Guest post from Lauren Woodman, General Manager of Worldwide Partners in Learning.

This week, we are celebrating educators from all over the world at the 7th annual Partners in Learning Global Forum in Washington, DC.  This event brings more than 700 educators from more than 70 countries to learn, collaborate and celebrate together – a remarkable opportunity to see how innovation in education is transforming learning around the world.

The educators here are among the best of the world.  Out of the 700+ educators attending, over 115 teachers will be competing for 18 Global Innovative Educator Awards by showcasing how they have used technology in the classroom. Their projects were formerly recognized in their national and regional Innovative Education competitions. As finalists in this honorable competition, these teachers are here demonstrating their combined passion for their students’ future with the desire to strengthen their professional skills and bring new ideas to teaching.  

These incredible projects represent the diversity of the participants.  From bullying to fish, and environmental concerns to complex math, the projects that these teachers created cover a wide range of topics and use a variety of technologies to make learning engaging, relevant and accessible. (Check out this blog for information about all the US finalists competing.)  And while each project is different, all of these projects help students not only learn core subject matters but also build the critical 21st century skills they need to be successful as global citizens. 

Educators from various schools are embarking on a journey to work across their institution to transform learning in every classroom by establishing a clear vision for excellence, a path for professional development, and effective leadership to drive change.  Everyone that attends has earned the opportunity to participate because of their commitment to education. 

Like the teacher projects, each of the participating schools reflect their communities, bringing depth, culture and fresh ideas to this truly global forum.  They embody the promise that a quality education holds for students.  Whether their particular vision is to “enrich schools through learning” or to “prepare students for life,” each of these schools has established high expectations for their students, teachers and leadership, and is actively working to ensure that those expectations are reached.

With the focus on education, we’ll announce a number of new partnerships and initiatives this week that build and extend the work of Partners in Learning during our opening keynote on Tuesday, November 8, 2011. Check our Virtual Press Kit for updates throughout the day.   From extending our work with the Smithsonian to enrich learning on environmental issues, to expanding our work in emerging countries, our focus remains on empowering educators everywhere to ensure that every child receives a quality education.  

At Microsoft Partners in Learning, it’s an honor for each of us to be able to welcome these wonderful educators to Washington, D.C., and celebrate their accomplishments.   Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and our virtual press room so that you, too, can see the amazing innovation that is happening in classrooms and schools all around the world.