December 2016 Community of Practice Meeting

The space between Christmas and New Years provides a rare reprieve from the standard whirlwind of life—which gives us a bit of time to write about our most recent Community of Practice meeting.  Earlier last week, moments before kicking off Winter Break, a swarm of forward-thinking Flight Directors, dreamers, space cadets, and administrators descended upon Shaler Area Elementary School for a four-hour session packed with discussions about all things related to immersive simulator-based education.

Welcome to the COP meeting

Here’s Mike Penn welcoming us to his domain

We started with about 30 minutes of meet and greet. At about 10:30 we started the meeting.  Everyone introduced themselves.  Of special interest were Andy Princener from the YMCA, Tracey Armant from the Grable Foundation, and a variety of leaders from Grove City, Frazier, and South Butler, and Sharpsville school districts—all of which are in the process of pursuing simulator installations of their own. We were also delighted to welcome Todd Lichtenwalter (a.k.a Admiral Sai) of the IKS Artemis Charger, who flew all the way from Venezuela to attend.

Todd presented about all of the incredible lessons, connections, and tools that he’s developed around his simulator program in Venezuela.   He talked for about an hour and he had everyone mesmerized.  He was great—and as any good admiral he did it all in full Star Trek uniform.
Behold, the mighty Admiral Sai

Behold, the mighty Admiral Sai

We had Bobby Gasowski, the mighty shipwright, in attendance to show everyone—especially the first-time attendees—how world-class simulators are built.

Bobby Gasowsky, Master Shipwright

Bobby Gasowsky, Master Shipwright

Mike Penn

Mike (left) explaining a crucial mission tactic, or possibly conducting an orchestra of ghosts (right).

The entire four hours was full of people talking, sharing and being a thriving community of practice.  A special thanks to everyone who took the time out of their busy days—especially that this hectic time of year—to attend this event.  The collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and friendships that emerged are what this Community of Practice is all about!

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