Lane Joins Team of Microsoft Education Experts

School district's instructional technology office.

Collin Lane, seated at right, and his colleagues in the district’s Instructional Technology office.

Tucked away in a shared space at the district’s administrative offices on Fleur Drive are six unsung apostles of technology making it possible for 2,500+ teachers to do more and better work all the time. They’re the ones who bring you TechCon and blaze the trail for the DMPS Trailblazers, teachers who, in turn, spread the technological good word in their buildings districtwide.

One of the savvy six “techsperts” (their official title is Instructional Technology Coordinator) has recently become less unsung.

Collin Lane was notified this week by Microsoft that he’s been named a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, a group of 4,000 educators worldwide (only 400 of whom are in the US) who collaborate on the application of Microsoft tools to education.

“Talking to some of the MIEEs who came to TechCon from districts across the country, they encouraged me to apply,” said Lane, “so I did.”

As far as he knows, he’s only the second one from Iowa, a state where only a handful of school districts rely on Microsoft educational software.

His selection is another indication that DMPS is poised at the leading edge of 21st century educational innovation and best practices. It’s also more than mere recognition. Real collaboration does happen between and amongst the MIEEs. Lane will participate in his first conference call as a member of the elite group on September 7th and be part of focus groups that test products and give feedback to Microsoft research and development teams.

Lane has been singled out, but only because he raised his hand. His video application for the MIEE distinction emphasized his effectiveness as a member of a team. Like all five of his fellow ITCs, Lane is a former teacher. He’s in his 12th year with DMPS and formerly taught for five years at Lovejoy Elementary School and two years at Edmunds where he began teaching technology to school kids. Who absorbs it faster, kids or teachers? Lane smiles. Draw your own conclusion.

“I’m curious to see how this experience translates into products and ideas that I can bring back to help build instructional capacity throughout the district,” he said.

There is a camaraderie vibe in the district Tech Tank that will ensure Lane’s ego does not swell in the wake of his official designation as an “Expert.” His colleagues (Jeremiah Starr, Scot Surprenant, Melanie Gildharry, Jake Welchans and Jenny Inman) wouldn’t let that happen. When we dropped in to talk for a few minutes and take a few pictures, Surprenant said Lane should’ve been pictured “in your robe and pipe.”

The group collectively came up with the idea for TechCon and launched the annual in-house professional development extravaganza two years ago. The second one built upon the first and the third one next summer will build upon the second. There is no shortage of tech conferences for educators around the country but it’s not every school district that has what it takes to produce and stage its own in-house.

That requires Expertise with a capital E and DMPS has plenty of that. Now it’s official.

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