Immersive Tech Team Bios

Screenshot_050515_010312_PMI’m Gord Holden, the Director of the IMT program. I was hired 4 years ago as the Immersive Technology Specialist for HCOS when the administration became aware of the kind of impact supportive teachers could have upon student learning through the use of 3D Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs).  http://gordholden.wordpress.com/I have frequently posit the rhetorical question “How can we engage our students in learning to the same degree as their computer games?” When students are intrigued, engaged, and motivated by the challenges, problem solving, learning communities, and instant feedback provided by their games, it’s my conviction that we owe them as much in their schooling. Novels on e-books and Pen Pal letters on blogs are not a 21st Century education.

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Neither is replacing flashcards with Flash (drill & kill) games, pencils with keyboards, and encyclopaedias with Google or Wikipedia. Having flashy technology tools is not enough to meet the needs of Any truly effective education will dynamically change how modern technology is being utilized as well. Our “factory” focussed education is in need of being “repurposedtoday’s learners. It’s how you use them that matters.

Any truly effective education will dynamically change how modern technology is being utilized as well. Our “factory” focussed education is in need of being “repurposed” in order to meet the needs of today’s students. To this end, HCOS has been blessed with the talent and commitment of the many individuals listed below that have felt led by God to this calling. Hang onto your hats everyone, they are truly bringing learning into the 21st Century.

 

 

 


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 April McLeod aka Dawneoflight

Hi There! My name is April McLeod but my students call me Mrs. Mc or Dawneoflight. This past school year was a very exciting one for me as I piloted a Special Education Immersive Tech project and witnessed amazing success and growth in all of my students. I am excited to be entering another year with Atlantis Remixed supporting grade 5 Individualized students and multiple grades with Special Education students. This will be year #4 with HCOS, but this past year was the most exciting and fulfilling working alongside students in QA, building relationships, and seeing students loving learning. My passion and desire as a teacher is fulfilled by connecting with students, getting to know them and discovering their interests and passions.On the personal side, I believe that it has been through God’s guidance and intervention that I am teaching and being a part of our Immersive Technology team. He has richly blessed my life and it is my desire to in turn serve families who are giving the best education possible to their children. I am married to an amazing man named Rick and we have raised two beautiful daughters, Tabitha and Julia, who I home-schooled for 10 years. They have brought me sons who are a perfect addition to our family.  My greatest delight is my four, under the age of 6, grandchildren: Jesse, Paulie, Emily, and Madelynne. All four have special needs and fuel my desire to learn how to truly support the needs of any struggling students. Check out the blog for more details and the description of the course. Please feel free to contact me via email: aprilmcleod@onlineschool.ca or skype: april.mcleod369 if you would like to learn more. Blessings to you and hope you and your child join me on this spectacular journey for this new school year.


My Photo Michelle Nimchuk aka MrsNimchuk

 

 

My name is Michelle Nimchuk and I am one of the teachers in the Immersive Tech Team at Heritage Christian Online School.  This will be my fourth year teaching with HCOS and I will be teaching the IMT grade 5 class this year.  I am blessed to have the opportunity to work and learn alongside students around the world in Virtual Environments such as Atlantis Remixed, Unity and Active Worlds.  I am blessed with a wonderful and supportive husband and four incredible children ranging in age from 16 to three years old.  This is my fifth year homeschooling my children and I enjoy all of the challenges and learning opportunities that come our way.  I look forward to working and learning with your children ‘in world’.  Contact me via email: mnimchuk@onlineschool.ca if you would like to learn more .

 

Ryan Titley aka MrTitley

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I am so pleased to be part of this innovative team of educators. I had taught in the public sector for nine years prior to joining Heritage Christian Online School. I have two degrees and am a Fine Arts specialist. I teach the IMT Art program and the Grade Seven IMT course. I love adventure, science fiction and fantasy genres of books. I believe that most of us can see how the works of authors like C.S. Lewis can capture and inspire our imaginations. These texts can also inform us about our relationship with God. The journey that students take in IMT seven immerses them in a fantastic world not too dissimilar to a ‘Narnia.’ Atlantis is a world where students are the hero’s, like Eustace and the Pevensie family. Unlike a book, however, student in this virtual world must make the difficult decisions themselves and deal with the consequences. As we journey in our own lives we will be confronted with realities that likewise ask us make difficult choices. I am look forward to seeing student growth through this program as these youth are not given all the answers, they instead learn to search for their own.

