Category Archives: Latest News

Computer Science Education Week

#CSEdWeek and #HourOfCode is December 7-13, 2020

Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) is an annual call to action to inspire K-12 students to learn computer science, advocate for equity in computer science education, and celebrate the contributions of students, teachers, and partners to the field. This week is held in recognition of the birthday of Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906), who invented the first compiler and coined the term “bug” (an error in a program) after removing an actual moth from a computer in 1947.

Vita-Learn is excited to share opportunities to participate in Computer Science Education Week and the Hour of Code. Below you will find ways you can participate organized by Vermont educators. If you are organizing an opportunity for students, teachers, and others that is open for others to join, please contact Jeff Mao to be added to this page (or leave a comment below!)

"Coded Bias" Film Screening

A group of innovative Vermont technology leaders is organizing a screening of the movie, “Coded Bias” available to all Vermont schools. They are planning activities related to the film in addition to the screening. For registration information, dates, and more, visit their website

Join A Statewide Focus on Artificial Intelligence and Bias

Help your students understand the role that bias plays in a world increasingly coded 
using machine learning? Learn more at the Vermont Thinks About Code website.

Hour of Code Resources

 

[INFO ABOUT LUCIE-KRISTEN-PETER CS ACTIVITY]

From our Corporate Members!

  • Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, 
  • consectetur adipiscing elit. 
  • Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Official Information from #CSEdWeek and #HourOfCode

Share what you are Doing!

What are you doing to celebrate and participate in #CSEdWeek and #HourOfCode? Please post to your favorite social media and use hashtags: #vted #CSEdWeek #HourOfCode.

Vermont Fest Recordings Available Now!

Recordings of Vermont Fest workshops and presentations are now available to all conference registrants and paid annual members of Vita-Learn. If you have not paid your annual membership dues, you can do so here.

In order to view the recordings of sessions, you will need to be logged into the Vita-Learn website. An account has been created for you using the same email address that you used to register for the conference.

  1. Visit http://vita-learn.org/login/?action=reset_pass
  2. Enter your email address
  3. Click the Get New Password button
  4. Check your email for a message with a link for you to reset your password
  5. Click the link and enter a new password, then click Reset Password

Once you are logged in, you can visit the online schedule to find the session that you wish to view. We are still working on a more permanent navigation path to the videos, but each session has its own blog post on the website blog, and those URLs will not change.

If you need password assistance, please contact Jeff Mao.

Vermont Fest Conference and more!

2020 Vermont Fest Conference

We are excited to announce that the annual Vermont Fest Conference dates have been set for October 28-31, 2020, and we’re looking forward to hosting another terrific event! This year, we’ve joined with VTVLC and the Northeast Online Learning Institute’s Online & Blended Learning Conference. Together we will gather experts and innovators in digital learning from around the region and the nation.

We are still seeking more featured speakers and workshop presenters. If you are interested in presenting, please contact us!

The event will be held online using an event platform designed to host conferences so that you can not only attend live interactive sessions, but video chat with speakers, other attendees, and exhibitors in ad-hoc video chats. The schedule will begin in the afternoon hours and extend into primetime hours in the evening to minimize conflicts with the school day. We will hold birds-of-a-feather dinner gatherings, and we encourage you to bring your dinner and eat with friends and colleagues, new and old! Just be careful you don’t spill on your computer!

Registrations will open soon! Please save the dates! More information is posted to the conference website!

Monthly Membership Meeting

In lieu of the traditional Regional Meetings, we are going to host monthly meetings online for all regions. Meetings will be held on the first Thursday of each month at 4 pm. Meetings will be open to all members including corporate members. 

Each month’s meeting will include time for open discussion of topics of interest from the group as well as announcements and updates from Vita-Learn, the AOE, and others. If you have an announcement you’d like to share at a meeting, please notify Jeff Mao in advance so you can be added to the agenda!

Annual Membership Dues

The Board of Directors has approved re-instituting membership dues. While the Board recognizes that funding in schools is limited, to help the organization’s capacity to provide services to the membership, the dues were a necessary first step. Dues for individual members has been established at $20 per year. This year’s dues have been included in the registration fee for the annual Vermont Fest Conference. If you pay for your membership before registering for Vermont Fest, you will be given a $20 discount on the conference registration. Additionally, benefits including discounts to all Vita-Learn events that include registration fees, access to recordings of all online PD workshops (including Vermont Fest Conference recordings), and more are planned.

