We are very excited to see the first round of finalists for our premier teacher recognition program the Partners in Learning U.S. Innovative Education Forum! There is some amazing work being done in classrooms around the country and it is inspiring to see these projects and the outcomes they’ve achieved with students.
You can see the press release here, but we wanted to specifically highlight each educator and each project from this first round of applications. The final deadline to apply is May 15th and all of the details to apply are here.
So without further ado, here are the round one finalists for the 2011 Microsoft U.S. Innovative Education Forum:
Kelli Etheridge, St. Paul’s Episcopal School (Mobile, AL)
Project: What’s the Verdict? The Count of Monte Cristo Murder Trial
In this project, 10th grade World Literature class students used a shared Microsoft OneNote notebook, Office Web Apps and Windows Live SkyDrive to share information 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, collaboration while they move beyond rote memorization and regurgitation of facts and read the book with a critical eye and goal in mind — to either prove or disprove the liability of Dantès in the downfall of his enemies and the seven deaths, two kidnappings and the loss of wealth. They gain experience in using the art of persuasion, writing in various formats and enhance civic literacy.
Carrie Stuart, St. Paul’s Episcopal School (Mobile, AL)
Project: ¡Vive la cocina!
In World Languages and Spanish class, high school students host their own cooking shows using Microsoft PhotoStory to demonstrate how to prepare a Spanish or Latin-American-inspired dish, which they will prepare and share with the class. This project is actually a 21st century update to an age-hold Spanish recipe project in which each student writes or translates a recipe to Spanish. Students gain global awareness by narrating their recipes, expanding their vocabulary and using perfect grammar. Language learning, retention and proficiency are maximized through multi-sensory exposure.
Nathan Manderfeld, Monroe Elementary School (Bermuda, CA)
In this 4th and 5th grade project, students were exposed to careers and technology, collaborated as they recognized talents of their classmates, and became active participants in their own learning. They did everything from becoming engineers by building Rube Goldberg Machines to creating and running their own small business. They stored their work in digital portfolios created with Movie Maker, Photo Story and Office with an end goal. That goal was to be able to graduate fifth grade and proudly state, “iAM an architect, iAM an engineer, iAM an author, iAM a philanthropist, iAM an entrepreneur, iAM a graphic artist, iAM a 21st century learner, and iAM more than a test score!” This two year process was entitled, “iAM”. The “i” represents their use of 21st century skills and the “AM” represents what they are able to do; not just what they know.
Margaret Noble and David Stahnke, High Tech High, Media Arts (San Diego, CA)
Project: Illuminated Mathematics
The objectives of this project were to use technology and creativity to highlight the diversity and pervasive nature of mathematics in our world as understood through theory, history, culture, art and practical applications. Students are frequently asked to crunch numbers without the benefit of presentations that connect mathematics to our world at large. If students were supported in investigating the wonder, history and often controversy connected with the world of math theory then they would find more connections, interest and investment in their regular mathematical studies. Once research is completed for this high school project, students design a digital art project which can manifest as photography, sound, websites or video. They present their final projects in a public exhibition that teaches their peers and their community about the complexities and history of math.
Gwynn Moore and Shannon Wentworth, Paris Elementary School and Sixth Avenue Elementary (Aurora, CO)
Project: Transformation to Digital Draftbooks
These elementary school teachers created an exciting and paperless writing environment using Digital Draftbooks, Online Graphic Organizers, Blogs, Wikis, and Digital Storytelling to give students authentic purposes and audiences with no pencil sharpener needed. Students created well-organized digital storytelling activities that were easily accessible for students and the teacher. Reluctant writers were encouraged and engaged in the writing process. Since this is a collaborative work area where students can easily erase/modify others work, it also provided a real world discussion about being better digital citizens and respecting others work. Microsoft OneNote is used to gather all materials from start to finish. Microsoft SmartArt in Word is used to create graphic organizers. Photo Story 3 is one of many publishing tools used.
Cheryl Arnett, Sunset Elementary School (Craig, CO)
Project: Making Learning Real-Giving Kids a Voice
The objective of this 2nd grade project was to engage young children in meaningful learning by providing opportunities to explore real world topics while learning from a variety of people and resources. Students were encouraged to participate in service projects and create ways to share their learning with the world by using Photo Story, Movie Maker, Bing Maps and more. They also took turns creating lessons using Mouse Mischief to test the knowledge of their peers. The children learned that even at a young age they could make a difference and have a voice in the world and their own future.
