Members Learn About AmeriCorps and Google Expedition

SVRTC members from seventeen school divisions (Amelia, Brunswick, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Danville, Dinwiddie, Franklin City, Greensville, Halifax, Hopewell, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, Pittsylvania, Prince Edward, and Sussex) were present at the Wednesday, November 15, 2017, meeting.

Amanda Healy discusses AmeriCorps.

Amanda Healy, AmeriCorps Program Manager, educated members about the benefits AmeriCorps offers.  Ms. Healy explained that AmeriCorps is funded through the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is currently funds twelve programs (mostly educational) across the state of Virginia.  With a budget of $3.7 million that funds approximately 500 members serving Virginia in 2017-18.  She explained the CNCS mission is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering.  Members learned of the costs and benefits of becoming a host organization.  Two of the attending SVRTC divisions (Danville City and Pittsylvania) currently have AmeriCorps members serving in their schools.  More information about Ms. Healy’s presentation can be found the website’s Professional Development page.

Dr. Leach demonstrates Google Expeditions

SVRTC members also got to participate in a presentation by Dr. Paula Leach, ITTIP Director.  Members were able to take a field trip without leaving the room as  the virtual-reality teaching tool, Google Expeditions, was demonstrated.  Dr. Leach guided members on a tour of the Caribbean and other destinations while following along with virtual reality viewers.  Suggestions on how Google Expeditions can be used in classrooms to enhance student learning was shared.  Dr. Leach informed members that ITTIP has four Google Expeditions kits available for divisions to use in their schools.




STEAM Labs and littleBits, Oh My!

Above: Judy Deichman and Annah Bowen from Nottoway County Public Schools present their STEAM Lab to SVRTC members.

The SVRTC October meeting was full of learning opportunities for members. The monthly meeting started with a presentation by Judy Deichman and Annah Bowan of Nottoway County Public Schools.  During their presentation, they shared how they designed and implemented their county’s first STEAM lab.  Members attending even got to do a walking tour of the learning space and ask questions to help other divisions develop learning opportunities like this in their own counties.

Above: SVRTC members work in groups to code with littleBits.

A second presentation was made by STEM Specialist, Stephanie Playton, of Longwood University’s ITTIP.  She introduced members to the littleBits coding kit, a kit that was released in the spring.  Members got to participate and code a littleBits matrix to scroll words and pictures.

The October meeting attracted 22 members from 15 counties, including: Amelia, Appomattox, Brunswick, Cumberland, Danville, Dinwiddie, Franklin City, Greensville, Halifax, Hopewell, Lunenburg, Nottoway, Pittsylvania, Prince Edward, and Sussex.



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