Teachers are not recognized enough for the positive impact they make with their students. One of the most challenging aspects of doing this is for educators (and others) to recognize when positive impacts are being made. Often these benefits are seen down the road, when students come to back to visit or share in some way the value gained from a class or a project. Of course, it is these moments that inspire many teachers to do what they do.

One of the most powerful programs I’ve worked on at Microsoft is the Partners in Learning US Forum. This program is the company’s effort on a global scale to recognize, acknowledge and showcase amazing teaching happening in our schools today. Yes, there is a technology component (perhaps for obvious reasons), but like with all good teaching, it is not one thing that generates this positive impact, it is the creative and effective use of all the pedagogical tools in an educator’s arsenal, and of course, the person themselves.

Last summer we hosted 100 top educators from 25 states on Microsoft’s worldwide campus for 2-days of professional learning and collaboration which I wrote about regularly in this blog (see word cloud: IEF).

We have officially kicked-off the Microsoft Partners in Learning 2012 US Forum and are seeking to attract innovative educators who are making a difference in their classrooms. ms.com web-ready banner with apply today

The forum is open to all U.S.-based K-12 educators. The application process is simple: determine a classroom project or activity that is positively impacting student learning where technology plays a critical role, describe the project in the online application and submit it.

A project can be submitted as a team of two or as an individual (and yes, a Microsoft technology needs to be part of that mix, the more the better!) whether it’s PowerPoint, Word, Excel, OneNote, Bing, Movie Maker or some combination of these or the many free tools we make available for teachers and students (yes, we still love those PhotoStory projects!).

If you’re a computer science, technology or graphics design teacher using Microsoft tools and your application is accepted you will win an Xbox360+Kinect for your school!

Additionally, we encourage school and district leaders to submit applications based on technology programs that impact the broader school community, for example this could be an innovative professional development program, 1:1 program or perhaps a social media effort that is positively impacting the broader school community.

The details:

  1. Submit your application here or through our Facebook page
  2. There are two deadlines to apply: April 1 and May 15. The benefit of applying early is there tends to be fewer applications and you find out by April 15th. Others will be notified June 1st.
  3. Questions? Email pilusforum@microsoft.com

If your application is accepted you will be invited to attend a unique 2-day professional learning event at Microsoft’s worldwide headquarters in Redmond, WA July 31-Aug 1. At the event you will share your work, collaborate with like-minded educators and engage in professional development activities (and have a little fun too!) – see the video below to hear from some of last year’s participants.

At the forum all projects will be evaluated by a carefully selected group of education leaders and the finalists from this group will go on to participate in the Partners in Learning Global Forum in Athens, Greece in November (and Microsoft picks-up the tab for all of this).

 

Starting next week I will feature a series of guest blog posts from alumni from last year’s forum sharing their experiences on this unique professional learning experience. I will kick-off this special series with Lou Zulli, Jr., an educator from Lakewood High School in St. Petersburg, FL, who became a finalist at the U.S. and the Global Forum. He will share his tips for submitting a successful application. If you would like to learn more about Lou and his winning project find him on this page.

The official hashtag for this year’s event is #pilus where I will share these posts and more on the event and “Like” us on Facebook to receive these updates to your Wall.

If you have any questions, send them along to pilusforum@microsoft.com or post them here.

Regards,

Rob (aka @TeachTec)

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