Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the 7th annual Partners in Learning Global Forum.  I attended for the first time last year in Cape Town, South Africa, and this time the venue was Washington, D.C. We were honored to welcome and host hundreds of education leaders in our nation’s capital to celebrate the accomplishments of more than 700 educators from 70 countries.

This year’s Global Forum proved to be as energetic and filled with excitement as educators learned from each other, grew professionally, and taught each other about new ways that technology can impact the classroom and influence learning and student outcomes. Besides U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, throwing a virtual fish from an educational Kinect game that was created by several teachers from California, Florida, Maryland, South Carolina, and Texas, the biggest highlight for me was spending a lot more time with the U.S. teachers.  Not to mention our THREE U.S. winners in the competition! Read more about these outstanding and innovative teachers who won first place awards over on our TeachTec blog.

Last year in Cape Town, I started my own personal watch list on who I thought was going to go back to their school or district and make the most impact.  I mentioned to my colleagues Stacey Rainey (@staceyrainey) and Mary Cullinane to watch Cheryl Arnett (@c_arnett), a first and second grade teacher in Craig, Colorado who won first place in the U.S. competition last year.  Win, lose, or draw, I knew that Cheryl was going back home after the worldwide event in South Africa to change the world – and she did.  She advocated more technology across the school district, and created a culture of innovation by creating their version of a global forum to celebrate innovative teaching and learning.  As recognition, she was awarded “Teacher of the Year” in her school district.
 
This year, my personal selection is one our judges of the event – Lee Kolbert (@teachakidd).  I only met Lee a few times but had the pleasure of spending so much time with her at our U.S. Partners in Learning Forum event and at NBC Education Nation.  She posted a Huffington Post blog about educators having a great heart and she is no exception.   

The one assignment I gave all U.S. participants attending the Global Forum was to meet new people, soak up new ideas, and tell me what new learning they would take home to their school. Take a look at the video below and you tell me that these people are not going to change the world?!