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What career pathways are you most interested in for your students?

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#6798238 Oct 03, 2012 at 02:09 PM · Edited over 8 years ago
Guild Officers
126 Posts
Planet Stewards teachers--welcome, welcome!! Who are you, where do you teach, and why did you sign up to participate in Planet Stewards? In your post, include an image or video that best illustrates your goals or aspirations as a science educator. Here we go!
#6803335 Oct 04, 2012 at 04:43 PM · Edited 9 years ago
7 Posts

My name is Cat Flippen (Twitter, Digital Footprint). I am teaching at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School in Atlanta, and this year, I am teaching Spanish III and IV. I am certified to teach Earth Science and Music as well (having previously taught earth science, music technology and music history at different locations), and with that in mind, I am assisting MVPS in developing and running their first Environmental Science class, which is the class in which I will be running Planet Stewards. I am so excited to be sneaking my way into a science again this coming Spring semester, in which I will essentially be teaching during my planning period.

My gamer tag in 3D GameLab (and in World of Warcraft) is Hecatera. I've been using 3D GameLab since I completed their April 2012 Teacher Camp and have been gamifying my Spanish IV classes this semester using 3D GameLab.

I signed up for Planet Stewards for several reasons. First, as previously mentioned, I have been wanting to teach another science class again, and this was a perfect opportunity. Second, I have extensive experience with 3D GameLab and feel very comfortable with the LMS. Third, I am a doctoral student in educational technology at the University of Florida, and I am currently researching gamification in secondary education, which is exactly what the Planet Stewards program has accomplished. And finally, the chosen curriculum for Planet Stewards is right up my content knowledge alley, and I am excited to be incorporating the things that I have always found fascinating in science with my passion for gamification.

As for a video or image that best represents my aspirations as a science educator, I will share one photo and two video links that immediately came to mind. For me, I want my students to be inspired by the vast, incredible beauty and power of our world and hope that I can inspire them to act in some way to maintain it.

I took the following picture on the beach at Cape San Blas in Florida, May 2008. It has since become one of my favorite images of all time that represents my own obsession with meteorology:

I am frequently inspired by Discovery's "Curiosity" series. The following two videos on our oceans move me emotionally and intellectually each time I view the pair:

I am thrilled to be a part of this amazing opportunity and look forward to meeting everyone on these forums and during the synchronous events in November!
Cat Flippen, Educator & UF Doctoral Student
SL: Cat Thexios
WoW: Hecatera (Alliance, Cog Dis)

Digital Footprint:
Twitter: @CatFlippen
#6807289 Oct 05, 2012 at 03:07 PM
3 Posts
Hello my name is Kelly McAllister and I teach Middle School Science, Biology and Anatomy & Physiology for the high school at the Riverside Virtual School. I have been engaged with the 3D Game lab for a year now and am in the process of creating classes in the game lab for my middle and high school students. I signed up to be part of Planet Stewards because I am interested in being more involved with 3D Game Lab and I want to give my students the opportunity to learn about different science career paths that Planet Stewards has to offer.
The picture I am sharing is from the organization that I worked with on my EarthWatch Trip to Trinidad to study the Leatherback Turtles.
#6820532 Oct 08, 2012 at 10:44 PM
11 Posts
Hello everyone! My name is Jen Creasy. I currently teach Biology, Anatomy & Physiology and Ecology at Charlottesville High School in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Hi Cat Flippen! We miss you!) In addition to teaching, I am also excited to be helping our school create several virtual science courses as well as piloting a school-wide project based learning initiative in our tenth grade science courses.

I have been a passionate advocate for conservation and science education ever since I attended an academic environmental summer camp when I was in 5th grade. Attending this camp each summer helped develop my love of science and is ultimately why I chose to major in biology and wildlife science in college. Upon graduating, I sought a career in which I could dovetail my love of science with my desire to protect our natural world. For the next ten years, I worked for several non-profit organizations and foundations focused on environmental policy, preserving biodiversity, and ecological monitoring. While I enjoyed my work, I realized one day that all of my most rewarding experiences involved educating young people. Soon after that epiphany, I went back to school to get my teaching certificate and have never looked back.

