12 educators to represent the U.S. at the Partners in Learning Global Forum

2011 Global Forum bannerToday, 12 U.S. educators, along with 103 educators from across the globe meet in Washington, DC for the 7th annual Microsoft Partners in Learning Global Forum. The Partners in Learning Global Forum is a celebration of innovative teaching practices and innovative schools, where educators and school leaders come to share what they’re doing in the classroom, exchange ideas and collaborate to inspire their professional practice.

The Global Forum is a culmination of a series of regional events that happen around the world beginning with over 200,000 applicants from over 70 countries and resulting in 115 educators invited to attend this annual event. The event is a mix of keynote speakers, project exhibitions, professional development activities, and perhaps most importantly the ability for like-minded educators who using technology in effective ways to share their ideas.

The event concludes on Thursday with 18 educators receiving Global Innovative Educator Awards for their classroom practices and I will certainly be sharing these results and other observations along the way.

I have been blogging since the U.S. Forum in July on many of the amazing projects that came out of that event. It will be exciting to meet up again with these educators and see what they’ve been doing in their classrooms this year. I would like to once again highlight them all here and show the line-up of the amazing individuals who are representing the United States at this global event.

Colin Horak & Antonio Sablan

Franklin Pierce High School, Tacoma, Washington

PiL_Colin_223x122Project: UNITE --- 1st place – Collaboration, 2011 US Forum

This project evolved out of 9th grader Antonio Sablan’s proposal for how to reduce the incidents of immature behavior and fighting amongst his classmates. Dubbed “Project Unite” the class came together in a broad campaign combining t-shirts, bracelets, signs and ultimately an eloquent presentation to the student body during an MLK Day assembly, followed by a moving Microsoft PhotoStory presentation of the diversity within Franklin Pierce High School in Tacoma, Washington. The students continued their campaign with a series of public-service video announcements that were incorporated into the 9th grade English curriculum as prompts to promote class discussion on diversity and unity.

Mr. Horak will be joined by Antonio Sablan, now 10th grade class president, as the only student at the Global Forum to represent this project with which he was integral.

Learn more about Project UNITE.

Find out the worst homework excuse Mr. Horak has heard in our new Educator Spotlight on Facebook.

Pauline Roberts

Birmingham Covington School, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

PiL_Pauline_223x122Project: ENGAGE – BCS! --- 2nd place – Collaboration, 2011 US Forum

Engage is comprised of problem based hands on collaborative challenges and tasks. Tasks can include making kites, paper airplanes, barges, wikis, digital stories and inventions. Parameters are employed to all tasks to provoke students to employ critical thinking and problem solving strategies. A non-negotiable is that projects are designed in the spirit of Lifelong Kindergarten in order to secure maximum levels of engagement while encouraging positive group ethics.

Learn more about ENGAGE – BCS!

Ms. Roberts believes there are three keys to success for students, see what they are on our new Educator Spotlight on Facebook.

Kelli Etheredge

St. Paul’s Episcopal School, Mobile, Alabama

PiL_Kelli_223x122Project: What’s the Verdict? The Count of Monte Cristo Murder Trial --- 1st place – Knowledge Building & Critical Thinking, 2011 US Forum

10th grade World Literature students used a shared Microsoft OneNote notebook, Office Web Apps and Windows Live SkyDrive to share information, collaborate and prepare for a criminal trial of the character Edmond Dantès after reading the novel The Count of Monte Cristo. Students develop many 21st century skills including critical thinking, creative problem solving and collaboration to either prove or disprove the liability of Dantès.

Learn more about What’s the Verdict?

Any idea what tech tool Ms. Etheredge can’t live without? Find out on our Facebook page.

Margaret Noble & David Stahnke

High Tech High, San Diego, California

Project: Illuminated Mathematics --- 2nd place – Knowledge Building & Critical Thinking, 2011 US Forum






Mathematics is mixed with media arts to create video, sound, photography, and mixed media installations that explore math related topics. Students selected topics and then brainstormed creative ways of expressing their research through digital art. Each student also completed a research paper on their topic and gave a PowerPoint pre-production presentation. Student choice and in-class critiques played a critical role. Learn more about Illuminated Mathematics 

You’d never guess what magazine cover Mr. Stahnke wishes he could be on? Or Ms. Noble’s biggest pet peeve

Jason Arthur

Highland Tech High School, Anchorage, Alaska

PiL_Jason_223x122Project: Combat Fishin’! --- 1st place – Extending Learning Beyond the Classroom, 2011 US Forum

Students are exposed to multiple areas of technology and mathematics, including intensive use of Microsoft Excel, graphing calculators, and PowerPoint to learn how to analyze data and make predictions about the future based on available information. The students gather data from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and use technology and reasoning to help determine optimal fishing times and ultimately present their findings to a diverse set of members from their community.

Learn more about Combat Fishin’!

