Announcing Hack the Classroom: Small Steps to Big Impact

Hack is Back. September 24, 2016 from 8:00a.m. to 10:00a.m. PST. #HacktheClassroom

The messages came pouring in through the live chat, greetings from Vietnam to Croatia, Nigeria to Canada, lighting up the morning with energy and excitement. And like that, the first Hack the Classroom digital event kicked off on January 30, 2016, as tens of thousands of educators from around the world were inspired to go forth and do amazing things in the classroom, armed with inspiring new ideas from speakers and peers.

And we’re so excited to do it all again.

Microsoft is happy to announce that on September 24, 2016 from 8:00a.m. to 10:00a.m. PST, we will be live-streaming the second Hack the Classroom event. With the theme of “small steps to big impact,” the two hours will be packed with exciting industry speakers and trailblazing educators, featuring many hacks created by teachers from around the world. Hosted by Microsoft’s Vice President of Worldwide Education, Anthony Salcito, our fabulous roster of speakers includes:


JohnKaoJohn Kao
Dubbed “Mr. Creativity” and a “Serial Innovator” by The Economist, John is a thought leader, practitioner and activist, who has played a leading role in the fields of innovation and business creativity for over 30 years.  His knowledge is eclectic and blends the perspectives of musician, facilitator extraordinaire, former Harvard Business School professor, Harvard-trained psychiatrist, best-selling author, serial entrepreneur, and Tony-nominated producer of film and stage.  Recently, Yamaha Music Corporation named him their first “innovation artist.”John is founder and CEO of EdgeMakers, whose mission is to empower young people worldwide to become highly effective innovators “ahead of schedule.” His work has received coverage in such media as the New York Times, The Economist, CNN, and The Colbert Report. His education includes BA and MD degrees from Yale, a residency at the McLean division of Massachusetts General Hospital and an MBA from Harvard Business School. In the summer of 1969, John apprenticed to rock legend Frank Zappa.  In his spare time, he plays jazz piano.
Patricia RomeroPatricia RomeroPatricia Romero holds an Industrial Engineering degree and a Master of Education with a Concentration in International Teaching from Framingham State University.  Twelve years ago, she discovered her real passion, which is education. She works as Head of Educational Technology at the American Institute of Monterrey in Mexico as well as a Technology Science Teacher in grades 6th – 7th.  Patricia also works as a Technology Integration Coach training teachers and helping them integrate technology into their curriculums.  She has being honored to participate as a speaker in international and national forums such as ¨Root & Wings” San Jose, Costa Rica for The Association of American Schools of Central America, Colombia-Caribbean and Mexico with the conference Ideal Workflow Using any Device in your classroom.  She also was invited as a speaker in “Live Curious, Go Beyond 2016” and  .EDU Explorar. Descubrir. Unir. 2016” with the conference “When the Future is your Present: Drones in the Classroom”. She has successfully implement in her school the use of Minecraft using STEM principals to facilitate learning. Lately, she was recognized as a Teacher Ambassador for Microsoft as well as Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIE Expert). 



JordanShapiroJordan Shapiro, PhD
Shapiro is a world-renowned thought-leader on global policy and education. He’s currently senior fellow for the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, where he coordinates research and advocacy around digital technology and education policy. His Forbes’ column on global education, learning through digital play, kids and culture has been read by over 4 million people around the world, also resulting in a Twitter following (@jordosh) of more than 100,000. He’s an internationally celebrated speaker and consultant whose fresh perspective combines psychology, philosophy, and economics in unexpected ways. Shapiro is an adviser and strategist to the United States Air Force and Thomas Edison State University, helping to shape how they provide individuals with sophisticated 21st century agile and critical thinking skills. He is also a member of Teach For All’s Global Advisory Council. He lives in Philadelphia, where he regularly plays video games with his nine- and eleven-year-old sons.
LaurenPittmanLauren Pittman
Pittman is a special education teacher at Holly Springs Elementary in Canton, GA. She is a graduate of Berry College in Rome, GA, and is currently entering her tenth year of teaching and tenth year of special education. Special education is my passion and helping my students have an uplifting education experience is my life’s joy. Over the last year, I was named a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, Microsoft Surface Expert and a PBS DigitalLearning Innovator.I have flipped my classroom with the help of OneNote, the OneNote Learning Tools and the Windows Surface Pro 3.Through the incredible journey of the last year, I have watched my students grow and learn with the use of these tools. We have a new saying in my classroom, “sky’s the limit.”
Dyane SmokorowskiDyane Smokorowski
Smokorowski is the 2013 Kansas Teacher of the Year and is currently serving as a PreK-12 Instructional Technology Coach in the Andover Public Schools in Andover, Kansas where she supports 300 teachers in effective technology integration and professional development. Mrs. Smoke, as her students know her, believes in a project-based, student-centered classroom that helps students build skills in communication, planning, research and cultural awareness. She wants her students to develop a love for learning, communication and technology, but also to understand how to use those passions to advance their own futures, as well as that of the global community.

Excited? Here’s what you can do right now to make sure you’re set to participate in this amazing event:

  1. Register for the event at
  2. Keep an eye out for the Class Hacks Contest, kicking off on September 5. We are inviting everyone to submit their own one-minute classroom hacks, and the winning entries (determined by public voting) will be broadcast live during Hack the Classroom on September 24.
  3. Let your friends know you’re attending by posting on Twitter of Facebook with the #HackTheClassroom hashtag!
  4. Get inspired by viewing the winners of the Class Hacks Contest from the previous Hack the Classroom event!



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