The VISTA Voice

Active Learning for Student Success

Did you know that active learning leads to higher grades and fewer failing students? Wired gets it right in a new article that points out: "When mastering an activity, there’s no substitute for the interaction and feedback that comes from practice."

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Encouraging Women in Teaching Science: Dr. Kurt Michael’s VISTA Story

When Kurt Michael, Ph.D., joined Liberty University as an associate professor in the School of Education, one of his assignments was to help promote science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to education majors. With his background in technology education, it was a natural fit. But, he found it a tough sell to the mostly female elementary education majors at Liberty University: “The majority…

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"Science is the Great Equalizer"

Centreville teacher Mary Ann Settlemyre uses problem-based learning for gifted students, twice-exceptional students, English Language Learners and remedial students...

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Inquiry, Nature of Science, and PBL...Oh My!

Allison Watson Beck, a VISTA alumni, started a blog when she attended our Elementary Science Institute in the summer of 2011 (our next annual Elementary Science Institute…

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The Importance of Coaching & Support

Working as a VISTA coach has provided me the opportunity to continue in the field of education. I retired in 2011 and moved to Virginia with the hope of obtaining full time employment in a school. Unfortunately, circumstances arose preventing me from doing so, but thankfully, coaching teachers has allowed me to become familiar with Virginia schools and continue to share my years of experience with others!

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"A Whole New World of Friends"

When Kimberly Bender first applied to VISTA, she also signed up her fellow 5th grade team teacher Ashley Carneal. “I signed her up and told her later she had to come,” Bender said, laughing. “We’ve all heard the buzz about problem-based learning, and I was excited to find out what it was about. Get ahead of it a bit.”...

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School Science Coordinators Speak Out

A group of about 15 school division science coordinators from across Virginia just completed a week of professional development activities through VISTA at our George Mason University campus in Northern Virginia. Science coordinators play an important leadership role in determining the science curriculum taught in schools...

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Making Fun at the Maker Faire

“I’m going to be a mad scientist” the girl in a pink jacket skipping in front of her parents exclaimed as they entered the Maker Faire in Reston last month. She had certainly come to the right place! The Reston Maker Faire in Northern Virginia, one of many Maker Faires held in cities around the world...

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Scientists are Gritty

The term “grit” is getting a lot of attention in education circles these days. What does it mean exactly, and why would anyone want it? ...

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“Let Them Talk More”

Students in Brianne Gunn’s classroom became local television stars last month when they were featured on Richmond’s “Virginia Currents” magazine show.

Gunn, who attended the VISTA Elementary Science Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University last summer, led her students on a problem-based learning…

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