2011 U.S. Innovative Education Forum – Round Two – Finalists Announced!

US IEF bannerToday, we are excited and humbled by the many applications we received for the 2011 U.S. Partners in Learning Innovative Education Forum (IEF).  Below are the finalists selected in Round 2 for this year’s forum that will be hosted on Microsoft’s main campus in Redmond, WA (July 27-29). This group, along with finalists accepted in Round 1, rounds out the field of just over 100 educators representing innovation in K-12 classrooms across the United States. Check out the press release here, but more importantly, scan the inspiring work being done by educators in classrooms across the country in the short descriptions below.

Each of these educators will visit Redmond this summer for an opportunity to collaborate, learn and exhibit their projects. A select group will then go on to represent the U.S. at the 2011 Partners in Learning Global Forum in November in Washington, DC which brings educators from around the world.

I will be posting on a number of these projects in the weeks leading up to the event as I have done here recently, noting the limits on my simple human capacity will not enable me to document them all, we will be finding creative ways to share more details on these amazing educators and their work in the coming months.

And here are the round two finalists…

Donna Mackin, St. Paul’s Episcopal School (Mobile, AL)
Project: Microsoft Office vs. Google Docs
To encourage exploration, critical thinking and analytic skill development Ms. Mackin’s class evaluated, discussed and defended opinions on various software programs used in their school. Students compared and contrasted Google documents with Microsoft Word, creating their analysis in Microsoft Excel. Students then documented and shared their findings with the class.

Jason Arthur, Highland Tech High School (Anchorage, AK)
Project: Combat Fishin’!
Combat Fishin’ is a project that incorporates many areas of technology and mathematics to teach students how to analyze data and make predictions about the future based on that data. Students first mine data from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game fish count database. Using several years of this data they come up with an average daily number of salmon through select rivers over the course of a seasonal salmon run. With those averages, they create a quadratic regression function and graph to illustrate approximate beginning and ending dates of the run along with a prediction of the peak date for the number of fish on any given year analyzing all of this data with Microsoft Excel and Texas Instruments Graphing Calculators. The students take their information and present it to a panel of experts ranging from teachers, administrators, community members, business partners, parents, and others. To increase the authenticity of their projects students presented their findings to Alaska Department of Fish and Game officials and the school Principal (avid fisherwoman). Creativity in the presentations was encouraged with included videos, PowerPoint, and brochures.

Shannon Nuckolls and Niki Hart, Sierra Verde STEM Academy (Glendale, AZ)
Project: Kaleidoscope of Innovative Perspectives
This cross curricular project immersed 7th grade social studies and language arts students with 21st century technology, such as Movie Maker, Bing, Office, and Publisher. They took the role and point of view of different immigrants entering the United States during the Industrial Revolution Era. Working in cooperative families, they researched and compiled information discovering the poverty and hardships faced by many and the great opportunities and wealth of others. By learning of this time period through the eyes of an immigrant the students were able to see the impact that these ethnic groups had on society then and now.  Their task was to compile a multimedia scrapbook documenting their life from their homeland to America including the culture and home they left behind, and what led to their decisions to leave. Here more about their class project in this video here.

Suzanne Scotten and Olivia Conn, EV Cain STEM Charter School (Auburn, CA)
Project: The Heroes Project
In this project, students create a short documentary that highlights a “hero,” that is, someone who has overcome adversity, or who has done something to ‘repair the world.’ Depending on their technical skill level, students choose between using Photo Story, PowerPoint and/or Movie Maker to prepare a digital story to share with their peers and school community. Students learn to interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others while employing a variety of digital environments and media.

Kevin Crosby, Independence High School (Bakersfield, CA)
Project: Falcon Autistic Solar Team (FAST)
Working with higher-functioning students with autism Mr. Crosby formed a club called the Falcon Autistic Solar Team (FAST) to help peer-tutor other schools about how a solar panel takes radiant energy from the sun and converts it into electricity. The focus of the Falcon Autistic Solar Team (FAST) is to travel to other schools in Kern County, CA and teach their students about how solar energy works combining LEGO solar kits and presentation skills.

Angela Sveda, Ralston Middle School (Belmont, CA)
Project: Eco Poetry
How Can Poetry Protect the Environment? Students create movies to teach their audience about endangered species through poetics: sound, form, delivery, and visualization with the goal of identifying each of the major genres of poetic form: lyrical poetry, narrative poetry, and elegiac poetry and to deliver a poetic recitation with modulation and tone while combining the elements of sound, form, delivery, and visualization into a cohesive group project.

