Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Vermont Celebrates Computer Science Week

Earlier this month schools from all around Vermont joined schools in 180+countries to celebrate Computer Science Education Week by participating in Hour of Code.  We saw students developing computational thinking skills as they worked through some of the many tutorials on’s website while others participated in special events organized in their community.

Throughout the week, Vermont’s Agency of Education worked with Vita-Learn to create special opportunities for Vermont students to experience during the week. 

Almost 500 students had the opportunity to interact with code using kits that Lego Educator, Bonnie Morrisette brought to Barre City School. The students interacted with Analog programming and coding and digital coding on iPads using activities designed by Lego Education.

On Tuesday afternoon, students from North Country Career Center and Lake Region High School joined author of “Before You Code”, Coder, and Digital Designer Jennifer Kramer to chat about increasing the amount of women and girls in tech courses and tech careers.

Mid week, Green Mountain Career Center brought students to Hyde Park Elementary School to demonstrate how code is used to program robots. Secretary of Education, Dan French came by as he was in the area for the Governor’s Capital For a Day tour. Tours were also had of the new addition that was completed at Hyde Park Elementary School. 

Hyde Park Elementary School w/visitor Secretary of Education, Dan French

At the end of the week students in Windham SE Supervisory Union at the Academy School, Putney School, and Guilford school were treated to a coding experience using Apple Swift Playground -- a platform that Apple has devised for the iPad.

Peter Drescher & Greg Young, AOE, Brian Schwartz, Green Mountain Tech Center, Lucy Rogers, Lamoille County Representative, (newly elected).

But as many Vermont educators will tell you, there goal is not limited to providing students with ONE hour of Code, but to use that Hour to launch deeper experiences around computer science for Vermont students and educators.

Vermont School Librarians, Donna McDonald (Orchard School) and Joanne Allen (Enosburg Elementary School) were honored for their commitment to integrating code in their libraries. Libraries. 

Vermont’s Agency of Education has joined with University of Vermont,, and Vermont Virtual in a new alliance aimed an increasing access to computer science education to all K-12 students. Through this statewide partnership, VCSA is broadening access to professional learning opportunities for schools and educators. You can find more information about this Vermont Alliance, including Summer PD from the Alliance and PD from the Alliance

Over 125 Vermont schools participated in Hour of Code Events this year and as you can tell from pictures through Vermont, the experience brought smiles to both students and teachers.


Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Talking about Diversity in Tech at North Country Career Center

Join us live at 2:00 p.m. December 4  for a conversation with students from North Country Career Center, NCCC teacher John Wagner,  and career professional, Jen Wagner  for a conversation about Diversity in Tech courses and Tech careers.

Or watch the recorded archive later.

North Country Career Center
Tuesday 2:00 p.m.

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#HourOfCode 2018

Love watching my Twitter feed during Computer Science Education Week.  It is filled with pictures like this.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Go Vermont!

We can't wait to see all the ways #vted schools participate in the  2018 Hour of Code Events.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Hour of Code Week Dec. 3-9--let's Connect #vted

This year's Hour of Code participation in Vermont is sure to break some new records and we hope you will join some exciting events happening in our state and also help us showcase your school's events.  Here's a preview of what's to come.

Announcement from Peter Drescher - Vermont AOE (Nov 19, 2018)

We are trying to go through multiple communication venues this year on Hour of Code Week, so you might see some more on this over the next week or so after the holday.    To remind, Hour of Code week is put together by, an entity that promotes computer science in all schools.    If you are not aware yet, this year’s Hour of Code Week theme is:  Creativity!  Let’s show the nation how Vermont shows creativity in schools! 

The Agency of Education along with Vita Learn, and our new VT Computer Science Alliance are trying hard to build a number of events into this week.  You may recall the great website created by Lucie Delabruere and Vita Learn we have used in the past to “advertise” and organize this work over the course of the week.  We hope to include your school in some activities that week!    

A few things are in the works:

  • An Apple Swift workshop in the Southern portion of the state
  • Connections between schools on all things coding and programming
  • Lego Challenge—seeking schools to join in a conversation/competition around Lego programming
  • Girls Who Code, a national advocacy organization will host a conversation about opportunities for careers
  • Other guests from the VT business community including women in programming careers
  • Connecting legislators to your local classrooms, so your students can teach them coding! 
  • More planning coming soon….

