Jamie Ewing, teacher at White Center's Mt. View Elementary School was awarded top honors in Microsoft’s Partners in Learning U.S. Forum.

Microsoft names Mount View teacher one of nation’s top educators

Jamie Ewing takes top honors in Microsoft Education Forum

Press release:
Jamie Ewing, a fifth grade teacher at Mount View Elementary, was awarded top honors in Microsoft’s Partners in Learning U.S. Forum.

He is one of 16 educators in the nation honored for inspiring student learning and impacting positive change through technology in the classroom.

The Forum annually recognizes innovative teachers and school leaders who creatively and effectively use technology in their curriculum to help improve the way students learn.

Ewing won first place in the Collaboration category for "Using Technology to Develop Science Fair Projects for the Virtual World."

“Our cloud-based science fair takes the idea of the ‘old school’ card board science fair and spins it into the 21st century,” says Ewing.

Students begin by exploring earth systems and designing related science experiments. Students present their experiments as interactive web games, videos or PowerPoint presentations.

The digital presentations are stored on a Windows Live SkyDrive, so students can bring their ideas to other schools around the world. Once data is collected and experiments are finished, student groups use their findings to create a project addressing environmental damage. Community presentations are made in person and also via Skype.

Thousands of teachers from across the country applied for the U.S Forum, and 100 were selected to compete. The 16 U.S. winners advance to the Partners in Learning Global Forum, held in Prague in November.

“These winning educators are catalysts for change and are the best in the nation at embracing technology to inspire and engage students and help transform education in their local communities,” said Andrew Ko, general manager, U.S. Partners in Learning, Microsoft.

(Editor’s Note: Here’s a story Robinson Newspapers published on Mr. Ewing last year.)

Mr. Ewing teaches with style in White Center

By Deanna Duff
Students returned to school this month and teachers were ready with lessons on reading, writing and arithmetic -- and a small dose of fashion in the case of Mt. View Elementary School teacher Jamie Ewing.

Formerly a New York fashion designer, Ewing is tailoring his fashion background to inspire students in the White Center classroom.

"The Mt. View staff is really amazing. We come at education from all different directions, together as a team, and do whatever we can to make it work for the kids," says Ewing.

Ewing has taught at Mt. View since 2007 and his artistic background and cutting-edge attitude have energized the curriculum. During the 2010-2011 school year, he integrated technology into his fifth-grade classroom via an art and web-design project. The program was one of 78 chosen nationally for recognition at the Microsoft Partners in Learning U.S. Innovative Education Forum held last July.

"I wanted to work with the kids and expand their idea of what education meant," says Ewing.

Students designed a mock homepage in the style of Bing.com, which utilizes photo backgrounds. Their inspiration was to answer the question, "What does education look like?" Students were challenged to capture their answer in a photograph. Students chose everything from playgrounds and classrooms to the Seattle skyline. They then used design software to frame the final project.

"The challenge with tech is to integrate it so that kids are using it as a tool," says Ewing.

He incorporates creative components, such as the photography aspect, to increase the "fun factor."

"I want to take an ordinary project and make it exciting. I think that art is an easy way for students to express themselves. This whole idea is completely informed by my own art background," says Ewing.

The North Carolina native earned an undergraduate degree in fashion design and worked in New York for nearly a decade as a menswear designer for companies such as Macy's, Bugle Boy and Barneys New York.

Among his most memorable experiences was the opportunity to meet high-profile designer Marc Jacobs and work his runway shows.

He found himself considering a career change after moving to Washington in 2000. His focus landed on becoming a teacher, which he first considered while in college.

"Within two weeks (of considering a career change), I quit the job I had and was enrolled in a master's program for teaching. It's the best thing I've ever done in my life," says Ewing.

These days Ewing is more focused on his teaching style, but his fashion savvy still inspires. As a college student, his nickname was "Etch A Sketch" thanks to his ever-changing looks ranging from preppy to punk - including a red and green mohawk.

His signature style is now a shirt and tie. "I wear a tie every day because I want to present myself in a certain way to the students. Whether the kids know it or not, they respond differently," he says.

Ewing and a fellow Mt. View teacher have a yearly competition to see who can wear a tie for the most consecutive days (school spirit days are exempt). Ewing won last year, lasting until May or June. "We're pretty hardcore!" he says, crediting his own victory to determination and having "A lot of ties in rotation."

Tech projects and tie competitions aside, he hopes his own varied and somewhat fantastical life also inspires students.

"I've been very, very fortunate with the experiences I've been afforded. I stress with my students that all they have to do is show up to school, work really hard, believe in themselves and then go off and do whatever their dream is," says Ewing.

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