Corey Bess, Valley Middle Schools (Carlsbad, CA)
Project: Teacher Tweets improve student performance
The objective of this research project was to determine whether the use of Twitter in an 8th grade science class would improve student performance.  The data suggests the sample population who used Twitter performed significantly better on standardized tests and overall grades compared to the sample that did not use Twitter. This research provides evidence of the power of social media and its effects on student performance.  The implications of this research suggest the use of such tools can enhance the learning process and engage students.  The author hopes that this research will allow school districts to realize the power of free social media, and its ability to truly speak to the generation of students sitting in today’s classrooms.

Daphne Bradford, Crenshaw High School (Los Angeles, CA)
Project: Developing Digital Media Geniuses @ Cal State Dominguez Hills Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) Center
Crenshaw High School Digital Media Team students use the skills they’ve learned in digital photography and video production to teach California State Dominguez Hills Osher Lifelong Learning Institute students (age 55+) how to make digital photo albums and movies.

Corinne Takara, Horace Cureton Elementary (San Jose, CA)
Project: You are here: Street Banner Project
The You Are Here Street Banner Project engages all 5th grade students at Cureton Elementary and one 4th grade class at Hawaii Preparatory Academy in Waimea in a workshop series exploring community identity and geometry through photography and digital pattern design. The resulting patterns were printed as digital textiles used as both furoshiki (Japanese eco-friendly wrapping cloths) and as textiles for art installations. Students of both schools learned about a different community and peer critiqued each other’s work using VoiceThread. For the San Jose students, the project will culminate in: 1) A student-led public workshop teaching radial pattern design at Montalvo Art Splash Student Showcase and a textile installation of their fabrics at the Montalvo Arts Center, 2) Digital printed furoshiki wrapping fabrics (San Jose is banning plastic bags from grocery stores in 2012 and this Japanese wrap is a way to introduce an eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags), 3) Collaboratively designed street banners reflecting student ideas of community and, 4) the project web site sharing the various steps of the project and student explanations of designs. In this project students experienced the synergy of art and technology which drives Silicon Valley and they will actively experience the civic workings of their city as they create and submit public banner concepts.

Meg Omainsky, Henry M. Gunn High School (Palo Alto, CA)
Project: STEM Slam
STEM Slam is an online video competition where students make zany and unexpected video demonstrations documenting how they use STEM skills in their lives. This project encourages students to engage with their learning in a manner that is personally engaging and creative. People across the globe can vote online for their favorite videos. This project is a global celebration of STEM learning.

Misty Jones, Sunset Elementary School (Craig, CO)
Project: 3 Scoops
Personal Financial Literacy (PFL) is new to the Colorado state standards.  There is currently no curriculum material available for teaching it in the elementary grades, so this teacher created her own.  The objective of project is to engage 5th grade students in the creation of an ice cream shop within the classroom to practice and learn about investments, profits and losses, and the management of money.  Students used technology to research, survey, create advertising and price sheets, summarize profits and losses, and teach the basics of spending money to their kindergarten buddies.

Laura Voorhees, Hayden Valley Elementary (Hayden, CO)
Project: Diving into the Ocean
In a small community in a rural Colorado mountain town kindergarteners develop a fascination for the underwater world. Sparking their curiosity and interest in sea animals provides them with a sparkle and a love for learning. Ms. Voorhees provides them with multiple opportunities to learn about sea creatures, and become experts, while they learn about an unfamiliar ecosystem. In the unit “Diving into the Ocean,” students enhance their reading, writing, and technology skills utilizing their creativity and knowledge. This project combines a grade-level appropriate use of Microsoft Word, while also introducing Skype as the students collaborate and share information with students from different grade levels about these amazing sea creatures!

Shelley Stetler, Adams 12 Five Star Schools (Thornton, CO)
Project: Inquiry Quest: An Inquiry – Based Technology Assessment
Inquiry Quest is a six step, inquiry-based assessment which harnesses the power of the district's eighth grade students' ability to problem-solve, create, and communicate a persuasive message of their choosing through the production of a digital product.  Though the initial reason for creating this project-based assessment was to fulfill the NCLB mandate that all 8th graders be assessed for their technology literacy, teachers realized that this project had so much more to offer our students - a chance to take control of their learning and be proud producers of knowledge which is shared with an authentic audience. Being able to choose their own topic has a positive impact on the quality of student projects.  Eighth graders have shown passion for topics such as obesity, domestic abuse, global warming and how disrespect is a main cause for so many of world issues. Thanks to tools such as Microsoft's Office suite, Photo Story and Movie Maker, students go from being passive consumers of knowledge to active and excited producers of knowledge.


