The 2009 European Innovative Teachers Forum Awards was the stage where Microsoft celebrated the top innovative teachers across Europe. The Redmond company handed out a total of 10 awards, three of which for innovation in ICT usage, in community and in content, and a special award for Andrea Brauns (The Netherlands), 'Sound Lottery.' Slavica Juric (Serbia), 'The Story About Bread,' is the winner of the Innovation in ICT Usage award, while the top position for Innovation in Community went to Ollie Bray (UK), 'Thinking out of the Xbox,' with Isabel Schapdryver (Belgium), 'Secondhandshop,' winning Innovation in Content. 'A key theme at the European Innovative Teachers Forum was how technology has become a transformative tool and catalyst for improving education, evolving education systems towards a more student-centric approach,' explained James Bernard, worldwide director of Microsoft's Partners in Learning. 'These awards celebrate the achievements of some of Europe's most innovate teachers, and their passion and dedication towards finding new ways of using technology to engage and inspire their students. We have been so impressed with all of the projects showcased here, and we salute the teachers who give so much time and effort to making a difference in their students' lives and education.'
But essentially all categories and teachers recognized at the 2009 European Innovative Teachers Forum Awards are connected with the introduction of technology in the educational process. Microsoft indicated that the Forum was not only meant for outstanding educators to get their fair share of the spotlight, but also for all parties involved in education to collaborate, share and ultimately implement 'winning strategies.' 'Preparing students for life and work in the 21st century means that there has to be a fundamental change in how the teaching profession employs technology both as a learning tool and something to also be taught. The winning projects stood out as examples of best practice in addressing the changes and challenges with teaching today,' said Andrea Rittersberger, from the Konservatorium Wien University, head judge at the European Innovative Teachers Forum.