Engaging Learners Through Technology
Middle-level faculty at the University of Vermont and the Tarrant Foundation first collaborated in 2006 around a common interest in engaging young adolescents in technology-rich learning. The success of their early initiatives led to the establishment of our Institute in 2009.
We initially gave schools the funds to acquire technology and provided an intensive professional development program. The program was designed to help schools integrate teaching practices known to engage middle school students with technology. Since then netbooks, tablets, interactive white boards, and other technologies have become so common in Vermont schools, that we now devote most of our resources and expertise to providing comprehensive, multi-year professional development. Our staff works intensively with teachers and administrators -- during the summer and throughout the school year -- helping schools develop an infrastructure that supports effective middle school teaching practices and a culture that sustains educational innovation.
During the 2017-2018 school year, we'll be partnering with 33 schools around Vermont. Over the tenure of our work, we've partnered with nearly 60 schools statewide.
Here are a few examples of what some Vermont middle schools have been able to accomplish through partnering with us:
- "See America" with students at The Cabot School (Cabot, VT)
- The Wild City Project at Essex Middle School (Essex VT)
- ePortfolios with Evernote at Harwood Union Middle School (Moretown VT)
- Caring about copyright at Hunt Middle School (Burlington VT)
- STEM Storytelling with Touchcast at Peoples Academy Middle Level (Morrisville VT)
- Building place-based games with the Echo center at Edmunds Middle School (Burlington VT)
We have also supported 21st-century learning with a summer coding camp for students and educators to learn how to code with Vermont industry professionals. And we're part of the Middle Grades Collaborative, and help coordinate and host the annual Middle Grades Institute.