Virtual Ink Corp., developer of mimio, an award-winning collaboration tool, has announced the first two winners of its new “Think Ink” contest. Designed to promote creative ways for educators to capture and share handwritten notes and drawings from classroom whiteboards, the contest will award a free mimio each month to the parent, student, teacher, or administrator who submits the most innovative, creative, or original entry to incorporate the use of mimio in their school or classroom.

Mimio is a digital collaboration technology for PC and Mac platforms that attaches to any whiteboard and electronically captures everything that is written or drawn, in color and in real time. Rooted in the classroom, mimio originated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a practical solution to a frustrating teaching dilemma: students were so focused on accurately duplicating the drawings on the classroom’s whiteboard, they often missed important lecture details and failed to actively participate in class discussions. The solution was to digitally capture and share hand-drawn information as it was created, allowing students to spend less time taking notes and more time learning.

“We’re pleased to announce that the first winner is Pauline Luther, a resource teacher and an Apple distinguished educator from the Pinellas County School District in Largo, Florida. Luther’s winning entry illustrated a variety of innovative ways she would capture and share information in her roles as an Apple distinguished educator, college professor, district trainer, conference speaker, and school advisory council member,” stated Greg McHale, president and CEO of Virtual Ink.

“With mimio, I will be able to capture the students’ ideas and share those ideas digitally with the entire class, as well as other groups that I teach. Not only will their ideas be shared, but they will have the knowledge and experience of using a tool that enhances learning,” said Luther.

Paul Ladd, the contest’s second winner and a student at Tidewater Community College in Virginia Beach, Va., was selected as the most recent recipient. His submission described how a borrowed mimio helped him overcome a visual impairment that has prevented him from seeing notes and drawings written on classroom whiteboards.

“Paul’s submission was an eye-opener for everyone at our company,” said McHale. “Here is a student who will use our technology to overcome a lifelong disability and for the first time be able to participate in classes in a way that most of us take for granted. To know that we can offer that kind of solution and assistance to someone who has had to work so hard for so long is inspiring to all of us.”

Ladd first learned of mimio when Tom Lee, the technology director at Tidewater Community College, showed Ladd how mimio could assist in his classes. Lee connected mimio to Ladd’s laptop and then began writing on his office whiteboard. With mimio attached to any standard dry-erase whiteboard, everything written, drawn and erased on the whiteboard is captured to a computer in color and in real time. The information is recorded and saved as digital “ink” files that can be played back later, which allowed Ladd to revisit previous class notes hours and days later.

“If you think about how hard he works without many of the advantages that we take for granted in education, [such as] the ability to see the lesson presented by the teacher, it should be astounding to see what will happen for him in the future,” said Lee. “I’m delighted that I could help him.”

The Think Ink contest is open to educators from around the world. Educators interested in entering the contest can do so by visiting the web site below and completing an entry form. Entrants should describe the creative ways they would incorporate mimio to foster greater student-teacher collaboration and productivity within the classroom.
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