Microsoft & Parade Present Technoloogy in Education Recently Microsoft and Parade Magazine asked me to participate on a panel about technology in education (disclosure – I was compensated for my time). Education has always been a high priority for me as a parent and technology has played a big part in my son’s education. I was honored to be a part of the panel and to be able to invite local bloggers and educators to the event which was held at the Microsoft Store in St. Louis, Missouri.

My son was homeschooled for several years and also attended public school for several years. His special education needs meant that we were using some extra technology tools from the start with him. When we homeschooled we used an online curriculum in part along with a lot of computer programs, online exploring, and general use of computers and tech gadgets to facilitate his education. At public school he had very little technology education or use of technology in the classroom during his younger years. This was incredibly disappointing to both him and I. Once he was in high school he did use his computer more and they even had some of his courses online at school – however these were fairly basic and not very exciting. While he has now graduated high school I am still happy to see that use of technology in the classroom is finally increasing although there is still a long way to go in our district.

Maggie Murphy, Parade Magazine Editor-in-Chief, moderated the Technology in Education Panel in St. Louis

Our host was Parade’s Editor-in-Chief, Maggie Murphy.

Panelist Stephanie Madlinger, Director of Teaching and Learning and Adjunct Professor at the University of Missouri.  Microsoft & Parade Technology in Education Panel Panelist Robyn Wright, Microsoft Windows Champion, Blogger, and Parent.  Microsoft & Parade Technology in Education Panel

Panelists: Stephanie Madlinger who is the Director of Teaching and Learning and Adjunct Professor at the University of Missouri and that’s me, Robyn Wright, on the right.

Panelist Bradly Davis, Microsoft Store Manager. Microsoft & Parade Technology in Education PanelPanelist Cameron Evans, Chief Technological Officer for Microsoft Education.   Microsoft & Parade Technology in Education Panel

Panelists: Bradly Davis who is a Microsoft Store Manager and Cameron Evans who is the Chief Technological Officer for Microsoft Education.

One of the big issues we discussed on the panel was that while the price of technology for schools has dropped considerably, there is still not enough implementation of that tech in the class. Our kids have quickly adopted technology, but our educators are a little more resistant. Stephanie explained that teachers teach in the same way they learned. Since technology is changing dramatically all the time our current teachers were not taught themselves on utilizing the tools to help them in their own classrooms. It is not as easy as just giving computers to teachers and saying “teach!” Our educators need to learn how to use the devices and more importantly, how to effectively implement the use of technology when teaching. Not just using a computer program, but to find new and creative ways to help our kids utilize technology to help them solve problems, create their own content, and make technology as integrated into their education as what pencils and paper were to past generations.

Here is a short video of our panel discussion…


There are far more resources available than what most people realize. These come in various forms but there is something for educators, students, and parents. I invite you to investigate these resources and share with your local schools.

  • Bing in the Classroom

    I love that Bing allows schools to sign up for free and safe searching on their school computers with no advertising or tracking. This allows students to really utilize Bing’s functions and explore their world through online tools. They also offer ways for schools to earn free Surface tablets, provide daily lesson plans based on Bing’s image of the day, and so much more. Talk to your school administrators about implementing this amazing resource in your schools.

  • Skype in the Classroom

    There are 89,866 teachers worldwide using Skype in their classrooms for free. Teachers have the ability to collaborate with other classrooms, invite guest speakers to share their experiences with the class via Skype, and they even have “Mystery Skype” now that has the kids guess where on earth the other classroom of kids is located.

  • YouthSpark Hub

    On this hub site you can find all of Microsoft’s 30+ programs for young people – they are all encompassed under the YouthSpark umbrella. You may remember I attended the Imagine Cup World Finals where I was able to see amazing apps that students had created that are changing our world. Other programs like DigiGirlz are available to encourage and support girls to go into technology fields. DreamSpark provides students with free software so they can create their own apps and even sell them in the app store. The Microsoft Digital Literacy program offers free online courses to learn important technology skills. One of my favorites is the TEALS program which brings actual Microsoft engineers into high schools to teach computer science and help train the teachers at the school as well.

microsoft parade edu event (3)

A huge thanks to all of the local bloggers and social media professionals as well as local educators who joined us at the Microsoft & Parade Magazine Technology in Education Event.

microsoft and parade event

Read more coverage of this event:

  • Parade Magazine: Parade and Microsoft Team Up to Support Education
  • The Cubicle Chick: Microsoft & Parade Magazine Discuss Education and Technology at #GearUp
  • Parade Magazine and Microsoft
  • Bing Blogs: Microsoft Teams with Parade Magazine to Discuss Responsible Tech in the Classroom
  • Glamazini: Microsoft & Parade Magazine Talk Technology in Education

Photos courtesy of Alejandro Ramirez,

What are your thoughts on technology in the classroom?