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11 Educators Selected To Represent U.S. at Partners in Learning Global Forum

Microsoft Partners in Learning has selected 11 educators to represent the United States at the Partners in Learning Global Forum in Washington, DC Nov. 6-11.

The winners were announced Friday at the Partners in Learning 2011 U.S. Innovative Education Forum at the Microsoft campus in Redmond, WA.

The nine projects presented by the winners focused on "literacy, STEM learning, and entrepreneurship using multimedia such as video and gaming," according to information released by the company.

One more project, based on a professional development activity that took place at the forum, will be selected and announced in early September. As part of the activity, teams of educators were sent to historical and cultural sites throughout Seattle and are currently collaborating on classroom projects. At the end of August, they will vote to determine the final project presented at the global forum.

The 11 winners selected so far were chosen from a field of 100 educators representing 25 states and were evaluated by a team of 28 judges representing education and industry.

The first-place winner in the collaboration category, "Project Unite," was presented by Colin Horak and Antonio Sablan of Franklin Pierce High School in Tacoma, WA. Horak and Sablan's project began with a 9th grade student's suggestions for reducing immature behavior and fighting between students. "Project Unite" included a campaign involving t-shirts, bracelets, signs, and a Microsoft Photo Story presentation about the diversity within the school. The project has been incorporated into the 9th grade English curriculum as a series of public service videos designed to promote discussions about diversity and unity.

Second place went to Pauline Roberts from Birmingham Covington School in Bloomfield Township, MI. Her project, "Engage-BCS!," used problem- and project-based activities to integrate the main elements of the enGauge 21st Century Skills, which include digital age literacy, inventive thinking, effective communication, and high productivity. The activities include elements of science, educational technology, technology education, mathematics, and language arts.

Kelli Etheredge, of St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Mobile, AL, took first place in the knowledge building and critical thinking category for her project called "What’s the Verdict? The Count of Monte Cristo Murder Trial." Etheredge's 10th grade World Literature students prepared a criminal trial for Edmond Dantes, the central character of the novel. The students used Microsoft OneNote, Office Web Apps and Windows Live SkyDrive to share information and collaborate in their preparation for the mock trial. A video of Etheredge's classroom, produced by Microsoft, is available at microsoft.com/showcase.

Second place went to Margaret Noble and David Stahnke of High Tech High School in California. Their project, "Illuminated Mathematics" asked students to explore math topics through video, audio, photography, and mixed media installations. Students also wrote research papers about their projects and created preproduction presentations with PowerPoint.

Highland Tech High School's Jason Arthur won first place in the extended learning beyond the classroom category with his project, "Combat Fishin'!" The Alaskan students used data from the state's Department of Fish and Game, along with Microsoft Excel, graphing calculators, PowerPoint, to determine optimal fishing times and present their findings to community members.

Nathan Manderfeld, of Monroe Elementary School in San Francisco, CA, took second for his work with students in grades 4 and 5.  Manderfeld's project, dubbed "iAM," asked students to collaborate as they explored careers from engineering to small business ownership. Throughout the project, students store their work in digital portfolios.

The first place winner in the use of technology for learning category was Louis Zulli Jr. from Lakewood High School in Saint Petersburg, FL. Zulli's project is called Center for Advanced Technologies News and Information Portal. CATNIP asked collaborative teams of students to develop a school wide intranet integrating campus communication, curriculum planning, and facilities management into one site. The students leading CATNIP are using SharePoint Server 2010, SharePoint Designer 2010, Visual Studio 2010, InfoPath 2010 Expression Blend, and Silverlight.

Doug Bergman, from Porter-Gaud School in Charleston, SC, took second place with his project, called "Computer Science Through Entrepreneurism and XNA Game Studio for the Xbox." Bergman's students learn software coding and problem-solving skills by working together on a large programming project. Students also create a business plan for their game idea, and create an Xbox game or simulation that teaches, demonstrates, and creates interest in an area of their choice.

Melanie Wiscount, of Palmyra Area High School in Palmyra, PA, won in the educators' choice category. For her project, "History Video Podcasts & QR Codes," students were asked to create a podcast about an attraction, business, or organization within 15 miles of Palmyra High. The students researched the relevant history and planned their podcasts, then created storyboards in Microsoft Word, and created their podcasts with Microsoft Movie Maker. Then students generated QR tags for people to access the podcasts on mobile devices and included their projects in a class wiki.

"Every year, teachers are challenged to help their students achieve high academic standards," said Senior Director of U.S. Partners in Learning Andrew Ko. "It is impressive to see how creatively these educators are transforming learning to inspire and motivate their students to adopt 21st century skills.

"More information about the U.S. Innovative Education Forum is available at microsoft.com. For information about the other projects presented at this year's forum, visit blogs.msdn.com. Go to microsoft.com to learn more about the Microsoft Partners in Learning Global Forum.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is the multimedia editor for Campus Technology and THE Journal. He can be reached at jbolkan@1105media.com.

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