Lisa Fenn and Laura McDonnell, Roaring Brook Elementary (Avon, CT)
Project: Leap into Learning
Using a multimedia approach to examine and better understand the life cycle of a frog, Ms. Fenn and Ms. McDonnell introduce 1st graders to a Life Cycle web quest designed through PowerPoint, while tracking the tadpoles life cycle in Excel, completing Life Cycle Centers, and a Multiple Intelligence Day focusing on learning the life cycle through a variety of intellectual modes. The students experience the life cycle first hand as live tadpoles will be raised and observed as they metamorphose into frogs. To conclude the unit the class creates a movie in Movie Maker as reporters creating a news show about what they have learned in the unit, and of course, blogging too.

Denise Spence, Dunbar High School (Fort Meyers, FL)
Project: Empowering Today’s 21st Century Student for Tomorrow’s Global IT Workforce
Dunbar High School’s Academy for Technology Excellence program is engaging 9th-12th grade students in developing the essential IT skills needed for today’s 21st century workforce. Students in this program are being inspired to think beyond high school and to investigate creative ways to utilize technology in the field of Information Technology. Dunbar’s IT program offers students hands-on IT experiences taught by IT certified instructors with an intense 4-year track that leads to industry certification. Students enrolled in the Academy program have the opportunity to earn over 18 industry standard (e.g., Microsoft, CompTIA, and Cisco) IT computer certifications by the time they graduate high school. Students have the ability to directly enter the workforce from high school or advance to the next level of formal education.

Louis Zulli Jr., Center for Advanced Technologies at Lakewood High School (Saint Petersburg, FL)
Project: Center for Advanced Technologies News and Information Portal (CATNIP)
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.

Sean O’Brady, Sunrise Elementary School, and Michael Winston, Hobbs Middle School (Shelley, ID)
Project: Drama in the Classroom
Drama in the Classroom is the fulfillment of a vision to have children create teaching material. Students are outstanding teachers.  They also learn material better if they are teaching or creating content specific teaching material.  Drama in the Classroom is an attempt to actively engage students in the learning process.  They motivate students through active project based-learning and build a library of materials to visually engage students in a variety of topics.  Students work higher level thinking skills as they create PowerPoint presentations, animations, or movies to teach concepts.  Curriculum can be tied to the local environment so learning happens in and out of the classroom. A simple movie will address content standards including reading (fiction and expository), writing and editing, the content that is the subject (so far including earth science, life science, literature, and mathematics). The project based approach is effective and efficient.  Last, a quality product pays dividends into the future and they are used to teach subsequent classes.

Aaron Fay, Highland Park High School (Highland Park, IL)
Project: The Flipped Classroom
The “flipped” classroom acknowledges that assignments traditionally assigned as homework are usually completed in isolation, and lectures are held in situations which student’s peers are all around them.  “Homework” will be completed in class with peer and teacher present to assist, but lectures that require focus are to be done as homework. Lectures are videotaped and edited to be less than 15 minutes and posted to a school focused video website (SchoolTube).  Students can access lectures through a homework portal as often as needed.  Students unable to attend class can still be held accountable for course material but loose the benefit of completing work with peers.

Emily Richardson, Naperville North High School (Naperville, Illinois) and Aubrey Ludwig, Langley High School (McLean, Virginia)
Project: Condense, Synthesize, and Apply: Using Social Media and 21st Century Technologies to Engage the 21st Century Learner
Two educators working across the country to educate and challenge students merging two important academic worlds: critical writing and reading with social media. Addressing the challenge of engaging students to develop and apply their knowledge critically and innovatively. Ms. Richardson and Ms. Ludwig ask students to explore how redefining social media as an application for skill practice allows developing writers to adopt concise writing, eloquently concede opposing points of view, and analytically deconstruct video as well as text. Students develop a working knowledge of relatively new social media forms, including Twitter, Edmodo, Schoology, while using Movie Maker, PowerPoint, Prezi, and student-created podcasts in order to design lessons that engage other students in the process of synthesizing texts and knowledge into thoughtful application.

