Microsoft Educator Community
Paul Smith-Keitley
23 January 2018

I've worked with Microsoft Education for the best part of 20 years. The company and its individuals have always cared about teachers and teaching. Just look at the amazing work done by Ed Price and his team with Small Basic or the support they provide for Hadi Partovi’s and Hour of Code projects.

Microsoft Educator Community

Only a handful of educators I've worked with over the years were aware of the MEC - Microsoft Educator Community. MEC is a hub for many of Microsoft’s core educational programs, from ‘Skype in the Classroom’ to courses and resources. There's something there for everyone and it is provided for free.

Resources & CPD

There are a wide variety of courses, covering the basics of technology - how to integrate it into every day activities and how it can enhance different teaching styles. Each area is covered by multi-level resources, whether you are beginner seeking understanding, an advanced user looking for new ideas or an administrator looking to build the ‘big picture’.

Most of the courses have a built-in assessment module and a chance to earn Digital Badges. There are an ever-growing number of courses up on the MEC. I try and keep up with the ever-growing number of courses on MEC. I only have 44 out of the 67 available certificates and a paltry 62 out of the 155 badges listed!


Share Your Ideas

Courses aren’t everything though, sometimes you may need help and it is here that the community aspect of the MEC comes into play. With more than 35 different discussion groups ranging from STEM to Sway and Fine Arts to Minecraft - you can ask a question about almost anything and get answers from your peers around the globe.

You can also share your ideas with others in the form of lesson plans and lesson ideas. Find plans shared by other educators in over 20 subjects and in more than 60 different languages. There are some great ideas from finding out about traditional Asian musical instruments to learning about the real-world usage of Pi in autonomous vehicles.

Skype in the Classroom

A really cool and useful service provided is the ‘Skype in the Classroom’ project. Classes can go on ‘virtual field trips’ and talk to experts who may be anywhere from Antarctica to the International Space Station. Classes can engage in collaborative projects e.g. tracking the weather, talking about holidays or even writing and performing music and plays. Finally there is ‘Mystery Skype’ where students have to ask questions during a Skype call to figure out where the other class is!

Four takeaways for Teachers about MEC:

  1. It is not all about Microsoft. It doesn’t matter if you run iOS, Android or Chromebooks, the vast majority of the resources are still relevant to you.
  2. It is a tremendous source of CPD, not only about technology, but also about 21st Century pedagogy.
  3. It is a community that extends beyond your school – want your students to learn about China? Use Skype in the Classroom to let students talk to their peers in China (and don’t worry about language differences Skype can auto translate on the fly!)
  4. For educators this is a big one, it is FREE, 100%, and at the price it is a bargain!


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