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Vermont Fest Menu 2022

The Vita-Learn board of directors, conference organizers, and Killington Grand Resort Hotel are working together to help keep our event participants safe and healthy during the Vermont Fest Conference. Please review the Duty of Care plan.

EDIT: The complete schedule is now available here!

Vermont Fest 2022 Workshops and Presentations

The conference committee continues to review and add more workshops and presentations to the schedule for this year’s conference. A detailed schedule will be published once the committee has a better holistic sense of the offerings to best balance how the schedule will run. This year’s event will, like all years, see a collection of workshops and presentations the support teaching and learning across the grade spans, and across curricular areas — all will connect back to the use of digital tools and resources, and how these can be used to effectively improve practices. The conference will also feature two sub-groups of offerings: 1) Coding, Robotics, and Computational Thinking, and 2) CyberSecurity.

The Coding, Robotics, and Computational Thinking — Last spring, UVM Professor Josh Bongard provided a thought-provoking keynote address at Dynamic Landscapes. While we may not be ready to design our own robots out of organic living tissue, we do see the value of robotics in our classrooms as a vehicle for computational thinking and coding, as well as engineering and problem-solving. The committee is organizing a combination of workshops and a robotics petting zoo to allow you to explore different solutions and ideas about the use of coding, robotics, and computational thinking in your classroom.

CyberSecurity — The nation’s second largest school system just suffered a massive cyberattack. In the IT realm, the conversations have been as much about what to do to prevent such attacks as it has been about the realization that it is only a matter of time before more Vermont districts are impacted. Vita-Learn is working with the Agency of Education and to support all Vermont systems with the expert support needed to plan incident response plans as well as to better understand how to perform penetration testing against our online digital assets. This will be a fully hands-on, full-day (Thursday) session.

Beyond these two strands, we have a growing list of workshops and presentations already in the works. Here are just a sampling of what is to come:

In this presentation, middle and high school teachers will learn how to create algorithms and use computational thinking to generate abstract images in the styles of Wassily Kandinsky and Josef Albers. These Op-Art pioneers used geometrical shapes and patterns to form their art, which lend themselves to computers’ strengths and built-in functionality. Computational thinking represents a formalization of human creative expression, just as art does. Through blended art and coded learning activities, participants exercise computational thinking methods and use abstraction and algorithmic processes in creating works of art. Art created on a computer is different from other art media in two ways: the computer uses code to create art, and the art is displayed mainly via light from a computer screen. We create programs that produce different works of art each time the program is run (without changing the code), which creates the coded masterpieces! During this flash session, Lisa Dion and Maureen Neumann will present an example art activity from their book “Teaching Computational Thinking”.

Lisa Dion, Senior Lecturer of Computer Science, University of Vermont

Students and educators can create immersive 3D VR and AR experiences using CoSpaces. Lisa and I will show you how younger students with little coding experience and older students with text-based coding experience can all create dynamic 3D environments that show off their learning while developing transferrable STEAM skills. Teachers can create classes and create/access assignments within the platform (which is browser-based on computers and an app on iPads). CoSpaces projects can incorporate 360 degree images and can be viewed in CoSpaces, online, or even through VR headsets for a truly immersive experience. Come see how students can create projects that allows them to connect to their community by creating an interactive virtual tour or creating a virtual world to tell a story, all while using cutting edge technology that is easily accessible. Participants will get and share lesson and project ideas and be able to jump into the CoSpaces environment to start building their own 3D experiences during this workshop. 1 month trial codes will also be available to further try it out on your own and with your students.

Sean Theoret, 7-12 Technology Integrationist , Franklin West Supervisory Union

Personalized learning plans, social thinking skills, covid fatigue, digital citizenship, new technologies, Each day it seems like we have new content and skills to cover and master with our students. Three years ago, Miton Middle School created a Flexible Learning Lab.  Come learn about our evolution from an idea to an embedded program in our middle school.  The workshop will include our goals for the MTSD program over the upcoming years and provide a template for you to use in your school, the chance to create your own personalized learning journey, and leave with resources to implement a Flexible Learning Lab in your school.

Katrina Antonovich, Teacher – Flexible Learning Lab, Milton Town School District

Wondering how to incorporate basic cybersecurity skills into your classroom? Participants will dive into age-appropriate cybersecurity content that can be integrated into what is already being taught in the elementary and middle school classroom. Teachers will be provided with relevant activities that help students understand basic cybersecurity concepts such as privacy policies, digital footprints, website credibility, choosing Wi-Fi connections, encryption, and more. 

