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Welcome to Activated Learning, a new Podcast produced by Blue Ridge PBS in partnership with the Virginia Department of Education and in collaboration with the Virginia Society for Technology in Education. In each episode, host Tom Landon, Director of Educational Innovation for Blue Ridge PBS, talks to leading educators about what gets them energized and excited as we tell stories of using technology to inspire student engagement.  

Our inaugural season features conversations with national leaders in blended learning, award winning teachers, librarians, and guests from the Virginia Department of Education and VSTE. Recorded on location around the Commonwealth and in the Blue Ridge PBS podcast studio, the season kicks off with a conversation with Dr. Catlin Tucker, noted educator, author, and nationally recognized expert on blended learning and proponent of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in the classroom. 

The 12-episode season will launch new episodes every two weeks. Check them out here or on ECHO. Also available on Apple,  Spotify and Amazon Music

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Coming Up:

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May 22 - Episode 110    Listen   Watch
Meet the Middle School Computer Science Teacher of the Year
Caren Daniels of Hugo Wilson Middle School in Chesapeake, VA is the 2023 Middle School Computer Science Teacher of the year. But her dedication to students goes well beyond the classroom, and she feels strongly that the most important skills kids can take away from her class and robotics club is the ability to solve problems by adapting and improvising.

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June 5 - Episode 111 
Sea Air and Land: The SeAL Robotics Competition
Suffolk Public Schools is the host of an annual robotics challenge sponsored by Penn State and the US Department of Defense. ActiVAtED Learning Host Tom Landon traveled to Suffolk to talk to Christine Lafferty and John Littlefield to learn more.

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June 19 - Episode 112
From Custodian to Classroom
In this episode we chat with instructional technologists at the 2023 VSTE conference and visit Ware Elementary in Staunton City, Virginia to meet a prospective teacher who started his career as a school custodian before being encouraged to become a teacher by his principal.

Listen or Watch Our Past Episodes!

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Episode 101 - SERIES PREMIERE!  Listen   Watch
Guest: Dr. Catlin Tucker, Blended Learning Expert 
Dr. Catlin Tucker is a leading Blended Learning expert who has helped teachers all over the world to personalize instruction and shift to sustainable student-centered workflows. ActiVAtED Learning host Tom Landon sat down with Catlin at the 2023 VSTE Conference in Roanoke, Virginia where she gave the keynote address. She shares her thoughts on Blended and Universal Design for Learning and the importance of book clubs and a life outside the classroom. 

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Episode 102     Listen    Watch
Guest: Dr. Lisa Coons, Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction 
Dr. Lisa Coons served in multiple leadership roles in K-12 education before being appointed Virginia superintendent of public instruction. She most recently served as chief academic officer for the Tennessee Department of Education, where she led all birth to grade-12 academic programming, including K-12 teaching and learning in language arts, mathematics, science, and fine arts; early childhood education; voluntary pre-K and Head Start. ActiVAtED Learning host Tom Landon visited Dr. Coons at the James Monroe Building in Richmond where she shared her priorities for the coming school year and explained the principles behind All In VA, a high intensity tutoring program that is beginning to address learning loss in the Commonwealth resulting from the recent pandemic.

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Episode 103    Listen   Watch
Guest: Math Teacher Emily Burrell 
Emily Burrell has been a math teacher for over two decades and currently teaches at South Lakes High School in Fairfax, Virginia. In addition to teaching advanced mathematics she loves working with students in her Algebra Functions and Data Analysis courses, where her practical approach helps students see the connections between what students learn in class and their every day lives. In addition, a short conversation with Education Evangelist Wezi Thindwa of Adobe Systems was recorded at the 2023 VSTE Conference in Roanoke. Thindwa's role in the company is to help teachers implement student centered solutions in the classroom to foster creativity.

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Episode 104   Listen    Watch
Guests: Katie Fielding and Chris Bugaj
Katie Fielding is a STEM Coach for Prince William County Schools, and Chris Bugaj is an author and Assistive Technologist in Loudon County, VA. ActiVAtED Learning host Tom Landon sat down with them at the 2023 VSTE conference, where Katie shared her experience as a child with Cystic Fibrosis and how that led her to become a leader in assistive technology and inclusion, and Chris shared his thoughts on how assistive technology can help ALL students, not just those with disabilities.

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Episode 105     Listen    Watch
Guests: Teachers from Rocky Gap Elementary 
During the pandemic, Rocky Run Elementary School in Stafford County, Virginia formed a team of teachers, learning specialists and their instructional technology resource teacher to tackle the challenges of remote learning. Now, two years later the team is still meeting and sharing ways to improve instruction through blended learning and communication. Host Tom Landon was joined by three members of the team who shared what they've learned in hopes that others might benefit. Recorded at Blue Ridge PBS' podcast studio during the 2023 VSTE conference.

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Episode 106   Listen    Watch
Guests: Yvette Lee and Nikki Wagoner
On this episode we travel to Henrico County to visit with Yvette Lee of J.R. Tucker High School. Mrs. Lee is a finalist for the 2023 Presidential Award for Math and Science Teaching sponsored by the White House and the National Science Foundation. She talked about the challenges of learning how to teach American students after leaving South Korea. We also caught up with Louisa County Technology Coach Nikki Wagoner at the 2023 VSTE Conference in Roanoke.

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Episode 107   Listen    Watch
Washington County Tech Trek
When two newly-minted instructional technology resource teachers went to the administration in Washington County, Virginia with an idea for a mobile technology lab, they were met with a resounding YES, after which they had to figure out how to make it happen. Andrew Smith and Thomas Larimer join Activated Learning podcast host Tom Landon to share how they created a trailer that contains drones as well as virtual reality and robotics equipment. Now that trailer travels the mountain roads of their rural county to bring state of the art learning opportunities to teachers and students while maximizing the investment in teaching tools for the county.

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Episode 108   Listen    Watch
Building a Virtual Reality Lab from Scratch 
Logan Childress went from being a band teacher to setting up and running two Virtual Reality Labs for Bristol City Schools. He joined ActiVAtED Learning host Tom Landon in the lab at Virginia High School to talk about how he did it and what he's learned in the process.

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Episode 109  Listen   Watch
Library Dogs and Drones: Dr. Kelly Passeck
Blacksburg Middle School librarian Kelly Passek is the current president of the Virginia Association of School Librarians, and has a reputation as a library innovator. She went viral during the pandemic for a pioneering partnership with Wing, a subsidiary of Alphabet that helped her deliver books by drone to students during the summer, but among the faculty at BMS she's better known as a reliable instructional partner with a passion for teaching kids about media literacy. ActiVAtED Learning is produced by Blue Ridge PBS in partnership with the Virginia Department of Education and in collaboration with the Virginia Society for Technology in Education.

Special Thanks to Our Partners:

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