John Heffernan, Ph.D., Technology Coordinator, Williamsburg Schools/Hampshire Regional School District
A former software engineer who became a teacher in 1992, John was the first teacher in Amherst to use the Internet and to use modern computers for students and teacher work. At the Hampshire Educational Collaborative from 1999 to 2004, he led many grants focused on teacher professional development in technology, video conferencing and distance learning. John is currently technology coordinator and technology teacher at the Williamsburg Elementary Schools.
His past experience also includes designing and implementing 3 online courses in PBS Teacherline and Moodle, developing multiple web-based databases for districts, and working for two years at the state level on Virtual Education Space. He joined Williamsburg Schools in 2003, where he introduced robotics, video game programming, and animation creation. In 2008, John received the MassCUE Pathfinder Award for Technology Leadership.
In 2009, John wrote and received a $200,000 Massachusetts Department of Education grant to teach robotics to 40 teachers and 1500 students in Western Massachusetts. In his own practice, the grant enabled him to develop and publish a fully standards aligned grade PK to 6 robotics curriculum. Through a hybrid model of on-line and face-to-face instruction, John will help other teachers learn to use the LEGO educational materials and online support to provide hands-on STEM instruction for students. Having an experienced teacher deliver the professional development will be critical to the success of the project. John had BSEE, and MSEE/CS degrees from Tufts University, and a Master of Education degree from Lesley College. John is a current member of the Lego Education Advisory Panel. John received the Ph.D. degree in education at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2017.
John spends lots of time playing with his six year old son Aidan and playing dog agility and other dog sports with his two whippets Wyatt and Patriot. He also enjoys animal tracking, juggling, playing bluegrass music, and running. John is married to Dawn Heffernan, a nurse specializing in diabetes education.