Saturday, April 23, 2016

How the MIE Expert Program Changed Me

A Friendly Email

It all started with an email from my friend, Tracey Wong, last summer. Tracey is a school librarian in New York City. I first connected with her via email after reading one of her magazine articles late last spring. In June, she emailed telling me I should apply for an unfamiliar program called MIE Expert (Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert). I love learning, and I'm always looking for ways to connect with other educators. At first glance, I knew that this program would be very beneficial.

Microsoft selects educators each year to become part of the MIE Expert group. This is a large community with thousands of educators all over the world. All of the members are innovative leaders in education using technology. I thought this would be a great way to network and learn from others, so I decided to apply to see what might happen. Go here to learn more about being an MIE Expert.

Skype has changed our learning community this year!
Application and Acceptance

I completed the application in July and submitted it (after getting Tracey to look over it for me to make sure everything was in order!). Honestly, I didn't think I had a chance of being selected. After school started in August, I quickly forgot about the whole thing until fall. Then one day, the notification email came through... I had been accepted! I tweeted and emailed Tracey the good news immediately! I was so excited!

Webinars and Connections

I enjoy monthly MIE Expert webinars!

Since November, I have attended monthly MIE Expert webinars. These sessions feature current MIE Experts sharing their innovative practices. I have learned about what teachers are doing around the country to reach students in the classroom with Microsoft products. I've also participated in a Global Skype-a-Thon with one of the teachers at my school. His classes contacted other schools via Mystery Skype sessions last December.

One of the most valuable benefits to this program has been making connections. All of the teachers I encounter in this group are passionate 21st century connected educators. They are always looking to share best practices and ready to learn more for their learning communities. This kind of passion is contagious when you are surrounded by it! 

I have also learned about Microsoft products and training opportunities. I have started connecting with educators in other countries. I use Skype to connect with new educator friends; the more I use it, the more comfortable it gets. It seems that I've only just scratched the surface of what is possible to learn.

MIE Expert Forum

The MIE Expert community, Twitter, and Skype keep me connected!

I found out a few weeks ago that I will be attending the MIE Forum in Denver, Colorado this summer. This will be a wonderful opportunity to learn in a conference style atmosphere. I'm most excited to meet other MIE Experts in person. I hope to make connections and bring them back to our learning community for future collaborations via Skype!

Many of our students have connected with other schools via Skype over the past year!

Future Plans

The 2015-2016 school year has been full of connections on social media and through the MIE Expert program. When we connect with other educators and build relationships, many good things happen. First, we learn from others, and this improves our teaching practices. Secondly, when we learn and change, we impact our entire learning community. This has the potential to benefit many of our learners.

I will continue learning in the MIE Expert community next school year. Thank you, Tracey Wong, for suggesting I apply for this wonderful group. It has changed me and impacted my learning community. I look forward to learning and connecting more in 2016-2017!

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