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Indiana Digital Citizenship

Guest Post from Michelle Green, eLearning Development Specialist for the Office of eLearning at the Indiana Department of Education

As districts across Indiana prepare to open for the new school year, the Indiana Department of Education, Office of eLearning is promoting a focus on digital citizenship. In fact, hundreds of educators took part in a summer school of sorts, attending digital citizenship sessions at Summer of eLearning Conferences held at 25 different locations over June and July. Even as some districts resume classes, the summer eLearning Book Club is discussing Susan Bearden’s recent publication, Digital Citizenship: A Community-Based Approach. These activities are just the beginning of what will be a year long effort to engage educators in learning about digital citizenship so that they can demonstrate leadership as digital citizens and be empowered to leverage the digital resources at their disposal.


The spotlight of the Office of eLearning’s efforts is the inaugural Indiana Digital Citizenship Week, September 12-16, 2016. Since 2013, we have used our network to promote the national Digital Citizenship Week celebration. Once we learned that many school districts were not able to participate in the national awareness activities due to fall break conflicts, we began investigating the feasibility of launching a statewide event earlier in the school year. Given the back to school focus, we put together a thematic set of Common Sense Education lessons that can be taught at various grade level bands and cover the essentials required by the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). We also developed a toolbox with resources to Plan, Connect, and Promote to assist schools that wanted ready-made materials. Additionally, the week’s activities are designed so that a participating school is well on its way to being eligible for Common Sense Digital Citizenship Certification.

The Office of eLearning promotes Common Sense Digital Citizenship Certification as a means of communicating to a school’s community that the district has engaged not only in providing instruction using a comprehensive, research-based curriculum, but that stakeholders have been engaged at every level from administration to families. The Indiana Connected Educators, the state ISTE affiliate, has partnered with us and Common Sense Education to support schools in developing an implementation plan for becoming Digital Citizenship Certified. A cohort of eLearning coach leaders are participating in the 6- week course to become lead learners and subsequently facilitate a course to train teachers in their buildings.INBlog2

Serving as a year-round hub for digital citizenship conversation and events, the Office of eLearning launched the newest Online Community of Practice. The Indiana Digital Citizenship Community is designed for all educators committed to learning and sharing digital citizenship lessons. This is an open place to discover new research, discuss best practice, and address challenges. “Building a culture of positive digital citizenship in your school is not just a goal, it is a journey,” writes Susan Bearden, author of Digital Citizenship: A Community-Based Approach. The Office of eLearning response to this assertion is that you are not alone on the journey. We provide a path to guide educators and schools as they implement a comprehensive digital citizenship education program for their faculty and students. Visit our webpage on Digital Citizenship.

Michelle Green serves Indiana educators as the eLearning Development Specialist for the Office of eLearning at the Indiana Department of Education. She began her career as an English teacher and gained experience in face-to-face, blended and online learning solutions in K-12. It was a sense of inquiry that led Michelle to explore learning technology, which resulted in her transitioning out of the classroom and into a support role-first as a building 1:1 coach, then at the district level, and now for the state. Michelle is part of the INeLearn team, a brand she manages on social media that represents their work across the state to improve student outcomes through the intentional use of technology. Since joining the team, she has instituted the state edchat on Twitter, established the Hoosier Student Digital Leaders program, and helped facilitate the Connected Coach Collaborative.


Another in an occasional series of guest posts, we are pleased to feature: Charlie Fitzpatrick, Schools Program Manager, ESRI.

Dawn of a new school year brings to most a mix of hope and dread. Opportunity, challenge, delight, and work will appear and attempt to consume more than the mathematically possible time, energy, and attention. Such is life: choices must be made, and will be, even by avoiding them.

So it is too with technology: constant choice. This summer, professionals of various stripes, types, and ages confided with me (with varying levels of angst) that they wish technological evolution would just halt for several years, as they don’t want to allocate resources (money, space, attention, and especially time) to adaptation. Some actively (even proudly) choose to allocate increased resources to block it (decades after Alvin Toffler’s “Future Shock”).SETDAblogpic

For sure, simply “being new” is not sufficient to merit adoption, just as “being historic” is not sufficient to deserve replacement. But “lifelong learning” and “adaptation” are not singular events to be checked off as “done.” Like it or not, we are all global citizens, living with climate change, environmental degradation, financial turmoil, political unrest, social upheaval, technoshift, and the small to tall waves each of these cause (and their intersections magnify).

