|Roosevelt Middle School educator Todd LaVogue, a 1999 graduate of Palm Beach Atlantic University, recently received the first-place Educators Choice Award for his project “What’s Up Egypt?” during Microsoft's Partners in Learning U.S. Forum. LaVogue is one of 16 U.S. educators who will attend the Partners in Learning Global Forum in Prague, Czech Republic, in November. Photo courtesy of Microsoft Corp.|
When it came time to teach his students about ancient Egypt, Roosevelt Middle School history teacher and Palm Beach Atlantic University graduate Todd LaVogue turned to some rather modern technology.
Using a flip video camera, a digital camera, Apple video editing software and tools like Microsoft Word, Internet Explorer and Windows Live Movie Maker, his students researched and created an ancient Egypt Today show-style news program with news, weather, sports, cooking, lifestyle, historical and music segments.
For example, the weather segment discussed the annual flooding of the Nile and how that was essential to life in ancient Egypt through the depositing of silt on the banks, fertilizing crops.
“Students were able to compare and contrast ancient Egypt with today’s society very well. In the end, they had a better understanding of what it would have been like to have lived during that time,” said LaVogue, who now serves as magnet coordinator at the West Palm Beach school.
Recently officials at Microsoft Corp. took notice, naming LaVogue one of 16 winners of its Partners in Learning U.S. Forum. The annual event recognizes innovative teachers and school leaders who creatively and effectively use technology in their curriculum to help improve the way children learn and increase student success.
Out of thousands that applied, 100 educators from 25 states attended the event to compete for the opportunity to represent the United States at the Partners in Learning Global Forum in Prague, Czech Republic, from Nov. 27 through Dec. 1.
At the U.S. Forum, LaVogue received the first-place Educators Choice Award for his project, “What’s Up Egypt?” As a result, he will attend the Global Forum, which is the culmination of local and regional events that reach nearly 250,000 participants from more than 115 countries. He is the only educator from Florida chosen to attend.
Earlier this week, LaVogue received a letter from Florida Gov. Rick Scott congratulating him on this achievement.
A 1999 PBA graduate who majored in organizational management, LaVogue said that being chosen to attend the forum validates his approach to student learning.
“Students need to be engaged or learning will be difficult. Instruction needs to be differentiated because our students have different learning styles,” LaVogue said. “Attending the Global Forum will give me an opportunity to share ideas and learn from forward thinking, like-minded educators.”
It also will allow his students’ work to be on display for a global audience in Prague, he said.
During the summer, LaVogue was able to spend a week at Microsoft’s corporate campus in Redmond, Wash., as one of 100 teachers in the nation invited to a professional development workshop. “I left Microsoft a better teacher. I should leave the Global Forum a better teacher as well,” he said.
Before he became a teacher four years ago, LaVogue spent 19 years working in retail management. He said he decided on a career change because he wanted to make a greater impact on his community.
He taught sixth- and eighth-grade history during his first three years at Roosevelt. This year, as the magnet coordinator, he oversees about 1,000 students in four magnet programs – technology, pre-engineering, pre-medical science and environmental science.
Roosevelt Middle is an A-rated Title 1 school, with more than 80 percent of its students qualifying for free and reduced-price lunch.
“Despite any socio-economic disadvantages our students face, they continue to excel in the classroom,” LaVogue said.