When I talk with educators about what they're doing in the classroom, and even recalling my own experiences, teachers are sometimes a bit humble about sharing their project and lesson ideas. Perhaps it is part out of fear of being judged or evaluated by a peer, or maybe what they're doing has just become fundamental to their practice and they don't view it as particularly "innovative" or progressive.
The reality is that in so many classrooms around the world today the effective use of technology in the classroom is still nascent. Sad as this may be to many of us, we all know teachers who are hesitant to use any technology, or simply don’t have the time to try something new.
However, that reality aside, we are seeing many teachers doing incredibly innovative things everyday with their students and seldom being recognized and sharing what they do with others. Online communities, PLNs and social media have aided in this sharing, though we need more ways to showcase, recognize and reflect on what educators are doing well in the classroom.
One great example is an educator in rural Craig, CO (pop. 9,189). Cheryl Arnett teaches second grade and decided to take a different approach to a poetry project she was working on, specifically explaining poetic devices. She describes what she did in a much more articulate way than I in her own post, in short, she chose to use the PowerPoint Add-In Mouse Mischief for her lesson, giving every child a mouse and letting them interact with the lesson activity in real-time. As she notes, the level of engagement and the outcomes achieved were notable (I plan to post on this in more detail again soon).
Now Cheryl isn't unfamiliar with sharing her innovative approaches to engaging her students. She was one of 3 finalists to represent the U.S. at the Worldwide Innovative Education Forum in Capetown, South Africa last year.
The Innovative Education Forum is a worldwide program from Microsoft Partners in Learning. The program recognizes innovative educators and innovative schools implementing 21-century skills in the classroom and the school community with the goal of improving teaching and learning. The forum seeks to showcase creative and inspiring examples of how educators and schools are using technology.
Cheryl participated in last year's U.S. forum and went on to the worldwide forum and that's how we got connected. In exchanging email with Cheryl, and as you'll see in the video below, this forum has inspired educators in many different ways, enabling collaboration and collegiality with teachers from around the U.S. and the globe.
So now it’s your turn!
We are pleased to announce the application period for the 2011 U.S. Innovative Education Forum is now officially open!
We want to highlight the great things happening in your classrooms and across the country and provide the opportunity for educators to showcase these with other teachers and education leaders. This is your chance to not only be recognized for the work you do everyday, but to hear and share with others and get inspired!
Checkout this video to hear from other educators from their experiences at last year's forum.
The event details and application are available here.
In short, download the application, describe a compelling project that you've done and submit it. If you get the app in early (before April 1st) we'll send you a fun Bing Classroom Pack with posters and cool whiteboard magnets.
If you're interested in seeing what past attendees have submitted you can poke around on our YouTube channel (you can find them titled by school name).
Most of all, we want to showcase your great work, and by the way, if your application is accepted Microsoft will pick-up the tab for your trip to Seattle.
Thoughts, questions or ideas, please comment here. And share this post with a colleague you know who is doing great work. I look forward to seeing you there!