Presenters will explain how to lead students to actively analyze and debate these important cybersecurity concepts at an age-appropriate level. The resources shared in this session are easily modifiable for any classroom, and teachers will receive access to no-cost K-12 lessons from CYBER.ORG. 

Brittany Pike, Curriculum Development Specialist, CYBER.ORG

In outdoor STEAM based learning we often take many photographs of engaged students, but then the photos are not utilized. This workshop will explore practical ways digital photography can be used as a documentation and teaching tool of student learning in authentic and meaningful ways. We will explore strategies for taking more visually communicative pictures in the outdoor classroom that can be used as family communication tools. We will explore ways to implement elements such as light, time, and composition to capture better images, even during a messy outdoor STEAM project. Lastly we will brainstorm how to revisit photographs with your students as part of your intentional teaching cycle that sparks further thinking, deeper understanding, and richer conversations with even very young learners.  

Zajko April , Nature Based Educator, Orange East Supervisory Union 

If today’s global dialogue is happening mostly inside of digital platforms, from YouTube to Twitter to Instagram, are we preparing students to meaningfully participate in this expansive sphere of knowledge?  The answer is mostly, No. This presentation argues for making meaningful, thoughtful digital storytelling a standard, best practice in schools. In short, a ‘writing’ literacy unto itself, in deep dialogue with text-based literacy. How to do this? The process of guiding students to re-invent curricular content inside of a digital story – be it a mystery, a radio drama, a special news report or a personal vlog – is organically engaging, super fun, and deeply educational. It’s a portal into meaningful participation in the digital sphere. It’s a portal into internalizing the structure and power of story. And it’s a portal into practicing the necessary ‘human skills’ that will be needed to succeed in a world of omnipresent change. 

Based on the presenter’s recently published book from Heinemann – Expanding Literacy: Bringing Digital Storytelling into your Classroom – and his digital storytelling nonprofit, Meridian Stories, participants will explore the multiple advantages of integrating digital storytelling into the curriculum. 

Brett Pierce, Executive Director, Meridian Stories, Meridian Stories

STEM programs and courses can be engaging and exciting for students, but in many cases, they can lack meaning, connection and relevance if not grounded in a greater purpose. This workshop will explore how designers or STEM programs and classes can ground this work in purpose by using frameworks for justice, global connection, environmental education, local issues and assets, and current events to provide students with a sense of connection, relevance, and purpose in this work. Several tools (tech and others) to help students deeply connect to STEM projects and programs will be shared and reviewed. 

Katy Farber, Assistant Professor , Saint Michael’s College

Come PLAY and find ways to incorporate play in your school libraries, classrooms, work spaces, and lives.  Do you want to have a PLAYFUL mindset and need creative ideas to jump start your thinking and planning?   Learn how to create wellness at work, express joy through podcasting with students, and focus on fun through online and in-person games to enhance your school year.  Let’s PLAY with technology tools together and see what might engage you, your students, and school community.

Joyce Yoo Babbitt, Elementary School Library Media Specialist/STEM Teacher, Windsor Central Supervisory Union

For the Tech Savvy teacher….We will do a brief overview of Wakelet, how to create a Wakelet, and how educators and students are using Wakelet in their classrooms. Then we will spend time working on how you can use  Wakelet in your classroom right away. We will share the features of Wakelet such as easy collaboration, adding video with Flip, Immersive Reader for reading support, Canva integration and more! Wakelet also incorporates and “spaces” which makes collaborating with students and your PLNs more streamlined and powerful. This will be a fast paced, presentation where you can learn while you practice! 

Jennifer Mitchell, Mrs, Missisquoi Valley School District

Have you ever wanted to take your students on a life-changing adventure? Do you want to connect them with globe-trotting role models who can spark interest in potential careers and help them realize that, they too, can change the world? With the power of virtual exchange, you can, and the team at Reach the World will show you how. Reach the World (RTW), a 501c3 non-profit organization based in New York City, helps teachers inspire students to be curious, confident, and compassionate global citizens. In this session, educators will hone their virtual learning skills through the lens of the Endurance22 Expedition. This immersive virtual exchange connected thousands of students with the explorers who found Sir Ernest Shackleton’s lost ship Endurance during the 2021-22 school year. 


