Mobile Computing

Ontario Class Uses BYOD for Project-Based Learning

An elementary school teacher in Tecumseh, ON, has embraced mobile devices in his classroom and recently became one of just 15 Canadian teachers named a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert for his efforts. Andre Quaglia, who heads three academic departments at the Tecumseh Vista Academy, received the honor in large part because he decided not to be the kind of teacher he had when he was in school.

"When I was in school, the teacher would always say, 'Put that away,'" Quaglia told the Windsor Star recently. "I realized early in my teaching practice, if that's a learning tool I could be using in my classroom, why not let the students use it."

That's why Quaglia is perfectly happy to let his students use their smartphones, tablets and laptops in his classes. As an example, in his ninth-grade Introduction to Business class, the students are using their devices to virtually design and market new products. In recent years, his students have designed everything from battery-powered dune buggy cars to board games and water parks.

They do so by using Office 365 and by working on projects virtually from home after school.

"Finding a way to extend their learning outside the classroom was the difference for me," he said.

Quaglia is one of 800 teachers from all over the world this year to be named Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Experts. Each year, the company selects teachers who are making innovative use of technology in their classrooms and acknowledges them as leaders in their academic communities. Microsoft provides them with free technology tools and professional development opportunities like webinars and online learning experiences of their own. In return, the MIE Experts are expected to share what they learn with other teachers in their schools and communities.

A select group — which will include Quaglia — will attend the Microsoft in Education 2015 Global Forum this spring in Redmond, WA.

"This group of over 800 teachers represents the best of the best when it comes to using technology to reinforce critical 21st century skills," said a Microsoft representative in a statement, "and even more important, they're driving real impact and outcomes."

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.

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