Young people deserve to see models of constant active learning. They are by nature integrators and disrupters, unbound by “it worked OK last year.” They will question, reach, and explore. Truth be told, adults may be the “slow learners” here, most needing models of untainted vision, insatiable curiosity, purposeful exploration, and thoughtful creativity. Following such episodes with critical discussion of process and results, evidence and interpretation, and holistic consideration will foster the problem solving skills we so desperately need, as a community, country, and planet.

As the next school year draws nigh, how about a new year’s resolution (now, not January) to join youth in considering the novel, exploring the unfamiliar? In addition to measuring our own plans and accomplishments, we might need to add personal lifelong learning grades for our own reaching, integrating, discovering, sharing, fostering. We might even need help from others to assess our success here. We have choices to make constantly, and we make them even by ignoring them.

Charlie Fitzpatrick has been Schools Program Manager for Esri (world leader in geographic information system software) since 1992, and was a social studies teacher (gr.7-12) 1977-1992. His current focus is on Esri’s participation in President Obama’s ConnectED Initiative, providing online mapping resources for free to any US K12 school (

Indiana Releases New Technology Plan


Another in an occasional series of guest posts, we are pleased to feature the work and voices of state leaders. Dr. Jason Bailey is the Senior eLearning Strategist for the  Indiana Department of Education.   Jason is instrumental in the innovative work coming out of the IDOE Office of eLearning and is Chairperson of SETDA’s Professional Learning Committee. 

In 2016, Indiana managed to replace an outdated technology plan system that had proven resistant to change for many years. The opportunity began in 2015 with the FCC’s E-Rate Modernization Order (FCC 14-99), which completely eliminated the requirement for schools to submit a technology plan. One of the goals set out in this order was to make the application process for schools “fast, simple, and efficient.” Although a tech plan is still required in Indiana Code (IC 20-20-13-7, 2005), we felt that state requirements still provided us the flexibility to simplify our process considerably.

The reporting process for Indiana’s directors of technology went from two days of work, to more like two hours. We did this by changing the kinds of questions we asked as well as the level of detail that we were requiring. In every case, we sought only that data which would be useful to share. Instead of getting pages of copied and pasted metrics for each individual school, we asked each technology leader to share information about their district decision-making, as well as the choices they have INTech2made. We remain interested in how our leaders are funding their innovation, but instead of asking for detailed budget tables that are impossible to analyze for 400 districts (much less 1800 schools), we gathered information on the various funding streams each LEA harnesses to fund technology. Being able to publish that information more broadly is most likely to be informative to those looking for ideas, and leads to connections and conversations where the details can be shared.

The new plan was designed as a simple survey, and as much as possible, standard responses were put into drop-down menus. This has allowed us to group responses into some very consumable statewide infographics. The new questions were also developed with massive input from LEA technology leaders and vendor partners alike. This helped us confirm that what we asked covered topics they were interested in, and that the response options were sufficient to cover what was going on in our districts. Putting our most common INTech3device types in a drop-down menu, for example, allowed us to link those responses to pictures on a map in a way that would have been impossible if we had used an open text box.

While the ease of completion was praised by our CTOs and Technology Directors, it is the data we are now able to share that has made this change a huge success. In just a few months, we’ve heard from districts using it to establish which options to consider,
vendors who are excited to see concrete evidence of trends, and researchers who are thrilled with the access to current, accurate, and relevant data. Most importantly for our Office of eLearning, we are finally able to answer with confidence (and examples) about all of the exciting work going on in Indiana!

Jason Bailey is the Senior eLearning Strategist for the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE). As a member of the state’s office of eLearning, his work is to provide leadership and support in digital innovation for Indiana classrooms. A former teacher, technology specialist, and district administrator, Jason’s work at the district level included leading a talented team of eLearning Coaches and Technology Specialists in integrating a wealth of technology, including 1:1 computing for more than 14,000 students in grades 6-12. With degrees from Ball State University and the University of Southern Indiana, Jason recently completedhis Ph.D. in Educational Leadership at Indiana State University.  He was also one of the first recipients of CoSN’s Certified Education Technology Leader (CETL) designation. Past honors include participation in various white papers, keynote speaking at state level conferences, and publication in Educational Leadership (2002).

