8th Annual STEM Learning Summit

Tuesday, September 22nd, marked the 8th Annual STEM Learning Summit at Longwood University.  The Institute for Teaching through Technology and Innovative Practices (ITTIP) has been hosting the summit annually, usually occurring in the month of January.  With a change in the annual timing of the event, ITTIP was proud to attract approximately 100 teachers and administrators to this year’s event themed, Supporting Creativity and Innovation in the Classroom.

ITTIP was excited to have Don Wettrick, an Innovation Specialist from Noblesville High School, just outside Indianapolis, and the author of “Pure Genius: Building a Culture of Innovation and Taking 20% Time to the Next Level”, as this year’s keynote speaker.  After Dr.  Paul Chapman, Dean of the College of Education and Human Services at Longwood University, gave a warming welcome,  Mr. Wettrick challenged participants through his opening presentation to disturb the universe through cultivating a learning environment that fosters creativity and innovation.

Mr. Wettrick’s keynote presentation was followed by a presentation on Flipping the Classroom, presented by James Covais, ITRT of Henrico Public Schools.  Eighty-Five percent of participants reported they were able to add strategies to their teaching toolbox on how to further support creativity and innovation in the flipped classroom through Mr. Covais’ presentation.

The summit additionally had Angiliee Downing, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction,  and Anne Stultz, 21st Century Programs & Advanced Learning Coordinator,  from Martinsville City Public Schools present and share the model they have implemented in their division for STEM  and innovation from kindergarten through high school.  ITTIP’s STEM Learning Specialist, Stephanie Playton, followed Martinsville’s presentation by sharing how problem-based learning has been integrated  in classrooms through  professional development experiences with ITTIP.  She also shared some examples and emerging STEM tools to foster creativity and innovation, including Ozobot and LittleBits Arduino and CloudBit kits.

The summit ended with a two-hour workshop led by the keynote speaker, Don Wettrick.  The session was  filled with real classroom examples and strategies that educators could use across the grade levels. This session was meant to help individual districts and teachers tap into the opportunities in their communities that could  foster creativity and innovation through student led projects.

Overall this year’s summit was a great success! Nearly 100% of the participants felt that they took home strategies that could support creativity and innovation in their schools.  However, ITTIP is aware that the summit would not be successful without the professionals that were willing to share and participate in this year’s event.  Be sure to be on the look for next year’s summit in September 2016.

If you would like to view pictures from the event, they can be found in ITTIP’s picture gallery.