4 educator, and Gizelle Simpson, head of digital innovation at Wynberg Girls’ Junior School.

Two teachers from Wynberg Girls’ Junior School (WGJS) have been named Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE) Fellows. Gizelle Simpson and Gabriela Willis are two out of only five teachers in the Western Cape and a total of 18 in South Africa, who have achieved the fellow status with Microsoft in education.

The Microsoft for Education programme offers numerous courses and self-development opportunities for educators around the globe. Through completing online courses, educators are able to connect with other educators in their communities, learning from each other and earning themselves the titles of Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts. The next level up is MIEE fellows.

According to Microsoft for Education, “earners of this badge are ‘MIE Experts’ who have demonstrated leadership and excellence in the MIE Expert programme through coaching, mentoring, delivering presentations at conferences, and providing rich professional development to other educators”.

“They have a strong presence on social media and are considered an expert in technology integration by their peers.”

MIE Fellows are awarded this recognition through a rigorous selection process by the South African Microsoft Edu team.

According to Simpson, being selected as an MIEE Fellow means she now has a greater mandate to mentor and inspire other teachers to use and implement the Microsoft tools and platform to enhance teaching and learning and to grow and support teachers and students with the 21st century teaching and learning pedagogy.

“The Microsoft Educator Community encourages professional development of teachers and this recognition as an MIEE Fellow means that as a teacher your approach to teaching and learning is innovative and you are willing to develop students and teachers to have the same approach. I will continue to advocate life-long learning and the use of the Microsoft for Education tools,” Simpson says.

Similarly, Willis says she loves exposing her learners to different tools and apps that connect them to cultures and communities around the world.

“Microsoft for Education is a Pandora’s Box that I decided to tap into a while back. The learning never stops, for both students and teachers, and I am excited to see what the future holds for me in this area,” Willis says.

The Covid-19 pandemic and closure of schools during the national lockdown brought about an urgent need to incorporate the use of technology into the traditional classroom setting. ’

Principal at WGJS Dee Cawcutt says that the pandemic highlighted the need to embrace the digital space and empower learners and staff to embrace the new hybrid style of education.

“We are incredibly proud of Mrs Simpson and Miss Willis in their efforts to continually innovate, share their knowledge and help us drive 21st century learning for our learners and broader community,” said Cawcutt. “Our vision at WGJS is to empower our young learners to be innovative thinkers, dreamers and do-ers – using technology and the digital landscape to imagine a better future for all.”

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