Connection Professional Development: Microsoft in Education 

Makayla Mota

Prior to my role at Connection, I was a Microsoft Learning Consultant and spent six years training educators and administrators on Microsoft tools all over New York City and New Jersey. It was fun and hard, and exhilarating. Coming from an Educational Publishing background, it was a great step into the technological side of education, and I loved it. When I took my role as a Microsoft Partner Marketing Specialist at Connection, I was thrilled to see one of my former Learning Consultant colleagues, Nicole Caldwell, in a role at Connection as a Professional Development Specialist. 

Nicole and I only worked together for a brief time, (she covered my training and accounts while I was on parental leave!), but she was so warm and kind—and it was great to see a familiar face when I came onboard. Through Nicole, I met her equally amazing colleague Cindy Daniels, also a Professional Development Specialist, and had the opportunity to learn more about what they—and Connection’s Professional Development Team—do in education. 

Microsoft Global Trainer Partner Program

Connection is a member of the Microsoft Global Trainer Partner Program, and our Professional Development Specialists are Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Certified to deliver training for educators on Microsoft’s behalf for Connection. Highly skilled and curious, both Nicole and Cindy have had years of experience in and out of the classroom and understand the world of the educator. They speak the language and know how to approach educators and education in general from an insider’s standpoint. That unique point of view allows them to build the trust needed to go into a school or to lead sessions at EdTech conferences and show the multitude of ways Microsoft in Education tools can improve communication and collaboration among staff, students, and the greater school community to such a positive reception. Teaching teachers can be extraordinarily difficult. Having that educator connection as a starting point can make a world of difference. 

Get the Most Out of Microsoft 365 and More

Supporting both K–12 and Higher Ed, the Professional Development Specialists at Connection are strategic in working with schools and districts to create customized plans for systemic digital transformation with Microsoft 365. Their main goal is to engage with educators and leaders to provide learning opportunities that align with Microsoft Educator programs and are authentic experiences. Nicole and Cindy both provide in-person (either at schools or alternatively at a nearby Microsoft facility) and virtual training, or a combination of both. The beauty of the partnership Connection’s Professional Development Specialists provide is their ability to assess your top needs and meet you where you are—whether that is leveraging modern technology and apps or a complete MIE Academy—and then deliver standard or customized trainings based on those needs.

I have worked with both Cindy and Nicole on Connection customer success stories and have heard firsthand how much of an asset they have become within the institutions they work with. From Cindy’s MIE training academies with the UNC Teaching Fellows to Nicole’s partnership encouraging the tinkering mentality with the David C. Anchin Center for the Advancement of Teaching, they have made a concentrated effort to connect with both veteran teachers as well as teaching students to provide Microsoft solutions in the classroom. They are natural teachers—patient, charismatic, engaging, knowledgeable, and innovative in their approach—making them ideal partners to drive growth and increase the effectiveness of teaching and learning using Microsoft 365.

Watch our vlog to learn more about Microsoft professional development for educators!

Learn how Connection can help you leverage Microsoft technology and apps through courses led by our MIE Certified Professional Development Specialists. Please reach out to your Account Team or see a complete list of course offerings here

Makayla Mota is a Partner Marketing Specialist at Connection with a background in educational technology training on Microsoft solutions in the classroom. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, spending time with her family, antiquing, hiking, and watching movies.