On a personal level, I am a father of two children. My family and I live in Courtenay BC. We love to spend time outdoors in God’s creation. Here in Courtenay we are never far from the sea, valley or mountains. All have their draw and give us a variety of activities and beauty to explore. My wife works in graphic design, creating advertizements for local businesses. We have been blessed greatly in our nation, in our lives, and we are so thankful for our great God. If you wish to contact me for additional information, please do not hesitate: rtitley@onlineschool.ca

 

Scott Miller aka: Enkar

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As I look forward to this autumn’s HCOS 3D Art classes, I’m reminded of what got me to this point in the first place. My journey into virtual life started in earnest back in 1997 when I purchased my first personal computer. Although the company I was working for (AT&T) was on the forefront of computer tech from the very early days of computational machinery, I wasn’t interested in my own personal computer until my office acquired individual PCs for each workstation. Before that, technicians used “dumb terminals” that linked directly into main frame telephone office switches and their peripheral support systems. Mastering a stand-alone PC was a whole different ballgame for me and I was immediately hooked after training. Mind you, this was early 1996 and our office PCs were still running Windows 3.1 but being able to create documents, correlate data and lists was fascinating for me!

The day I brought home my original personal computer and got connected to the internet (via AOL of course!) changed my life forever. Instead of coming home and vegging out in front of the TV, I was cruising the internet, checking out the text-only chat rooms and finding all the early, cool tech websites online and adding to my IT knowledge.

One day I was browsing cNet’s website and saw an advertisement that simply said: “Tired of all of the text-only chatrooms (and boy, was I…lol)? How would you like to chat and meet others “virtually” in a true 3D online environment? If so, visit Active Worlds and expand your possibilities!”

I was there in minutes and it only took me 4 minutes to decide to purchase a citizen account in AW and I’ve maintained it since the day I joined in May of 1998. My early contacts there were with a couple of citizens who were deaf and they loved being able to come in and communicate with everyone else on an equal basis via text-chat. That concept resonated with me and convinced me to do all I could to advance the concept of virtual reality as not just a way to communicate with users all over the world in an easy and casual manner but I could see how this could all become a great way to teach as well. My virtual life was rich and varied as I joined various 3D online communities and learned all I could along with making some lasting virtual friendships among people I met from all over the world.

When I retired from AT&T in 2005, I managed to acquire a position as universe caretaker and lead world architect for the old “Quest Atlantis” 3D universe and continued in that position until November of 2012. During my time in QA I met Gordon Holden and over a period of time during discussions, Gordon worked out a program for online virtual learning in the Cybernet Worlds 3D universe back in 2010 and I’ve been involved with HCOS ever since.

Scott Miller aka: Enkar


 

Shannon Beglaw – aka: Mrs. B. – IMT 8

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My name is Shannon Beglaw, though students keep calling me Mrs. B.  I have a background in science, field biology actually, and formalized my role as an educator a little later in life, when both my kids were in full time school.  I have to say I love teaching, and have worked with children and teens for years.  Coming to HCOS as part of the Immersive Technology team, and as an individual support teacher has been a real blessing in my life.  I especially love the way that we use our immersive worlds and engaging technology to showcase individuality and inquiry based learning of our students.  We are able to use 21st Century educational goals and methods, and students are  captivated by the opportunities they have to learn in different ways, with different tools than they get in the average classroom.  I have to say that IMT 8 is often as fun for the teacher as it is for the students.  My husband, kids and I have been truly blessed by my joining this team!  I look forward to hearing from anyone interested in IMT 8 (students or parents); my email is sbeglaw@onlineschool.ca if you would like more info.

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alisha-profAlisha Hadley

Immersive World French teacher

“Bonjour! Âllo! Salut!”  My name is Alisha Hadley, and I would like to invite you to join me in Immersive World French with Heritage.  Prepare for adventure as we explore Language World and learn French together.

I have been teaching French for eighteen years in Christian schools on Vancouver Island.  I live in Victoria with my husband and two children, ages 14 and 16.  I love to keep busy, and if I am not teaching, you may find me in the middle of a renovation project.  My favourite part is knocking down walls!  I also enjoy all forms of outdoor recreation, and have camped, trekked trails, and sailed the high seas with my students over the years.  I am so excited to set out on a new venture, as the very first classes in Language World commence in September 2015!

While we might start our lessons in my classroom in the virtual school, we will travel far and wide on field trips and quests.  Each of the “new residents” gets to customize his or her avatar, as well as furnish and decorate his or her own home.  Language World residents may be from all around the globe, but in our 3D virtual world, you might live right next door, and can visit each others’ homes and get together in all the great social hot-spots.  The old quarter downtown, aquarium, city pool, 50’s Diner, mall, or even the baseball stadium, are just a few of the amazing places we will visit. The boundaries of this program stretch as far as our imaginations, and I know we will learn and create amazing stories together.

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