ISTE 2014

The ISTE conference 2014, held in Atlanta, Georgia, was an amazing experience! The conference kicked off with keynote speaker, Ashley Judd. Although I was skeptical and unsure what she had to do with education and technology, her speech was outstanding. She explained her rough journey with her family and proceeded to praise the educators who saved her life, along the way. She made a point to express how much she believes that educators influence students emotionally and socially. There were several moments that both she and the audience were in tears. This was an uplifting start to the conference and it created a positive and motivated atmosphere for the rest of the conference.
There were also several moments that I would like to highlight. A couple of exhibitors that had some great information to share were Course Kicker and Virtual Field Trips.org. Both of these exhibitors would best assist and complement our online learning environment. Course Kicker allows educators to share and search lessons, PowerPoints, worksheets and videos in any subject/grade, for free. Virtual Field Trips.org is another great resource for a small cost. This site allows you to search for field trips by location, grade and subject area. They also suggest inspirational ideas to make virtual field trips more memorable. Lastly, I would like to share some great moments from one of the sessions I attended; Online Learning and Students with Disabilities and Struggling Learners. Their main stress was parent involvement and the importance of it. At My Virtual Academy, we are continuously trying to find new ways to involve parents/guardians. During the session, they suggested referring to the parent as a learning coach. This title gives the parent a distinct role in their child’s education. As we already know at MVA, the parent needs to be even more involved in online learning, than brick and mortar schools, which the session emphasized as well.
It was an honor to be able to be a part of ISTE 2014. I am excited and motivated for the upcoming school year. I cannot wait to utilize the resources from the conference!

Written by Nicole Taite

My Virtual Academy Teacher

 

The Rougher the Road to Graduation, the Sweeter the Success

I think most people would agree that they somewhat dread high school graduations. Spending several hours, politely listening to 3 or 4 speeches you probably won’t remember, sitting in the sun or a hot auditorium while 500 plus students are called across the stage individually to receive their diplomas. Polite applause for each name fades with the number of students crossing the stage.
alt ed blog

My Virtual Academy partners with several alternative education schools to give those students yet another option to help them graduate high school. I attended Clintondale Alternative Education graduation today, and it was definitely not your typical graduation! There was no polite applause, only loud cheering, whistling and clapping. It felt a bit like a church revival meeting and I will say that for me, it was a very welcome change. There was very little sitting and only one short, inspiring speech. The whole think was over in 45 minutes.
The students that I saw walk across the stage today were prouder than any other graduate I’ve ever met. The road to graduation was not easy for them, and that diploma is obviously cherished by each one of them as well as their families. I hope the feeling of accomplishment those students’ have today convinces them to continue their education. Whether they go to trade school, community college or a university, they will never take learning for granted.

Danielle Yanssens
Program Developer for Continuous Improvement
ATS Educational Consulting Services

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