Meet Shane Asselstine
You may have seen him at many conferences, co-facilitating his workshop sessions with his students. You may have taken his Code.org workshop, explored the world of Minecraft, or learned about game-based learning. Shane Asselstine, new board member to HSTE, has worked with hundreds of educators to bring light to a new way to engage students. In 2014, he was recognized as a MinecraftEDU Featured Educator.
In 2015, Shane won the Making IT Happen Award, awarded by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). Both awards highlight Shane’s impact on students and teachers, not just from Hawaii, but from other parts of the U.S. and the world when it comes to engagement and learning through games students know and love.
Shane grew up in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and attended Ryerson University, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree of Technology in Architectural Science. After moving to Hawaii, Shane attended the University of Phoenix to get his Master’s Degree in Elementary Education. In 2002, he married his wife, Richelle, who grew up in Hawaii; they have two children- Amaya, 6 years old and Brody, 4 years old. They also have three fish, Jake, Fred, and Cherryblossom.
After working in the architectural field for several years after college, he was offered a position in Informational Technology within the company he worked for at the time. After some time in that position as a network engineer, the company was bought by a bigger company and Shane moved to Hawaii to be with his then fiance. After moving to Hawaii, he felt it was time to follow a path to teaching. Throughout his years, Shane spent time with his Aunt Manyee, a retired 3rd grade teacher in California, and her class. It always impressed him watching her connect with her students. Many of Shane’s father's side of the family are educators and he has always enjoyed teaching in different capacities in all of his job positions.
Shane did his student teaching at Manana Elementary School and has taught at Momilani Elementary School ever since.
Get to know Shane in the Q & A below!
Q & A with Shane
Q : How long have you been at Momilani Elementary?
A : I have been at Momilani since 2004, where I started as a 4th grade teacher. In 2010, I moved into a resource position with a focus on math and technology. I am currently the Technology Integration Specialist.
Q : If we were to catch you on a weekend, what would you most likely be doing?
A : Spending time with my family mixed in with work. We love spending as much time together as we can and so we have many adventures. My daughter loves to Pokemon, Minecraft, and coding stories and so we spend time talking through her ideas. My son loves dinosaurs, so he loves to play ARK Survival with me.
Q : What is your favorite food?
A : It would be sausage and mushroom pizza, but lately that has been shifting towards poke bowls, or maybe it is kalbi fries! Just one huh?
Q : If you could be any object in the world, what would you be and why?
A : If I could be any object, it would be a compass. That way I could continue to help educators by pointing forward. Over the past several years, I have learned the importance of sharing what is happening, the success and the failure, to help others as they continue to move forward and evolve the education system.
Q : How did you first get involved in HSTE? What made you want to join?
A : My first contact with HSTE was through Michael Fricano. He and I have had several great conversations about EdTech and providing valuable professional development to the educators in Hawaii. I have also been presenting at ISTE for the past several years and then last year at the University of Phoenix event for substitute teachers, we talked about openings in the HSTE Board. It seemed like a great opportunity to work with a great organization focused on supporting educators and edtech in Hawaii.
Q : Why do you think tech integration is important for students?
A : Technology is no longer just in small pockets, it is everywhere and impacting the lives of our students. Integrating technology into the classrooms allows for experiences and opportunities that were never possible with budget and time. We can have students designing apps with code, building architectural wonders in virtual learning environments, and solving unstructured problems through collaboration. Technology opens doors for our students and prepares them for the unknown future.
Students are not the only ones benefitting from tech integration. As educators we are always asked to do more and push harder with now adjustment to the amount of time we have to do it in. By integrating technology we are able to save that one precious commodity, time. Whether it be using digital documents instead of standing at the photocopier for hours, or distributing resources in Google Classroom instead of passing out countless papers, or utilizing Flubaroo to grade that assessment instead of dragging home stacks of papers, in the end it all saves time. Multiply that time over the course of the year and see how much time can be saved.
Q : What is one thing you’ve done at your school that you’re proud of?
A : There are so many great things going on at our school, from classroom integration to project based learning in the lab and even bringing our PTSO into the tech integration mix, it is hard to pick just one. Although I am very proud that a student graduating from Momilani will have a minimum of 4 years of computer science before they leave us, that each year I am fortunate to present at events like Schools of the Future, EdTech Team Summit, and Kamehameha EdTech Conferences alongside my students, the thing I am most proud of is a group of students known as the Media Crew. This is an after school group that embodies the work ethic and dedication we want all of our students to possess. This group empowers students to be the voice of our school news. They write the articles for our website, they produce the annual yearbook, they produce the year end video for the graduating class, and hopefully in the future they will produce the video recordings of our drama performances. This group of students have taken on the challenge and responsibility to bring student voice into the school media.
Q : Any advice for other educators getting involved in technology integration?
A : Earlier this year, I got to keynote at the ECET2 here on Oahu. My call to action in that keynote would be the advice I would pass on. Get in the game. Build your personal learning network (PLN), share what you have learned in the process, and grow with your students as you engage in lifelong learning. Take that step...try something different...risk failing gloriously...and innovate your teaching!
Q : What are some of the topics you explore in your sessions at conferences?
A : My main focus for many of my sessions include project-based learning, game-based learning, game design, animation, virtual learning environments, computer science, coding, and general technology integration. These topics are things I am currently exploring within my classroom. I am fortunate enough to have a position where I see 240 students each week in grades 3-6 and we are learning in collaborative groups through exploration, creation and so many other fantastic ways.
Q : Presenting at any future sessions coming up that we should know about? (Ex. SOTF Conference, ISTE Conference, etc.)
A : I’ll be leading a Code.org workshop on April 29 at Momilani Elementary School, the Hawaii STEM Conference on May 1, Kamehameha Schools Kukulu Kaiaulu Ed Tech Conference on June 6-7, and Schools of the Future on October 26-27.