This week, I am in Salvador, Brazil, attending the Worldwide Innovative Education Forum. The event brings together more than 400 teachers, school leaders, government officials and other education experts from around the world to celebrate and share innovation happening in the classroom that leads to educational transformation. Best practices for integrating technology into curricula, pedagogy and classrooms are showcased and people are connected with their peers for lifelong learning opportunities.

This is the 5th year the Microsoft Partners in Learning team has put on the event, and it kicked off today with the launch of the Partners in Learning Network. The Network is the next generation of the Innovative Teachers Network that I’ve blogged about before. We expect to have more than 2 million teachers and school leaders participating by next year…making it one of the largest professional networks for educators in the world. It went live today in English and Ukrainian and within the next couple of weeks, it will be available in 39 countries, with more languages coming in the next couple of months. The new site provides educators with the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues in their local region and around the globe. 

Teachers cannot be successful innovators unless their school systems support inventive teaching and learning. The Innovative Schools Program is designed to help school leaders become change agents within their school communities by providing tools and resources they need to successfully envision and implement transformation. In Brazil, we are welcoming the first classes of Mentor and Pathfinder Schools. There are 42 schools and we will work together over the next year to refine their vision to change the culture of schools and bring radical transformation to the classroom. We will then help implement the ideas, infuse technology where appropriate, and broadly scale out and help replicate it in other schools.

On Friday, we will announce the 12 winners of the Innovative Teachers Awards. Right now, 250 worldwide regional finalists are competing and we will recognize the best examples of those who have creatively and effectively used technology in their curriculum to help improve the way their students learn.

More details on what’s happening in Brazil can be found here. You can also follow all the chatter on Twitter by searching for the #MS09ief hash tag.