Lorrie Smith, CEO, WV Center for Professional Development
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Teachers Take On Challenger Mission

West Virginia Teachers Go on Mission to Learn


Charleston, W.Va. - Bringing technology to the classroom will take several state educators on a simulated adventure on Monday, July 26, 2010. As part of a week-long Infusing Technology professional development session, teachers will go through a highly interactive Challenger Learning Center e-Mission. Dressed in NASA gear, and with the aid of a variety of tech tools, Challenger staff will guide the teams through Operation Montserrat – a mission to evacuate the island before a volcano erupts and a hurricane hits. The session is sponsored by the West Virginia Center for Professional Development (WVCPD) and will be held at its offices on 209 Hale Street, Charleston, at 10:00 A.M.


Infusing Technology is a two-year, school-based WVCPD program that works with eight schools West Virginia school. The program’s focus is to increase the integration of technology into classroom instruction in order to engage students in critical thinking, reasoning and problem solving skills. The Challenger e-Mission is one of several resources that teachers will learn about during the week that they can take back to their schools. In years past, schools interested in participating in the missions had to take a day-long field trip to Wheeling Jesuit University (home of the Learning Center). However, now technology makes it possible for students to participate in the full Challenger experience from their classrooms.


The e-Mission is an exercise in problem-based learning in which teachers are divided into teams. The mission is based on the 1996 real-life emergency in Monserrat in which a rumbling volcano threatened to erupt and destroy the island. While the residents laid in wait for months for the volcano to explode, they were hit by a full-blown hurricane.  The teachers will work in four crisis-management teams (communications, volcano, hurricane, and evacuation) and use a host of skills to handle the crisis.  Teachers will analyze information and communicate via Skype with mission control in Wheeling to develop plans that will save lives. 


This is the first year that WVCPD has offered the exercise as part of its Infusing Technology professional development. “The teachers who have gone through this program have found the e-Mission to be such a rich learning experience. They hope to take their students through the online session because it provides an excellent problem-based learning activity,” said Dr. Dixie Billheimer, WV Center for Professional Development, CEO.  The eight program schools have completed the first year of Infusing Technology and are attending the summer training in preparation for year two.


In addition to the Challenger mission, teachers will learn more about strategies to mainstream greater technology use in their classrooms. The e-Mission as well as other Infusing Technology activities are designed to increase student engagement in the learning process in order to promote higher learning skills.  For more information about this and other sessions, please contact Christy Day, director of communications, at 304-558-0539 or via email at Christy.B.Day@wv.gov.

304-558-0539 • 1-800-WVCPD-4U • Fax: 304-558-0989 • cpd.info@wv.gov
© West Virginia Center for Professional Development / 1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East  • Box 210  •  Charleston, WV 25301  •  cpd.info@wv.gov