“Teachers are seeing more student engagement, which is increasing student performance. They’re also equipping students better for the workplace environment, because they’re learning applied skills for a knowledge economy.” – Marci Powell, USA

Distance learning – whether through one-on-one interaction or Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) — has been a significant trend in education, and certainly a hot topic here at Daily Edventures. At our Microsoft Global Education Partners Summit early this year (see here for information on the 2013 summit), I had the pleasure of talking to an expert on the subject, Polycom’s Marci Powell. Powell not only leads Polycom’s global education program, she’s also Chair Emerita and Past President of the US Distance Learning Association (USDLA), a non-profit that promotes the development and application of distance learning for education and training and serves the needs of the distance learning community.

Powell was recognized earlier this year at the USDLA 2012 National Conference for her major accomplishments in distance learning, and according the organization’s CEO and Executive Director John G. Flores, “Marci’s contributions have had a strong influence in our field. She’s worked tirelessly to show schools around the world how video collaboration can transform how teachers teach and how students learn, opening up new opportunities for students to connect with places and people anywhere.”

Here, Powell shares her thoughts on classroom innovation (like the flipped classroom, which we’ve covered extensively with interviewees like Jonathan Bergmann), and on the benefits teachers are seeing from collaborative technology.


About Marci Powell

Marci Powell is Global Director for Education at Polycom and Chair Emerita and Past President of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA). Powell is an industry expert in the field of educational technology and telecommunications with extensive experience in applications related to lifelong learning and innovation. With over 20 years of progressive leadership and management serving as an advisor to public and private sectors in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, Marci shares global best practices and trends in education as a fellow educator and futurist through her keynote addresses. In her role at USDLA, Powell helps lead an association focused on global support of distance learning programming, applications, and leadership. In her current capacity at Polycom, she supports a variety of organizations worldwide through thought leadership and strategic planning guidance in the use of technology to address learning and training needs.

Prior to assuming her position at Polycom, Powell was Director of Educational Advocacy for AT&T where she was named to AT&T’s 2004 President’s Club for top achievers. While there, she worked with numerous educational institutions providing support for their telecommunications vision and in creating distance learning programs and successful integration of technology to empower 21st century learning. Previous to AT&T, she was President of VibrantC, Inc. and Global Education Market Manager for VTEL.
Powell began her career as a classroom teacher and quickly moved on to serve as an administrator at various educational institutions across Texas. During her service as Technology Coordinator at Allen ISD, the district was named the “Lighthouse District for Technology Integration” by the Commissioner of Education. While there, Marci was awarded the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) 1998 Technology Support Person of the Year. Powell also received the Texas Distance Learning Association (TxDLA) 2000 Outstanding Individual Commitment to Service award, the 2002 Don Foshee Outstanding Leadership award, and was the 2011 inductee into the TxDLA Hall of Fame. Most recently, Marci received Polycom’s prestigious 2011 CEO Award.

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