Four Teachers Chosen As Finalists To Compete At Microsoft Forum-Will Be Honored For Innovative Use Of Technology In Classroom
As a result of winning the Innovative Educator Contest which was hosted during the Palm Beach County School District’s 14th annual technology conference, four Palm Beach County School District teachers have been selected by the district’s Department of Educational Technology and a select panel of judges, to participate in the Microsoft Corporation’s Partners in Learning 2012 US Forum.
Andy Goldstein, Randolph Lavery, Todd LaVogue, and Jaime Worrall are four of 44 educators currently selected by Microsoft Corp. from 15 states, to showcase the innovative ways they are using technology in and beyond the classroom. Taking place in Redmond, Wash., July 31 to August 1, the Partners in Learning US Forum is an annual event that connects and celebrates the nation’s top educators for the outstanding and innovative work they are doing with technology to creatively engage students. Educators will compete for a chance to go on to represent the United States at Microsoft’s global forum this fall in Athens, Greece.
Todd LaVogue, sixth and eighth grade history teacher at Roosevelt Middle School, was selected for his project titled, What’s Up Egypt? In order to help his students gain a better understanding of life in ancient Egypt, Todd LaVogue had his students create a TV show about ancient Egypt. Using Microsoft Word, Internet Explorer and video editing software, his students researched and created a Today Show style news program with news, weather, sports, cooking, lifestyle, historical, music segments. Students were able to compare and contrast ancient Egypt with today’s society very well. In the end, they had a better understanding of what it would have been like to have lived during that time. “I am constantly looking for ways to better engage my students and make the content more relatable to them,” said Mr. LaVogue. “Being selected by Microsoft to attend this prestigious event will allow me to learn from others around the nation, many new ways to engage my students. I will share this information with my peers at Roosevelt Middle.”
Randy Lavery was selected for his project, Germs, Germs, Everywhere, which let students discuss and investigate the many places that germs can be spread at school and how to address the problem. They used digital cameras to take pictures of commonly touched surfaces and created a story using Microsoft Photo Story 3 and PowerPoint. The students realized that they need to be aware of germs in public places, as well. Mr. Lavery has been teaching for 12 years at UB Kinsey/Palmview Elementary School of the Arts. “When I’m not using technology in the classroom I can be found on the golf course using a digital rangefinder. I love seeing how excited students get when they have the opportunity to learn using technology. Project-based learning through technology help keep students engaged and motivated,” said Mr. Lavery. “I am looking forward to seeing what educators from around the country are doing and collaborating with them on ideas I can bring back to my classroom.”
Jaime Worrall was selected for her project, 21st Century Technology + Creativity =Students’ Deepened Knowledge of Abstract Algebraic Concepts. Microsoft’s PhotoStory 3, PowerPoint and Word were the products these middle school students used to deepen their knowledge about the abstract algebraic concept of functions and relations. Their goal, through digital photography, smartphone technology, and the use of various software and hardware products, was to create a Photo Story 3 slideshow that explained these difficult concepts in an entertaining yet educational way so that other middle school students could make sense of the abstract material. Their products were then shared with lower level 8th grade students to help them solidify these concepts in their own minds. “I have been teaching for 10 years, and to be recognized by Microsoft among the best in our field for inspiring my students to learn through technology is incredibly inspiring,” said Ms. Worrall. “I am looking forward to networking and collaborating with educators from around the country.” Ms. Worrall teaches math at Christa McAuliffe Middle School.
Andy Goldstein’s project, Invent! encouraged students to become inventors. His students used MS Word and Windows Movie Maker to explore their imaginations and to collaborate in teams. His students created highly skilled finished products and produced videos that were published to his classroom blog at http://weblogs.pbspaces.com/mrgoldstein. Andy Goldstein has been teaching for 12 years at Omni Middle School, striving to teach students to develop their skills, talents and creativity, and use technology in innovative ways, integrating art, technology and writing into various class projects. “You’re a kid and everything is new and strange and wonderful. You walk into my technology class and you find all sorts of neat little devices to play with. You discover digital video cameras and digital still cameras, scanners and computers. There are microphones for students because their voices are important and we want to hear what they have to say! This class is not one in which you take tests and hope to have the right answer. In this class, you come up with your own questions and your own answers too! You’re a creative explorer and your ideas are the terrain you traverse. You don’t memorize information—you invent,” said Mr. Goldstein from Omni Middle School. “It’s incredibly exciting to see our ideas emerge from the confines of the four walls of the classroom and play out in a worldwide forum that Microsoft Corp. is providing. I’m looking forward to networking with other educators from around the country and bringing back ideas that I can share with my students.”
“Year after year, these educators continue to impress us with their high-quality lesson plans and their creative use of technology to engage and inspire students to learn,” said Andrew Ko, general manager, U.S. Partners in Learning, Microsoft. “These educators are essential in ensuring that our students are armed with the 21st-century skills that are vital to compete in the globally competitive workforce. Microsoft’s commitment to education is deeply rooted in empowering teachers in the U.S. and around the world with the resources to help them prepare our students to become strong future leaders.”
The event provides these exceptional educators with an opportunity to compete and gain recognition at a global level and to share and collaborate on best practices with educators from across the country. The forum provides a unique opportunity for educators to evolve their practice incorporating professional development activities that build critical 21st-century skills into their teaching practices.
At the event, finalists will compete to represent the U.S. at the Microsoft Partners in Learning Global Forum, which will take place later this year in Athens, Greece. Last year, more than 250,000 applicants from more than 70 countries competed at national and regional events across the world to qualify for the worldwide competition. More information on the forum can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/usforum.
For more information please contact Lee Kolbert, School District Education Technology Manager at 561-434-8497 or firstname.lastname@example.org .