The Reach the World team will show educators how customizable and engaging virtual exchange experiences can be, using Endurance22 as an example. Participants will have the opportunity to immediately incorporate these and other resources into their curricula. By the end of this session, educators will use their burgeoning virtual learning skills to take their students on new, exciting adventures during the 2022-23 school year.

Chantel Palmer, Program Associate, Reach the World

Learn the benefits to students and how to transform learning experiences in your classroom by utilizing WeVideo. WeVideo is a powerful, cloud based multimedia and video editing solution for K-12 classrooms looking to integrate the use of multimodal teaching and learning throughout the curriculum. Using pedagogical practices from the multiliteracies framework, participants will learn how multimodal activities can help amplify student voice, cultivate identity and foster agency, and deepen learning for all. See student created examples of these practices in action, gain access to resources to support your instruction, and try out what WeVideo has to offer as a teaching and learning tool for your learning environment and your students. 

Ryan  Kochevar, Curriculum and Instruction Manager, WeVideo

The Vermont Agency of Education will pilot the Ed-Fi interoperability framework for the 2022-23 school year. The pilot will test the use of the Ed-Fi data standard to facilitate the collection of student information. Twenty Vermont school districts will partner with AOE to utilize the Ed-Fi data standard with their existing Student Information System (SIS). Join AOE’s Data Management and Analysis Division staff as they describe the scope of the pilot and how it could streamline district work to compile and report student information. Beyond your SIS, how does an interoperability framework enable your district to link up the different software systems you use to run your schools? Learn about how your district processes would work within the Ed-Fi framework.

James Nadeau, AOE Data Administration Director

Using unplugged, technical, and hands-on activities, we will explore Artificial Intelligence with Kids, and if AI is new to you, awesome. If you love AI, join us and contribute to the conversation!  We’ll use materials from ISTE and tie the work to the ISTE Standards for Students, Teachers, and Administrators.

Patricia Aigner, IT Director, Rutland City Public Schools

Executive Function and Literacy challenges can limit functional capabilities in All areas of occupation for All Learners, including neurodiverse individuals- Autism, Dyslexia, ADHD, Learning Disabilities, Nonverbal Learning Disability, ID, and other disabilities. Students and adults can experience difficulties that lead to frustration and shutdown or other behaviors. Executive Function and Literacy skills are necessary for Successful Transition to middle school, high school, post-secondary education, the workplace, and  community. Preparing students with successful Executive Function and Literacy strategies and Technology promotes student Autonomy, Confidence and Independence!

Explore a wealth of tools for organization, time management, focus and attention, short term and working memory, scheduling/ reminders, studying, note taking and research, emotional regulation, and reading and writing support. All devices (Laptop, iPhone/iPad, Android, Microsoft). These tools and methods are supporting students, parents and professionals in education, including those who are short-staffed and overwhelmed. We will explore strategies, technology and implementation together! 

Diana Petschauer, M.Ed. ATP, Managing Director & Assistive Technologist; Consultant,   AT for Education

This lightning fast, lighthearted session has been completely updated from VermontFest 2021.  It will include an overview of trends and technologies that will amaze and inspire you, and appeal to your geeky side while delighting the teacher in you.  Learn how these emerging technologies promote creativity and enhance teaching.  Explore classroom uses of artificial intelligence, and how some students and teachers are going beyond information retrieval and writing their own customized “skills”.  There’ll be an update on virtual, augmented, and mixed reality, coding, mini-drones, robotics, and innovative “social” robots.  Learn about how the maker movement is changing the way experiential learning is implemented, as both a concept and a space.  See some of the lesser known but very impressive Google apps for the classroom. Hear about technologies that do not yet exist at the time of this proposal. The term “Electronic Constructivism” was coined by this presenter who will stress what really matters: Good Teaching.  No need to take notes. Each participant will receive the entire presentation and an invitation to continue a dialog.  No experience necessary, but an open mind and a sense of adventure is highly suggested.  We’ll end with a raffle for lots of techy prizes.

Maureen Yoder, Professor, Lesley Unviersity

Merge EDU is a hands-on digital learning platform that helps students learn science and STEM effectively using digital teaching aids and simulations they can touch, hold and interact with. Find out more about how Merge EDU works in this hands on workshop!

Jennifer Mitchell, Missisquoi Valley School District & Katrina Antonovich, Milton Town School District

Vita-Learn Member