On Tuesday, September 20, 2016, the Institute for Teaching through Technology and Innovative Practices (ITTIP) hosted the 9th Annual STEM Learning Summit at Longwood University. This year’s theme, Creating Global Learning Environments, attracted K-12 district administrators, principals, technology and media specialists, and classroom teachers from twenty-one school divisions across Virginia. Dr. Paul Chapman, Dean of the College of Education & Human Services at Longwood University, opened the day’s events by welcoming the group to the summit.
The keynote speaker for the event was Pernille Ripp, a current 7th grade English teacher in Wisconsin. She spoke of her struggles as a new educator trying to fit into what was the “normal” and “standard” for a teacher. After having a challenging school year, she had an epiphany about changing the way she taught. Maybe students should have a say in how they were taught? Ms. Ripp conveyed the importance of giving students a voice in the classroom. She shared experiences in which that voice for her students included virtual peers and collaboration, and how her own online learning network supported her desire to teach differently. Following the keynote, Ms. Ripp provided participants with the resources she uses to foster collaboration in and outside of her classroom, including her very own Global Read Aloud project. She founded The Global Read Aloud project in 2001 and it now has over one-million students from 60 different countries having participated. Ms. Ripp reminded participants that, “… a world of global learning awaits!”
The participants also received an update from Mr. Mark Saunders, Director of Technology & Virtual Learning, Virginia Department of Education. He reminded attendees of the technology supports in place such as eMediaVA, Learn24VA, and Virginia on iTunesU. He also
spoke on the curriculum support the state is working on in regards to the computer science and computational thinking standards for K-12 to be integrated into classrooms this year.
The afternoon events continued with a presentation by Dr. Linda Cook, a Director of Science at a school district in Texas. She spoke about the global competences our students need to be future ready. Dr. Cook’s presentation focused on a continuum of global competencies that ranged from global awareness with tools such as Geo Guesser, to global contribution with collaboration between two countries through Skype engaging in an engineering design challenge. . . She walked through the levels of the model giving participants time to explore the numerous examples of learning experiences and share with each other on how they could be integrated into their classrooms.
Participants expressed that they were very pleased with the number of ideas and resources they were able to come away with attending this year’s summit. One participant said, “I thoroughly enjoyed the summit!” while another participant said it was “another informative and interesting conference.” ITTIP looks forward to hosting next year’s summit at Longwood University. If you were unable to join the 9th Annual STEM Learning Summit, or did not receive information this year, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the email distribution list.
9th Annual STEM Summit Resources
Mr. Mark Saunders – Virginia Technology Update (Presentation)
Dr. Linda Cook – Global Education in the STEM Classroom (Presentation/Materials)