Exceptional Teachers Recognized at the Microsoft 2010 U.S. Innovative Education Forum

WASHINGTON — Aug. 2, 2010 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the winners of the 2010 U.S. Innovative Education Forum, an event in its sixth year recognizing innovative teachers who creatively and effectively use technology in their curriculum to help improve the way students learn. Cheryl Arnett from Sunset Elementary School in Craig, Colo., and Rawya Shatila from Maskassed Khalil Shehab School in Beirut, Lebanon, won first place for their international collaboration. They will go on to represent the United States at the Worldwide Innovative Education Forum in South Africa this fall, joining nearly 500 other teachers from 60 countries who won similar events in their regions.

Arnett and Shatila’s project, titled “Digital Stories: A Celebration of Learning and Culture,” aligned with this year’s theme of “Inspire More” by connecting Arnett’s class of first- and second-graders in Craig, Colo., to Shatila’s second-graders in Beirut. The two teachers, who had never met before, used technologies such as wikis, blogs and online mapping tools to share stories and activities to help students increase global awareness of similarities and differences between children from different countries.

“Technology adds a dynamic dimension to teaching, helping teachers engage their students in a new way,” Arnett said. “We are thrilled to be recognized and excited to travel to South Africa to meet and learn from other innovative teachers from across the globe.”

“We were able to make our classes virtual neighbors instead of strangers on the other side of the world,” Shatila said. “Using technology, we are developing our students into global citizens — it broadens their perspective.”

This year, 17 teams of teachers from 10 states gathered in Washington, D.C., to not only compete but collaborate with their peers to understand best practices in 21st-century teaching and learning. The winners were determined by a judging panel consisting of educators, past winners and Microsoft executives. Thomas Gaffey from the School of the Future in Philadelphia won second place, and Pat Yongpradit from Springbrook High School in Silver Spring, Md., took third place. These teachers will also represent the U.S. in South Africa. Videos of all the teachers’ entries can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/user/Microsoftedu.

“The Innovative Education Forum is an inspirational event to celebrate our nation’s teachers,” said Siegfried Behrens, general manager of U.S. Education at Microsoft. “These amazing teachers are transforming education by using technology as a means to engage their students and to enhance the effectiveness of their teaching. They are using technology in innovative ways to connect classroom learning to the real world and equipping our children with the skills necessary to compete in a globally competitive work force.”

The IEF is part of Microsoft’s Partners in Learning program, which works with governments and education leaders around the world at the national, state and local levels to deliver a portfolio of professional development, curricula, tools and resources designed to advance 21st-century teaching, learning and digital inclusion that improve learning outcomes for every student. Since its inception in 2003, the Partners in Learning program has reached more than 192 million teachers and students in 114 countries. Microsoft’s 10-year investment in the initiative is nearly $500 million, underscoring the company’s commitment to helping students and educators around the world realize their full potential. Partners in Learning has reached more than 3.8 million education leaders, teachers and students in the United States, bringing the benefits of innovation and technology to U.S. education systems.

More information about the U.S. Partners in Learning program is available at http://www.microsoft.com/education/uspil/default.aspx.

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.

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