“I make young people aware that they are not learning for grades and for parents, but for themselves.“ – Barbara Halska, Poland

Keeping up with new technology can be challenging for any teacher, but when you work at a technical school, it’s a critical part of your job. For Barbara Halska, updating her technical knowledge is one of the key benefits of participating in the Microsoft Innovative Educator program. And she’s applying that knowledge in her classroom.

“When educating young people in a technical school, I focus primarily on the practical use of knowledge and real performance of tasks,” Halska says. “Each student works on his or her virtual machine Hyper-V (a Microsoft program that creates virtual machines) and studies the issues related to the profession. Recently, I’ve started to prepare students for Azure cloud management practice, which is content that goes beyond the core curriculum.”

Halska’s project-based approach has exposed her students to innovative learning opportunities and garnered praise and awards from around the globe. They even created a tool to monitor safety on a company’s railroad tracks. But just as important as the vocational learning are the social skills they develop along the way.

“In addition to the fact that young people develop their professional competencies during project implementation,” she explains, “they also shape their social competencies, such as sensitivity and openness to others. They gain a sense of self-confidence and self-worth and learn how to cooperate in a group.”

Those social skills help Halska’s students cope in delicate situations, like visiting the people they are creating a project for. Students learn to listen carefully and ask questions so that their inventions can be further refined and adapted to the users’ needs, taking into account the feedback they received.

Helping prepare her students for the workplace of the future is one of Halska’s priorities, and she works to ensure they have all the tools they need.

“I make young people aware that they are not learning for grades and for parents, but for themselves,” she tells us. “I am trying to encourage young people to find their way in IT starting in the first grade, because if they are interested in something, there is a high probability that they will want to expand their knowledge. That is why I organize meetings with IT practitioners, and workshops on topics like 3D printing or welding optical fibers, as well as encouraging them to be certified on the Microsoft Virtual Academy platform. In my opinion, every young person has a passion and talent, you only need to help them reveal this.”

Connect with Barbara on her Microsoft Educator Community Profile.

About Barbara Halska

  • Educational background: Opole University of Technology
  • Favorite Microsoft product, tool, technology: Microsoft Azure
  • Favorite books: Difficult choice. I read a lot.
  • Website I check everyday: https://zs6sobieski.pl/
  • Favorite childhood memory: First trip to the Tatras.
  • What is the best advice you have ever received? I'm so proud of you.