Guest post by Todd LaVogue, an innovative teacher at Watson B. Duncan Middle School in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
I always felt I was doing things differently in the classroom than other teachers around me. Most teachers I encountered didn't embrace my non-traditional approach to student learning. My students were making significant learning gains but I felt alone. I felt as if I was on an island within my school.
That feeling changed when I was selected as a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert. I am now in a community of like-minded, forward thinking educators who want to be better at their craft every day.
I have participated in numerous monthly professional development webinars, both as presenter and student, allowing me to learn from some of the best educators in the world from my home.
|Innovative educators collaborating at Global Forum in Prague|
Even better though, as a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, I have had the opportunity to visit the beautiful European cities of Prague (Czech Republic) and Barcelona (Spain) where I collaborated and learned from these amazing educators in person. I have made friends for life and fostered relationships that have connected my classroom with classrooms around the world.
|Global Forum 2014, Barcelona, Spain|
The Microsoft Educator Network is an invaluable source of cutting edge global learning activities and free Microsoft resources. The latest in teaching pedagogy can be found in the "Hot Topics" section within the Microsoft Educator Network.
Being selected as a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert has been a validation of my teaching pedagogy. I am more confident in the classroom because of the learning activities I've seen accomplished by teachers from around the world.
Finally, the single greatest experience of being a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert occurred this past spring when I was the only classroom teacher invited to a 90-minute education round table discussion with His Royal Highness Prince Felipe of Spain, who is now the King of Spain. Having His Royal Highness ask me for my opinion on how to approach teaching in an urban classroom environment and watching him take notes while I answered his questions was surreal.
|Educators meeting with His Royal Highness Prince Felipe of Spain|
About Todd LaVogue
Todd LaVogue is an innovative teacher at Watson B. Duncan Middle School in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Todd placed first in the Educator's Choice category at the 2012 Microsoft Partners in Learning US Forum and third in same category at the 2012 Global Forum in Prague, Czech Republic.