Guest post by David Lopez, educator and Microsoft Fellow: Professional development at 30,000 feet

Guest post by David Lopez. David Lopez has worked as a K-5 classroom teacher and professional development specialist at Hillsborough County Public Schools in Tampa, Florida. Connect with David on the Microsoft educator community.

I love my Surface Pro 3 because I get to do professional development at 30,000 feet.

In my travels helping schools and school districts across the country with technology integration and professional development planning, I am often on a plane uncomfortably cozying up to other travelers.

I have probably sat next to every single stereotypical traveler: chronic complainers, first-time flyers, paranoid panickers, etc. And I'm usually polite and silent and don't do a lot of talking because I figure that if someone has bought a ticket, they're entitled to a quiet flight.

Every once in a while, though, I end up doing a training for my Surface Pro 3. Yes, that's right, a full, hour-long professional development session 30,000 feet in the air. Most people can't help but wonder how I'm able to fit my whole computer right in the seat-back pocket and still have plenty of legroom.

They see me take out my active stylus and start highlighting a document in OneNote, and then they look at the papers they're working on, wondering how they could do the same thing. And when I flip the keyboard under the screen and read an e-book while keeping the flight tracker open on the split-screen? Yes, I've seen their eyes peek over at my screen and I have to say, "Pretty cool, huh? Would you like to give it a try?"

The teacher in me can't help but demonstrate how this great device has changed the way educators collaborate and communicate with their students.

My favorite feature to demonstrate is how I can give descriptive feedback to my students in OneNote using the inking feature and the built-in microphone. I simply open OneNote, find the paper, insert a recording, and then begin writing and highlighting on the screen just as I would on paper. The real eye-opener is when I click "playback" and the inking starts highlighting and moving down the page as my recorded voice comes through the speakers.

And as if that weren't enough, my fellow passengers really love to see how easy it is just to flip the keyboard back and convert it into a tablet, so when the universal announcement comes on, I can keep working while everyone else is having to cram laptops back into their bags.

As a teacher, do I wish all my students had one of these to take notes on and work on developing their own understanding? Yes. Do I wish all of my colleagues had one, so I could sit down and collaborate with them in ways that weren't possible before? Absolutely. Do I wish everyone in the world had a Surface Pro 3? Yes, I do! I feel a song coming on…

I'd like to teach the world to ink
In perfect harmony
I'd like to buy the world a Pro 3
And keep it paper-free
That's the real thing…

Ok, maybe that's not the best song. But if you're a teacher looking for a device that can invigorate your classroom, allow you to use all of your regular programs, help you interact as naturally as putting pen to paper, and be as convenient as any tablet you've ever owned, the Surface Pro 3 is hard to beat.

If you want to know more, go to and learn how teachers can get a 10% discount at the Microsoft store. My wish for you is that you have a great school year, and that your students are happy and engaged and ready to take ownership of their learning. With or without technology, teaching is a tough job, but when it's done well it is so rewarding — even if it's not 30,000 feet in the air.

David Lopez
Connect with David Lopez on the Microsoft educator community

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