America's teachers innovate every day.

 

The 2012 Teacher Innovators Awards: Frequently Asked Questions

Innovators — thank you for your interest in submitting an entry for the 2012 Teacher Innovator Awards!

The 2012 Teacher Innovators Awards acknowledge creative and inspiring educators for the work you do in the classroom everyday. To enter is easy — you simply join PBS LearingMedia (it's free to join!), upload a video or PDF story of your innovation in action and tell us why you are an innovator. Refer the to the 2012 Teacher Innovator Award rules for details on who is eligible to enter and how the entries will be judged.

We are searching for teachers who are utilizing digital media and innovative teaching practices to engage students. It does not matter which subject you teach — all that matters is that you are helping kids learn using creative techniques.

Frequently Asked Questions:

 

What is the definition of innovation for this contest?

Innovation is anything you do in the classroom to increase the engagement and effectiveness of a lesson or a concept that you are teaching. For this contest, we are specifically looking for ways that you use digital media to accomplish this.

What is included in digital media?

Digital media can be interpreted broadly for this contest. Examples include, but are not limited to, on-air television programming, DVDs, websites, interactive maps or slideshows, streaming video, video games, e-books, digital textbooks, applications available through mobile devices such as phones, tablets, and e-readers, touch screen displays, digital music, audio books, augmented reality games, and GPS applications such as geocaching and digital mapping.

What are some examples of innovation in the classroom?

View entries by the 2010 and 2011 PBS Teachers Innovation Award winners.

Wow! Some of the examples look professionally done. Does my video need to be a certain quality?

Don't worry about having a video or image professionally created. Simply grab a video camera or your phone and capture your innovation. We invite all entries — we are not selecting winners based on the quality of the production; we are selecting based on your creative and innovative teaching.

Does the video have to be a certain length or size?

Videos are limited to no more than 3 minutes in length. You will receive an error message if your video exceeds 3 minutes. Also, your video cannot be more than 100MB in size, and we recommend much less.

What are the acceptable formats for my video?

Acceptable video file format extensions are:

  • .flv (preferred)
  • .mov
  • .mp4 (preferred)
  • .avi (preferred)
  • .wmv

Within these file formats, the following codecs (implementations) can be used for your video entry. In most instances, using the preferred file formats noted above will work. The codec list can be used to trouble shoot if you experience problems with your video upload.

  • Windows Media Player: Microsoft RLE, Microsoft Video 1, Cinepak, Indeo 2, 3 and 5. Motion JPEG , Microsoft MPEG-4 v1, v2, v3, wmv1, wmv2, wmv3.
  • Quicktime: Cinepak, Motions JPEG, Sorenson 3 Codec.
  • There are many acceptable codecs for all the other acceptable formats. Some of the more common codecs are listed below, although other codecs may work.
    • QuickTime 8BPS video
    • MPEG-4 Audio Lossless Coding (ALS)
    • AVS (Audio Video Standard) video
    • H.264 / AVC / MPEG-4 AVC / MPEG-4 part 10
    • MPEG-4 part 2 Microsoft variant version 3
    • QuickTime Animation (RLE) video
    • QuickTime video (RPZA)
    • Sorenson Vector Quantizer 1 / Sorenson Video 1 / SVQ1
    • Sorenson Vector Quantizer 3 / Sorenson Video 3 / SVQ3
    • Windows Media Video 7
    • Windows Media Video 8
    • Windows Media Video 9

Also to note: Please do not attempt to upload a presentation that has been created with an interactive whiteboard. Due to the proprietary nature of interactive whiteboards, the files will not translate into any other format.

What is a story PDF?

A story PDF uses text and images to tell the story of your innovative classroom idea. The story PDF should convey the same ideas you would share in a video, just on "paper." See a sample story pdf.

Does the story PDF have to be a certain length?

Story PDFs are limited to no more than 3 pages in length. You will receive an error message if your story PDF exceeds 3 pages. Also, your PDF cannot be more than 100MB in size, but it's doubtful a 3 page PDF would ever be anywhere near that size.

