Earlier this week I was at the very cool and fun Certiport Educator Conference in Orlando, sponsored by Microsoft. (Certiport helps people certify their professional skills using various kinds of software from Adobe, Microsoft, Intuit, etc.) Focus for this event was on the impact of technology certification in the classroom. So it brought together two of my favorite worlds: teaching and tech.

A few of my silly takeaways and observations:

— I should get certified in Excel … or at least figure out why every time I touch a key I get a pop-up “error in formula” message when I’m just trying to name the document.

— On the upside, a Certiport trainer and PowerPoint expert complimented my own slides that accompany my show. I felt like a 4th grader who’d just blue ribboned his first bee.

— Certiport’s conference is only in its third year and it’s doubling in size. I think I know why. I could tell the educators were engaged in part because of the unique way Certiport allows for dynamic feedback and input from the teachers to affect their students’ experience. Wow — a company actually asking teachers for help and input to make sure that the test is successfully teaching? Brilliant! Bravo! More of this!

— A teacher at the conference asked: “Did your 4th grade teacher really put you in a refrigerator box?”
Me: Yes, and it helped.
Teacher: I’d like to meet her.

Thanks to all the great educators, and the folks at Certiport and Microsoft who are providing more dynamic funnels to bring more students closer to early wins — and help them dominate a new skill that can lead to a great first job and beyond!

Now I’m off to Universal Orlando with my wife and my 7-year-old Harry Potter fanatic, who no doubt will ask me if she can stay overnight in the Hogwarts castle and will cry when I give her the obvious answer. Life is grand.

(Thanks to Will Wilson for sharing this photo on Twitter!)

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