#GoOpenVA launched in late January, which turned out to be just in time. As Virginia educators move into several months of building closures due to COVID-19, we at least have a place to share and connect with other educators.
Although #GoOpenVA is designed as a repository of educational materials that teachers can edit and share, it is most importantly a community where teachers can rely on each other for help. That’s especially important now that we are all struggling to figure out a new way to help our students learn. The burden is so much lighter when we can share our ideas, rather than having to develop them all on our own.
So, now is the time for you to participate in #GoOpenVA. It is an open site, so if you are just looking for ideas, you can browse and download without any other action. However, to be a part of the community of sharing, you need to become as a registered user. For security reasons, Administration determined it was best if educators signed on through their school division, using a single-sign-on software.
Each school division has made their own determination about how to get to #GoOpenVA from their system, so check with your local tech support to find out the way you can get access. If your division does not have any sort of single-sign-on software, please contact us (email@example.com) to request an account.
Once you are able to login as a registered user, you can do lots of things—add resources you’ve created, take someone else’s resource and tweak it to fit your students, participate in discussion groups about topics near and dear to your heart, and collaborate with your fellow educators to create something that’s bigger than just one person could do.
#GoOpenVA has a new User’s Hub, which will provide you with helpful tips and screencasts on how to do specific things on #GoOpenVA. This is a new space, so expect it to continue to grow over time. You are invited to add to this community, using the various Group message boards to share your own tips and insights.
We also have a 4-hour online self-paced course that you can take if that suits your learning style (sign up at Virtual Virginia; it may take a day or two to get your account set up). We also have our VSTE-supported Workshop in a Box materials for those who want to conduct a professional learning session for other educators. The latter will be expanding soon to incorporate new modules.
It’s a natural thing for educators to be sharers. After all, that’s what education boils down to – sharing our expertise and knowledge with students to help them grow (in all ways). It’s good thing that Virginia now has a place to support that sharing when we can’t get together physically!
Written by Jean Weller. Jean is an Educational Technology Specialist in the Virginia Department of Education's Office of STEM and Innovation. She also serves as the Department's representative on the VSTE Board of Directors.