Category Archives: News Updates

The Conference is Over…

but the learning continues. Check out the resources being shared in VSTE's Google Plus community.

Don't miss all the video at the VSTE YouTube site.

And #vste15 was busy on Twitter:

2015 VSTE Award Winners

Each year, VSTE recognizes exemplary educators through several different awards.  We are proud to announce this year’s recipients who will be recognized at the Annual Educational Technology Conference.

Doug Saunders Doug Saunders is the 2015 Outstanding Teacher of the Year. Doug is an experienced teacher and instructional coach who inspires others to become confident in implementing 21st century instruction within their daily curriculum. He currently works as an ITRT at Holman Middle School in Henrico County. Doug’s educational philosophy that by using technology, educators can provide an interactive, meaningful, experience and create an environment where students can learn at their own pace, actively seeking out new information and empowering themselves to master content and embrace lifelong learning, is evident in his approach and coaching of teachers. The Huskie Exchange, now in its third year, was created to provide opportunities for teachers learn from one another and to share high-quality engaging lessons that incorporate 21st century skills. Doug’s approach to professional development for himself and his teachers, is a model for other ITRTs in Henrico County. He is constantly looking for new and creative ideas but more importantly his ability to affect change within a school and a division through coaching and professional development is what makes him an amazing teacher and an invaluable member of our HCPS ITRT team.

Dr. Helen CromptonDr. Helen Crompton is the 2015 Outstanding Leader of the Year. Dr. Crompton is an assistant professor of Instructional Technology in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Old Dominion University. She has dedicated her life to improving educational technology at all levels: local, state, regional, national, and global. Locally, Dr. Crompton has brought K-12 and university educators together. In collaboration, both practitioners and scholars have worked to ensure that our future teachers go out into the Commonwealth, and beyond, prepared with the technological knowledge, skills, and tools they need to educate 21st century children. Globally, Dr. Crompton is working with two divisions of the United Nations to educate the public regarding the benefits of educational technology. Dr. Helen Crompton works tirelessly to enhance the lives of learners at all levels. She is an outstanding advocate for educational technologies and is an outstanding candidate for this award.

Kim HarrisonKim Harrison is the 2015 Innovative Educator of the Year. Kim is an Instructional Technology Specialist based at Indian Lakes Elementary School in Virginia Beach. Kim is truly an innovator. She has a passion for sharing virtual environments and was the innovator behind Virginia Beach City Public Schools bringing Minecraft into the elementary classroom. Kim has shared her passion for bringing Minecraft into the elementary classroom in her school, throughout the division (through division-wide professional development courses), and across the state of Virginia (as she serves as Chair for VSTE's new Virtual Environments Professional Learning Network and leads sessions at the VSTE conference each year). Another pet project is VSTE Island in Second Life. She can always be found "in world" leading a book study, modeling to a newbie how to walk around (as opposed to appearing as a floating head), or just hanging out. Kim is always ready to jump in and answer any questions from those of us who "just don't get it!" Kim’s passion for this technology and dedication to bringing this awesome new technology to her young students impresses all who know her.






Connected Educator Month Webinars

VSTE will be hosting three webinars for Connected Educator Month.  All of them will be held in our Adobe Connect meeting room:

Wednesday, October 21, 7 PM: Learning and Making
Join Meg Swecker and Tina Coffey from Roanoke County to learn how they are implementing engineering and design through makerspaces.

Missed It? You can listen to the archived recording here.

Monday, October 26, 8 PM: Minecrafting History: Iterative learning, virtual environments and you
Join educators from The Madeira School as they share how Minecraft can be used as a meaningful tool for curriculum and student engagement in the history classroom. It will also discuss the importance of virtual environments, world building and citizenship as part of a social sciences course. There will be classroom examples, lesson artifacts and student observations regarding their experiences in-game to help demonstrate why the Minecraft enabled classroom offers a safe, iterative environment as well as meaningful learning experiences for students of all levels of digital literacy.

Missed It? You can listen to the archived recording here and view the interactive Sway presentation here.

Wednesday, October 28, 7 PM: Coding for Students and Teachers
Join Marnie Hawk from Loudoun County and Charles Hinsch from Virginia Beach as they talk about how they are implementing coding programs for students and teachers. Marnie will describe the C.A.M.S. pilot program at Blue Ridge Middle School while Charlie discusses his work with teaching programming to adults as part of professional development.

Missed it? You can listen to the archived recording here.

VE PLN, Monday, October 5, 2015, 8 PM

October 5 at 8 PM EDT VSTE VE PLN will visit VIBE, Virtual Islands for Better Education, to see an archaeology simulation built by Nova Saunders. Nova would love to have teachers bring students to her sim. Come and see if this content is something you can use instructionally! VIBE is an Open Sim, not connected to Second Life.
To reach Nova's sim in VIBE, follow these directions:

Complete directions are here
Stephen Gasior wrote these for a Virtual Pioneers tour a while back.

Basically, you download a viewer that can access Open Sims. Firestorm has one.  Singularity is also a possiblity.

Install and launch the viewer.
Next you click Grid Manager at the bottom of the viewer window.
Type into the Login URL
Click Apply and OK.

You will be directed to a place to register for an account.
Create an account.
Once you get the notice that it is set up, fill in the login name and password at the bottom of the viewer and login.

You will rez, or spawn, in Nova's sim. You may appear to be a cloud, but we can help you get an avatar body once you are there.

Start early! This process may take a few minutes.


Recognize Excellence with VSTE

VSTE recognizes excellence in education through its annual awards program. We ask our members for nominations for three awards: Outstanding Leader, Outstanding Teacher and Innovative Educator. Winners receive a complimentary registration to the annual conference and are recognized during the opening session.

You may nominate yourself or a colleague. Learn more about the awards and consider making a nomination.

Nominations close on October 1, 2015.