Three South African teachers join 250 global teachers at the Microsoft E2 Teacher exchange in Budapest. Will it be you, next year?

Submitted by Fiona Beal

Three of our Microsoft MIEExpert teachers were selected to attend the dazzling Microsoft E2 Global Teacher Exchange in beautiful Budapest this year from March 8th – 10th. Keshma Patel (Micklefield School, Western Cape, Moses Sello Sehoole (Mankuroane Technical and Commercial High, North West Province) and Tracy Heath (Brescia House School, Gauteng) left our shores earlier this month, along with Angela Schaerer from Microsoft,  to attend a conference where they would be surrounded by some of the most creative and innovative educators from around the world. We are hoping that our three SA teachers will write guest posts about their experiences on this blog in the not-to-distant future.

What is the Microsoft E2 Global Exchange?

The E2 teacher education is Microsoft’s annual education event recognising and celebrating the achievements of educators to combine content, pedagogy and technology in innovative ways to prepare students for success. Our three South African teachers joined around 250 of the most innovative teachers that Microsoft has sourced from around the globe for this fantastic event. Their purpose was to share experiences collaborate on projects and learn new techniques to integrate technology into the classroom. This year the venue was the glittering Corinth hotel shown in the collage above. Below are two photos of Budapest taken by Keshma Patel.

The program for the three-day event
On the official programme the following events were outlined: 

  • Tech learning market place – share and learn from peers who are using Microsoft technologies
  • Regional and peer-to-peer workshops and trainings on Microsoft technologies for
    the classroom
  • Global Educator Challenge
  • Professional certification and certification opportunities
  • Technology showcase


For this section I have drawn extensively from the three blog posts mentioned in the bibliography below.

“I especially liked the breakout sessions on a variety of topics led by fellow teachers. It’s one thing to hear about a product from a developer’s point of view. It’s invaluable to listen to a teacher model how that product can be successfully used in the classroom. (Julie Hembree) 

Here is an image of some of the projects demonstrated. Even our own dear Nelson Mandela was quoted on screen at the conference.

Images taken from Julie Hembree’s blog post

“I got to know wonderful teachers from all parts of the world and hear amazing stories from their classrooms, and I was really impressed with how they used their stories to build something new and innovative together. (Paula Vorne) 

“We could also take some of the Microsoft certification tests such as the 
Microsoft Certified Educator exam if we wanted to. Taking an intense test was a good reminder of the difficulty it can be for our students.” (Julie Hembree) 

“While the groups were designing their hacks and creating the Office Mixes, the Fellows got an amazing opportunity to be trained on STEM Maker Fair Kits. It was so much fun!”
(Paula Vorne)

“During the second day keynote address, Anthony Salcito, the Vice President of the World Wide Education team emphasized the mission of the Microsoft Education team. We had a chance to Skype with an Arctic Explorer and hear what it’s like to live in such a harsh climate.(Julie Hembree)

“Another teacher tells me how he uses Minecraft to teach creative writing. “I used to tell them to write a story and they’d give me these blank stares. Now I ask them to act out a story in the Minecraft world first and then, together, we figure out how to articulate it in writing.” (Jordan Shapiro)

“We had to design a classroom hack in an assigned persona: Gamify, Personalize, Minimize, Simplify and Strategize. Our Hack had to be shared in an Office Mix and couldn’t be over 3 minutes long. Each teacher was assigned to a team, where we had to find a common problem and a solution to it.” (Julie Hembree)

“The Learning Marketplace took place on the last day! Each educator set up a trifold poster detailing the project they focused on at home with their students. The trick is to be at your booth to meet other educators and tell them about your project AND move around the room meeting others and hearing their stories.” (Julie Hembree) 

Here is an image of our three South African teachers with their projects:

“Two more teachers show me how they’ve created their own social and emotional assessment tool within OneNote’s Class Notebooks feature.”
(Jordan Shapiro)

“The last evening of the conference was the celebration time. Dressed in fancy cocktail attire, we were bussed to the National Gallery of Budapest to spend the evening at the building that houses some of the most renowned Hungarian art. There was an award ceremony where the winners of the Hack the Classroom contest were announced.” (Julie Hembree)

This short video ‘Thank you MIE Experts‘ ( uploaded by Microsoft gives one the feel of this amazing conference.

Hack the classroom challenge with link to winners

At the E2 in
Budapest Microsoft ran a classroom hack competition. The 250 educators were
broken into 50 collaboartive groups and were randomly assigned a hacker
persona. Each team had to design a classroom hack which involved:

  1. identifying a common problem they all faced in the classroom
  2. Propose an innovative solution that is reasonable to implement taking into
    consideration the technology available to the team members in their home
    situations. The hack also had to match their assigned persona. 
  3. They created an Office Mix of 3mins to describe the problem, how it affects
    learning, the solution and how to implement the solution

The judges then selected the winners.The winner was this Mix shown in the image below: ‘How to integrate foreign students into a multicultural classroom.” To watch the top 15 Mixes from the different categories please visit the Microsoft Educator Community on this link:

Here is an image of Moses from South Africa with his group designing their ‘Hack the classroom’ challenge. 

The second day of the conference was streamed 

You can watch the live streaming recording taken of the 2nd day if you visit this link ( on the Microsoft Education Community and register. You’ll hear from Anthony Salcito, Vice President, Worldwide Education at Microsoft and Stephen Reid, Creative Director for ImmersiveMinds, who shares innovative approaches to learning enabled by technology, including game-based learning, as well as some of their favourite ways to #hacktheclassroom.

Our three teachers are back, excited and inspired…

Our three teachers are back and we are eager to hear their stories. Moses Sehoole has been featured in a newspaper report:

As Moses Sehoole wrote on Facebook:

#‎MIEE 2016. Back from Exchange Conference in BUDAPEST, HUNGARY. We are back and ready #‎hack our classrooms #‎Share good practices.Thank you Microsoft for Educator Empowerment.

Get involved in the Microsoft MIEE program 2016/2017

If you are a teacher who likes to be innovative in the classroom, think about entering Microsoft’s Innovative Teacher MIEExpert program in 2016/2017 when applications reopen later in the year. You can learn more about the program at this link on the Microsoft Educator Community. You could be the one attending a Microsoft E2 Teacher Exchange next year!


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