Institutional and corporate memberships are also available which include benefits for those organizations as well. If you have suggestions of how we can make the membership more valuable, please contact Jeff Mao. For more information on memberships, please see the Members page.

VITA-LEARN Announces New Executive Director – Jeff Mao

VITA-LEARN ANNOUNCES NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR – JEFF MAO

Burlington, VT (July 23, 2020)  Vita-Learn is excited to welcome Jeff Mao as our new executive director. Jeff has deep roots in education technology in New England dating back to his first teaching position at Brewster Academy in NH where he was part of their launch of a 1:1 laptop program in 1993. Later, he served as the Education Technology Director for the State of Maine for ten years leading programs including the Maine Learning Technology Initiative and helping to establish NetworkMaine. He has collaborated with the Vermont Agency of Education to help establish a multi-state contract to facilitate purchasing 1:1 solutions. He was also a keynote speaker at VITA-Learn’s 2016 Dynamic Landscapes conference in Burlington. He has extensive experience with non-profits and for-profit ed-tech partnerships and can expand the digital consortium work that Vita-Learn has started with technology solution partners. 

He has served as a member of the Board for the State Educational Technology Directors Association for six years including two years as Board Chair, and he has an exciting vision for the role of educational technology in today’s educational landscape. 

“Jeff feels like the perfect match for our organization and its current goals.  We are excited to have Vermont educators to meet him as he begins this leadership role in our organization,” said Jessica Wilson, President of the Board of Directors, VITA-Learn.

Discounted Pricing for Seesaw

Vita-Learn is excited to announce that we have negotiated a bulk purchase pricing agreement for SeeSaw for Schools Licenses  

If your school  is interested in discounts on  Seesaw licenses or renewals (now or in the future) please see this page for more pricing and ordering details!

Seesaw Logo
Seesaw is a simple way for teachers and students to record and share what’s happening in the classroom. It includes learning journals, portfolios tools, parent communication tools, and more. Learn more about Seesaw for Schools and Remote Learning.

Vita-Learn believes that every child deserves equitable access to the right tools for learning from school supplies to digital tools to educators who understand how to use learning tools to  create transformative learning opportunities. 

Vita-Learn recently surveyed schools to learn which tech tools provided solutions during our recent emergency remote learning.  

Several digital tools came to the top of the list.  We asked…

“How might we support schools who are working towards equitable access to the right tools for engaging our students both in person and remotely.”

Negotiating discounts for Vermont schools with solution partners willing to work with us as a consortium is one way we can help support this equity  goal. Seesaw is the latest in the list of agreements we have been able to negotiate for Vermont schools.


Click here to learn more about  discount pricing agreements we already have in place with with the following solution partners

  • WeVideo – video creation for every child anytime anywhere on any device
  • Book Creator –  create ebooks on a Chromebook
  • VoiceThread –  asynchronous conversation using audio, video, text around learning artifacts
  • Newsela  – 

“It is not beyond our power to create a world in which ALL children have access to a good education.”   ~ Nelson Mandela

End of Year Reflection

During the past few months, our members have demonstrated amazing ability to respond to a Governor Scott’s March 15 directive for the closure of K12 schools in Vermont as part of our Vermont’s response to a public health emergency.

“The orderly dismissal of schools is essential to support both the State’s response to COVID-19 and the needs of children and families across Vermont,” Scott said. “We must ensure children are safe, nourished, and still learning even as the traditional structure of school is disrupted.  The work of educators will be essential in this effort.” ~ Governor Scott

Adrenalin and commitment fueled school leaders, educators, librarians, ed tech teams, school staff, and communities to design and implement a plan. Challenges were met head on and plans were adjusted to meet those challenges. Three months later, as we come up for air, and start to think about ‘what next’, we find ourselves reflecting.

Inspired by @Devin Vodika’s blog post referencing the After Action Review Protocol, Vita-Learn as created and tested a reflection template that we hope might help others as they enter the last few days of of the school year. Feel free to download and make a copy of the reflection template to use as you consider the successes and challenges of your school’s emergency school closing plan.

Special thanks to board member, Tim O’Leary, and the team from Greater Rutland County Supervisory Union for testing the protocol with us and sharing feedback on the template.

We hope you’ll also let us know how if you find the reflection template useful.