Don Wettrick, Franklin Community High School (Franklin, IN)
Project: Franklin Film Festival
As part of the broadcast journalism (FCTV) at Franklin High School, the seniors are responsible for the Franklin Film Festival.  To more fully engage the students, they produced documentaries involving local stories and used a classic movie theater in town called the “Artcraft Theatre” to showcase the students’ talent. The kids are inspired by talking with real movie producers and other documentary film makers and they learn the basics of documentary writing structure. Lastly, and most importantly, we prepare them for the future by providing opportunities and equipment that will be an asset both now as an experience, but also in the future when they make the real world connections. A few examples of films from the past two years include:  A film about the national health care crisis, homelessness in Indianapolis, a child with severe disabilities and the impact on the family, a semi-professional baseball players climb to the major leagues, and a designer of prosthetics for war vets injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Margaret Simon, Jefferson Island Rd. and Center St. Elementary (New Iberia, LA)
Project: Voices on the Gulf: Using Multimedia to Respond to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
Encouraging students to engage in work that has an authentic audience certainly increases engagement levels and commitment. Ms. Simon asked students to research and apply problem-solving skills to explore the statistics and results the Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill given its impact on their state. Elementary students were asked to convert statistics from the disaster into everyday measurements (e.g., the oil spilled equals how many cans of soda?). They used PowerPoint to create original pictures depicting the results of their research and to format a storyboard that would ultimately become a Movie Maker project uploaded to the Voices on the Gulf web project, a site dedicated “…to amplify the voices of those of us who find ourselves on the front lines of the largest oil spill in U.S. history.”

Donna Thomas, Sherwood High School (Sandy Spring, MD)
Project: Solving a Real World Problem with Game Design & Development
Sherwood's Transition Academy for Reaching Success (STARS) is an educational, confidence-building venue provided by Sherwood's teaching staff to assist the rising 9th graders in learning more about Sherwood and preparing them for their first year at Sherwood. The curriculum was developed and delivered by Mrs. Christine McKeldin. With the current situation of Sherwood's roof needing replacement, the school is closed during the summer so a group of Computer Science students at Sherwood developed a game to support Mrs. McKeldin's course with the intent of providing incoming freshman with an orientation to their new school complete with virtual school tour and sample classes. Students used Microsoft’s XNA Game Studio to develop this interactive school tour.

Saba Ghole, NuVu Studio (Cambridge, MA)
Project: NuVu Studio: Winter 2010‐2011 “Storytelling” Term
Through the theme of “Storytelling,” high school students work in teams to investigate topics such as documentary filmmaking, dancing robotics, song production, do‐it‐yourself devices, interactive art, narrative photography, and mobile learning applications. Combining various technologies such as Microsoft Office, Movie Maker, Xbox, Bing, Skype, microcontrollers, sensors, video cameras, 3D modeling software, 3D printers, and social media, students create stories to explore issues affecting people and communities globally, incorporating social, political, technological, and artistic perspectives. Working collaboratively on multi-disciplinary projects, students develop their creative process and strengthen skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, innovating, iterating, decision-making, negotiating in a team, remaining flexible, and communication skills.

Colleen Werner, Ipswich High School (Ipswich, MA)
Project: Modeling with Microsoft Mathematics
Students produce an image of a structure or scenario that can be modeled using a quadratic function.  Using Microsoft Mathematics 4.0 and free geometry software, they find the equation of the quadratic function that fits the image and superimpose the graph of this function onto the original image.

Roni Gold, Rebecca M. Johnson School (Springfield, MA)
Project: The Rise-Up Project: A 21st Century Study Buddy at Your Finger Tips
A 5th grade classroom uses Windows mobile devices (aka “Study Buddy”) to transform teaching and learning by supporting student learning in all content areas with Microsoft Office Mobile and receiving reading support through a web-based teaching residency which helps train tomorrow’s teachers.

John Prepolec, Bloomfield Hills Middle School (Bloomfield Hills, MI)
Project: Quality for Kids
Quality for Kids is designed to teach teachers and students the science, methods, and culture of quality for the enhancement of STEM education and college preparation. This project focuses on honing the skills to effectively apply the scientific method including detailed data analysis in Microsoft Excel. The students learn how cause and effect is the primary study in science and engineering and they experience the Scientific Method live. This project was a 2011 U.S. IEF People’s Choice Winner video here.

Pauline Roberts, Birmingham Covington School (Bloomfield Hills, MI)
Project: Engage – BCS!
Engage is a school-wide 3rd to 8th grade program unique to Birmingham Covington School (BCS). Engage was conceived as BCS sought to reinvent itself to keep pace with the real-world skills that will be demanded of its students when they leave their school system. The overarching goal of Engage was to engage students in problem-based and project-based activities that integrated the four main elements of the enGauge 21st Century Skills: Digital Age Literacy, Inventive Thinking, Effective Communication, and High Productivity. It naturally embraces elements of science, educational technology, technology education, mathematics, and language arts.

