The 7th Annual Microsoft U.S. Innovative Education Forum held in July drew 100 K-12 educators from across the country, selected from the pool of 3,500 educators who applied. The purpose of the forum was to identify, document, and recognize innovative classroombased instructional technology best practices. Highlights include Kinect/gaming in the classroom, QR codes and video streaming, and Twitter/social media.
The event was intentionally small and intimate to ensure participating teachers had enough time to both show off what they are currently doing and learn from their peers. Eleven of the participating educators were selected to move on to the next level of competition, where they will represent the United States in the Microsoft 2011 Partners in Learning Global Forum this November in Washington, DC.
The forum had a collaborative vibe since the exhibition and judging portion were just a fraction of the overall event. The rest of the time was focused on professional development and information sharing, which for many is the true value of this event. The event also had two great keynotes delivered by Dr. John Medina (Brain Rules) and Dr. Jane McGonigal (Reality is Broken).
It was exhilarating to be in a room full of some of the country’s best educators who were all excited about their craft and exploring innovative ideas on how technology can help students learn. The energy level was high and intense and left attendees with the distinct impression that it is an exciting time for American classrooms.
Thuan Nguyen is the chief information and operations officer for the Kent (WA) School District and a SchoolCIO advisor.