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Monday, July 14, 2014

New Hampshire online educator to become Google-certified teacher

Sunapee resident and Virtual Learning Academy instructor Allison Mollica will be one of just 34 candidates to become a Google-certified teacher this summer. Mollica will be attending the Google Teaching Academy in Mountain View, California at the end of July.

“Becoming a Google-certified teacher helps you develop a mission within your closer community but can have an impact on the broader community. There are so many opportunities to develop your curriculum and increase student engagement with like-minded and ambitious people,” said Mollica. ...

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Sunapee resident and Virtual Learning Academy instructor Allison Mollica will be one of just 34 candidates to become a Google-certified teacher this summer. Mollica will be attending the Google Teaching Academy in Mountain View, California at the end of July.

“Becoming a Google-certified teacher helps you develop a mission within your closer community but can have an impact on the broader community. There are so many opportunities to develop your curriculum and increase student engagement with like-minded and ambitious people,” said Mollica.

Google describes their Google Certified Teachers as “outstanding educators” who use innovative technology to improve teaching and learning.

Mollica has been teaching at the Exeter-based Virtual Learning Academy since January 2012 where she teaches “competing for college,” “careers in web design” and “social media,” a new course launching this fall. The academy is New Hampshire’s only completely online public school. Students can combine in-person public high school, home school, charter or private school experiences with classes from VLACS, or they can enroll in the academy full time.

The “blended learning model” combines traditional face-to-face instruction with online and digital education, Mollica said.

She began her career 15 years ago at Kearsarge Regional High School in Sutton before teaching in Bedford and, most recently, at Lebanon High School. Mollica said because of her background in virtual and traditional schools she can help teachers who are moving toward blended learning.

She said students easily adapt to the new learning model.

“In terms of online learning, a lot of my students tell me it’s more engaging,” she said.

Students can progress in their studies ahead of schedule, or, if students need additional help, they can spend more time on their current project, she said.

“It’s like flex time. It’s the ideal learning environment for a lot of students,” said Mollica.

Looking forward to the Google Teacher Academy in two weeks, Mollica said it’s hard to go into it with set expectations.

“I’m looking to be inspired. I want the learning process to be more energizing and more streamlined,” she said. “My purpose was to look for ideas and energy to be a more skilled and efficient virtual teacher using the tools available.”

The Google Certified Teacher program launched its first academy in 2006 at Google’s home base in Mountain View, Calif. Since then, Google has hosted academies across the U.S., Australia and U.K., certifying more than 800 educators worldwide.

Tina Forbes can be reached at 594-6402 or tforbes@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Forbes on Twitter (@Telegraph_TinaF).