Lander University professors to support K-12 teachers in Washington, D.C. through partnership with LCA Vantage Healthcare and the Lopez Foundation

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Story by Zack Bennett

Lander University is excited to announce a partnership with LCA Vantage Healthcare and Lopez Foundation, Inc. through a program launching health care technology and digital storytelling game design courses focused on K-12 education. The partnership has also secured federal grant funding through the authorization of the American Rescue Plan by President Biden.

Dr. Rachel Schiera, assistant professor of education, and Tamara Pack, assistant professor of education and early childhood coordinator, will act as supporting teachers at Washington D.C.’s Dupont Park Seventh Day Adventist School. They will focus on technology-focused, health-supporting curriculum, as well as assessment and development.

“The project is innovative in that it brings together individuals from the medical field, computer science and education sectors to innovate a curriculum that empowers students to make positive choices,” said Schiera. Curriculum will encourage students to collaborate while developing digital, interactive narratives surrounding the challenges involved in making healthy decisions.

Schiera co-leads the Digital Storygame Project alongside Dr. Mike Sell of Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The project will also focus on incorporating Pennsylvania teachers and students in integrating design thinking, creative coding and complex decision-making in English Language Arts classrooms. When training teachers, the Digital Storygame Project avoids a “one size fits all” approach to the use of technology in learning. The project uses an in-classroom workshop model to provide hands-on support to teachers and students alike.

The Digital Storygame Project is available through Twine, an open-source software that enables creation of digital, interactive storygames similar to Choose Your Own Adventure books. Students are challenged to create and design storygames aimed at achieving specific, rigorous and standards-based learning objectives.

The Health Technology and Digital Story Games course kicked off Sept. 15 at the Dupont Park Seventh Day Adventist school. Students in grades six through eight are able to participate in weekly courses introducing students to topics such as health/wellness and the technology used in health care. The course will also involve the Digital Storygame Project to integrate design thinking and coding to help students develop STEM skills.

“LCA Vantage and Lopez Foundation are very excited about this unique and truly impactful opportunity to teach and inspire the next group of innovators, techies, entrepreneurs, and healthcare professionals,” said Vince Lopez, Founder and CEO of LCA Vantage and Lopez Foundation, Inc.

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