As educators and friends, Dr. John Pauls and Holly Lanham have enjoyed growing and learning in the field of education and innovation over the years. In fact, it was Holly Lanham who helped introduce Microsoft and the Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE) program and acted as a mentor to Dr. Pauls years ago. From crafting and implementing district-wide training and development in the areas of Microsoft instructional tools and pedagogy to supporting school districts around the country together, Dr. Pauls and Holly love using Microsoft tools to build connections in schools for all stakeholders. So, when asked to develop and facilitate a professional learning opportunity for Gallup McKinley County Schools in Gallup, New Mexico, a school district Dr. Pauls and Holly had been supporting throughout the pandemic with in-person coaching and professional learning, the two knew it would be something special.
The professional learning opportunity in question? Build a professional learning opportunity that prepares teacher-leaders with knowledge on Microsoft tools and the 21st Century Learning Design framework, while preparing them for MIEE nominations and building and fostering a sense of community and innovation. This came to fruition during the 2021-2022 school year with the debut of the Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert Extravaganza.
The Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Expert program is a professional development program designed to recognize and celebrate educators who are using Microsoft technologies to transform learning and improve student outcomes. MIE Experts are part of an exclusive global community that has access to professional development opportunities, resources, and peer-to-peer networking. To become an MIEE, educators must complete an application that consists of interview questions regarding their use of Microsoft Tools, questions about using the 21st Century Learning Design Framework in instruction, and impact on community.
This semester long program provided by NCCE has been designed to blend the best of synchronous and asynchronous learning, with the goal of preparing educators for the MIEE nomination. Using the NCCE eLearning Matrix, participants engage in asyncrhonous instruction in interactive learning modules featuring instruction on tools such as Microsoft Flip, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Forms, Minecraft Education, Microsoft OneNote, Microsoft Edge Web Browser, Microsoft Learning Tools, and Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
Participants learn about these tools while framing use with students using the 21st Century Learning Design framework and using the tools in real-time. Participants practice what they learn: providing responses throughout the process using Microsoft Flip and Microsoft Forms, adding artifacts from the tools they explore to a Microsoft Teams collaboration space to be used for a final presentation showing their implementation of the strategies learned and discussed.
Another key aspect of this learning opportunity is the embedded suggested coursework from the Microsoft Learn platform; participants earn badges in the platform with each course completed. These badges are used during MIEE nominations, allowing our participants to strengthen their applications while they engage in this learning opportunity.
The support does not stop there; participants are also enrolled in a collaborative Microsoft Team, where they can communicate and collaborate with Dr. Pauls and Holly whenever they need, where ideas can be shared, and where further connections can be made. During the inaugural year, Microsoft welcomed the very first MIEEs from GMCS, and the state of New Mexico; these participants were part of the very first cohort of the Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert Extravaganza.
“The educators in Gallup are phenomnal, and they are working in unique circumstances that require unique solutions. Being able to take part in their story has been transformative in my own development, so I know being able to share their story with the world as MIEEs will have a similar impact”- Dr. John L. Pauls, Co-Course Developer and Co-Facilitator
While the participants and program facilitators will not know if participants will be accepted as Microsoft Innovative Educators for the 2022-2023 school year until nominations have opened, they have all become Innovative Educators in their own right, and have risen to the level of educational technology leaders in their school system. While nominations and acceptance is important to this program, the main focus has been and will remain, on building community and capacity amongst innovative educators in real classrooms and districts across the country.
Would you like to bring the MIE Expert Extravaganza to your school or district? Contact NCCE to discuss how we can support you and your organization!
Written by Guest Bloggers
Dr. John L. Pauls and Holly Lanham