Realities of Bringing Virtual Reality (VR) to the Classroom

By Dawn DuPriest, middle school computer science and electronics teacher at Preston Middle School and 2016 Allen Distinguished Educator
September 6, 2016

My first experience with Virtual Reality (VR) as an educator came about as a stroke of good fortune. One of my friends, an engineer at Google, won an Oculus Rift DK2 for placing second in a Google hackathon and offered to donate it to my class last spring. What do you say when someone offers you a bleeding-edge piece of technology? Of course I said yes, even though I couldn't imagine what I would do with it and didn't really understand what a VR headset was. With help from my colleagues and students, we worked together to explore VR educational opportunities at our school.


Collaboration at ISTE 2016 Supports Global Education

By Tracey Winey, media and STEM specialist at Preston Middle School, adjunct professor at Colorado State University and 2016 Allen Distinguished Educator
August 1, 2016

Educators have known for generations that we are better, stronger, and more effective when we work together, share ideas, and stretch each other’s beliefs. A powerful network of teachers can define educational opportunities that inspire students all year long. International Standards of Technology in Education (ISTE) knows this and has provided a strong conference for educators to meet and work together annually. ISTE 2016 was hosted in Denver this year (my own backyard), and I was very excited to meet and reconnect with other Colorado educators in my personal learning network. 


Meet the 2016 Class of Allen Distinguished Educators

By Jerry Nguyen, Allen Awardee Program Officer at Vulcan Inc.
March 8, 2016

In the quest to ignite innovation in education, the Allen Distinguished Educators (ADE) program has announced its 2016 cohort of teachers who will receive a $25,000 award for pioneering work in education. The ADE award generated 81 initial applications representing 31 states. From 16 finalists, seven winning projects were chosen.

“A national search for innovation in education revealed a significant appetite for strategies that give students more ownership over their learning,” said Dave Ferrero, Senior Program Officer for Education at Vulcan Inc., a Paul G. Allen company. “We believe that recognizing and supporting innovative teachers and their programs will create hands-on, real-world opportunities for students that are replicable models of success.”


Allen Distinguished Educators Are Redefining Excellence and Reinventing the Classroom

By Dave Ferrero, Senior Program Officer, Education at Vulcan Inc.
March 1, 2016

In contrast to most teacher awards, the Allen Distinguished Educators program seeks teachers who are redefining excellence and reinventing the classroom while helping students learn engineering, computer science or entrepreneurship. These are teachers who are unafraid to let a seven-year-old operate a chop saw or challenge a team of high schoolers to launch their own business enterprise, teachers who dare to inspire their students to make their mark on the world now by designing low-cost electrical lighting for children in developing countries or developing custom prosthetics for patients in need.


Collaborative Communities Support Progressive Teaching

By Jenny Burns, Community Coordinator for Allen Distinguished Educators
February 19, 2016

Teachers want and deserve meaningful networking opportunities with like-minded educators as they break through barriers to create change and pioneer more forward-thinking practices in education. The Allen Distinguished Educators (ADE) program is working to support a growing community of educators who are seeking out colleagues with whom to share resources and ideas. “The number one benefit of the ADE program is dedicated time with like-minded colleagues,” says Scott Swaaley, a high school teacher at High Tech High, San Diego and 2014 ADE.


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