Microsoft Selects the Nation’s Top Educators at the U.S. Innovative Education Forum

*Outstanding educators using technology are recognized for their contribution and impact in teaching.*

REDMOND, Wash. — Aug. 1, 2011 — Microsoft Corp. today announced 11 educators from Alabama, Alaska, California, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Washington who have been selected as winners of the 2011 U.S. Innovative Education Forum (IEF). The IEF is an event recognizing innovative teachers and school leaders who creatively and effectively use technology in their curriculum to help improve the way kids learn while increasing student success. Out of the thousands that applied, 100 educators from 25 states were selected for a spot to compete on Microsoft’s corporate campus in Redmond. IEF participants also voted on their peers in the Educator’s Choice category and selected a winning project. The winning educators will represent the U.S. and advance to compete against educators from around the world at the Partners in Learning Global Forum, Nov. 6–11, 2011 in Washington, D.C.

“The Innovative Education Forum is an inspirational event to honor and celebrate the significant achievements of our nation’s top educators who are using technology to help students thrive and grow into the next generation of leaders,” said Andrew Ko, senior director, U.S. Partners in Learning, Microsoft. “Every year, teachers are challenged to help their students achieve high academic standards. It is impressive to see how creatively these educators are transforming learning to inspire and motivate their students to adopt 21st century skills.”

About the image: Educator Colin Horack and student Anthony Sablan win first place in the Collaboration category for their creation of Project Unite, developed to combat bullying on campus. Franklin Pierce High School; Tacoma, Washington. Image credit: Microsoft

About the image: Educator Jason Arthur wins first place in the category Extended Learning Beyond the Classroom with his project Combat Fishin’! that uses technology to help students analyze data and predict the future based on available information. Highland Tech High School; Anchorage, Alaska. Image credit: Microsoft

About the image: Educator Kelli Etheredge wins first place in Knowledge Building & Critical Thinking with her project What’s the Verdict? The Count of Monte Christo Murder, that uses Microsoft OneNote and tasks students with using critical thinking and problem solving during a mock trial. St. Paul’s Episcopal School; Mobile, Alabama. Image credit: Microsoft

About the image: Educator Louis Zulli Jr. wins first place in the category, Use of Technology for Learning. Center for Advanced Technologies News and Information Portal (CATNIP) is a project by Zulli Jr. and his students to create a school intranet that integrates campus communication, curriculum planning and facilities management. Lakewood High School; St. Petersburg, Florida. Image credit: Microsoft

About the image: Educator Melanie Wiscount wins the Educators Choice category, decided by her fellow colleagues. Her project, History Video Podcasts & QR Codes assigns students to create a video podcast about an attraction, business, or organization then generate a QR code for customers of the establishment. Palmyra Area High School; Palmyra, Pennsylvania. Image credit: Microsoft

Winning projects immerse students in active, hands-on learning, guiding them to employ critical thinking and creative problem solving. The nine outstanding projects focus on literacy, STEM learning (science, technology, engineering and math) and entrepreneurship using multimedia such as video and gaming. The projects exhibit the educators’ abilities to exceed strict academic standards while making learning fun and effective for their students.

These are the winning teams from the 2011 U.S. Innovative Education Forum:


1st place: Colin Horak and Antonio Sablan, Franklin Pierce High School, Tacoma, Wash. Project Name: Project Unite
2nd place: Pauline Roberts, Birmingham Covington School, Bloomfield Hills, Mich. Project Name: Engage – BCS!

Knowledge Building & Critical Thinking

1st place: Kelli Etheredge, St. Paul’s Episcopal School, Mobile, Ala. Project Name: What’s the Verdict? The Count of Monte Christo Murder
2nd place: Margaret Noble and David Stahnke, High Tech High Media Arts, San Diego, Calif. Project Name: Illuminated Mathematics

Extended Learning Beyond the Classroom

1st place: Jason Arthur, Highland High Tech High School, Anchorage, Alaska. Project Name: Combat Fishin’!
2nd place: Nathan Manderfeld, James Monroe Elementary School , Bermuda, Calif. Project Name: iAM

Use of Technology for Learning

1st place: Louis Zulli Jr., Center for Advanced Technologies at Lakewood High School, St. Petersburg, Fla. Project Name: Center for Advanced Technologies News and Information Portal (CATNIP).
2nd place: Doug Bergman, Porter-Gaud School, Charleston, S.C. Project Name: XNA Game Studio for the Xbox

Educators’ Choice

Melanie Wiscount, Palmyra Area High School, Palmyra, Pa. Project Name: History Video Podcasts & QR Codes

The winning projects were scored based on a comprehensive judging rubric that incorporated research-based criteria for 21st century teaching and learning. A distinguished panel of judges evaluated the educator projects, including representation from the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), Council for Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), the NEA Foundation, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), the Silicon Valley Education Foundation and other local superintendents, university and education leaders.

Hosted by Microsoft Partners in Learning, the U.S. IEF is one of a series of regional forums taking place around the world. Now in its seventh year, this annual event is designed to promote the sharing and scaling of exceptional practices of learning that incorporate technology in the classroom, recognize and celebrate leading educators and innovative schools in the United States, and engage educators intellectually while offering opportunities for professional development and to collaborate and learn from peers across the country.

This year’s Partners in Learning Global Forum in Washington, D.C., will bring together more than 700 educators, school leaders and government officials representing over 70 countries. The forum, which showcases how technology can further education transformation when appropriately incorporated into curricula, pedagogy and classrooms, is the culmination of a year’s worth of country and regional events.

Current news on Microsoft educator events, competitions and news in the U.S. is available on Facebook (, Twitter (@TeachTec) and the TeachTec blog (

About Microsoft Partners in Learning

Partners in Learning is a 10-year, nearly $500 million commitment by Microsoft to help education systems around the world. Since its inception in 2003, the Partners in Learning program has reached more than 196 million teachers and students in 114 countries. Supporting the program is the online Partners in Learning Network, one of the world’s largest global professional networks for educators, connecting millions of teachers and school leaders around the world in a community of professional development.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

*Source: Microsoft

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