The Cann Awards

Tony Cann’s Legacy: The Cann Awards

Tony Cann

Tony Cann

Tony Cann’s education legacy goes well beyond being the founder of Promethean. Cann has made teaching better for educators and helped students become active learners in classrooms around the globe. He began doing that at a time when teaching with technology was not as easy as it is today. Cann is a pioneer in the use of instructional technology, starting with Promethean ActivBoards, and then handhelds like ActiVotes and other response devices and software. Throughout his life, his mission has been to improve education by making the use of technology more mainstream for students and teachers, and thereby improving the way teachers teach and the way students learn. Tony Cann has been the inspiration and heart of Promethean, and at the bottom of this post you’ll find out about The Cann Awards, which will honor him and seek out great educators. Legacy is a continuum, and The Cann Awards will be part of that.

The first time I met Tony Cann was on a bus quite a few years ago. It was actually a Promethean ActivBus, at an education conference. The bus was set up with an ActivBoard for presentations and response systems for student feedback. I was doing some video interviews at the conference and Cann was just one on my list for a chat. Really all I wanted to do was the interview—ask him a few questions and onto the next. That wasn’t on Tony Cann’s agenda. He wanted to teach me something, so he began to teach a math lesson.

ActivBus1Cann held my recording microphone in one hand and balanced a student response device and a pointer in the other. He reminded me a bit of a British general, baton in hand, rallying the troops. There was absolutely no chance of taking eyes or ears off Cann. He talked calmly never raising his voice, making sure I knew that what he was teaching was important. It made me feel important as well. I do remember walking away impressed that he’d taught me math on a bus, and engaged his class while juggling all that stuff. I also remember his wonderful sense of humor. Once, Cann stopped teaching when a nearby train whistle sounded as it passed. He smiled and so did I. I’ve often wondered what he was thinking behind that wry smile—as if wondering where the bus was parked, and hoping it was safe. Then he was back to the teaching and the learning.

I thought then, as I do now, that Tony Cann is an active teacher who can teach anywhere using technology. The thing is, I hardly knew he was using the technology. I had to think about that, wondering what kind of magician is this? Today we’re all looking to make technology ubiquitous, and Cann did it so naturally. It never was in the way and was always there to help. I think I may have said and written something along the way about how that experience energized the teacher in me.

Today, I’m excited to share with you a new teaching award that has me energized and excited as well—The Cann Awards—to honor outstanding teachers. Nominations begin Sept. 10, 2014 for residents of Australia, Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States.

More about the Cann Awards:

The mission of The Cann Awards is to identify and celebrate the world’s most exemplary teachers. Promethean will form a panel of judges to evaluate all submissions to select the best teachers who:

  • Display excellent leadership qualities
  • Encourage students to explore and create
  • Inspire critical thinking amongst students
  • Prioritize the individual needs of each learner
  • Give successful direction to students’ future plans
  • Motivate students toward positive ways of thinking and living
  • Develop problem-solving skills and attitudes in students

For more information on The Cann Awards, the Official Rules, and to nominate a teacher, visit www.TheCannAwards.com.

About the Author:

Ken Royal is an educator with 34 years of classroom/school and instructional technology teaching experience, as well as a blogger on all things education and education technology. Teaching accomplishments include: 4-time district teacher of the year, Connecticut Middle School Teacher of the Year, as well as Bill and Melinda Gates award for Technology School of Excellence. He is a Promethean storyteller. Follow @KenRoyal on Twitter.

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Tony Cann’s Legacy: The Cann Awards
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Ken Royal

Ken Royal is an educator with 34 years of classroom/school and instructional technology teaching experience, as well as a blogger on all things education and education technology. Teaching accomplishments include: 4-time district teacher of the year, Connecticut Middle School Teacher of the Year, as well as Bill and Melinda Gates award for Technology School of Excellence. He is an Education storyteller. Follow @KenRoyal on Twitter.
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