Mike Fitzgerald, Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School (St. Louis, MO)
Project: MICDS Green Campus Project
The objective of this Geography project was to have students explore, “How do our lives impact our geography.”  Students were asked to form and present an original, creative, practical, and measurable solution to an environmental problem that they identified on our campus in the form of a 2-minute video. A call also went out to many partner schools around the world to send in “Green” contributions of all sorts, as well as teaming up with our MICDS 2nd grade, numerous international schools, and the McDonnell Academy for Global Energy and Environment Partnerships (MAGEEP) at Washington University in St. Louis. 

New Jersey
Kim Leegan, Union Catholic Regional High School (Scotch Plains, NJ)
Project: Adopt a Country
The Adopt a Country project is a year-long World Studies project. Students select a country which they independently research throughout the year. In connection with the year-long project students keep a weekly journal about the country, as well as responses to guided questions. Students are encouraged to take global service action for certain country projects. A diverse set of technologies and skills are applied throughout the project including desktop publishing with Microsoft Publisher, PowerPoint, Word and Bing.

New York
Barbara Bonnani and Marcia Sterenbuch, Old Bethpage Elementary School (Old Bethpage, NY)
Project: Celebrate the U.S.A. – RAPPING TO THE CENSUS
This is a highly collaborative effort to get 2nd grade kids learning about the Census by pulling in music, technology and social studies. Students learn about the U.S. Census by studying questionnaires, gather, graphing and interpreting data (from community and individual family responses), and creating written responses that will be used to address listening and speaking standards.  Culminating activities will include a rap song containing all of the new information students acquire throughout the unit.

Vincent Interrante, Mineola Middle School (Mineola, NY)
Project: Weather Investigation: A 21st Century Learning Approach
Mr. Interrante takes 6th grade students through a guided weather study. As a part of a 1:1 computer pilot project his class is able to use of combination of Microsoft Office 2010 with OneNote to collaborate and communicate with peers and adults in this project-based learning activity. The objective of this project is to have the students become adept at using 21st century learning technologies that will produce learners that are engaged while developing individuals that take ownership of their own learning. Consequently, the role of the teacher naturally shifts to the facilitator of learning from the more traditional stand and deliver model.

North Carolina
Matthew Kelly, The Academy for International Studies at Independence High School (Charlotte, NC)
Project: Espero [I hope}: presentational communication in Spanish through digital storytelling
Advanced and intermediate students of Spanish explore digital storytelling as a medium for self- expression using the Spanish version of Microsoft Photo Story 3 and Microsoft Movie Maker. The assignment required students to speak, listen, read and write in the target language and introduced concepts of media literacy based on autobiographical narrative.

Shea Grisham, A.B. Combs Leadership Magnet Elementary (Raleigh, NC)
Project: Earth’s Changing Surface: Human Impact
In this project 5th grade students research how dams and levees help humans in land development, but also impact the natural processes of erosion and deposition as well as the surrounding ecosystems. Students create their own dams and levees to solve the following scenario: You have found an amazing house to buy for a great price. The house sits in a low field in a great neighborhood. However, the house does have known water problems. Since you have moved in, you have noticed some flooding in the front yard. The house sits next to a large stream. How can you control the flooding before your house has any major damage?

Robert Baker and Dr. Greg Martin, Cincinnati Country Day School (Cincinnati, OH)
Project: Shared Microsoft OneNote Applications: A Teaching and Learning Utopia
Our goal was to create a digital environment in which teachers and students could share a wide variety of information. Using Microsoft OneNote in a shared environment allows teachers to do more and better formative assessment by having a window into student work anytime and anywhere. Students in courses as far ranging as 5th grade French and Upper School Physics are able to continue to work within the paper paradigm, placing everything from handwritten notes to audio/video clips they create in a notebook that can be shared with the classroom teacher and/or other students in the class, thus leading to more effective collaboration. The major goal was to create a school-wide environment in which the sharing of information was simple, effective, and flexible and enabled both creativity and productivity.

Milton Turner, Saint Ignatius High School (Cleveland, OH)
Project: French IV Video Projects: Les Téléjournaux (TV News Shows) et les Causeries (TV Talk Shows)
The students’ research topics using authentic resources to produce television news videos, talk shows, and newspapers in French offering students and opportunity to direct their learning and the technology tools they wish to employ throughout the project.

