Johor school receives global Microsoft award

Tech-savvy: SKTBI regularly organised digital learning sessions for parents and students before the pandemic.

SK Taman Bukit Indah (SKTBI) in Bandar Iskandar Puteri, Johor, was recently awarded the prestigious “Biggest Impact School of the Year 2019-2020”.

The Microsoft Showcase Schools award is in recognition of SKTBI’s efforts towards digitalising education and the tremendous impact it has had on the surrounding community.

SKTBI is one of the three schools globally and the only school in Asia to receive the award, out of 325 education institutions from 58 countries around the world who are part of the Microsoft Showcase Schools programme.

Other award recipients include Treorchy Comprehensive School in the United Kingdom and Gray Middle School-Tacoma Public Schools in the United States.

Congratulating SKTBI on the award, Education Ministry (Educational Resource and Technology Division) director Maznah Abu Bakar said the school’s dedication to adopting technology and training surrounding communities with digital skills is the perfect demonstration of (the ministry’s) digitalisation aspirations.

“Transformation is not only about adoption, as it also involves a shift in mindset, among teachers, students as well as parents. SKTBI has proven that it is possible, even in these challenging times, to find success and support continuous education through innovative use of technology in the classroom, ” she said in a press release last month.

SKTBI is also the first school in Malaysia to have all its teachers accredited as Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) experts, which is a global recognition of the teachers’ commitment to integrate technology into teaching and learning.

Honoured to receive the award, SKTBI headmaster Rasman Abdul Karim said the school’s teachers have been actively exploring the use of technology in education even before Covid-19 hit.

“This foresight allowed us to transition to remote learning faster than we would have otherwise. It also provided us ample time to prepare our teachers, as well as the parents of our students – who play an equally vital role in enabling digital education.

“We hope our transformation journey will serve as a motivator for other schools around the country to continue leveraging technology to enhance our education system as we head into the digital future.”

SKTBI’s hard work is reflected in improved learning outcomes for their students and an increased focus on future-ready skills.

Additionally, their dedication to education transformation has enabled them to help other teachers and schools in Malaysia to better manage the transition to remote and hybrid learning scenarios during the current Covid-19 crisis.

Their expertise in leveraging technology in education also allowed for co-curricular activities to continue, even during a nationwide lockdown.

Even before the pandemic, SKTBI started organising digital sessions after school on weekends, designed for parents to gain exposure to the platform being used and the skills they need to know to enhance their children’s digital learning experience. Teachers at SKTBI have also conducted training sessions to help upskill other teachers to embrace remote teaching.

“As we conduct online classes throughout the movement control order, we noticed that other teachers have also begun to realise the need to pick up remote learning and digital teaching skills.

“We have been conducting webinars to teach educators valuable digital skills for free. The response has been largely positive, as they begin to discover new ways of teaching, collaborating and leveraging these new skills to enhance their virtual classroom experience, ” said SKTBI teacher Mohd Fadzli Ishak.

The school has since conducted dozens of webinars, including an international sharing session organised by the South Korean Education Ministry, whereby SKTBI was given the opportunity to share their best practices with over 60 schools from the Philippines and Indonesia.

Moving forward, SKTBI plans to share their knowledge and expertise with 45 schools in Iskandar Puteri.

The school aims to help train more than 90 teachers and 900 students, turning them into a nucleus within the school to further spread their knowledge and encourage digital adoption within the education community.

It is heartwarming to see our nation’s educators finding and creating success through technology, said Microsoft Malaysia managing director K. Raman.

“SKTBI’s collaborative approach towards digitalisation and their dedication to upskilling every person in their community with the skills needed to allow learning to continue even through a pandemic, is worthy of recognition and praise.

“We will continue to work with SKTBI and the Malaysian education community at large, as we start a new year. We would also like to invite more schools to reach out to us and be part of our Microsoft Showcase Schools programme, so we can continue to support them on our shared path towards the future of education.”

The Microsoft Showcase Schools is a programme by Microsoft which supports a global network of schools to implement school-wide transformation to drive a culture of learning, innovation and continuous improvement.

Participating schools leverage the Microsoft Education Transformation Framework, and receive digital transformation guidance as well as access to resources and latest research to enable learning anywhere, anytime for their students.

SKTBI, with close to 700 students as well as 50 teachers and staff in 2020, is one out of five Microsoft Showcase Schools in Malaysia. Other schools in Malaysia that have joined this programme, include SK Taman Senangan (Penang), SMK Kubang Kerian (Kelantan), SMK Kuala Perlis (Perlis) and SK Bandar Hilir (Melaka).

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