I have always been a technophile. I distinctly remember the profound awe I felt as a kid when I wrote and executed a simple “Hello World” program. Imagine my delight, when I realized in my first year of teaching that using technology in the classroom can be a powerful and effective tool for student engagement and success! Hooray! What I also learned, however, is that many educators lack the skills, time, and/or confidence to effectively integrate technology into their classrooms. Consequently, I now find myself as equally passionate about helping fellow educators develop and implement instructional technologies as I am for teaching science. To that end, I hope to enroll in a Masters of Instructional Technology program in the next year. (Any suggestions? ☺ )

I applied to be a part of Planet Stewards because I am especially interested in creating and implementing blended learning experiences. As a science teacher, I feel that no amount of amazing, well-written computer code will ever truly replace the powerful experiences of conducting field work, running wet labs, and interacting with the natural world in person (“no child left inside”!). I can honestly say that I do not think I would be a scientist today if I had not collected macroinvertebrates in the creek behind my camp or learned how to milk the venom of a timber rattlesnake. Therefore, I believe one of the evolutionary challenges facing education is finding new and inventive ways of combining personable, hands-on components with distance learning, virtual labs, online games, earning badges, flipping the classroom, interactive animations, internet-based tools, virtual field trips, collaboration with classrooms around the globe, etc. One of the tenets of biology is that genetic diversity is an undisputed necessity for ecosystem health. In my opinion, diversity in educational delivery is of equal necessity. Blended learning initiatives allow for this diversity and thus provide authentic, unique, and engaging 21st century learning experiences for students. Planet Stewards appears to be a perfect candidate for use in a blended curriculum. As I hope to move towards designing and implementing technology initiatives such as this in the near future, this is a unique and exciting opportunity for me and my students. I am so excited and thankful for the opportunity to participate in the pilot!

I chose this picture because I think it demonstrates both my passion for technology and love of getting students into the natural world. Thanks to a wonderful grant, we were able to purchase a class set of GPS units that the students used to conduct a herpetofauna survey of the city park that is adjacent to our school.

Jen Creasy
Science Teacher
Charlottesville High School
SL: CvilleBio
#6827111 Oct 10, 2012 at 11:07 AM · Edited over 8 years ago
11 Posts
Hello All!

My name is Tim Vaillancourt. I teach 8th grade Earth Science and Oceanography at the Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School in Marlborough MA. I signed up to participate in the Plate Stewards because I am looking to incoperate more labs and inquiry based activities in my Oceanography class. After reading up on the 3dgame labs I thought they would be excellent to keep the interest and attention of my seniors who think Oceanography is a marine biology class!

I cannot get my picture uploaded at the moment :(

My picture was taken at the beach of Uvita in Costa Rica. I noticed beautiful ripples forming at low tide and my aspirations as a teacher is to show students how to interpret the rock record as Earth's History. I am a geologist major in collage and want to share a passion for the natural world through education. I enjoy teaching students about uniformitarianism because it applies in Earth Science, Oceanography, and any science. This critical thinking allows students to make observations about the world today and be able to decipher the past. Oceanography is a new territory for me in some aspects but I am excited to take it on and impliment what I learn from Planet Stewards immediatly in my class.

- Ares Angel
-Tim Vaillancourt
8th Grade Earth Science Teacher
11/12th Grade Oceanography Teacher
11/12th Grade Field Methods in Science Teacher
#6828230 Oct 10, 2012 at 03:39 PM
5 Posts
Hi! My name is Tessa Young. I'm currently an online instructor at Idaho Digital Learning Academy and Oregon Virtual Education District. I started out my career as a Resource engineer for the Idaho Department of Agriculture, spent 2 years teaching 7th grade Integrated Science at my local brick and mortar and have taught only online for the last 4 years. This year I'm working on rewriting the Idaho Earth Science curriculum for IDLA and this course will be shared with Michigan and Georgia virtual schools when it is complete. I'm very interested in alternative forms of education. Seat time should not be a requirement for knowledge.
I teach in Brainhoney and Blackboard. The idea of having a virtual world with quests and badges seems very engaging. I watch my online students struggle with reading and multiple choice quizzes followed by multiple choice tests. Technology gives us the opportunity to move away from this.
IDLA is waiting for my report on how a badge type system could be incorporated into their course designs...can't wait to learn more and be a part of the future of education.

The picture is me and my team at the first Idaho Science and Aerospace Scholars group at Ames Research Center in California. I was a mentor teacher and have taught the online course for this project for the last 2 years. This is the kinds of program that prepares students for future careers.

#6898890 Oct 26, 2012 at 10:54 AM · Edited over 8 years ago
12 Posts

My name is Robin Armstead. I am very happy to be serving as an intern in this project. My role will be to assist teachers with designing and setting up the quests. I am a graduate student at Boise State University in the Educational Technology Program. It is through these studies that I fell in love with virtual worlds and game based learning. I have a nontraditional background. I have a B.A. from Georgia State University in Applied Linguistics. I also have 7 years of homeschooling and tutoring experience. This has given me a unique perspective on teaching children. I often had to find very creative ways to help them learn when traditional means failed to yield results. I am so happy to be a part of this program and I look forward to working with you all.
#6929360 Nov 02, 2012 at 12:22 PM · Edited over 8 years ago
3 Posts

My name is Bryan Hirschman and I'm a chemistry teacher at Essex High School in Vermont. I'm excited to pilot the program and have many interested students. We presently don't offer any marine science (it's on the table for next year), so this is giving the students an opportunity otherwise unavailable.