Kacy Carter, Jackson Memorial Middle School (Massillon, OH)
Project: STOP – REVIEW
Lock thirty kids in a room and have them create a dynamic project that reviews critical content they have learned about our nation’s history.  That is the basic premise behind Kacy Carter’s “Stop-Review” project.  Students are charged with the task of creating a stop-motion video that both informs and entertains the viewer while demonstrating the class’s understanding of the content learned.  Students create storyboards, organize themselves into groups, decide on music and sound effects, and film the video.  While working both independently and collaboratively, the kids review key historical moments while creating an easy-to-understand stop-motion video.  This project helps to develop teamwork, critical thinking skills and creativity.  In the end, the students have a finished product that is a result of a large number of people working together toward a singular goal. This project was a 2011 U.S. IEF People’s Choice Winner video here.

Frank Machos, School of the Future (Philadelphia, PA)
Project: Music and Marketing as a Cultural and Consumer Influence
Music educator Frank Machos encourages students to explore the impact music has on their everyday life, surrounding them both consciously and subconsciously throughout their daily activities. Students discuss the vast roles of music in marketing including jingles, commercial scores, retail environments, and celebrity endorsements. They will also explore the entertainment industry’s influence and impact on marketing and mass media, while observing marketing behaviors and trends, and dissecting retail environments. The students demonstrate their knowledge of these concepts and media literacy by creating marketing campaigns for print, radio, or television to promote products to specific target audiences, and by constructing a retail environment to sell their product. Students utilize digital tools such as Movie Maker, Songsmith, Paint, Audacity and PowerPoint to create a professional quality advertisement, and business proposal presenting their ad campaign in the form of an advertising pitch to a potential client, and their retail store in the form of a business proposal to potential funders.

Melanie B. Wiscount, Palmyra Area High School (Palmyra, PA)
Project: History Video Podcasts & QR Codes
Students create a video podcast about an attraction, business, or organization of their choice within a 15-mile radius of the 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 Movie Maker. The students then put on their marketing hats and generate a QR code 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.

Thomas Gaffey and Elizabeth Harvey, School of the Future (Philadelphia, PA)
Project: Slope and Stairs
Project 100 is a problem-based, supplemental math class for 9th graders. In one of the units, learners investigate slope by building stairs for an actual basement in a house with close proximity to the School of the Future. Learners were given nine activities which mandated that they submit an artifact as evidence of learning the skills in that activity. The purpose of each activity was to build the skills needed to create a scale model of stairs out of foam core poster board. Learners were then given the opportunity to apply what they learned in a real situation—to rebuild the basement stairs for a neighbor of their school.

Kelly Huddleston, Franklin Road Academy (Nashville, TN)
Project: Create a Business
Working with a partner, students create a business, beginning with creating a business plan, writing a mission statement and tag line, and then creating business cards and letterhead.  Students also complete a series of spreadsheets to track their income and expenses, as well as produce a commercial and design a web site.  Finally, students showcase everything to the rest of the class in a Power Point presentation.

Elsa Holm and Erika Timmons, Ginnings Elementary (Denton, TX)
Project: Broadcasting Our Future
This project meets the requirements of Achieve Texas through the integrated use of technology. Achieve Texas’ standards require that all elementary students in Texas be made aware of career opportunities. Students explore career clusters identified by Achieve Texas through interviews and classroom discussions. Skype is used to interview Manuel Teodoro, a former editorial assistant for CBS News and a correspondent for the Cable News Network (CNN). The students filmed and produced additional interviews within the school using Flip Video cameras.

Robyn Hrivnatz and Sarah Bauguss, Katy ISD (Katy, TX)
Project: Growing Knowledge in Math and Science
Middle school students integrate math and science in a real-world setting to plan, design and plant a garden bed using Excel and OneNote for measurement calculations and design, while tracking the status of their seedlings in an OneNote Notebook on their laptop or mobile device. Students then document their observations in the tool of their choice including Movie Maker, Photo Story or Animoto, ultimately sharing their artifacts on the class Edmodo sites enabling classmates to comment, collaborate and learn from each other.

Joli Brock, Slaughter Elementary (McKinney, TX)
Project: A Global Ecological Journey with the Smithsonian and SHOUTlearning.org
This unit aims to teach 2nd graders about the importance of educating themselves about a global environmental awareness and responsibility. Students extend their learning online through ideas provided by the Smithsonian and SHOUTlearning.org, using technology to reach classrooms around the world and create a dialogue about conservation and preservation of our natural world.

