I travel constantly and while I have the privilege of visiting and getting inspired by institutions all across the US every day…it makes the year pass by very quickly.  That’s one of the reasons I really appreciate big education industry events, and NECC is certainly one of my favorites.  In addition to embracing the opportunity to connect with innovators, leaders, and industry partners…the event provides me with an opportunity to reflect on the progress we’re making as an education team here at Microsoft. Are we adding value? Have we simplified the way institutions get value from our programs and technology?  Have we evolved our relevance in education and teaching and learning? I use NECC as a point in the year to evaluate our past and get feedback on where we should be focusing our future.  As always, I welcome your input and guidance…

NECC is also a great opportunity for us to share our resources, programs and technology solutions that positively impact students and their learning. For this year’s show, we have identified offerings, partners, and products that meet the specific needs of K-12 education. We’re hopeful people attending the show can benefit from the many assets available...from new devices to professional development resources to software solutions...to help create 21st century digital learning environments that prepare students for the real world.

Visit us at Microsoft’s booth #1728. We will be hosting presentations throughout the conference and chances to win cool prizes.

Collaborate and Educate:
Join our 12 workshops as part of NECC’s official conference program. These three-hour workshops will be focused on the integration of technology and curriculum, using Microsoft tools, and delivered through instructional education trainers. Register for our classes today: http://www.microsoft.com/education/necc2009/workshops.aspx 

Twitter Treasure Hunt:
Do you Twitter? If so, follow the Microsoft Twitter account at www.twitter.com/teachtec to participate in our virtual treasure hunt leading up to NECC. Throughout June we will be posting clues on this Twitter account and educators can answer the clues to be entered to win amazing prizes, such as HP laptops, Microsoft Office software, wireless keyboards and mice, and more.

Helping Engage Students More Effectively Using Technology:
Join Microsoft and HP to learn how we are creating powerful student engagement tools and effective teacher development through technology usage, with examples from today’s most innovative teachers. Come join us at our session on Wednesday, July 1 from 10:30am–11:30am in WWCC 206.

Erin Gruwell and the Freedom Writers Foundation Closing Keynote:
Wednesday's (July 1st) keynote wraps up your conference experience with an inspirational look into the 10+ years worth of technology-supported projects initiated by Freedom Writers founder Erin Gruwell, compliments of HP and Microsoft. Don’t miss this inspirational discussion:  http://center.uoregon.edu/ISTE/NECC2009/program/keynotes.php

For those unable to attend the show in person, many of the resources will be available via www.microsoft.com/education and stay tuned for future webcast sessions that will highlight many of the things we’ll just touch on at NECC.

Looking forward to meeting you in D.C.!