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News 2 > Global Teacher Prize - Finalists > 2023 Finalists Global Teacher Prize > Marina Zachariah 

Marina Zachariah 


Since 2010 Marina has taught in Ossa, a small village in Greece with about 300 inhabitants, remote from the outside world. Previously, the children there had never traveled outside their village, had never been to a theatre or cinema, and had never visited a museum. Marina decided to broaden their horizons and establish contact with other schools by registering her school for eTwinning projects. In their first project in 2015-16, the school collaborated with students from Bulgaria and Slovakia and together won the National eTwinning Prize. In 2017-2018, Marina founded a European eTwinning Project called eTreeHuggers, where students set themselves the task of trying to protect the forests around them. This project received the top distinction and was awarded with the 1st European eTwinning Prize 2021.  

Marina’s biggest love, however, is robotics. She did everything in her power to get robotics into her remote school, and she succeeded. Many of her students' families lacked the funds to contribute to robotics kits, and her school had no funding from the state to equip it with the technology privileges enjoyed by other schools in big cities. With Marina’s contributions from her own salary and the children’s participation in competitions, the school managed to gain the robotics materials needed to collaborate with schools from other European countries. Since 2018, the school has been awarded multiple Certificates of Excellence for its robotics activity and performance in competitions. Ossa, a small village that few knew of, soon became the epicentre of educational and robotics events and the school racked up numerous competition wins. If Marina had to choose one achievement that she is most proud of from her teaching career, it would be that she opened a window to the world for her students.  

In Marina’s teaching, she tries to implement authentic learning methods that both combine technologies and arise from playing. Game-based learning promotes a positive attitude towards learning and develops memory skills, along with its potential to connect learners. Every year she tries to teach subjects that are innovative and pioneering: in recent years, she has implemented Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things activities. This is why the kindergarten she teaches at was selected by Greece’s Ministry of Education to be one of the schools that would foster pilot STEM projects.  

If Marina wins the Global Teacher Prize, she will use the prize funds to save a local monument – the Chatzi-Chatzichristakshe house, which, although classified as a "preservable monument", remains abandoned and helpless. As it is a typical example of traditional Macedonian architecture of the 19th century, it is one of the most valuable remaining buildings of the rural area. Saving and restoring it would give the local community a cultural project that exemplifies sustainable rural development. Marina’s dream is to restore the house and transform it into an educational location for all the children of the area.  

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