I'm also very excited about the format of the course. The game model looks engaging and challenging, as well as adding a bit of friendly competition into the mix.

Lastly, I love teaching science, and now will have 30 more students to inspire and share my passion of the subject.

#6931995 Nov 03, 2012 at 05:15 AM
2 Posts
My name is Pamela Rainard. I am an Earth Science teacher at Smithfield High School in Smithfield, Virginia. I hold dual citizenship in the realms of meteorology and geology. I am new to the virtual world so if I behave like a tourist it's because I am!
#6937136 Nov 04, 2012 at 12:25 PM
4 Posts
Hi, I'm Amanda Peretich and I am currently teaching in Prince Frederick, MD at Calvert County High School. This is my first year in Maryland, but not my first year teaching. I spent the last few years in Knoxville, TN at Karns High School teaching biology, chemistry, and CSI. I am currently teaching chemistry and earth science after spending an exciting 3 weeks aboard the NOAA ship Oscar Dyson in July 2012 as part of the NOAA Teacher at Sea program. I think that combining some of the real world experience I learned on the Dyson (check out my blogging here) with the 3D GameLab and Planet Stewards will help engage and excite my students, both current and future.

I've never really done any of this 3D gaming - I'm horrible at video games - but I'm very excited to learn and looking forward to piquing student curiosity in learning more! I'd like to consider myself tech savvy, and always willing to learn something new, so I can't wait to add this virtual world of gaming and quests in the classroom.

I actually chose 2 photos - the first is from the flying bridge on the Oscar Dyson looking out into the Bering Sea in Alaska. It looks almost unrealistic, but represents the vast oceans on our planet and everything that goes along with them.

The second is of myself and a lumpsucker. The "kissing" shows my love and passion for all things science, something I hope to instill in my students. The fish itself shows another adventure in my career as I'd never touched a fish before this past summer, let alone something so unique. The experience on the Oscar Dyson goes to shows my students that they can do anything they put their minds to because I've always wanted to go to Alaska, and I may have taken many roads to get there, but I did eventually make it. 8)
#6938170 Nov 04, 2012 at 05:36 PM
5 Posts
Hi Everyone! My name is Lucia Jacobs (Professor Jacobs). I am so enthused to get started in this new innovative program. It has taken me a while to get my school district IT department to understand that yes, the students will be "playing" a game, but not a game in the traditional sense of the word!! In other words, I have to continually apply for the 3dgamelab website to be UNBLOCKED. I have invited the area IT supervisor for my school to shadow me when we get up and running; hopefully this will convince the IT department that the 3dgamelab is another tool in my toolbox to teach students! =)

Otherwise, I have been teaching science for many years and am always looking for a new way to interest my students. I do not play video games but I know that my students are avid players. I am looking forward to learning a lot and adding to my toolbox of tools to advance my students' academic successes!!
Professor Jacobs
aka Lucia K. Jacobs
#6938226 Nov 04, 2012 at 05:58 PM
5 Posts
I just wanted to add that I just returned from the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) conference in Atlanta, Georgia where I presented about My Outdoors Classroom. Hopefully next year, I will be able to tell my colleagues about this program and how it has allowed my students more opportunities for success!!
Professor Jacobs
aka Lucia K. Jacobs
#6940965 Nov 05, 2012 at 10:00 AM
28 Posts
Hullo and howdy to everyone,

sorry so late to be checking in, with the recent events of Sandy (some of my students still have not gotten to go and check on their homes and many have been displaced and lost everything), I am a little behind and trying to get back to a "normal" schedule.

My name is Julie Stratton (I often go by jojo), I teach at Cape May County Technical High School (located about 10 miles from the southern tip of New Jersey). I teach Environmental literacy (an elective for juniors and seniors), co-teach Green Engineering (another elective), and teach GIS and digital applications to integrate into the classroom (which means I end up in a lot of different classrooms helping out with a lot of projects). My school is also one of 6 schools in NJ chosen to pilot a Green Program of Study. We are developing a three year, vocational focused, green program of study with concentrations in Green Construction and Green Energy. I also teach for Virtual High School (Oceanography and Web Design).

In addition to the high school, I teach at a couple of local community colleges (classes include Physical and historical geology, Intro. to environmental science, physical science, earth science, Intro to GIS, and Intro to computers).

I also help out with a few girl scout troops and love to hangout online (twitter is my second home :-P

I play more RPG games than video games, but have been interested in adding a game aspect to the classroom for awhile, and I am very excited to be joining this awesome adventure.

I am not at my normal computer right now (have to take time where I can get it right now), but will post my picture later tonight!

Again, very nice to meet everyone and I look forward to questing with you!

