By Thuan Nguyen
The 7th Annual Microsoft U.S. Innovative Education Forum was held July 28th and 29th at the Microsoft Campus in Redmond, Washington. One hundred K-12 educators from across the country were selected from the pool of 3,500 educators who applied.
The purpose of the forum was to identify, document, and recognize innovative classroom-based 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. Ten 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 in Washington, DC.
The forum had a more collaborative vibe than one might expect of a traditional competition. This was reflected in the way the educators were
interacting with one another and the fact that 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 country¹s best educators who were 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.