Students need to be challenged on social innovation, says Microsoft

“Instead of standardized teaching, our schools and our educators need to teach innovation” – Microsoft Malta

Around 50 secondary school students from private, public and church schools met at the recent Social Innovation Challenge Powered by Microsoft event organized by the Junior Achievement Young Enterprise Malta Foundation for young teenage students at the Microsoft Innovation Center.

Teams of seven students from each participating school competed in this one-day event where they were presented with a 'challenge' for them to solve. Throughout the whole exercise, the participating teams were guided and assisted by officials from Microsoft Malta as well as officials from Junior Achievement Young Enterprise. The winning team won an Xbox with Kinect for their school as well as individual Microsoft product prizes for each of the team members.

The participating students were in for a real challenge and had an intense experience as they had to propose solutions within a given time frame, using tools and technology provided by Microsoft.

"When it comes to motivating and enticing students towards education and entrepreneurship, one-day challenges seem to be the best option," commented Lorna Farrugia, CEO of Junior Achievement Young Enterprise (Foundation) Malta following the successful event.

"Such challenges serve to steer young people towards business ideas which are not necessarily conceived within the traditional classroom setting. They are ideal ways to educate and motivate key players such as teachers and business people on how to encourage more entrepreneurship in the classroom" added Ms Farrugia.

"This was the first event of its kind hosted at the Microsoft Innovation Center where a busy calendar of events has been in place over the past few months and we were very proud to have hosted these fifty students at the MIC. Such events form part of Microsoft's active role in promoting the concept and importance of innovation in education," says Angela Micallef, Citizenship Manager from Microsoft Malta.

"People who can innovate and think innovatively, have the power to bring change in their community and in the world. It is estimated that technology will allow three billion new voices to enter into the innovation discussion between 2010 and 2020. But having access to information and technology is not enough. People need to be properly educated and taught how to innovate. Instead of standardized teaching, our schools and our educators need to teach innovation. This one-day event is one such example of how we could move towards more innovation in teaching," added Angela Micallef.

"During this Social Innovation Challenge event Powered by Microsoft, students also learnt some basics in creative thinking and problem solving, and were encouraged to break away from the constraints of what may be considered as obvious solutions. In the spirit of entrepreneurship, the students put into practice Junior Achievement Young Enterprise's principle of "Learning by Doing", to help them develop their interpersonal, as well as problem solving skills and learn to work under tight deadlines," concluded Lorna Farrugia.

The participating schools were St. Michael's School of Sta Venera, St Edwards College, a girls' team from Gozo aptly named Gozo Girls, Savio College, St Joseph School of Sliema, Stella Maris and St Martins.

For more information on JA-YE Malta Foundation email [email protected]