Category Archives: News Updates

ISTE’s ESSA Primer: Meet the New Law, Not Like the Old Law

Thursday, April 28, 2016, 4:00 - 5:00 PM ET

ISTE's legislative counsel, Jon Bernstein, will provide an interactive introduction to help you understand what ESSA has in store for educators. The webinar will include:

• An explanation of ESSA's new framework, including implementation milestones
• A deep dive into SSAEG and how it may benefit ISTE members
• A federal funding forecast for next school year
• Opportunity to get your questions answered

You will need a free ISTE account in order to RSVP for this event.

Learn more

Free CoSN Webinar: Trusted Learning Environment (TLE)

Thursday, April 28, 2016, 1:00 - 2:00 PM ET

Developed through the collaborative insight and work of national educational leadership organizations and school systems nationwide, the Trusted Learning Environment (TLE) Seal embodies the commitment of school leadership to safeguard the digital privacy of student data.

This webinar will provide further insights into this new initiative and will allow the opportunity to gain a more in-depth understanding of what the seal will mean from school systems.

This webinar will be FREE for both CoSN members and nonmembers.
  • Bob Moore, Chief Technology Officer, Dallas ISD (TX) and project director for CoSN's Trusted Learning Environment Seal initiative
  • Linnette Attai, President, PlayWell, LLC and CoSN Project Director, Protecting Privacy in Connected Learning initiative
  • Jim Siegl, Technology Architect, Fairfax County Public Schools (VA)

Register Now

E-Rate Application Filing Window Extended

On April 15th, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) announced that the FY2016 E-Rate application filing window will be extended to allow applicants more time to submit their applications. This move followed letters from a number of parties, including one signed by VSTE's parent organization, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), seeking an application window extension because of problems that applicants were encountering in navigating E-Rate's new application portal.
Specifically, USAC is extending the window for all applicants by four weeks with a new closing date of May 26. 2016. When that window closes, USAC will open a second filing window for consortia and libraries, which will close on July 21, 2016. USAC indicates that the reason for the longer window for consortia and libraries is that many are unable to complete their applications until their member/related school district(s) finalize their discount rates in the system.

Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Conference Begins March 9

9th Annual Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education
March 9-12, 2016
2016 Theme : Horizons

VSTE’s own Virtual Environments PLN has been selected to hold a featured panel for the 9th annual Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Conference. The VWBPE Conference, March 9-12, is 100% virtual with venues, in both Second Life and Avacon Grid.

VSTE’s VE PLN has been very active in virtual world communities, particularly in Second Life, since 2008, and more recently, Minecraft. On Saturday, March 12, 2016, 3:00 p.m. to 4:50 p.m. Pacific time (SLT) Karen Richardson, Keith Reeves, Kim Harrison, Vasili Giannoutsos, Dr. William F. Schmachtenberg, Lisa Alconcel, and Beth O’Connell will share VSTE’s Virtual Environments Horizons with the world.

The VWBPE Conference is a completely virtual conference that is conducted using simulated environments. Participants experience the conference through a virtual reality type setting including conference rooms, theatres, exposition halls, meeting spaces, and other types of venues similar to a brick and mortar type conference.
The conference is free to attend. The cost of the conference is covered by sponsorship and donations. For more information on this conference see

Keynote speakers include Bronwyn Stuckey, postdoctoral research fellow of the Arizona State University Center for Games & Impact; Karl Kapp, full-professor of Instructional Technology at Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, PA; and MOOC Inventor Stephen Downes.

VWBPE has a full schedule of sessions and social events running nearly around the clock from Wednesday midday through Saturday night. Times listed are SLT, Second Life Time, which is the same as Pacific Time. There will be participants from around the globe.


Advocating for Public Schools: VSTE Statement Opposing HB 8

The Board of Directors for the Virginia Society for Technology in Education (VSTE) has reviewed House Bill 8, which calls for the creation of the Virginia Virtual School (VVS). We have serious questions and concerns about provisions in the bill and their potential impact on public education and public school divisions in the Commonwealth.

You can read the full statement here and then we urge you to take action by contacting your legislator about the potentially negative aspects of this bill.

Not sure who represents you at the state level? Find out at the Who's My Legislator website.

Board Nominations Open February 1, 2016

Nominations for the Board of Directors of the Virginia Society for Technology in Education will be open from Monday, February 1, 2016, through Friday, March 4, 2016.

You are invited to nominate yourself or a colleague to be considered for election to the Virginia Society for Technology in Education (VSTE) Board of Directors, for the 2015-2018 Board term (three years).  This is an opportunity to become involved in the key decision-making group for the Virginia Society for Technology in Education.

Learn more about becoming part of the VSTE leadership here.

Digital Learning Day 2016

Archived Recordings

VSTE will be partnering with the Virginia Department of Education to provide a full day of virtual events for Digital Learning Day 2016, February 17, 2016. Scroll down for the complete schedule along with links where you can view the Google Hangouts.

The VDOE will host two live webinars to provide updates on current and proposed technology-related initiatives. Join Mark Saunders, Director, Office of Technology & Virtual Learning and Bobby Keener, Chief Technology Innovations Officer at 10 AM and 1 PM.

VSTE will host an evening webinar beginning at 8 PM that will highlight the VSTE 2015 award winners talking about educational technology past, present and future: Outstanding Teacher of the Year, Doug Saunders, Henrico County; Outstanding Leader of the Year, Dr. Helen Crompton, Old Dominion University; Innovative Educator of the Year, Kim Harrison, Virginia Beach Public Schools; and Making It Happen Award Winners, Janet Copenhaver, Henry County Public Schools and Mano Talaiver, recently retired from Longwood University.


Throughout the day, VSTE will be featuring students across the Commonwealth talking about how they learn, how they use technology to learn and showing some of the innovative projects they are working on in their classrooms.

Digital Learning Day Schedule:

8:45 - 9: 45 AM
Students from Virginia Beach City, Frederick County, and Henrico County
Link for Viewing

10 AM Virginia Department of Education Update
Mark Saunders, Director, Office of Technology & Virtual Learning
Link for Viewing

10:45 AM - 12:00 PM
Students from Hanover County, Frederick County, Henrico County, Falls Church City, and Bath County
Link for Viewing

1:00 Virginia Department of Education Update
Join Bobby Keener, Chief Technology Innovations Officer
Link for Viewing

8:00 PM Ed Tech Past, Present, Future
Join our 2015 award winners--Outstanding Teacher of the Year, Doug Saunders, Henrico County; Outstanding Leader of the Year, Dr. Helen Crompton, Old Dominion University; Innovative Educator of the Year, Kim Harrison, Virginia Beach Public Schools; and Making It Happen Award Winners, Janet Copenhaver, Henry County Public Schools and Mano Talaiver, recently retired from Longwood University--to talk all things ed tech!
Supported by GEG Northern VA
Link for Viewing 


Save on CoSN Membership

Virginia is the state chapter of CoSN. We are happy to work with them to offer this amazing discount on CoSN membership!


CoSN believes in and delivers professional advancement tools, resources and courses to technology leaders nationwide. Once your district is a member, your entire technology leadership team gets the benefits. These benefits include reports and research the benefits ed tech leaders.



What you get:
  • Unlimited access to entire district staff that will all receive member benefits
  • Free 6-part live webinar series, and free access to past webinar archives
  • Free and discounted CoSN events (including CTO Clinics, Forums, and the CoSN Annual Conference)
  • Discounted Certification prep and exam materials, and opportunity to act as a proctor
  • Discounted and free CoSN resources- toolkits, ed tech next reports