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VSTE Goes Green: Over the years we’ve made an effort to reduce the amount of paper waste that gets accumulated by reducing the scope of the printed program. This year we will provide a printed conference program with only a summary schedule of the sessions available during each breakout session. For the full detailed listing of each session we encourage attendees to make use of our online schedule here which will work on mobile devices and all major platforms.

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Tuesday, December 9 • 11:15am - 12:15pm
“Tech a stand!” Navigate, conduct research, and create lessons/activities from the Virginia General Assembly websites

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“wherever the people are well informed they can be trusted with their own government”—Thomas Jefferson in Paris to Richard Price, 8 January 1789. This quote is inscribed on the entrance to the Virginia State Capitol. In 225 years, its important message has not waned and yet we, as citizens, find challenges amongst the successes in understanding our government as well as making sense of the legislative interconnectedness, access, and responsibilities we all share as an effective citizenry. Learning to use the Virginia General Assembly websites (virginiageneralassembly.gov, lis.virginia.gov, virginiacapitol.gov/virtualtours, capclass.virginiageneralassembly.gov) and online resources can assist Virginia Studies, Civics, Virginia Government, and United States Government educators and students to connect civic responsibility to self and communities; gain critical background knowledge of social and legislative challenges; and increase and maintain motivation for political engagement. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in Civics is administered to over 21,000 students every three years through educator and student participation in grades 4, 8, and 12. The NAEP 2010 civics assessment measured the civics knowledge and skills critical to the responsibilities of citizenship in America’s constitutional democracy (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2011, p. 4). While the quantitative results showed students making progress in grade four, but not at grades 8 and 12, the results do show 88% of fourth-graders had teachers who reported emphasizing politics and government to a small extent or more; 78% of eighth-graders reported studying about Congress; and 67% of twelfth-graders reported studying about the U.S. Constitution (NCES, 2011, p. 1). Research by Kahne and Sporte (2008) supports the preparation of high school students for civics participation, and that schools and educators can influence the development of meaningful opportunities for civic participation that sustain a democratic society. Kahne and Sporte (2008) also argue that researchers and educators need to deepen their understandings of what particular opportunities for civic participation are to be focused on in order to develop and maintain civic engagement and participation for students who may otherwise not identify themselves with having a voice or identifiable representation in government processes. The Virginia Department of Education (2013) Computer Technology Standards emphasize the ability to access, manage, evaluate, use, and create information responsibly. Across the K-12 Computer Technology Standards, the Technology Research Tools and Thinking Skills, Problem Solving, and Decision Making standards assist to gather information, conduct research and effective search strategies, and communicate in order to investigate and solve legislative problems relevant to an effective citizenry in our globally connected commonwealth.


Maryann Horch

Senior Systems Analyst | Senate of Virginia Clerk's Office

Tuesday December 9, 2014 11:15am - 12:15pm

Attendees (13)