Amy Jones and Melany Neton, Sunset Elementary School (Craig, CO)
Project: The Kindergarten Restaurant
In trying to engage children through inspiring and creative ways to prepare them for their future, these teachers implemented a Storypath into their curriculum. As full day kindergarten teachers, they have the gift of time to integrate purposeful play into our day. Storypaths are an approach that originated in Scotland under an initiative to create integrative curriculum. With the belief that stories help us remember and make sense of our lives, the Storypath Approach believes that children learn best when they are active participants in their own learning.
Dr. Suzanne Banas, South Miami Middle Community School (Miami, FL)
Project: Exploring Climate Change Using the Eyes in the Sky
Using NEO (NASA Earth Observations) satellite images and NIH ImageJ to animate the images, students explored various aspects of climate change and began to understand global issues in order to take environmental action. The overall outcome of the Climate Change Unit is student-generated research culminating in multimedia presentations, in which students communicate in a professional and creative manner while being challenged to solve real-life environmental issues. This middle school project created an engaging, interdisciplinary project that links schoolwork to real life. It enabled the students to acquire skills in computer technology, instrument interfacing, data interpretation, and word processing. It also provided many opportunities for students to develop necessary skills for effective critical thinking, problem solving, and decision-making in order to acquire the tools necessary for improved academic achievement.
Kristen L. Drake, Hightower Elementary School (Doraville, GA)
Project: Worksheetless Classroom
Students utilize technology for instruction, practice, and assessment instead of relying on worksheets. The worksheetless classroom is one that effectively uses technology, providing interactive practice of skills. Assessments are online, and students receive specific, immediate feedback on performance. Students also apply many of the same skills that adults utilize with word processing and presentation programs. Children set and reach goals for reading fluency, comprehension, math fact fluency, and other online programs. They monitor their own progress and explain what they mastered and what they can improve. Elementary students are self-directed, independent, and collaborative.
Karel Sloane-Boekbinder, C.F. Rowley Alternative School (Chalmette, LA)
Project: Abstract Expression and the Science of Plant Cells
5th and 6th grade students at C.F. Rowley Alternative in Louisiana’s St. Bernard Parish participated in JPAS Cultural Crossroads’ residency “Abstract Expression and the Science of Plant Cells.” Using abstract expressionism, SMART boards, the work of Joan Mitchell and Microsoft PowerPoint, students explored the Gulf oil disaster and its impact on our region’s environment. Students examined the impact of the oil disaster on algae regionally and globally. Students also used art elements, principles and Microsoft technology to learn about plant cell biology and the biodiversity of the Gulf South region. For many students, this residency not only gave them an opportunity to learn scientific principles, it also allowed them to use visual art to express their feelings about the oil disaster.
Tasha Candela, Lake Shore High School (Saint Clair Shores, MI)
Project: Electronic Portfolios: The Weebly Wonders of the Web
This e-portfolio project transforms the traditional paper portfolios into electronic portfolios by using digital cameras, flash drives, a video camera, headsets, scanners and Microsoft Office. Students learn about career opportunities and career interests, gaining greater knowledge of technology, while creating a portfolio they can use for seeking employment. This project gives students a real-world use of technology which they can put to immediate use.
Donna Hazen, Mosquero Municipal School (Mosquero, NM)
Project: Roundup Technology
This project uses the Roundup Technology 21st Century Entrepreneurial Program, an innovative, not-for-profit, project-based business “learning and earning” curricula incorporated into the Mosquero Municipal School’s curriculum. Roundup Technology is a youth-operated, high-energy small-business. The business provides students with virtual, actual and realistic technology, workplace, and career clusters training while meeting required education standards and benchmarks using a wide-range of technologies including Microsoft Office and Publisher.
Carmela Curatola-Knowles & Kathy Krupa, Hatboro- Horsham School District (Horsham, PA)
Project: Ignite Innovation with Rock-Out on Rocks
With the goal of making elementary students more aware of the natural resources around them, students use an online mapping program to research and find information related to the Earth Science content area: rocks. Students learn the basics of web research and how to find relevant sources tracking with a digital organizer. They publish their research in a Microsoft Word document and create and deliver a letter discussing what they learned about their favorite rock, chosen from a selection of six Pennsylvania rocks.
