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WWIEF 2010: Anxiety mounts as judges decide semi-finalists

By Emeka Aginam, in Cape Town, South Africa
As the judges evaluate innovative work of about one hundred and twenty five teachers from around the world who are currently competing to win one of 12 worldwide innovative education awards at the ongoing   the 2010 edition of Worldwide Innovative Education Forum holding in Cape Town, South Africa, there appears to be growing anxiety among the teachers as to who make semi-finalists.

By tomorrow (Friday) the judges would have announced twenty five semi-finalists selected from one hundred and twenty five contestants after which 12 winners in different categories will emerge as finalists.

The judges had yesterday visited the participating teachers in the exhibition hall where their creative works were evaluated and accessed with questions asked..

For the judges, it may not be all that easy to select the best as majority of the competitors showcased creative works with best practice.

“We are getting the results ready. On personal level, they have developed good works. On official level, we have to use certain criteria to judge them

Anthony Salcito, Vice President, Microsoft Worldwide Education, (middle) Claudine Brown, Director of Education at Smithsonian Institution, (right) and Mteto Nyati, Managing Director, Microsoft, South Africa (left) during a press conference to announce the Shout yesterday in Cape Town, South Africa

“They all made massive efforts. Everybody who has come here is a winner in thr first place. A good teacher is a good teacher even without technology. But with adequate technology, teaching and learning practice will be better.

“The whole idea of the competition is imagination. Most of their works are fantastic. The judges appreciated their various works. We will release the result for the semi finalists  by tomorrow , (Friday) and in the evening,  the finalists result will also be announced.” Merlin John, a journalist who is also one of the judges told Vanguard CyberLIFE in a chat.

Already, many teachers who spoke to Vanguard CyberLIFE ahead of the result expressed confident of making semi-finalists list.

Meanwhile, Mr Nwodo Monday Obinna, a teacher from Odogbulu  Grammar School, Ogun State,  Nigeria who  had won the overall champion in Nigeria Innovative forum held last June with optimism  said that Nigeria will make the list in semi-finalists.

“The work I did on ‘Hypertension: The Silent Killer’ is very innovative. I attended to many visitors who checked their blood pressure level.

“This kind of monitoring should be on regular basis as Hypertension is one of the silent killers now all over the world. It should be taking seriously.

“The judges visited my stand, evaluated my work, asked relevant questions. I have done my own part. Iam very optimistic to win.  I will not fail Nigeria. Iam here for Nigeria. Iam here for Africa.  Iam just waiting for the result” the young talented teacher said.

Similarly, Issah Ibrahim Shaba, a teacher from WA Senior High School, Upper West Region Ghana, with excitement said that African countries will emerge as winners.

“Iam an ICT teacher. Iam confident to win. I have done my best with my innovative work. We are waiting for the judges to give us result   for the semi-finalists after which the winners for the finalists will emerge” he said.

Another teacher from Poland, Maria Darska who also expressed confident on the result said that she has done her best coming to the final stage. “ We are sure to win. We can with innovative work. We commended Microsoft for this kind of initiative. It is a very exciting experience” she said.

For Elena Babina, an English language teacher from Russia whose project is on: ‘Forgotten Monument of unforgotten war’ while commending Microsoft for the capacity building project said with confident that he team will take one of the awards to Russia. “I  have no doubt that my project make the list” she added.

It would be recalled that the  Worldwide Innovative Education Forum is the signature program of Microsoft Partners in Learning  to honor innovative teachers and schools, and to showcase how technology can further educational transformation by being appropriately incorporated into curricula, pedagogy and classrooms.
Partners in Learning are the 10-year, nearly $500 million commitment by Microsoft to transform education systems around the world.
Since its inception in 2003, the Partners in Learning program has reached more than 196 million teachers and students in 114 countries
Teachers from many countries of the world including Nigeria, Ghana Brazil, Singapore, Australia, Eastern and Western Europe, the US among others are   among the competitors who are now waiting to win one of 12 global Innovative Education awards to celebrate their best practices in the classroom.


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