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Cable's Leaders in Learning Awards 2008

The 2008 Cable’s Leaders in Learning Awards winners include educators who are sharing effective teaching methods worldwide via blogs and streaming videos, connecting students to their communities while raising money for orphans in South Africa, producing a student-led documentary on the fabled Bronx borough of New York City, or providing parents a way to connect with their children’s teachers through ATM-like kiosks in grocery stores among other innovative approaches.


Friday, June 29, 2007


Tony Knapp, Principal, NASA Explorer School-North Ridge Elementary, Cable Partnerships Award

Hoping to expand his students’ interest in math, science and technology, Tony Knapp successfully implemented the NASA Explorer School program at his school. As part of the program, students are motivated to learn by participating in after-school clubs, designing experiments, competing in national technology and science competitions, and learning directly from NASA astronauts and other math, science and technology experts. Additionally, the school’s partnership with Time Warner Cable has given students access to television production and to the NASA Channel and NASA programming and activities.

In his podcast (MP3, 11 MB), Knapp talks about a couple of the experiments that students designed and conducted for NASA, the resources both NASA and Time Warner Cable provide, parent involvement and the online resources NASA has available for other schools.


Thomas Gregory, Teacher, Gahanna High School, Cable Partnerships Award

In an effort to generate support and raise awareness and funds for the building of a Veteran’s Memorial, Thomas Gregory collaborated with Time Warner Cable to showcase a student-produced documentary featuring local veterans and current servicemen and women on Time Warner’s Local On-Demand channel.

The documentary is part of Gregory’s To Serve and To Honor unit, which began shortly after a Gahanna Lincoln High alum lost his life in Iraq. Motivated by the loss of a friend and community member, students helped create the unit, resulting in an award-winning documentary and more than $130,000 raised to design and build a Veteran’s Memorial outside of the school.

Listen and learn (MP3, 20.5 MB) how Gregory has impacted not only his students, but his entire community.


Scott McLeod, Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota, General Excellence Award

Scott McLeod helped co-create the first graduate program in the country that prepares technology-savvy school leaders. McLeod is co-director of the nation’s only university center dedicated to school technology leadership issues, the Center for Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE). CASTLE’s groundbreaking curriculum has been shared freely with 15 other universities that have since used the materials to revamp existing classes, create new courses, and even develop new graduate programs.

In his podcast (MP3, 17.5 MB), McLeod talks about how CASTLE’s program is different than others, the benefits and challenges he sees in making technology leadership courses required for all school administrators, and what the future looks like for administrators, technology, and blogging.

For more on his thoughts (and those of like-minded individuals), be sure to check out his two blogs, Dangerously Irrelevant and Leader Talk.


Mechelle De Craene, Special Education Teacher, Very Special Techies, General Excellence Award

Mechelle De Craene is contributing a new voice to the world of social computing with Very Special Techies, a grassroots project that encourages media literacy through multimodal learning opportunities for students with special needs.

De Craene said students in Very Special Techies have more of “a voice,” an authentic audience (beyond the teacher) and more technology skills than students in special education classes without technology. In addition to using media to aid in class instruction, De Craene started a class blog that serves as a virtual peer support group for her special needs students. Through blogs and digital storytelling, her students have shown increased writing motivation, more comfort with technology, and improved reading scores on standardized teaching.

Listen to De Craene’s podcast (MP3, 10.5 MB) to hear more about Very Special Techies and where you can find resources to enhance your classroom.


Louise Brown, Volunteer, Wood-to-Wonderful’s Reading is Toyrific, Cable Partnerships Award

Louise Brown was recognized for her work managing Wood-to-Wonderful’s Reading is Toyrific, a literacy outreach program that motivates young children from low-income families to read by pairing each student with a local volunteer mentor and providing each with their own library of age-appropriate books and corresponding toys.

In her podcast (MP3, 13.5 MB), Brown discusses how Wood-to-Wonderful expanded and created to Reading is Toyrific. Learn about the kids in the Reading is Toyrific program, the challenges they face, what obstacles Wood-to-Wonderful faces as a grassroots organization and how Comcast and its employees have helped Reading is Toyrific thrive.


Lisa Quinn, Teacher, Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School, Pushing the Envelope Award

Lisa Quinn created the Millennium Ambassadors Program, a one-month program that invites 8th- through 12th-grade students to travel to Panama for a once-in-a-lifetime cross-cultural exchange. The program gives students the opportunity to live among the indigenous Ngobe Bugle Indians, learn Spanish and share their computer skills. While in Panama, the students keep up with other coursework via the Internet.

Quinn’s podcast (MP3, 19 MB) covers the challenges the school faces as a cutting-edge cyber school, the positive feedback from Millennium parents and students, how the program began and where it is going, and what it means to be a cyber teacher at a distance-learning school.


Linda Coates, Teacher, St. Margaret Mary School, General Excellence Award

Linda Coates created a literature curriculum, To Know Me You Must Walk in My Shoes, which exposes students to novels and memoirs with topics such as racism, prejudice and intolerance. Her students interact with and “become” literary characters, allowing them to learn respect and empathy for different generations, cultures, religions and races.

Coates explains in this podcast (MP3, 8.5 MB) that the success of To Know Me You Must Walk in My Shoes stems from its curriculum being out of the classroom, in the real world and hands-on. Although she has taught at St. Margaret Mary School for 35 years, Coates constantly strives to keep her lessons new, fresh and flexible in order to fit the specific needs of each year’s class. She encourages other teachers inspired by her curriculum to apply anything they teach to real-world events.


John Hanson, Social Studies Teacher, Waseca High School, Pushing the Envelope Award

John Hanson was honored for The Coffee Break Debates, a series of debates hosted by his Waseca High Senior American Government classes and broadcast on cable television. He created the debates to help his students learn more about government, specifically local government and its role in the community. Hanson says local government is incredibly important because the decisions the local government makes effect his students’ daily lives.

Hanson’s podcast (MP3, 17MB) covers why the debates are valuable, what the response has been from his students, school, and community, and why he encourages other teachers to do the same for their communities. For example, he says while broadcasting the debates is a great community service, it is secondary to the true objective of the project: to help students “become more knowledgeable about local government and more knowledgeable about becoming an educated voter.”


Frank Baker, Media Literacy Advocate/Trainer, Media Literacy Education Award

For more than 20 years, Frank Baker has been promoting media literacy. From conducting annual workshops, to creating the Media Literacy Clearinghouse Web site, to contributing to a national media literacy listserv, Baker is spreading the messages and resources teachers and parents need to help develop a media literate generation.

In this podcast (MP3, 18MB), Baker talks about media literacy, which he defines as, “critical thinking about media messages,” and its importance in the classroom.

Baker’s Media Literacy Clearinghouse Web site, called by some “the internet encyclopedia of media literacy,” was designed to help teachers understand what media literacy is, where it fits in instruction, and what resources are available to help them teach it.


Erin Reilly, Executive Director, Platform Shoes Forum, General Excellence Award

Listen and learn (MP3, 20MB) about Erin Reilly’s award-winning online educational community, Zoey’s Room (ZR) – why it began, what it is, and where it’s going!

Created by Erin Reilly and Vinitha Nair, encourages girls ages 10-14 to increase and expand their interest and knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The ZR Web site is centered around Zoey, a multi-cultural animated avatar, who chats with ZR members every day after school, encouraging them to participate in ZR Tec-Treks and to become role models like ZR’s “Fab Females.”

From a family of educators, Reilly grew up talking about the education system and how to improve it. By utilizing her multi-media background to help create Zoey’s Room, Erin has already helped improve the lives of hundreds of girls.

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