It’s been a week since I returned from the Microsoft Partners in Learning Forum in Redmond and I’m still recovering from a PiLUS hangover: Recovering from the jetlag, from the time difference, from the shock of winning, from over indulgence in innovation, camaraderie, and inspiration!My teaching partner and I were fortunate to gain first place in the Extended Learning Beyond the Classroom category with our project Doing Businessin Birmingham. I say fortunate because the caliber of the projects presented was astounding. The judges, including winners from the 2011 Global Forum Lou Zulli and Doug Bergman, must have spent hours wrestling over their decisions. Rick and I are truly humbled by the honor and look forward to participating in this year’s global forum in Prague, along with the other US winners.
It’s difficult to explain the impact this experience has on teachers and convey how truly uplifting it is. To be surrounded by teachers who are taking risks and pushing the boundaries in their classrooms every day is like being plugged into the ultimate energy source. While the forum is technically a competition it is so much more than that. It’s an opportunity to connect with other educators, share ideas and build relationships that last well beyond the forum itself. It’s a place where teachers get to meet and learn from educational leaders like Alan November, Vicki Davis and Kari Stubbs. It’s a showcase for new technology tools and a cradle of creative thinking. For the most part it is a celebration and appreciation of pioneering teaching and learning practices.
Lou Zulli asked us all to “pay it forward” and I know won’t be alone in sharing my learning with my peers, encouraging them to take risks and to get more connected with other innovative educators .My first advice will be to have them join the Partners in Learning Network , where they can become involved in a global community of educators, driven by passion and committed to providing a quality education for all students.
I met many amazing teachers in Redmond who were recovering themselves: Recovering bankers, recovering lawyers, and recovering fashion designers who have chosen to enter the world of education to recapture a sense of significance and to make a positive difference in the world. That they certainly do! I am thankful for my PiLUS hangover. Because of it, I am more acutely aware of my responsibilities, I am inspired to do better and I am reminded that teaching is indeed a noble profession.Thank you Microsoft!