What is E2 and how did I get there?

The Microsoft E2 Educator Exchange Conference is an exclusive three-day event that brings together 350 of the most innovative educators from around the world for the opportunity to collaborate, create, and share their experiences on how to integrate technology and pedagogy to advance learning, achieve student outcomes, and transform education. This year the event was held in Paris.

Opening block of my Sway showing Paris at night with the Eiffel Tower lit up.

To be selected, educators must be active participants in the Microsoft Expert Educator Program, have qualified as a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert and have lodged an application with the relevant person in their country. For Australians, this is Travis Smith, the K-12 Industry Lead at Microsoft Australia. The application had to be created using Sway; this is mine.

For 2019 Travis chose 4 Australians: Laura Bain, and Mark Savery from Queensland, Jodi Gordon from South Australia and me, Margaret Simkin, from Victoria. A fifth, Stephen Crapnell, also from Queensland, presented one of the whole conference sessions, as well as participated in the challenges.

Mark, Jodi, Laura, Margaret and Steve.
The Aussie team for 2019

In my case I was told that my selection was due to my engagement in programs, including presenting at TeachMeets in the school holidays, participating on online conferences outside school hours, and my social media involvement.

All attendees were required to participate in the following tasks:

  • Educator Learning Marketplace – sharing a learning activity and learning from peers who are using Microsoft technologies in innovative and creative ways. The lessons shared were varied, targeted all age groups from 5 – 18 Years and were in languages other than English in many cases. Many focussed on Minecraft, Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality, for example Mark’s, which combined all three. Mine focussed on Collaboration, which is the nature of my role at The Hamilton and Alexandra College.
My marketplace stand set up, all about collaboration at my school. Australian flags and stickers to give away. Examples of our involvement in global projects.
My stand in the Marketplace.
  • Professional development and certification opportunities – we could all participate in workshops and training opportunities run by peer educators, and product development teams.
Mark, Jodi, Laura, Mike and Margaret
Mingling with those who lead the products we use _ Mike Tholfsen = OneNote (hence the purple cape)
  • Global Educator Challenge – Teams of 6 educators from a variety for countries, many of whom did not speak English, were tasked with completing the Class Hack educator group challenge. This involved a quick tour of the Eiffel Tower precinct and the forecourt of the Louvre, followed by the development of a learning activity using some of the designated Microsoft products to achieve a learning goal. The Translate tool was working overtime!
^ teachers from 6 countries: Argentina, Australia, Czech Republic, France, Israel and Spain.
Team 22 – take on the challenge.
  • Awards Ceremony: held at the Les Pavillions de Bercy. The Musée des Arts Forains – Collection Jean-Paul Favand a private museum of funfair objects located within the Pavillons de Bercy in the 12th arrondissement of Paris. This was an amazing venue with wooden games that could be played (a type of bowls which led to some mechanical horses racing across a space, a point scoring type of pool, fortune telling activities, and lots of life-size mannequins et cetera).
Inside the museum - sculptures and decorations
A location that is truly one of a kind.

Attending Microsoft E2 Educator Exchange in Paris Part 1 – The Aussie Team

The first week of April 2019 was spent in Paris attending the amazing Microsoft E2 Educator Exchange. I was honoured to be one of 5 Australian teachers to be selected, and the only one from Victoria.

Most of the team met for the first time at Dubai airport, and by Monday afternoon we were all together at the Marriott Hotel, our home for the week and the conference venue.

This is our Team, Laura, Me, Jodi, Mark, Steve and our Mentor and host Travis.
This is our Team, Laura, Me, Jodi, Mark, Steve and our Mentor and host Travis.

The plane landed a little later than scheduled and we were met at the airport door by a driver holding a sign bearing our names.

After a rest, and working on instructions NOT to sleep (Travis!) we headed out for a quick tour around the area and then tea.

Mark and me with the wonderful waiter.
Our waiter! Lovely choice of Smith brand red wine – Thanks Travis.

The first full day that we were there was one for acclimatising – so we got outside and wandered the streets. Unfortunately for Laura, Mark and I, our first choice for exploring, the catacombs, was closed on Mondays. We found our way to the Pantheon, taking taking photos along the way. Signs of the revolution were everywhere!

On our way to dinner, we stopped to take a photo outside Notre Dame.

Notre Dame in the background with Steve, Travis, Laura, me and Mark.  Jodi had been evacuated due to an unattended bag and we were on our way to find her.
Aussie Team outside Notre Dame.

We then took breath while three of us rode a carousel!

In the evening we had a team meal at Georges, in an interesting building called the Georges Pompidou Centre . Here we had a rooftop table with a view of the Eiffel tower.

Jodi, Steve, Laura, Travis, Mark and me at Georges. The back of the menu had images of a range of people called George!
Beautiful view, excellent meal, great company.

Having conquered the application process, developed the required materials for the exchange, and found our way via various routes to the beautiful city of Paris, were were ready to commence the exchange.