Does the video or story PDF need to show me teaching or can it show student work?

Our interest is in seeing innovation — whether it's a demonstration of a unique teaching technique or the outcome of your influence in a student work — either is fine. The one requirement is that the innovation must be the result of your teaching. You can not submit a video of another teacher's innovation or student work.

Can a team of teachers submit a single entry?

No. Given the structure of our prize, the contest is limited to one (1) person per entry. Entries from teams of people will be disqualified.

Do I have to be a classroom teacher?

We invite PreK-12 Classroom Educators (Public, Private, or Charter School), Library Media Specialists, Technology Specialists/Coordinators, Homeschool Educators, and Head Start or Licensed Daycare Teachers to apply. It is a requirement that education must be your primary profession, you have to teach at the PreK-12th grade level, and you have to teach a student or group of students. We cannot accept entries from tutors or individuals who teach on an informal basis.

What information do I have to provide about my innovation?

On the entry form, in addition to submitting video or story PDF and basic information, you will also need to provide the following information:

  • A description of the lesson or project showcased in your video submission: How was the lesson or project innovative in its approach, modification, or implementation? How did you use or modify a PBS resource to enhance the lesson or project? The description should be 300 words or less.
  • A description of how the lesson or project engaged students: Did students show gains in learning? Did students take the presented material and show practical application or transfer the knowledge/skill to a new situation? The description should be 300 words or less.
  • If applicable, the name and URL of the OnInnovation or PBS resource you used as part of your innovative teaching.

Is it a requirement to use an OnInnovation or PBS resource?

No, but you get a bonus point added to your score if you do. After the Score has been calculated, one bonus point will be given to each entry that clearly demonstrates how a resource from The Henry Ford's OnInnovation website (http://www.oninnovation.com/) or a resource from a PBS station, a PBS website or a PBS on-air program was used or modified to enhance the lesson or project. For purposes of this Contest, a PBS resource shall mean a resource from PBS LearningMedia, PBS Teachers, PBS Television, PBS.org, PBSKIDS.org, PBS TeacherLine, or a local PBS television station resource.

On what criteria will the entries be judged?

The entries will be judged on the following criteria:

  • innovation/ originality/creativity
  • application or reinforcement of 21st century learning skills
  • effective integration of digital media
  • student engagement
  • student learning

Each entry will be scored by two judges. The two scores will be added together to determine the final score. As noted above, a bonus point will then be added if the entry clearly demonstrates how a resource from The Henry Ford’s On Innovation website (http://www.oninnovation.com/) or a resource from a PBS station, a PBS website or a PBS on-air program was used or modified to enhance the lesson or project.

How many winners will be selected and what are the prizes?

A total of 30 educators will be selected as winners, based on the judging criteria outlined in the rules. Of the 30 winners:

  • First Prize. There will be a total of ten (10) First Place winners. The top score within each of the ten (10) subject/grade groupings will receive the first prize for a total of ten (10) first prize winners: a week long "Innovation Immersion Experience" at The Henry Ford ( http://www.thehenryford.org/) in Dearborn, Michigan in August 2013. The trip includes roundtrip airfare, lodging at The Dearborn Inn, select meals, and special events. Some meals and incidental expenses must be covered by the entrant. In addition, the ten First Prize winners will receive a free PBS TeacherLine professional development course (http://www.pbs.org/teacherline). See the official contest rules for more details.
  • Second Prize. There will be a total of ten (10) Second Place winners. The second highest scoring Entries within each of the 10 subject/grade groupings after the first prize will receive the Second Prize: a gift bag from PBS and The Henry Ford containing various premium items and a Promethean ActiView document camera. See the official contest rules for more details.
  • Third Prize. There will be a total of ten (10) third place winners. The third highest scoring Entries within each of the 10 subject/grade groupings after the first and second prizes will receive The Third Prize: a gift bag from PBS and The Henry Ford containing various premium items. See the official contest rules for more details.

For more detailed information, please visit the Innovation Awards Rules page