May 15th wrapped-up Round 2, the final round of applications for the 2011 Partners in Learning U.S. Innovative Education Forum (IEF). This is Microsoft’s premier teacher recognition program with events happening all around the world culminating in a worldwide forum hosted in November in Washington, DC. The intent is to showcase and recognize innovative education practices that take advantage of technology in relevant and effective ways across K-12 schools. The U.S. Forum will be hosted on Microsoft’s main campus in Redmond, WA this July.

We have received the most applications ever this year, which is a testament to the number of motivated and creative educators who are willing to take time out of their busy schedules to apply to attend this one-of-a-kind event. I’ve posted on a couple of the projects here in the past weeks and I will continue to do so in the coming weeks.

But now it is your turn to get involved!

We are actively evaluating all of the applications that have come in and all applicants will be notified on June 1st, however this year we've offered an optional People’s Choice Video Award that let’s YOU decide who will be invited to the U.S. IEF. Well you get to decide on two educators, or perhaps more accurately you get to vote with your “Like” on which videos you like the best. This was a completely optional part of the application process as we realize a teacher’s time is precious, but a number went the extra mile creating a video to describe their projects and tell us a little about themselves, their classes and what they do, providing a nice snapshot into the day in the life of an educator.

The videos are on the Microsoft Edu YouTube channel here. Take a look and the top two videos receiving the most “Likes” when we close voting June 1st will automatically be invited to the 2011 U.S. Innovative Education Forum bypassing the rigors and scrutiny of the application review. Think of it as a “People’s Pass” to this event. So, tell your friends, students and colleagues to help a teacher (or two) out.

We are particularly excited for the event this summer as we will be bringing 100 educators to Microsoft’s campus in Redmond for 2-days of professional learning, collaboration, hands-on workshops, and hosting two amazing keynote speakers, Dr. John Medina, author of The New York Times bestseller “Brain Rules” books and Jane McGonigal another award-winning author and thinker on the timely topic of gaming and learning. At the forum educators will exhibit their work and winners will go on to represent the U.S. at the worldwide forum in November.

So, your vote will count – take a look – and give’em a nice comment too!

Regards,

Rob

(aka putting the “Teach” in @TeachTec)