Ray selected by Microsoft Partners in Learning
Seward Elementary School teacher Leigh Ray was selected as a finalist by Microsoft Corportation and will attend the Microsoft Partners in Learning 2012 U.S. Forum.
Along with 101 other educators, Ray will travel to Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, Wash ., July 31 through Aug.1 to showcase the creative ways they are transforming learning through technology. An unprecedented number of applications were submitted this year, and the chosen innovative projects represent 25 states across the Pre-K–12 spectrum and include creative uses of blended learning, student video game design, professional development, flipped classrooms with students teaching their peers, and improving communications skills for those with autism and other special learning needs.
“These educators have applied the technology lens in trailblazing ways to develop real-world learning experiences that are certain to engage students and provide them with the 21st-century skills that will set them up for success, both in and out of the classroom,” said Andrew Ko, general manager, U.S. Partners in Learning, Microsoft. “Recognizing the unparalleled influence today’s teachers have on tomorrow’s leaders, Microsoft’s commitment to education is deeply rooted in empowering teachers with the tools they need to help students succeed and celebrating them as heroes in our society.”
Ray was selected for her project “Seward, Alaska: Through Young Eyes” which is a history unit about the students’ local community. The students learned about their town’s history, then they shared what they learned with a world-wide audience through brochures for the local Chamber of Commerce, a Website aimed at the tourists that come to town every summer, newspaper photo stories, and podcasts that are broadcast through the Internet. The students learned that history is worth sharing, and that 21st century technology allows them to do so easily. The project can be viewed on the Web at www.sewardtouring.com.
“This was my first year of teaching, and before that, I ran a bed & breakfast and a small Web authoring business. Those skills, when pulled into a classroom, created an atmosphere in which authentic, engaging learning activities could bloom and grow,” wrote Ray. “As a result, my 26 students came away from this history unit feeling pride and a sense of purpose.”
The educators at the Redmond event have a chance to be selected to represent the United States at the Partners in Learning Global Forum later this year in Athens, Greece.