Johnny Kissko, Frenship High School (Wolfforth, TX)
Project: Xbox 360 Kinect in Education: Same Classroom, New Identity
Mr. Kissko explores the integration of Kinect with Xbox 360 and gesture-based learning in a variety of educational settings. Kinect integration fits within the parameters required to operate public schools making active learning within enclosed walls now a tangible possibility. Students learn how to effectively integrate gesture-based learning and use a bank of resources to consult for future exploration as the Kinect education community develops and evolves.

Cynthia Feist and Tara Jeffs, Loudoun County Public Schools (Ashburn, VA)
Project: Mathem(AT)ics: Integrating AT in Mathematics
Using Microsoft Office tools, educators responsible for teaching mathematical concepts awaken their students’ natural curiosity and problem solving skills by providing a variety of strategies and techniques that promote motivation and support active engagement in mathematical thinking.

Ashley Hickcox and Amanda Arman, Fairhill Elementary School (Fairfax, VA)
Project: When I Grow Up:  Parallel Model Career Search
When I Grow Up is intended to motivate and guide students as they leave elementary school and prepare for middle school through a meta-cognitive process.  Students learn about different careers and match their strengths and interests to choose a future career to investigate and share about.  Students take one or more surveys, interview professionals in the field, research online and in the library, and create a project like one in the field of their choice.  The big idea of this project is meta-cognition – students need to understand their strengths, interests, weaknesses, and motivations.  Students focus on their identity – both in the present and what they would like to see for the future. 

Nancy Morris, George H. Moody Middle School (Henrico, VA)
Project: Finding the Balance
Using a combination of 21st century skills and technologies to collaborate, research, analyze and create a multimedia presentation to educate their classmates on the structure of the United States government. Students research the powers of a branch of government using sources evaluated by students for relevancy. Using this research they are asked to think critically about the importance of the branch of government and explain what our country would be like if we did not have that branch of government. Students then research a current event related to the government of another country and analyze and explain if the current event could or could not happen in our country. Once the research is complete, students collaborate in groups to create a unique digital presentation to convey their research and conclusions to the class using any type of digital platform that was available to them in school including Movie Maker, OneNote, Glogster, school LMS, or other tools.

Aubrey Ludwig, Langley High School (McLean, Virginia) – *see project details under Illinois with partnering educator Emily Richardson, Naperville North High School (Naperville, Illinois)

Cheryl McClure, Meridian Middle School (Kent, WA)
Project: Warm up to OneNote
Students use Microsoft OneNote to respond to daily warm-up (entry task) questions in an 8th grade science class.  Too often middle school students are masters at writing only brief reflected responses, not always demonstrating their true understanding of core concepts.  The use of 1:1 synced OneNote notebooks allows teacher visibility and understanding of individual student learning, enables an easy method for providing feedback and to check student assignments.  The teacher has access to student work through synced 1:1 OneNote notebooks on the school server.   Students utilize technology as a fluid part of daily classroom instruction.  Using OneNote warm-up questions has enabled students to be engaged and feel more free to write complete details of their understanding and any questions or concerns they have regarding the given science topic.

Robin Hoover, Finn Hill Junior High (Kirkland, WA)
Project: Voices of Injustice
In this high school English project, students research and create three unique voices from one global situation of social injustice – historical or contemporary. Students are expected to showcase all perspectives of the social injustice, including the human rights’ violations, by creating a fictional story for a victim, a persecutor and a neutral bystander. Students will be expected to showcase one voice in a written narrative (linguistic), another in an oral presentation (auditory/kinesthetic), and the last in a digital presentation (visual/auditory). Each voice will need to address the universal human experiences associated with the social injustice.
Matt Palmer and Kim West, Lake Washington School District (Redmond, WA)
Project: Lake Washington School District Instructional Technology Integration Training Program: “Changing Technology PD: It's About Students Not Seat Time”
This is a three year technology integration project to prepare district educators to infuse technology into the classroom with the purpose of ensuring a common level of proficiency in identified technology skills that integrate into everyday teaching in the classroom. This scalable approach focus is student-centered, using best practices that align to state standards.

