Mill Creek Elementary School Teacher Donna Román is one of only 20 educators in the United States selected to take part in Microsoft’s Expert Educator program, created to recognize pioneer educators and schools globally who are using technology to transform education.
Román was selected by Microsoft for her use of technology to drive student achievement based on a collaborative project in which she linked her fifth-grade students with fifth-grade students in Máire O’Keefe’s class in Kinvara, County Galway, Ireland. The Irish-American Connection took two classes from across the world and used one man to bridge the distance.
Using a multitude of online resources, Román’s students and their counterparts in Ireland jointly researched the life of Captain Francis O’Neill, who lived in the eras of the Great Potato Famine and the Great Chicago Fire, from his life on a west Cork County farm in Ireland to occupying the office of the chief of police in Chicago.
By studying the life and music of O’Neill, students learned what life was like for a resident of Ireland during the Great Potato Famine and for an immigrant to the USA in the 1800s.
“Microsoft Expert Educators and Mentor schools are inspiring examples of how individuals and schools are using technology to prepare their students for the 21st Century,” said Anthony Salcito, vice president of worldwide education for Microsoft Corp. “Not only are they doing innovative work in the classroom, but they are actively mentoring others and creating change within their own education systems. They set an outstanding example for their peers, and we are confident that they will benefit from the access to technology they receive as part of Microsoft’s ongoing programs.”
This year, the Expert Educator program selected 250 educators out of 23,000 applicants to be part of an exclusive global community of education leaders who use technology to positively impact learning and student outcomes.
To be selected, educators undergo a rigorous application process; they are required to fill out an online application, create a learning activity and a two-to-three minute non-professionally produced video that describes their project and how they used technology and innovative teaching practices to impact student outcomes.
The winners are selected by a worldwide group of judges who used a broad set of criteria to assess the educators’ evidence of learning, collaboration, knowledge construction and critical thinking among other things.
“It’s not just a matter of having more computers, it is an understanding of how technology can be harnessed to create deeper and more engaged learning that is important,” said Ms. Román.
“It’s impossible to have a world class education without the world,” she continued. “We live in a connected, global arena. Tomorrow’s leaders will be comfortable navigating in it.”
Expert Educators work closely with Microsoft to lead innovation in education, advocate and share their experiences with effective uses of technology in education with their peers and policy makers. In addition, they mentor other educators and help train them in education technologies and Microsoft products and tools. They also receive a range of additional benefits, including:
- An invitation to attend the Microsoft in Education Global Forum in Barcelona, Spain taking place in March 2014.
- Free Surface devices for their schools.
- Insider access to Microsoft strategy and technologies.
- Professional and career development opportunities and certifications including peer coaching.
SOURCE: Geneva School District 304