Reimagine Learning

Victoria Van Voorhis

Victoria Van Voorhis is an EdTech leader and sought-after speaker, former Digital Rochester Technology Woman of the Year, and founder and CEO of the Pittsford-based educational games company Second Avenue Learning. She has served as the Principal Investigator for both Department of Education and National Science Foundation grants. Her goal for Second Avenue is to creatively blend pedagogy with technology to create innovative learning environments, solutions, and curricula that empower teachers and engage K-16 students. Victoria received her undergraduate degree from Smith College and her master's from New York University.
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Recent Posts

Going to School on the Electoral College

Victoria Van Voorhis

by Victoria Van Voorhis on Oct 19, 2016 2:46:49 PM


Try telling a classroom of students that it’s possible for a presidential candidate to win the majority of votes in the U.S., but still lose the election—and that it has happened four times. Bush v. Gore wasn't the first time! 

According to Allan DeCarlo, an AP American History teacher at Pittsford Mendon High School and Voters Ed user, the Electoral College is one of the most difficult concepts for students to understand.

To help simplify election teaching, we’ve put together an infographic to outline the basics of the Electoral College. Explore the concepts of electoral vote, popular vote and swing states with this resource below.

Put the Power of the Pundits in Your Classroom or Your Living Room

Victoria Van Voorhis

by Victoria Van Voorhis on Feb 1, 2016 7:30:00 AM

Recenly the Iowa caucus, the first test of electability for many of the presidential candidates, was held.  Like many voters, we at Second Avenue are thinking about the 2016 election and following it closely.  Here are some of the questions we found ourselves asking: 

How did two states, Iowa and New Hampshire, come to dominate the early discourse in the presidential primary?

How has the selection of presidential candidates evolved over time?

Is this process partially responsible for the increasingly bitter partisan divide?

How have parties evolved and how has the geographical landscape of party affiliations changed along with them?

How, as a parent or educator can you have this conversation in a constructive, non-partisan way in a classroom or in your family room?

Lots of questions, so we rolled up our sleeves and decided to answer them with input from middle school and high school teachers and expert insight from Professors Ferber and Sutton from the Rochester Institute of Technology Political Science Department

Topics: Technology, Ux

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Play is part of design thinking!

Victoria Van Voorhis

by Victoria Van Voorhis on Dec 7, 2015 7:23:13 PM

Our team is in the process of designing the next several units of game-based curriculum for our Martha Madison series, which we are continuing to develop with support from the National Science Foundation. For those of you who haven’t yet met Martha, she is a plucky meerkat scientist who invites middle school students to learn about science through problem solving adventures.  

As part of our design process we often play with science concepts ourselves.  It isn’t uncommon to see sketches on white boards, paper cut-outs and bits of lab equipment all around our office, not to mention the growing pile of magnetic toys in our development lab.  Since we think about play and want our students to be really immersed in science, we decided that it was time for a field trip to spark our design thinking!  

Topics: Gaming, STEM, Martha Madison

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Video Games in School!  So Cool!

Victoria Van Voorhis

by Victoria Van Voorhis on Nov 13, 2015 8:17:05 PM

“This is so cool, video games in school!”

We have just wrapped up a day in a 8th grade science classroom at Barker Road Middle School, where about 100 students playtested our Martha Madison physics game on Newton’s Laws. The mere presence of Xbox game controllers brought forth smiles and shouts from nearly every student who walked into the room.

It is always so exciting to watch students playtest our games, especially in their own classrooms with their peers. First reactions tell us a great deal about whether we are on track with aesthetics and game mechanics. “Aww, this is so cute, the animals are adorable,” said one student, indicating that our character designs and color palettes are on target for this age group.

Once students became immersed in the game, and began playing with force diagrams and Newton’s Laws, the enthusiasm was palpable. “Oh my gosh, this is a free body diagram platformer game!” “Wow, this is challenging. I actually have to think.” The use of science specialist language started to emerge by the second or third levels of the game: “Yes! We overcame air resistance and friction!” and “How can we beat the effects of gravity?” We saw other indicators of student learning at the end of the sessions when Mrs. O’Dea asked students about concepts explored in the game; even students who had no previous formal exposure to this content were able to answer the questions accurately.

Topics: Game-based learning

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2014 Frontiers in Education Conference

Victoria Van Voorhis

by Victoria Van Voorhis on Oct 20, 2014 9:14:47 AM

Second Avenue Learning is pleased to announce that Professor David Simkins, our colleague from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), will be presenting a joint paper on the Martha Madison project at the 2014 Frontiers in Education Conference. The conference, held this year in Madrid, draws together professionals from a wide variety of fields, for the purpose of furthering innovations in STEM, with a special focus on engineering education.

Topics: Blog, Conferences, RIT, Frontiers in Education

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Reflections on Ed Games Week

Victoria Van Voorhis

by Victoria Van Voorhis on Oct 8, 2014 11:23:07 AM

Taking part in the recent Ed Games Week in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but reflect upon the tremendous growth, activity, and research surrounding game-based learning (GBL). While talking with Dr. Edward Metz, Mark DeLoura, Jessica Lindl, Dr. Kara Carpenter, numerous game developers, and many other stakeholders in education and game design, I found myself thinking back to the beginnings of Second Avenue.

Topics: Blog, Research, Ed Games Week, Game-based learning

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Welcome to Second Avenue Learning!

Victoria Van Voorhis

by Victoria Van Voorhis on Apr 8, 2011 8:25:24 AM

Second Avenue is celebrating! After 5 successful years, we are unveiling a fresh new look. Please follow us on our journey as we reimagine learning.

Topics: Blog

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