OER Ambassadors Visit Vermont

Another in an occasional series of guest posts, we are pleased to feature the work and voices of state leaders. Peter Drescher is the Education Technology Coordinator for the Vermont Agency of Education and he is leading Vermont’s #GoOpen initiative and a SETDA Board Member.

Last week, Vermont jumped in with both feet on the Open Education Resources front.  Through a somewhat chance coordination of schedules and gracious individuals, we were able to have Andy Marcinek, #GoOpen lead from the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Educational Technology, along with his upcoming replacement, former SETDA member, Kristina Peters from Nebraska as the openers to our day-long session. ED leaders spent time with VT leaders going over the facets of open education and time discussing and working within the new Amazon Inspire platform. There were about 50 educators from district across Vermont that took take part and we tried to structure it regionally so we could have an “ambassador” in everyone’s neighborhood.  TheIMG_0247 idea here is that each of these individuals can promote, organize, and further disseminate both information about and resources included within our repository that we are going to create.

David Jakes, as well as Diana Laufenberg, both provided additional presentations for  educators.  David led the group through some exercises to look at ways to change teacher practice and Diana spent some time asking the big questions on what educators want from our repository tool. Finally, special guest, and someone familiar to SETDA leaders was Jeff Mao spoke with our group about Common Sense Education and their connections back to OER.

A big focus of our work on the 25th of May was regarding how OER can change teacher practice. Vermont currently has a fairly robust connectivity landscape with over half of our schools, many of them small and rural at 100mbps or better, meeting the SETDA standard called for in the Broadband Imperative from 2012. Vermont has a large deployment locally of Chromebooks, bringing many of the schools close to 1:1 in terms of device access. It behooves us to move as quickly as we can at this point to a digital resource platform. This includes the creation of content and the sharing of resources from other state repositories.  There was a lot of good feedback and discussion on vetting resources and getting leadership involved both of which we all know will be crucial to making this effort here in Vermont sustainable.

As a state leader, my concerns regarding implementing #GoOpen initiative are around capacity of my state agency to really be able to make this fly. I’m relying to some degree on the ambassador group to really help move this agenda. I plan to do a series of outreach webinars, meetings, and general recruiting to try to really make this happen, but like many of my other SETDA colleagues, state budgets and staff are limited. I believe that this work is important and that if we can support schools to use up-to-date and more flexible resources to specifically meet content needs, we’ll be doing a great service for our schools and students.  The key here is illustrating to all teachers how OER can drill much deeper into content knowledge and understanding.

Our efforts will slow a bit over summer, but I hope to be on the ground running when the Fall comes along.

Drescher_Peter_400Peter Drescher has been involved in education technology for nearly 20 years. He began his career in education as a social studies/technology teacher at a middle school in New Mexico. Soon he held the technology coordinator position, where he worked to develop a robust technology program in the 1990’s. He has spent much of his career focused on the classroom level, providing professional development and leadership for teachers and staff around technology planning and integration. His most recent position, in January of 2008, as the Education Technology Coordinator for the Vermont Agency of Education allows him the opportunity to move this work to a new level and hopefully impact the learning for all students in Vermont.

Alabama Partners with NASA and ASTA to Support New Online Science Resources

Another in an occasional series of guest posts, we are pleased to feature the work and voices of state leaders. Richard O. Murphy, Ed.D. is the State Administrator of Alabama’s ALEX Web Portal for the Alabama Department of Education.

