GENEVA – Mill Creek Elementary School Teacher Donna Román is one of 20 educators in the U.S. that was selected to take part in Microsoft’s Expert Educator program, created to recognize pioneer educators and schools that are using technology to transform education.
Román was selected by Microsoft for her use of technology to drive student achievement based on a collaborative project in which she linked her fifth-grade students with fifth-grade students in Máire O’Keefe’s class located in the town of Kinvara in County Galway, Ireland.
Using a multitude of online resources, Román’s students and their counterparts in Ireland jointly researched the life of Capt. Francis O’Neill, who lived in the eras of the Great Potato Famine and the Great Chicago Fire, from his life on a west Cork County farm in Ireland to occupying the office of the chief of police in Chicago. By studying the life and music of Capt. O’Neill, students learned what life was like for a resident of Ireland during the Great Potato Famine and for an immigrant to the U.S. in the 1800s.
“Microsoft Expert Educators and Mentor schools are inspiring examples of how individuals and schools are using technology to prepare their students for the 21st century,” Anthony Salcito, vice president of Microsoft Corp. Worldwide Education, said in a news release. “Not only are they doing innovative work in the classroom, but they are actively mentoring others and creating change within their own education systems.”
This year, the Expert Educator program selected 250 educators out of 23,000 applicants to be part of an exclusive global community of education leaders who use technology to positively impact learning and student outcomes.
“It’s not just a matter of having more computers, it is an understanding of how technology can be harnessed to create deeper and more engaged learning that is important,” said Román.
Expert Educators work with Microsoft to lead innovation in education, advocate and share their experiences with effective uses of technology in education with their peers and policy makers.
They also receive a range of additional benefits, including an invitation to attend the Microsoft in Education Global Forum in Barcelona, Spain, taking place in March; free surface devices for their schools; insider access to Microsoft strategy and technologies; professional and career development opportunities; and certifications, including peer coaching.