Valerie Fasy, Diane Heitzenrater, Stacy Rotchford & Maureen Carroll, Keith Valley Middle School (Horsham, PA)
Project: Find Your Future
As part of Financial Literacy and Career Exploration classes, eighth grade students are inspired to “find their future” by engaging in a series of activities related to career pathways of interest. Students use a variety of technologies including Microsoft Tag Reader, Microsoft Office and video conferencing to research, collaborate and problem-solve with others on their teams.
Laurence Goldberg & Shalon Doctor, Willow Hill Elementary School, (Willow Grove, PA)
Project: What would you do with a Hundred Dollars?
First grade students are asked to decide what they would do if they were given $100. Students engage in discussion about money, resources and values, and select the options of saving, spending, or giving their money away using class surveys and classroom response systems to track data and develop graphical ways to display this information along with digital pictures using Microsoft Office.
Doug Bergman, Porter-Gaud School (Charleston, SC)
Project: Entrepreneurship through Xbox Game & Simulation Development
Students in this hybrid computer science & entrepreneurship class learn how to manage and work on a single large computer programming project as well as develop their own software coding and problem-solving skills. They apply the equally important skills around entrepreneurism using the NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship) curriculum, building and eventually presenting an actual business plan for the game idea they choose. Additionally students consider an area in their life (i.e., a subject they are passionate about, an extra-curricular area, or an idea that helps makes the world a better place) and they take that idea and create a game or simulation for the Xbox that teaches, demonstrates, and generates interest in the area they have chosen.
Lynne Zalesak, Jackson Middle School (Houston, TX)
Project: Bringing U.S. History into the Present: The Young Nation
Middle schools social studies students create digital stories describing the major achievements and effects of a main theme in the development of the United States as a nation, presenting their project across a range of tools including Microsoft PhotoStory, Movie Maker, and PowerPoint incorporating other forms of digital media to enrich these digital stories.
Donna Pence, Beacon Heights Elementary (Salt Lake City, UT)
Project: Art, Bullying, and Videotapes
Early in the school year elementary students led by their art specialist worked collaboratively across the student body to create a series of videos to teach and entertain their peers about responsible and appropriate behavior. Student projects ranged from live actors, puppet shows and claymation combining Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Movie Maker and Paint to produce their films emphasizing collaboration and teamwork, ultimately culminating in a new school-wide Film Festival.
Toni Rader & Nick Grzeda, Loudoun County High School (Leesburg, VA)
Project: InterroBang: To Inspire Creativity and Prepare Students for the Future
Students participate in real-world learning that begins with a mission (a question) that leads to discovery and ends with insight and surprise. Using InterroBang, a socially-networked game-based site, students are empowered to use their strengths and showcase their passions and expand their personal growth extending their English curriculum while applying a diverse set of technologies along way including Bing Translator, Flip Cameras, Movie Maker, Publisher and Microsoft Office.
Patricia King & Laura Rahn, Mountain View Elementary (Purcellville, VA)
Project: Graphic Novels to the Rescue! Taking a Visual Approach to Discover Details about Pre-Revolutionary Virginia
Fourth grade students create a graphic novel short story highlighting the Virginia Studies curriculum concept “Pre-Revolutionary Virginia” that will be included as part of a collaborative classroom graphic novel. This project served as a culminating activity asking students to synthesize their thoughts helping history to “come alive” in a concise, creative way while incorporating an innovative use of PowerPoint for their graphic novel.
Colin Horak, Franklin Pierce High School (Tacoma, WA)
Project: Project Unite
This project evolved out of one 9th grader’s proposal for how to reduce the incidents of immature behavior and fighting amongst his classmates that had resulted in a negative image of his class throughout the school. Dubbed “Project Unite” the class came together in a broad campaign combining t-shirts, bracelets, signs and ultimately an eloquent presentation to the entire student body during an MLK Day assembly followed by a moving Photo Story presentation of the diversity within Franklin Pierce High School. The students continued their campaign with a series of public-service video announcements that were incorporated into the 9th English curriculum as prompts to promote discussion on diversity and unity helping to improve behavior within the school.