ALEXThe Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX), a project of the Alabama Department of Education, is designed to index and share many types of educational materials and information through a time-saving, one-stop resource for educators, parents, and students. ALEX resources are free and open to the public. The majority of these rich resources (lesson plans, Web links, and interactive activities) are located and connected to the Alabama Courses of Study by National Board Certified Teachers. ALEX has partnered with NASA and the Alabama Science Teacher’s Association (ASTA) to create lesson plans for the new Alabama science standards. Although many have already been added to the ALEX database, it is expected that over 200 plans will be approved by August 2016 to support teachers in implementing the new Alabama Science Course of Study, supplemented by the Alabama College- and Career-Ready standards.

nasa_2016During the months of January through March, NASA’s EPD Specialist, John F. Weis hosted the NASA STEM Standards of Practice Project for nearly 100 science teachers from across Alabama at the Marshall Space Flight Center. Four sessions including about 25 teachers each were facilitated according to grade range including K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. Teachers were immersed in a plethora of free NASA resources that included engaging, inquiry-based learning activities and materials for classroom use, and are expected to redeliver that training in their own schools. Of the event, Mr. Weis said, “These teachers have done a phenomenal job taking existing NASA resources and embedding them directly into ALEX lesson plans to support the new Alabama standards for science. We have enjoyed working with them and look forward to continuing to support the turn-around trainings that they will conduct in their regions.” In addition to taking the training back to their schools, teachers were expected to submit lessons with NASA-embedded resources to the ALEX website. Over 40 lessons have been submitted, and more than 30 have been approved for viewing. Click here to view approved NASA/ALEX plans.

In addition, the ALEX Team planned events in partnership with ASTA, involving nearly 50 Alabama science teachers from all grade levels. ASTA’s involvement in the success of the lesson plan summits has been crucial. ALEX leaders asked ASTA to select participants based upon science teachers’ application submissions, and they did not disappoint. The lesson plan quality is outstanding, and should be of great benefit to science teachers at all experience levels. The first summit resulted in nearly 70 lesson plan submissions, all of which go through a rigorous review process before being approved for viewing on the ALEX website. The second summit will occur in June, where it is expected that a similar number of plans will be submitted. Click here to view approved ASTA/ALEX plans.

MurphyDr. Richard Murphy started his career as an educator in grades 7-12, teaching language arts and computer applications for fifteen years. He concurrently did contract work for businesses, universities, and the Alabama Department of Education including tasks such as curriculum development, instructional design, database design, web design, graphics design, video production, and training. Dr. Murphy currently works full time for the Alabama Department of Education and serves as the state administrator for the Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX) web portal.

Massachusetts Rethinks Ed Tech by Reinventing State-Local Partnerships

Another in an occasional series of guest posts, we are pleased to feature the work and voices of state leaders. Kenneth Klau is the Director of the Office of Digital Learning for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Digital Connections Partnership Schools Grant Video

Started in 2014, the Digital Connections Partnership Schools (DCPS) grant program is a competitive, matching state grant program to bridge the digital divide that exists in some public schools across Massachusetts and strengthen twenty-first century teaching and learning. This article highlights the theme of partnership, a facet of the DCPS initiative that sets it apart from many other grants of this type. Specifically, this post will address state-local partnership in the areas of funding, procurement and program development.

In the DCPS program, the state partners with each community to provide financial support based on local resources and needs. The state match percentage is calculated on a sliding scale from 30 to 70 percent based on each community’s ability to contribute to the state’s per pupil spending formula. Districts with more resources pay a higher share, those with fewer resources pay less.

In the DCPS program, the state partners with the local communities in overseeing the bidding and vendor selection process for technology infrastructure. The state acts as a single purchasing agent, fronts the cost of all wi-fi and broadband projects, and expedites the flow of federal E-rate reimbursements back to districts (communities have the option of using these reimbursements to help fund the local match). This alleviates administration and local burden at the local level and lets educators focus on program development.

Program Development
In the DCPS program, the state match pays for products and services that are eligible for E-rate “Category 2” reimbursements and provides professional learning across districts in order to facilitate cross-district professional development networks. The local match pays for devices, assistive technologies and additional professional development. Each district must define the problem that a shift toward increased digital learning might solve, and demonstrate that it has related plans for technical support, human capital development and sustainability. Districts have the leeway to identify the resources they need to achieve those ends, and the state facilitates professional learning opportunities for the grantees beyond the funding period, ensuring good stewardship of taxpayer dollars.

