Microsoft E2 - Redmond 2015

not the end, merely a beginning

The Microsoft Global forums inspire educators by handing out ideas, announcing new software and offering the top-level keynotes. 87 countries were represented by 250 outstanding Educators. During this article I want to wrap up my thoughts and share them to you.

The journey began by making an educational video in the Microsoft LEX studios. My mission was to create the Quick Tip Video about Sway. During the past year I wrote quick tips, columns and interviewed David Alexander from the Sway team. Being involved in the creation of this quick tip was thus a real honor. Thanks to a teleprompter I didn't need to learn my tekst by heart. It was a great experience seeing how the video was edited on the fly. Really curious about the end result.

The Microsoft campus is really impressive. It's nice to wander around the different building while shuttles are emerging everywhere. As one mentioned: Redmond is in fact Microsoft and some other buildings, the campus counts more than 40,000 employees and sometimes strange kind of stores appear (pet stores, etc).

Anthony Salcito's keynotes are always a treat to the eyes. They were introduced by a big brass band and a djembe session. I was pleased to see my picture appear twice in his stunning presentation. A new version of was introduced and we were given enough time to ask questions. Important to me as a web designer: the new browser will be called Edge (previously announced as Spartan) and will support the pen.

"We need to move rapidly from where we are to where we need to be."
Anthony Salcito

Anthony spoke about Minecraft, the amazing Hololens, skype in the classroom and other wonderful tools. Also brand new:

As a fellow, I had the honor and pleasure to enjoy a separate track which included a meeting with the Office Mix and Sway developers. These developers were very open minded and down to earth and above all, really interested. They gave us the feeling listening to our feedback. I proposed some shifts in both tools and am still doing conversations with the program managers. During the TeachMeet, I presented "Distance Learning using Skype for Business". A TeachMeet allows participants to ask questions. Time for wearing my own-created Lync-cape! For those who are interested in remote learning, take a look at, on which I gathered some resources and published my presentation in an Office Mix format.

Are YOU considering to try out or even implement remote learning in your school? Feel free to contact me, I'd be happy to be of any kind of assistance!

After the challenge was announced by Mette and Josh (who spent a lot of time in the splendid organisation), we got our judge training by Kirsten. This included an overview which clearly indicated how to evaluate the challenge. The day was closed by the tech showcase. During the second day, we got the opportunity to attend the keynote of Ziauddin Yousafzai, father of Malala - a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. No need to say this is a very inspiring person who makes you think about more than technology.

The most touching moment though was when we got a skype call from Moses, a refugee from Kakuma. More than 170,000 refugees are living in this Kenyan camp since 1992. We all agreed we need to collaborate to improve the educational level in this camp. Still impressed by this hair-rising moment, all fellows presented their project.

MIE Fellows

At the Home of the Future & Innovation Lab we discovered some amazing new technologies, but as we had to sign a NDA, I'm not able to reveal more details about these really cool tools and technologies - but it was very cool ;-)

Microsoft House of the Future

At the Kent Tech Expo, I met several youngsters demonstrating their little project. The Kent school district is the fourth largest school district in the state. I was impressed by 8 year old students who created their own movie, including music, video and images - mixed as a pro. Maybe even more stunning were the 10 year old students who learned JavaScript by tutorials of,,, and many other fantastic sites. Congratulations to the teacher who got out of her comfort zone as she doesn't know how to program herself.

Kent School District

As the judging implied lot's of reading and we wanted the best groups to win, we unfortunately had to miss the keynote of Angela Maiers. Her message is to leave your comfort zone and be brave.

Angela Maiers

Many groups inspired and even touched us - the jury - with their project in which they worked collaboratively about the subjects Bravery, Courage and Leadership. We judged their pitch, project plan and learning activity.

Satya Nadella at E2

Very unexpected and one of the highlights during this conference was the appearance of Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. What a down to earth, inspiring man. Funny to hear Microsoft is focussing on the pen because Bill likes to Doodle. To my opinion, Nadella brought Microsoft back on track by being innovative, delivering great new tools and most important: focussing on education. A recap (thx Aaron).

" You educators are empowering kids to be the very best they can be - to realize they have potential."
Satya Nadella, Fireside chat E2

Space Needle

Time to celebrate! The skyline of Seattle is characterized by the Space Needle, which always offers the opportunity to make great pictures. The Award Ceremony was at EMP, a futuristic looking building, built after a smashed guitar of Jimi Hendrix. Apart from the excited atmosphere, the impressive sights and happy people, I got the opportunity to discover a nice collection of memorabilia of Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix. Oh yeah, and some Star Wars stuff (not really like a fan ;-))

Nirvana in EMP

The E2 conference is a place where you get inspired and hope to inspire, a place where you get the opportunity to present what you're obsessed with, but also gain a maximum of knowledge. A place where you get to meet friendly, busy, creative and passionate educators, developers and speakers.

I'm loaded with fresh ideas about using tools, creating breath taking presentations and screencasts, implementing new approaches, motivating my students, etc.

Award Ceremony E2 EMP

I'm very lucky I met very passionate and warm people like Kurt, Ovi, Joao and Mette. They all inspired me, made me happy and gave the feeling we're already being friends for lot's of years. I was really happy to lunch with Kurt, it felt like talking to a brother. Apart from the same age, we share the same interests and drive. Drinking a pitch with Ovi and Joao was real fun. Pernille who made regularly selfies, the enthusiasm of Mette, the sympathetic Barry (did you know he's from Ireland? ;-)), stylish Mark and last but not least, the classy, kind, warm-hearted Kirsten. Thanks you Microsoft, my dear friends and in particularly Kirsten Panton and Koen Daems without whom this experience wouldn't have been as breathtaking as it was.

I hope everyone got their pin. I enjoyed giving this goodie to all educators (did you notice Anthony wearing one during his keynote?!). Still sending letters to MIEs all over the world.

It was nice to meet Minnia, Haddad, Becky, Hellen, David, Ngo, Karina, Tammy, Nguyenlieulh, Mali, Aaron, Tina, Hassan, AbuUbaydullah, Marija, Ana, Francisco, Slavica, Carlos, Julie, Sandy, Walid, Linda, Warren, Jasmin, Berat, Richard and many others of which many I've been communicating/collaborating during the past year. Avatars became real faces

"dad, what is this Misocroft you can't stop talking about"?

Back home, my 3 years old son claimed back "his" surface and started drawing in OneNote. After half an hour he asked me "dad, what is this Misocroft you can't stop talking about"? I handed him a little present and a few hours later he fell asleep in "his" - My dad is a geek - tshirt I bought him in the Misocroft store.

E2 in Redmond didn't feel like and end. I rather see it as the beginning of new collaboration, projects, discovery and maintaining friendships.

More pictures: Flickr OneDrive