The Microsoft Innovative Educator Program

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For the past two days, I have been attending the Microsoft Innovative Educator Training workshop, hosted at the Microsoft offices in downtown Chicago.  Now, normally, I somewhat dread going to technology trainings, since many of them are not very “hands on,” however I was pleasantly surprised by this one!

To start with, this training is not necessarily marketed towards classroom teachers, but rather teacher trainers, such as building or district level technology educators/integrationists/coordinators.  Attendees must first submit an application for admission to the event (see the application here – trainings are coming up in San Francisco, New York City, and Dallas), and then are notified whether they have been accepted.  Once a teacher is accepted into and completes the program, they then commit to train a minimum of 100 educators in their home school/district.  In some cities, there may be a high level of competition for spots in this workshop, however in our two day session, there were only seven people.

In having a smaller group, however, it seems that we were able to get through a lot more material than normally scheduled.  The workshop itself was mainly centered on OneNote, a tool that MIE Trainers David Squires and Benson Kwok (click to follow them on Twitter – they’re great!) claim is Microsoft’s best kept secret – and I totally agree!  As someone who has never really “dug in” to OneNote, I was amazed at all of the cool tricks this program could do.  From recording class notes and tutorials, to acting as a hub for teacher meeting, it seems as if OneNote is pretty all encompassing.

Throughout the workshop, I found my self already thinking three to four steps ahead, planning ways in which OneNote could make my staff’s live so much easier and efficient.  Luckily, we are already a Office365 school, so transitioning to this will not be too difficult in the future (I love Google, but I think it might be hard to convert a “Google Faculty” to move solely to OneNote!).

How have you used OneNote in your classroom or school?  What do you like/dislike?  How does it compare to Evernote?  I would love to hear your thoughts!

(stay tuned for more great things I learned from this workshop…)