Michigan hosts bootcamp for educators, spurring development of future classroom innovations

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LANSING, Mich. — Teachers from across Michigan gathered virtually last week for the Michigan EdTech Innovation Bootcamp, learning skills to develop their own ideas or businesses for classroom innovation. The Bootcamp was organized by Michigan Virtual with support from Spartan Innovations, the Burgess Institute, and the Michigan Small Business Development Center.

“Michigan teachers understand the challenges facing our schools, students and curriculum better than anyone else. Technology offers a solution to those challenges, but often lacks the support to bring ideas to life,” said Jamey Fitzpatrick, president and CEO of Michigan Virtual. “The education technology industry has the expertise to bridge that gap, and our Edtech Innovation Bootcamp holds the potential to make real change happen within our classrooms.”

Educators from Lake Orion, Riverview, Stockbridge, Livonia, Ann Arbor, Oxford, Sterling Heights, St. Clair, and Bay City participated in the Bootcamp between July 18 and 21. The Bootcamp allowed educators to explore and develop a business model for their idea or business while developing skills and identifying resources to bring innovation and entrepreneurship to the classroom. Some of the ideas that attendees were working on include a choose-your-own-adventure history app, a mobile laser design studio for STEAM activities, a blended school capturing the best of online and in-person learning, and a cube satellite for hands-on STEM learning.

“The Bootcamp gave me the confidence to start my own business. I will also use the knowledge gained while practicing my pitch to improve my fundraising skills which allow me to continue to provide my students with better tools, equipment and experiences in my class,” said Bob Richards, a high school science teacher from Stockbridge and the founder of QB-Sat, the first place winner of the Michigan EdTech Innovation Pitch Contest.

The Bootcamp follows the Michigan EdTech Innovation Pitch Contest, which saw first, second, and third place awards given out at the end of June to teachers from Stockbridge, Ann Arbor and Livonia. The $20,000 awarded to those winners will be used to develop a satellite-launch STEM and curriculum focused on engineering and space exploration, an audio/visual encyclopedia exploration environment for early learners, and an online learning tool that integrates social emotional learning with academic practice.

Given the wide interest from Michigan educators, Michigan Virtual plans to host the contest again in 2023. To learn more about the Contest and Bootcamp, visit MichiganVirtual.org/pitch.

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About Michigan Virtual

Michigan Virtual™ (formally known as Michigan Virtual University®) provides online courses for Michigan students, professional development for educators and is the parent organization of the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute®. As a nonprofit organization with more than 20 years of experience, Michigan Virtual is Michigan’s leading voice in online education. Visit us at michiganvirtual.org.

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Limited Course Capacity

We’re sorry to inform you that we have reached capacity for several of our Semester 1 and Trimester 1 courses. You’ll notice when attempting to enroll students in our Student Learning Portal that some courses are unavailable. While we are no longer accepting new enrollments for these courses at this time, many courses continue to remain open for enrollment.

With many students across the state 100% remote, demand for our online courses is greater than ever before. Because every course we offer is taught by a Michigan-certified teacher, this high volume of enrollments has created capacity issues for our teachers who provide each and every student with individual feedback.

While the Michigan Virtual team anticipated and planned for significant increases in student enrollments this Fall, the increased demand we’ve experienced has been unprecedented. As a result, we are taking steps to hire even more part-and full-time teachers to support larger numbers of student enrollments for Semester 2 as well as for Trimester 2 and 3. 

For schools that still need online learning options this year, please fill out the form at the bottom of our virtual pathways page to meet with someone to discuss other solutions. While some of our teacher-led courses are full, we may still have the capacity to help you in upcoming terms or can discuss timing to implement a whole-school or collaborative program in which local teachers from your school/district use our online course content to teach students. We also have free course content and resources available for you to use.

We know this is an incredibly stressful time for all, and we’re sorry if the courses you’re looking for are unavailable. We never want to turn away a student who wants to learn from us. Our top concern, however, is student success, and we have a policy to not take on additional enrollments if we cannot guarantee that all students will have a quality online learning experience. 

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate the unusually high volume of enrollments we are receiving.