REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Five teachers from the U.S. were celebrated Saturday night as five of the most innovative educators in the world, as part of Microsoft Corp.'s annual Global Forum Educator Awards. During the ceremony, held in the prestigious Prague Castle to mark the culmination of the 2012 Microsoft Partners in Learning Global Forum, Microsoft announced 21 winners, narrowed down from more than 250,000 teachers registered across national and regional forums throughout the year. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20000822/MSFTLOGO) "We can't educate tomorrow's leaders with tools and practices from the past. We must continue to invest in the development of enhanced learning environments that lead to better outcomes," said Anthony Salcito, vice president, Worldwide Education for Microsoft. "We are honored to recognize these amazing professionals for the work they do every day to enrich the educational experiences of children around the world." These are the winning U.S. educators: 1st Place: CollaborationPauline Roberts and Rick Joseph; Birmingham Covington School ( Bloomfield Hills, Mich.)Project: Doing Business in BirminghamDoing Business in Birmingham aims to promote the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision-making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity. After learning about sustainability in business, students took to the streets of downtown Birmingham to assess the sustainability of businesses in their local community. Armed with informational flyers and brochures they had created, the students visited more than 90 establishments to interview and educate local business owners. Students used Microsoft Office, Photosynth, Publisher and MovieMaker among other technologies to complete the project. 2nd Place: Cutting-Edge Use of Technology for LearningRobin Lowell and Sherry Hahn; Washington State School for the Blind ( Vancouver, Wash.)Project: "LYNC"ing Distance Learning Math Classes to Blind and Visually Impaired Students The Washington State School for the Blind developed an effective program built on Microsoft Lync that provides specialized mathematics instruction to blind and visually impaired students. The school's teacher lives more than 100 miles away from the campus and uses videoconferencing and Lync to instruct her classes to any student with a Lync client and an Internet connection. 3rd Place: Educators' ChoiceTodd LaVogue; Roosevelt Community Middle School ( West Palm Beach, Fla.)Project: What's Up Egypt? Students created a TV show about ancient Egypt to gain a deeper understanding of life during that time. Students used Microsoft Word, Internet Explorer and video editing software to research and create a " TODAY"-style news program with news, weather, sports, cooking, lifestyle, history and music segments. Students compared and contrasted ancient Egypt with today's society and in the end they had a better understanding of what it would have been like to have lived during that time. "Having the opportunity to be here at the Microsoft Global Forum has been one of most meaningful experiences for both Pauline [Roberts] and me as teachers principally because we have the opportunity to interact with other practitioners from around the globe," said Rick Joseph, first-place winner in the Collaboration category. "We as teachers believe our children learn in a global environment. When we can get together with teachers from around the world and see what they're doing and see the ways in which they engage their students, it's very energizing to us because it really enables us to be the best that we can be." "We have connected with teachers and schools from around the world that are amazingly innovative and so passionate. This is just the beginning of what we can do. There is so much more innovation and new ways of teaching, new ways of learning, that this is the tip of the iceberg," said Robin Lowell, second-place winner in the Cutting-Edge Use of Technology for Learning category. "We've gathered ideas to take home with us, which is going to improve us as teachers and improve our students' education and life." "Teachers don't work for recognition, but for our students. Still, to have our effort and impact recognized by Microsoft as one of the country's best is an incredible feeling," said Todd LaVogue, third-place winner in the Educators' Choice category. "My intent is to give my students my very best, and the ideas I've gathered from other educators at the Partners in Learning Global Forum are helping me do just that. My students are starting to understand how special and important they are and that their success in adult life begins right now." Saturday night's awards were presented to educators across six categories. All winners will be automatically included in the new Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert Program, a one-year initiative created to recognize educators globally who are using technology to transform education. Educator Experts will become Microsoft's partner in many of its education activities throughout the year, focused on ensuring learning outcomes and sharing of experiences with peers and policymakers on effective use of technology in education.