Microsoft Innovator Educator Expert
Stevens celebrated as a Microsoft Innovator Educator Expert
Posted on 10/02/2016
FFHS teacher honoredFFH Stevens
Dare County Schools News Release

While her Dare County Schools colleagues were attending local professional development sessions, First Flight High School teacher Nancy Stevens was on an airplane to Seattle. Announced as a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert this summer, she was named as such primarily due to her work with the new course Creative Coding through Games and Apps. Stevens admits she has become a cheerleader for the course.

Students are quickly engaged in the curriculum by fixing a "broken" game. Students problem-solve, investigate, record and report as they learn to code. In later units, students are introduced to privacy and security issues, encryption and cloud computing. It is hands-on, minds-on learning.

As a 
Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Expert, Stevens joins over 4,800 educators in the MIE Expert program worldwide. Each year, Microsoft selects innovative educators to share ideas, try new approaches and learn from each other as a global community dedicated to improving student outcomes through technology. Stevens was selected this summer

“I am very pleased to join the educators named as 
MIE Experts," Stevens said. "This summer I met many dedicated teachers ready and willing to teach computer science. Microsoft has delivered a complete introductory curriculum in Creative Coding through Games and Apps.  I appreciate the opportunity that Microsoft has given me to become an MIE trainer and MIE expert in support of computer science.”

In Seattle, Stevens was in the studio working with Pat Phillips, lead author of the Creative Coding through Games and Apps curriculum. Together, they recorded a set of video modules that will be used for training purposes.

Stevens is a veteran educator, working in Dare County Schools as a Business and Information Technology teacher or Tech Facilitator for the past 25 years. She earned a Business degree from the University of Northern Iowa and a Masters in Education from East Carolina University. She completed a required programming course as part of her business degree. Her teaching experience has centered on application software such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Suites, and HTML and CSS coding.

"I see programming as the next step in the evolving landscape of technology skills that we need to provide students. It is an exciting time to be teaching computer science," Stevens said. "Creative Coding through Games and Apps is a relevant, real-world curriculum. It is hands-down the best curriculum that I have seen in my 25 years in education. I'm very excited to be teaching it."

Stevens knows how crucial computer science is. Of all new jobs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), 71 percent are in computing, and jobs in computing are the No. 1 source of new wages in the U.S.

As an 
MIE Expert, Stevens will build on her capacity for using technology in both the classroom and curriculum to improve student learning, advise Microsoft and educational institutions on how to integrate technology in pedagogically sound ways and be an advocate at conferences, events and training sessions for how Microsoft technology can improve learning.

“Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts are inspiring examples of educators applying new ways of teaching and learning in their classrooms that motivate students and empower them to achieve more,” said Anthony Salcito, Vice President, Worldwide Education, Microsoft. “We celebrate and support the work they do every day.”

Stevens appreciates the support of CTE Director Jean Taylor as First Flight High School was one of the first schools in the nation to offer Creative Coding through Games and Apps. In North Carolina, the course was renamed Microsoft Introduction to Computer Science.

"Every student should have at least one computer science course in high school," Stevens said.