We are seeking from you, the school audience:
·         Classrooms interested in connecting virtually and sharing their HOC activities
·         Classrooms seeking a Scratch Challenge
·         Students wanting to talk to people currently in careers with programming and coding—we’ll set up a virtual conversation
·         Simply sharing your activities so we can broadcast news of VT schools during Hour of Code Week—register your school at the national Hour of Code activity website!

CONTACT:  Send an email to Peter Drescher, or Greg Young at the Agency of Education if you would like to involve your classroom in some virtual connections and conversations during Hour of Code week.

If you have questions about celebrating and sharing your school's participation in Computer Science Week or Hour of Code activities on the ThinkAboutCode website, contact Lucie at 

AND Don’t forget, if you are an educator wanting to take your interest in Hour of Code to the next step, check out the Vermont Computer Science Alliance, and join the professional development offerings that are in the works for next summer!

REACH OUT and share what you are doing locally!  We’d love to hear about it! 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Speaker Highlights - Youngest Learners

Last week Vita-Learn and the Vermont Agency of Education showcased some Vermont schools who were participating in Computer Science Week’s Hour of Code in conversations with the Vermont Code Community. During the next few week’s we’ll share some highlights from that week starting with our youngest learners from Tunbridge School.

     On Wednesday, first and second graders from Ms. Hooks class shared how they develop their technology, coding, and engineering skills.  They asked great questions from our Code Community mentors like Julie Lerman.

Coding Dash
Storytelling with Code
Students are learning to code by using Dash, Dot and the IOS app Scratch Jr. They are enjoying both a lot but Dash is the most exciting to them. 

Scratch Jr
Story Creator
BBC Typing
Ms Hook's 2nd grader learn to type using the program BBC typing. Later in the year, they will use story creator. Students love making stories with this and recording their voice. It is very similar to Scratch but you only make characters move by using the mouse and there isn't any code

Ms. Hook tells us “I am trying to add more technology into my teaching and will be looking into getting Bee Bots next year to amp up my different teaching units."

Chelsey has been ramping up her own technology skills lately through her coursework in the Teaching with Technology Master’s program at Marlboro Graduate School.

“I enrolled in this program because I think there is no doubt that technology is in our student's future and I think they need exposure to it in a teaching manner. I am slowly working on my masters by taking 4 credits a year.”
She has become a tech evangelist in her school. Earlier this month, her students hosted a Parent’s exploration night teaching their parents how to use the same technology they are learning to use at school.

Family Tech Event at Tunbridge School

Squishy Circuits

Chelsey is always learning and always shares ideas about how to use new technologies with other teachers in her school. "Students have loved using squishy circuits and are building with cardboard to make toys. I have also given the Kindergarten teacher the squishy circuits for her kids to try out. I think it is important that materials are shared within the school and more students are exposed"

Coding Workshop

"I just went to a workshop on coding where I was exposed to Bee Bots, Lego Wedo 2, a turtle coding game, and Bizbot."

Maker Centered Learning Course

This semester I’m enrolled in a Maker Centered Learning class a part of her Teaching with Technology Master’s program at Marlboro Graduate School.

In this online class,  Chelsey has been busy creating and making to build her how understanding of integrating maker space tools in her classroom.  She’s used new tools, has tried design thinking, and is building her confidence as a maker educator through her various creations.

Making with Cardboard
Chelsey's Automata Project
This helps her bring new ways to learn through technology, creating, and making to her classroom.

“My school is in a rural area is making steps to becoming more aware of makerspaces, technology and how it can impact our students. We care a lot about our kids and like other teachers, we want to give them the best tools that we can. That is why I am interested in learning new ways to teach.”

Student Inquiry with Squishy Circuits

You can can get a peek at Chelsey’s classroom through her Journey as a Maker website.

Next time we’ll head over to talk to some 5th grade students and their teacher from Bradford Elementary.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Hour of Code at Fair Haven Union High School

Using SNAP to program the Finch Robot!

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At Middletown Springs, several classes have been doing the Google Doodle challenge. Thursday evening, the school invited parents to come and work with their children on an hour of code challenge.

Coding with friends at Smilie Memorial School

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Coding fun at Smilie Memorial School

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