Jennifer Blum, reflects on her experience in this fantastic blog post:-

They say just participating makes you a winner. But I would have rather won. Hey! I am American after all. However, like any good educator, I have spent some time reflecting on the experience (8 hrs, in fact, as this is the flight time from Dulles to Heathrow) and this is what I have learned:

1. I am in good company with the other 182 ‘losers’ who did not win; a Hong Kong teacher who uses augmented reality to imageteach English, an Egyptian teacher whose students created a wiki to bring tourists back to Egypt after the revolution, and a Brazilian teacher who managed a television station across 5 schools to offer lessons to the wider community are just a few examples. I feel so honoured to be part of such a talented and inspirational bunch of losers!

2. Losers get to save space in their luggage for all the other goodies from the Global Forum as they don't have to fit in their framed award. So I was able to take home 65 business cards, six DVD's of data,  two USB sticks full of resources and three bookmarks each with a list of useful websites & tips. All that and a snow globe of the White House.

3. Even losers can make friends and influence people (just not the judges). I met some amazing people and took away great contacts and ideas. It's all about the networking at the Partners in Learning Forum. As a result, I've secured a journalist to come and speak to my class, a possible lead into educational development consulting and I'm collaborating with four teachers from around the world on a project using Facebook, Twitter and Wiki Spaces.

So even though I did not win, I did not return empty handed. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. I came back full of new knowledge, renewed motivation and a sense of purpose to live up to the honour bestowed on me by the Microsoft Partners in Learning community. My first day back at work was spent emailing staff and administrators the useful resources, links and knowledge gained at the forum as well as setting up CPD training for my department and encouraging my school to enrol in the Innovative Schools Network and hopefully get on the path to becoming a Mentor school.

The experience Microsoft has given me has offered me the affirmation progressive teachers need and yet has spurred me on to go even further. I cannot thank Microsoft enough for the opportunity, as this journey has won me more than I ever could have imagined.

Meet Jen and other outstanding Teachers at our Microsoft UK Partners in Learning Forum.  This  one-day conference, free of charge to all teachers and educators who wish to attend. The workshops and keynotes this year have a STEM ‘flavour’ and address the theme of ‘Teach more, learn more, inspire more.’

This year the Forum is being held at the Microsoft Headquarters, Thames Valley Park in Reading on the 24th Nov 2011 – Full Details can be found here

If you can’t make the day event in reading then why not sign up to attend the Teacher Meeting on the evening of 23rd Nov. Full details can be found here. https://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=278570945508395