Find out the type of learning environment Mr. Arthur strives for in his classroom on our Educator Spotlight series on Facebook.

Nathan Manderfeld

Monroe Elementary School, Bermuda Dunes, California

PiL_Nathan_223x122Project: iAM --- 2nd place – Extending Learning Beyond the Classroom, 2011 US Forum

In this 4th & 5th grade project, students were exposed to careers and technology. They collaborated as they recognized the talents of their classmates and became active participants in their own learning. They did everything from becoming engineers to creating and running their own small business. They stored their work in digital portfolios with an end goal to graduate 5th grade and proudly state a possible career aspiration: “iAM an architect, iAM an engineer, iAM a graphic artist, iAM an author, iAM an entrepreneur, iAM a 21st century learner, and iAM more than a test score!”

Learn more about iAM

Any guesses on what Mr. Manderfeld’s favorite cafeteria food is? Check it out on Facebook.

Louis Zulli Jr.

Lakewood High School, St. Petersburg, Florida

PiL_Louis_223x122Project: Center for Advanced Technologies News and Information Portal (CATNIP) ---
1st place – Use of Technology for Learning, 2011 US Forum

CATNIP is an ongoing project to create a school intranet that integrates campus communication, curriculum planning and facilities management into one site with students working in collaborative teams to develop this school-wide resource. This project uses a wide variety of technologies including Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, SharePoint Designer 2010, Visual Studio 2010, InfoPath 2010 Expression Blend, and Silverlight all led by the student’s as software developers.
Learn more about CATNIP

In Mr. Zulli’s spare time he likes things that a big, loud and fast, check out his profile on Facebook to see what that thing is?

Doug Bergman

Porter-Gaud School, Charleston, South Carolina

PiL_Doug_223x122Project: Computer Science through Entrepreneurism and XNA Game Studio for the Xbox --- 2nd place – Use of Technology for Learning, 2011 US Forum

Students in this hybrid computer science and entrepreneurship class learn how to manage and work on a single large computer programming project using Microsoft’s XNA Gaming Studio, as well as developing their own software coding and problem-solving skills. They apply the equally important skills of entrepreneurism using the NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship) curriculum, building, and eventually presenting a business plan for the game idea they choose. Additionally students identify something they are personally passionate about and create a game or simulation for the Xbox that teaches, demonstrates and generates interest in the area they have chosen.

Learn more about Comp Sci and Entrepreneurism

Find out why Mr. Bergman became a teacher in our Educator Spotlight on Facebook.

Melanie Wiscount

Palmyra Area High School, Palmyra, Pennsylvania

PiL_Melanie_223x122Project: History Video Podcasts & QR Codes --- Winner – Educators’ Choice, 2011 US Forum

Students create a video podcast about an attraction, business, or organization of their choice within a 15-mile radius of their school. They research the history of their choice, plan the podcast (including media, prose and narration) develop a storyboard in Microsoft Word and then create their podcast using Microsoft Movie Maker. The students then put on their marketing hats and generate a QR code (or “tag”) for the “customers” of their chosen establishment, so people are able to access their video podcast on-demand for their PC or mobile device, while also including the podcasts in their class wiki.

Learn more about Video Podcasts & QR codes

Any guesses what Ms. Wiscount’s favorite subject was in high school? Find out in our Educator Spotlight on Facebook.

2011 US Forum - Learning Excursion Project Team

Educator Team:
Doug Bergman - Johnny Kissko - Margaret Noble - Donna Thomas - Lou Zulli, Jr.

PikePlaceTeachersProject: When Fish Fly --- Winner – Educators’ Choice

This project integrates computer science, fine arts, business and economics asking students to “…collaboratively research, design, and integrate a game simulation replicating Pike Place Fish Market that incorporates the business process, customer interaction and physical energy across multiple content areas. The project supports dynamic interaction using the Kinect system and will serve to facilitate an active learning model of education.

Note: At the 2011 US Forum in July educators were teamed-up and sent to various cultural and historical and sites around Seattle dubbed “Learning Excursions” with the mission to develop a project they could use in their classrooms. All projects were voted on by their peers. When Fish Fly was the winning project following this team’s visit to the historic Pike Place Market. Learn more here.

I will continue to blog live from the event as well as through @TeachTec using #PiLGF. If you would like to keep up with programs like the Microsoft Partners in Learning Global Forum connect to us on Facebook and sign-up to receive the Microsoft Education Newsletter.

Finally, here is a short video we compiled that highlights these educators taken at the 2011 US Forum last summer. (Please ignore the black video space below – mouse-over and click and the video will work!!)

Partners in Learning 2011 US Forum Finalists

I am looking forward to spending the week with these inspiring educators and many others from around the world.



P.S. – You may have followed a few of the fun links about these educators above to our new Educator Spotlight feature on our Facebook page. If not, go check it out, we thought it was a fun way to highlight and celebrate these teacher heroes.