In authentic partnerships, the parties work together to create something new. In effective partnerships, the parties assume both responsibility and accountability for doing what they do best, so that the end product has the highest likelihood for success. The DCPS initiative is still new, but we are hopeful that it can serve as a model for rethinking educational technology at the same time it reinvents state-local partnerships.

Stay posted on Massachusetts’ schools by following @MASchoolsK12 on Twitter.

KlauKenKenneth Klau is the Director of Digital Learning for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Ken is responsible for developing a strategy for rethinking the structure and delivery of learning, building a more student-centered system of public education, and creating the next generation of K–12 learning environments. He brings more than a decade of experience at the state level in accountability system design and instructional improvement at scale. Prior to coming to the department, Ken worked in the private sector as director of operations for a start-up educational publishing company and served as manager of curriculum development for a comprehensive educational reform organization that served predominantly urban elementary and middle school students in ten states. 

Open Invitation: Oregon Educator Network (OEN)

OEN-sticker-med(250px)Another in an occasional series of guest posts, we are pleased to feature the work and voices of state leaders. Dr. Sarah Haavind is the Curator for the Oregon Educator Network where she leads the design and implementation of an online professional learning portal.

Founded by the Oregon State Legislature’s HB3233 in the 2011 –  2013 biennium, the Oregon Department of Education’s Network of Quality Teaching and Learning is pleased to announce the launch of the Oregon Educator Network (OEN), a collaborative professional learning space for educators in Oregon and beyond. This powerful tool provides resources, online events and the opportunity to personalize professional learning by allowing educators to start and join collaborative groups based on professional interests and projects.

OEN provides a place for educators to:

  • Collaborate and engage in dialogue about professional practice;
  • Share, discover and rate education resources;
  • Create and participate in groups, blogs and events;
  • Find professional development opportunities.

Most educators are interested in learning how to personalize learning for their students, yet a powerful starting point is to personalize their own learning via OEN. Utilizing the OEN collaborative learning space allows an educator to present professional credentials and lend a credible, knowledgeable voice by sharing ideas, resources, events and blogs that are used with success in the classroom, school or district-wide.

OEN’s personalization capabilities allow you, as a part of the online professional learning community,  to design opportunities to follow educators you already know, or to discover new job-alike and/or interest-alike colleagues by visiting or following educators suggested for you by OEN.  The more detailed you choose to make your professional learning profile, the more accurately OEN’s supporting analytics will foster meaningful connections and facilitate the discovery of educators who are working on the same challenges and/or shared interests.

This tool can be valuable to team leaders at the school, district, regional, or state levels, too. For example, a group can be initiated to solicit innovative thoughts and contributions  relevant to any aspect of professional practice. Once established, the group can remain private (for your team) or public, for any members to join and contribute, share resources or links to documents, anytime, anywhere.

OEN supports and encourages collaboration among P-20 educators both in Oregon and in other states by providing a place for thought-partners to discover and connect with interest and job-alike colleagues.

What will you discover, post or share on the OEN today?

Sarah_09_150Dr. Sarah Haavind is a Senior Program Analyst at the Oregon Department of Education where she leads the design and implementation of an online professional learning portal. She was an Associate Professor of Education at Lesley University Graduate School of Education and began her career as a high school teacher. She taught online in the 1990s for The Concord Consortium where she co-authored Facilitating Online Learning (Atwood, 2000), at Lesley University in the early 2000s, and currently adjuncts at Pepperdine University in a blended Doctorate in Learning Technologies program.

Lessons Learned Preparing New Mexico for Success Online

nmflag Another in an occasional series of guest posts, we are pleased to feature the work and voices of SETDA members. Ferdi  Serim is the Educational  Technology Coordinator for the New Mexico Public Education Department.

With 92% of its students taking the PARCC assessment online, New Mexico celebrates success that surprised many skeptics. Fears about
inadequate infrastructure, outdated computing devices, and low levels of teacher comfort with technology were overcome by sustained efforts of school level technology and testing coordinators, who invested over 64,000 hours of staff time. Success with PARCC depends upon three foundational pillars: robust and reliable networks; correctly configured devices/browsers; aligning technology use to support both instruction and assessment.

