The Microsoft Partners in Learning 2011 Global Forum wrapped-up last week with a bang. A lovely Gala Awards dinner in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. A fitting venue to conclude an energizing week with educators from around the world.
The winners were announced recognizing 18 educators as Partners in Learning Global Innovative Educators across six categories that included: Extending Learning Beyond the Classroom, Collaboration, Knowledge Building and Critical Thinking, Innovation in Challenging Contexts, Cutting Edge Use of Microsoft Technology, and Educators’ Choice. These educators were chosen from over 200,000 applications leading to forums hosted in regions and countries around the world. The 115 finalists from these events represented over 70 countries and came to Washington, DC to be recognized and showcased for their innovative education practices.
Capturing succinctly the tenor of posts and tweets from the event - it’s not about the award it is about the people is Johnny Kissko, a US math educator from north Texas, aptly summed up, “…the biggest contributor to this wow effect has little to do with any technology or event. It’s all about the people involved.” And Lee Kolbert (aka @TeachaKidd) who voluntarily served as a judge at the US event and this Global Forum brought the event together quite eloquently, despite her fears otherwise. Ms. Kolbert has been in the classroom for many years and is now responsible for encouraging teachers to effectively use technology in the classrooms across her district. I think her words broaden the perspective of the event as she notes, “The most impactful effect of the forum on me was in how I viewed an effective lesson.*” [emphasis hers].
And that really is the goal of why we do this (a question I get asked a lot). Finding best practices of relevant and effective uses of technology in classrooms from around the world and encouraging the sharing of these practices to raise the bar for what happens in the classroom. I’ve attempted to share many of the projects here to provide that inspiration and insight, but this only begins to scratch the surface.
We did have a few winners from the U.S. which was incredibly exciting to be a part of. Across the six categories we had three 1st places finishes. Not bad for this “World Cup of Educators”!
The U.S. educators who each received a Partners in Learning Global Innovative Educator Award were:
You can see their pics and learn more about these educators in our new Educator Spotlight feature on Facebook page, our best attempt to showcase these real teacher heroes. And if you’re not on Facebook you can go here.
Congratulations to all of the above for truly well-earned recognition.
Having spent the week with these educators as well as the six other US finalists I know each left inspired and I look forward to seeing what they will do in their classroom’s this year. We will open the application for the 2012 US Forum in January, but if you want to be the first to know, connect to us on Facebook, sign-up to receive the Microsoft Education Newsletter or follow me. The US Forum will be held at the end of July in Seattle and next year’s Global Forum will be in Athens, Greece in November.
Rob (aka putting the “Teach” in @TeachTec)
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