Bret Crane, Redmond Jr. High (Redmond, WA)
Project: Fairy Tale PowerPoint
Students use Microsoft Ribbon Hero as a learning tool to be introduced to PowerPoint. Student understanding is supplemented by mini-lessons depending on student understanding and difficulties. Students are guided by an instructional Word document which includes a rubric for aiding student understanding. Students utilize PowerPoint to retell a Grimm Brothers Fairy Tale. Students create a summary of the story which acts as an outline for the slides (scenes) they will use in their presentation. Once students formulate an outline they choose Clip Art (or create their own) for backgrounds, story characters, and props. Students then manipulate Clip Art to fit their theme and animation needs, citing sources used, and rewriting the story in their own words. As a final step, students present their stories to the class.

Carrie Calonzo and Rebecca Winbauer, Glenridge Elementary School (Kent, WA)
Project: Third Graders + Math Problems = Problem Solving Experts
In this student-driven project, third graders showcase their problem solving abilities with Photo Story presentations and filmed videos explaining their mathematical thought process. You can see more in their video here.

Jamie Ewing, Mount View Elementary (Seattle, WA)
Project: bing’edu: bing Education
Every year Google does a ‘Doodle for Google’ competition where students redesign the Google logo. Since Mr. Ewing’s school is in Seattle he wanted to do something that was more locally based. He created his own competition using the engaging Bing home page as a vehicle to allow students to express what education means to them. Students combined writing, photography, GiMP design software, and Bing.

Michelle Zimmerman, Amazing Grace Christian School (Seattle, WA)
Project: From the face in the webcam to the face of humanity: Pre-teen researchers influencing little lives
Using technology for society‘s good is a skill that needs to be modeled, instructed, and practiced with an authentic purpose as young students prepare for the future. This project was studied using participatory action research. The primary objective of the research was to locate the emergence of skill development through an intersection of human connection and laptop use in a cross-age mentoring model with middle school and preschool students. To increase understanding of new forms of learning within a non-traditional grouping of sixth- and seventh-graders in a 1:1 laptop environment, the teacher drew on their perspective and creativity as they utilized production and internet tools to facilitate their own data collection: they ―researched and tracked learning of a little buddy they mentored in literacy projects.

Betsy Weigle, Adams Elementary School (Spokane, WA)
Project: Connecting Classrooms with Skype and PowerPoint
The objective of this project was to open the classroom to the world by bringing children from Washington state and North Carolina together virtually to share insights on Native American cultures. Students used presentation and interactive conferencing technology, which allowed in-depth, real-time interaction on shared content.  Students prepared short PowerPoint slide shows or posters, verbal presentations and question/answer sessions.

Kenneth Ryan Olden, White Swan High School (Yakima, WA)
Project: The Shield of Achilles / Project Symbolic
At the time of this project, students were reading The Iliad, specifically portions of Book 18: The Shield of Achilles. This text portion details the shield that Achilles carries into battle against Hector. The shield is constructed of various scenes depicting elements of ancient Greek life, specifically elements that the soldiers valued and fought for but were unable to attain for themselves due to their chosen profession. Students used the idea of the shield to create their own non-linguistic representations that mixed music, video, and still images to create short films that depicted the elements of their life that they personally valued. The students then showed these videos to an audience of peers, community members, and family members and posted them to personal websites.

Washington, D.C.
Gideon Sanders and David Pinder, McKinley Technology High School (Washington, D.C.)
Project: 24/7 Urban Learning Space
The objective of the 24/7 Urban Learning Space project is to identify the modalities by which students could access their learning beyond the regular school hours and the traditional methods of continued studies as they have become accustomed to in their education.

There have been some fascinating themes emerging over the course of reviewing the applications for Round 1 and 2, including blended learning, service learning and civic engagement, working with social media in education, creating entrepreneurship opportunities, assistive technologies, and the application of gaming as it relates to learning. One important anti-bullying theme has also emerged across a handful of projects and a colleague has posted on these compelling projects separately. It is inspiring to see how creatively educators are tackling these important subjects and engaging students in unique ways, while also demonstrating the positive impacts they are having on student learning.

This is an incredible line-up of projects for the 2011 U.S. IEF and I look forward to meeting each of these educators this summer!



(for 2011 U.S. IEF updates follow me @TeachTec)

Comments (4)
  1. Myra Deister says:

    Will you post the complete projects?

  2. Rob (aka TeachTec) says:

    We will share more detailed summaries of the 100 finalist's projects after the event.

  3. Rene says:

    In this student-driven project, third graders showcase their problem solving abilities with Photo Story presentations and filmed videos explaining their mathematical thought process. You can see more in their video here

  4. Erick Ochola says:

    How can start posting my lessons for competition for the next finalist am a teacher in Kenya

Comments are closed.

Skip to main content