MyVRSpot Adopted by Santa Cruz County Office of Education to Support "Digital Connections Project"

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The FTC Family of Companies and their MyVRSpot online publishing and collaboration system, have partnered with the Santa Cruz County Office of Education as part of County's Digital Connections Project. All principles, teachers, and students in the program will be using MyVRSpot to share their created work, build social skills, write peer assessments and exercise 21st century skills.

We have teams of teachers from 21 schools in our county who have signed up for this program. They will be provided with a netbook, five cameras and the professional development needed to help them integrate student-created videos into existing curriculum

Educators are being asked to teach 21st Century Skills to their students, but integrating these objectives into an already packed curriculum can be a challenge. The Santa Cruz County Office of Education, using stimulus and professional development funding, is offering a program called the "Digital Connections Project" that will help. This project is a direct result of County Superintendent of Schools Michael Watkins' vision of engaging students using 21st century tools with support and direction from Theresa Rouse, Associate Superintendent of Educational Services.

"We have teams of teachers from 21 schools in our county who have signed up for this program. They will be provided with a netbook, five cameras and the professional development needed to help them integrate student-created videos into existing curriculum", explains Jason Borgen, Program Coordinator.

"Beyond the equipment and training, we'll also provide access to MyVRSpot for the principals, teachers, and students who are in the program. Using MyVRSpot allows the students to share their work, build social skills, write peer assessments and exercise 21st century skills."

MyVRSpot fosters collaboration between students, teachers, and administrators, in a completely safe and secure environment. The system creates a social learning network allowing participation by all members of a school and/or district, allowing students to share their multimedia with other students and teachers. MyVRSpot provides students with a hosted web space (called a webspot) where they can upload videos, audio files, pictures, text, and more. After teacher approval, these materials can be viewed and reviewed by peers and faculty across the school or district. Using tools already in their hands - like digital cameras and their cell phones- students can submit images or video content, fulfilling assignments and creating classroom resources in their own way.

"We are very excited to be using this program. MyVRSpot is a fun, and safe way for students to share their work, and will also be a great tool for professional development and communication. MyVRSpot can bridge geographic and socio-economic gaps that exist creating a closer community", says Borgen.

About the FTC Family of Companies

The FTC Family of Companies (http://www.ftcomp.com) has spent the past 15 years providing quality educational products and services to K-12 schools and school districts. FTC Publishing develops install-based software and print resources including the award-winning GameIt! Interactive Game Series. FTC Hosting Services, featuring MyVRSpot, is quickly becoming the standard for utilizing technologies students use outside the classroom to actually enhance curriculum. WebFTC is the web-based software division of FTC, including the award-winning WriteIt! Live system.

About the Santa Cruz County Office of Education

The Santa Cruz County Office of Education is a public agency whose purpose is to provide educational leadership, resources and services to schools to ensure quality educational opportunities for all students. This mission is accomplished through partnerships with teachers, school districts, businesses and other governmental agencies. Direct instructional programs are offered through special education, alternative education and Regional Occupational Programs. District services are provided in the areas of staff development and fiscal services. Included in the responsibilities of the Santa Cruz County Office of Education is coordination with the California Department of Education.

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Michael Kessler
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