What I learned from watching teachers learn

Earlier this month I had the fortunate opportunity to attend the new Microsoft Teaching 2.0: Educator Workshops aimed at K-12 teachers, curriculum & technology specialists and technology teachers. This was a hands-on, 3-day workshop organized around five themes:


  1. Creating Collaborative Teams in Classroom (with students and teachers)
  2. Creating Organizational Efficiencies in the  Classroom
  3. Engaging Students in the Classroom
  4. Communication Tools for Educators
  5. Train the Trainer (how to share the above with colleagues)


It was great to see this engaged group of teachers actively and enthusiastically participating in the student-centered projects that were introduced.  More importantly, listening to them coming up with their own creative "ah-hah" moments of how they might use a new tool or technology, whether it is one our free tools like the new version of Windows Live Movie Maker , or a cool new tool like  Worldwide Telescope they just learned about, which by the way recently made it onto Time Magazine's "50 Best Web Sites 2009" along with Microsoft Photosynth.


Here they are working away (mashed together courtesy of Microsoft AutoCollage) another cool free tool we offer for easily making collages with your digital pictures.


Waltham Educator Workshop - Aug 2009


And here is a short video of Julie, a teacher from Woburn, MA, sharing how she plans to use what she learned:


So, what did I learn from this?   My job is to figure out how Microsoft can best help teacher's improve their abilities to integrate technology in the teaching and learning process.  So in considering this, I was reminded of a few things:


  1. Don't assume all teachers "know the basics" and having step-by-step tutorials are helpful to cover the basics.   We will keep producing more of these, similar to the "How-to" articles we have here with plans to add short video clips.
  2. We need to make more learning content available on-demand, as there is seldom "extra time" for teachers to learn a new skill or figure out how to do something. This could be delivered via a webcast, video clip or how-to descriptions.  Here are some previously broadcast webcasts  and we will produce more throughout the school year.
  3. The in-class collegial discussion and collaboration of teachers generating new ideas and sharing what they've done is perhaps the most difficult to replicate online, however, in the next month or so we will launch new online discussions forums (ssshhhhh!  Don’t tell our web team that I revealed this new feature!).   More to come!


I would love to hear from the community on the following (or any other topic for supporting your professional development around technology):


  • How can Microsoft best support you with information, training or understanding of the technologies you want to use in the classroom?


  • What topics or technologies would you like to see us cover in terms of webcasts or how-to videos?


I look forward to your input and thoughts.






Rob Bayuk

 K-20 Educator Marketing Manager, Microsoft

Follow me on Twitter @TeachTec

Comments (2)

  1. Craig McBain says:

    Interesting post. Love to hear more about that training.

    Q: This is the second time I’ve read that AutoCollage is free, but I keep ending up on a page where it costs $20: http://store.microsoft.com/microsoft/AutoCollage-2008/product/8D6DDFB5?WT.mc_id=autocollage

    Is it free or not?

  2. Teach_Tec says:

    Hi Craig,

    Thanks for the question and post. This was a mistake on my end, as I have been using the free trial version, and you’re right the product is actually $20 USD.

    However, it just so happens that the Microsoft Innovative Teachers Netwrok, which is our online community site for educators, is running a free promo where if you sign-up you’ll get a free copy of AutoCollage.

    Sign-up is free and simply means registering.  You will likely find useful resources there as well and ways to create communities with fellow educators — maybe around using digital storytelling tools like AutoCollage in the classroom? 🙂

    Here’s the link: http://www.innovativeteachers.com/Pages/Welcome.aspx

    My apologies for the misrepresentation. Thanks for catching this.


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