STEM Teacher – Barberton High School
When I think of VR and the role it can play in education, I see possibilities. The possibility that allows abstract material to suddenly make sense for the student who is a concrete thinker. The possibility to show the spatial relationships a 2-dimensional drawing struggles to justify. The possibility that allows the creative mind to produce spatial art in a medium that is relatively new and untapped. Yet at the same time, it is just another tool. Without effective planning and instruction, it is a gimmick. The power of VR lies in the hands of two groups of people: programmers who design quality content and effective teachers who realize the key to effective instruction does not lie in the tools, but in lesson design and relationships.
I am a 20-year teaching veteran, having spent my entire career in the Barberton City School District, a 2019 Ohio finalist for the PAEMST award, and a finalist for the 2019 State of Ohio Teacher of the Year. I graduated from the University of Akron for both my undergraduate and master’s degrees. I began my career teaching middle school mathematics and science. Over the years, my work with technology integration opened the door to teach computer applications. During this time, I began serving as a building technology coordinator, a position I still currently hold. I have had the privilege to design, create, and implement both the middle school and high school’s STEM programs in Barberton. I was honored to be selected as the ITIP State of Ohio Outstanding Technology-Using Teacher Award in 2018, recognized by ISTE as a Make It Happen educator, granted the Martha Holden Jennings’ Arthur S. Holden Teacher Award for Excellence in Science Education in 2012, and was selected to the Summit County All-Star Teaching Team in 2014. Recently my work implementing virtual reality in education has opened doors to collaborate with fellow educators and is featured on the Google for Education Transformation Center webpage.