Over a two year period leading up to the start of testing in March 2015, the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) worked with district technology leaders on intensive efforts to evaluate readiness, guide investments to upgrade both devices and networks, and build data systems to allow “real time” monitoring of progress toward readiness.

Yet, two months before testing began, the picture was troubling. Many schools had not set up proctor-caching servers, conducted infrastructure trials or begun mastering the complicated and confusing tasks of managing test sessions. PED partnered with CB Technologies (CBT) to master the technical and administrative tasks required by PARCC. CBT then assisted schools in setup before testing began, both onsite and online. This flow reversed once testing began, with the CBT “SWAT Team” of 12 consultants staffing a Help Desk 24/7, coordinating issue reporting and resolution, so that no school struggled alone and fixes were shared widely upon discovery.

The overarching lesson is this: IT talent at the school level makes the difference between success and failure. Planning for success must include strategies to build human capital to manage IT resources of ever increasing complexity. Here are our three key findings:

1.     The key predictor of success is the depth of human resources at the site level.

2.     Since rural schools have difficulty finding IT talent, one option is to use student level tech teams including the GenYES process to prepare student teams to address the specific tasks required for PARCC.

3.     Computer based testing assumes students are using computers for learning. Such use only results from intentional planning, support and expectations by school leaders.

New Mexico Leadership CadreOur schools vary greatly with respect to IT staffing. With 100,000 users, the data center at Albuquerque Public Schools is the largest in our state, larger than our national labs or commercial employers. At the other end of the spectrum, the tech team from Regional Educational Cooperative 6 consists of 4 people who serve 10 rural districts. They provided support at each district by recruiting a class of seniors, training them to modify configurations on workstations and browsers, and moving from machine to machine in each testing location.

One strategy for success next year is for schools to implement a program jointly developed by CBT and GenYES, to create teams of Student Technology Leaders, who will work directly with CBT IT professionals in resolving networking and device/browser configuration issues related to PARCC, including helping to staff the online Help Desk. Additionally, these teams will generate models for monitoring the “learning return on investment” from learning trajectories that align technology use for both instruction and assessment. Each student team provides support equivalent to 1.5 FTE adult tech staff. While PED doesn’t endorse vendors or programs, we are encouraging schools to evaluate whether this option is right for them.

A working infrastructure and trained staff who can deliver online testing is the starting line, not the finish line. Educators must make the link between substantial investments (of money and time for online assessments) with the potential learning gains that come from effective uses of the technology. Public-private partnerships designed to harness the talents of students can help us to both meet immediate needs and provide sustainable ways to “grow” the talents required for success from now on.


Ferdi800[1] Ferdi Serim helps people become more effective in “real life” by incorporating the power of digital learning communities focused on talent development. He has worked in many venues: Board Member of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN); State Ed Tech Director for New Mexico; Associate of the David Thornburg Center for Professional Development (and jazz musician).

He is the author of four books: NetLearning: Why Teachers Use the Internet; From Computers to Community: Unlocking the Potentials of the Wired Classroom; Information Technology for Learning: No School Left Behind, and Digital Learning: Strengthening and Assessing 21st Century Skills, from Jossey-Bass. Currently he serves as Educational Technology Coordinator for the NM Public Education Department, and as Executive Director of the New Mexico Society for Technology in Education, focused on helping increase every educator’s effectiveness.

New York takes Digital Learning Mobile

Another in an occasional series of guest posts, we are pleased to feature the work and voices of SETDA members. Today’s post comes from Stan Silverman, Director of Technology Based Learning Systems, New York Institute of Technology.



The STEAMed van attended the Willits Roads School Tech Fair in March 2015. Students and parents were exposed to 3D printing and design, robotics with the NAO robot and the Darwin mini, as well as a “Dancing with the Stars” physics activity connecting motion to a graphical representation.

Recently, the New York Institute of Technology, working with the New York State Teacher Centers, developed the STEAMed initiative. The program customized a van into a hands-on digital learning center to bring tactile STEAM experiences for both teachers and students into schools and community organizations. The STEAMed vehicle initiative is designed to address the critical need of engaging students in the process of innovation, creativity and technology so that they can become college and career ready.


