Aquinas College joins Microsoft’s exclusive community



Aquinas College in Ashmore will begin a multi-year growth journey to take their digital transformations to the next level after being accepted into the Microsoft Showcase School Incubator Path.

Joining an exclusive global community, the path leads schools in becoming a fully-fledged Showcase School, as they design, develop, and deliver positive impact in teaching, learning, and students' future readiness.

Aquinas teacher in eLearning Andrew Battese said, "the program is a great opportunity to engage and connect with Microsoft and like-minded schools from around the world," Andrew said. 

"Showcase Schools create student-centred, immersive and inclusive experiences that inspire life-long learning and stimulate the development of essential future-ready skills – empowering students to achieve more which is exactly what we strive for at Aquinas."

"The Incubator Path will allow us to deepen and expand our education transformation, share insights, best practices, engage in global Microsoft events, enjoy Microsoft partner offers and product support, and ultimately contribute to the vision of schools and students in all countries."

Aquinas's application to the tech giant included a Sway presentation showcasing how the school had led innovation in two of their categories – improvement in process and data-driven decisions and educator and leader professional development – after initially completing a semester-long Transformation Program.

With training and support from Microsoft, the school set its goals for what they wanted to transform using Microsoft 365 in the classroom.

"This year, we have been researching and innovating the way we provide student feedback using Microsoft 365. A feedback loop was created, with the purpose of creating a school-wide approach to feedback that avoids inconsistencies between classes," Andrew said.

"The feedback loop is simple for staff to implement, involves the students in the feedback process, applies to any piece of assessment, and ultimately improves student outcomes as they are more responsible for their own progress in closing the learning gap from their current performance to performance goals.

"We implemented these improvements through staff and student professional development."  

The school also detailed their vision on education transformation, the current state, what they hoped to gain, and the potential challenges and considerations as they progressed towards their vision.  

Andrew said the College's acceptance "is a reflection of not only the great work the teachers are doing with technology in the classroom to date but also the school's commitment and drive to continue implementing innovative technology in education".

"Our students will benefit from the program through the holistic strategies we put in place to innovate within the four pillars of the Microsoft Education Transformation Framework," Andrew said.  

"As a school, in conjunction with the Microsoft Education team, we will use the Microsoft Education Transformation Framework to facilitate the process of envisioning what's possible and developing a strategy to achieve it."

And the school is in good hands to achieve its vision, with Andrew also being one of Brisbane Catholic Education's Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts (MIE:E).

Being an MIE:E not only acknowledges Andrew as a leader in innovation education, but it also allows him to connect with other Microsoft experts and bring the ongoing learnings back into the Aquinas classrooms.

"I love to meet, share and learn from other teachers across Australia and internationally on new and innovative ways to use technology in the classroom," Andrew said.

Read more on our BCE Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts here.

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