#6945954 Nov 06, 2012 at 10:29 AM
Guild Officers
13 Posts
Hello, everyone. When Lisa and I first had the “wouldn't it be cool” discussion about Quest-based Learning several years ago, one of the things we envision was bringing groups of teachers together with specially designed curriculum from major like NASA, The Smithsonian, and even NOAA. The idea that curriculum could be freely distributed, embedded, vetted, and modified by teachers seemed not only plausible, but unnecessary part of our growth as an educational establishment.

Thank you for being cool, brave, or ambitious enough to be willing to be "next wave" beta-teachers.


Chris Haskell, Ed. D
Clinical Assistant Professor
Dept. of Educational Technology
Boise State University
(208) 426-4217

SL: Dalai Haskell
Skype: dalaihaskell
AIM: haskellboise
#6947045 Nov 06, 2012 at 02:01 PM
1 Post
Welcome Planet Stewards!

The folks in the education community of NOAA are really excited to work with you and the 3D GameLab staff to help you in the classroom. We know that you have a tough job and we are very hopeful that this tool and the content that we are sharing with you will make that job just a little easier for you while providing career exploration and examples of applied science for your students.

As "early adopters" of technology, we know that you will have valuable feedback as we move science teaching and learning forward. Thank you for being part of the journey!


Peg Steffen
NOAA National Ocean Service
1305 East West Highway, SSMC4
Silver Spring, MD 20901
#6951509 Nov 07, 2012 at 01:51 PM
1 Post
Sorry it's taken me so long to get on board! I'm Sarah Cox. I teach in a small town in Iowa of about 1500 people. We are one of the few non-consolidated districts left in our area. Our building houses PreK-12, daycare, latchkey, & Head Start. My husband and I make up the entire 7-12 science department. I teach Biology, Chemistry, Anatomy/Physiology, Zoology, Forensics, Psychology, and Modern Topics in Science. I am also the K-12 Talented and Gifted Coordinator and Key Club Adviser. And I'm Mom to a 10 month old and a 4 year old.
I signed up for Planet Stewards because a lot of our students spend excessive amounts of time playing online/video games. I think this will be a great opportunity to take that passion and hopefully transfer some of it to science. Because we are so rural, technology can be a challenge, so when I find something this exciting, I try to jump on board. I also liked it because it is focused on careers and real-world science.

And sorry, I can't get a picture to copy and paste in here. Not sure what I'm doing wrong. I'll try again later.
#6976982 Nov 13, 2012 at 11:23 AM · Edited over 8 years ago
5 Posts
Just a quick note to say 'hi'. My name is Sara Beam and I teach Marine and Environmental Science at the Chesapeake Bay Governor's School in the Middle Peninsula region of Virginia. Really excited to bring a new experience to my students, a bit nervous too, as I am a self-professed technosaur and I am proud to have a Tracfone and a land line. I hope to learn a lot myself and so far I am here, so that means I have entered the virtual learning realm. Thanks for the support and the exciting learning opportunity!
#7185092 Jan 04, 2013 at 08:57 AM
1 Post
Good Morning, My name is Donna Burrus and I am honored and excited to be participating in this exciting new project. I am a Biology Lab Instructor for 4th - 6th as well as 9 - 12 in Somerville, Tennessee at an independant PK -12 grade rural school. I conduct all labs for General Biology, AP Biology, Physical Science, Anatomy and Physiology, and Biology II STEM Projects. I sponsor a high school Ecology Club who has been recognized by many prestigious awards including the Sea World Environmental Excellence Award and the National Energy Education Development High School of the Year. I really like inspiring young people to be the leaders of tomorrow. I conduct annual off site three day environmental trainings at Brandon Springs Environmetal Learning Center which is located in Land Between the Lakes National Recreational Center run by the US FOrrest Service. We participate in their Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience course to bond as a team and develope leadership skills. I love being outside and sharing my passion for wildlife. Global Climate Disruption, as labeled by the IPPC, is a concern of mine and I believe that public attitudes cannot be changed with out the youth of this country. This game system provides a really creative way for them to learn and teach at the same time. I can't wait!

I also serve as curator of our school's outdoor classroom that was designed, constructed and maintained by my students and the Ecology Club. As a former Odyssey of the Mind Coach and state winner, I love to inspire students to think outside the box when they have problems to solve. In high school I was a multiple International Science Fair winner myself, I value hands-on learning and know first hand that students can do amazing things. I just hope I have the technology skills to keep up. Please be patient with me and my questions. I do not accept failure and will do whatever I need to do to get it!
#8422738 Sep 10, 2013 at 11:30 AM
1 Post
My name is Stephanie Baldwin and I teach sixth grade science in Cincinnati, Ohio. I enjoy connecting environmental topics to my science curriculum and thought Planet Stewards would be a great way to do so.
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