Participating educators are provided with creative, student-powered, hands-on STEAM learning opportunities that align to Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards. The van is scheduled to make 80 plus visits per academic year. The goal of the vehicle (designed by the Professor Garfield Foundation) is to engage the stakeholders (school boards, administrators, teachers, parents and students) in a conversation on the implementation of STEAM approaches and curriculum in schools in grades 2-8.

This unique program was launched based on the successes of the U.S. Department of Education’s CyberEd program that targeted “Empowerment Zones” originally launched in 1996. The “Empowerment Zones” included a coalition of non-profit, corporate and private partners connected to invigorate the conversation around the use of instructional technology in schools within the  in the United States.

A typical STEAMed visit has teachers working together with the van’s support team to deliver model activities focused on creativity, innovation and technology within the context of meeting the New York State standards. Schools and libraries can request sessions during and after school hours. Van visits range from mass demonstration opportunities at conferences and events to individual classroom visits. Specific strategies are designed to address the needs of female student, students of color and students in poverty so they can see themselves participating in STEAM related careers and continuing education.  The STEAMed vehicle currently supports 6 major areas of activity:

  • Citizen science using probeware
  • Coding
  • Robotics
  • 3D printing
  • Electronics and circuits
  • Maker design and development

A number of companies have provided support for the effort through hardware and software loans and donations. These include Intel, Vernier, Verizon, Zspace, A+ Technologies, Microsoft, Robotis, The Inventery (Morphi), Makers Empire and PolyCom.

Next steps include a section of Professor Garfield’s website that will house resources and model lessons for STEAM based on the experiences with the van.  If you are in NY and spot our STEAMed van, stop in to see mobile digital learning in action.


Stan Silverman is a  professor of education and Director of Technology Based Learning Systems at the New York Institute of Technology, serves on the NYS Board of Regents Technology Policy and Practices Council and has been the  long standing co-chair of the New York State Teacher Center Technology Committee.

3D Vermont – Collaboration in Action


3D Vermont’s 2015 Architectural Olympiad launches annual event. “I was particularly proud of our work together with the other agencies across the state. We have already had follow-up phone calls and look forward to planning the next version of this competition.” Peter Drescher, Vermont

Another in an occasional series of guest posts, we are pleased to feature the work and voices of SETDA members. Today’s post comes from Peter Drescher, Education Technology Coordinator, Vermont Agency of Education and current Chair of SETDA’s Board of Directors.

VT_3d_imagesVermont  recently hosted the The Architectural Olympiad as part of the 3D Vermont. This competition was a collaborative effort across state agencies, requiring school teams to combine historic preservation with state of the art 3D design. The teams identified a historic building or site, gathered measurements and researched the origins of the structure. Next, they drafted 3D models via an online program and created 3D structures using their local 3D printers. On March 27, participating schools gathered for the Architectural Olympiad in Randolph, Vermont. At the Olympiad, school teams placed their models on an oversized Vermont floor map, indicating the actual location and presented their projects to a panel of judges.

Windsor High School took top honors, St. Johnsbury Academy was second in the high school division and the middle school winner was Essex Middle School. 12 public and private schools competed in the final event, over 20 schools began the competition in October.

This project began as the brainchild of Mike Hathorn, a teacher from Hartford High School. Hathorn started the project a couple of years ago when he had students create online 3D models and place them within Google Earth. The advent of 3D printing at many Vermont schools and tech centers allowed him to re-envision the original project and engage many more schools and students in the competition. Slated to be an annual event, Vermont hopes to drive interest in other schools and to expand the competition pool.

As an extension, some of the 3D models will be displayed over the summer at other events including the Tunbridge World’s Fair, the state’s spring K12 Edtech Conference and during the Downtown and Historic Preservation Conference in early June. Partners on this initial project included the Preservation Trust of Vermont, Google Education and The Agency of Commerce and Community Development.


For more details see the event in action by watching these news clips.

Drescher_Peter_400 Peter Drescher, Education Technology Coordinator for the Vermont Agency of Education and current SETDA Board Chair has been involved in education technology for nearly 20 years. He began his career in education as a social studies/technology teacher at a middle school in New Mexico. Soon he held the technology coordinator position, where he worked to develop a robust technology program and later join the Vermont Agency of Education.

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