Ron Fortunato is a pioneer and innovator in the development and implementation of educational technology. He is one of the original five Christa McAuliffe Educators in the USA selected by the National Foundation for the Improvement of Education, as well as a NASA Space Ambassador.
Ron is the president of Trillium Learning. His current activities include developing international, collaborative, performance-based learning projects and professional development services for Asian, US K-12, and university markets. The Global 21st Century Skills Project (G21), associated with US Department of Education grant programs, is a model for worldwide authentic activities where students teach and learn language and culture and process skills from one another. His work supports departments of education in the USA, China, and Taiwan engaged in the development of systemic globalization efforts and the integration of multidisciplinary/multilevel curriculum, educational technology, and STEM.
Ron is currently developing "The America Bridge" project, a cooperative program between Alaska State government and education offices; school districts in the USA, Taiwan, and China; and business partners to develop a unique series of international models designed to accelerate teaching, learning, and educational technology systems via international collaboration. For this project, Ron is working with NASA to design and develop educational simulations utilizing advanced NASA open-source applications and content, including a joint project between NASA Ames Research Center, University of Alaska system, Alaska Climate Center and multiple K-12 school districts throughout the USA to improve aviation safety and develop career-oriented, project-based learning programs. This program allows for the utilization and transfer of the World Wind geospatial 3D technology from NASA and software development program to educational school teams.
Ron began his teaching career for the Norfolk, Virginia Public Schools, where he designed and was project manager for the NORSTAR Project, the first student-run space flight project ever flown on a space shuttle (Discovery). The NORSTAR Project was selected as the prototype program for the National Space Sciences Academy.
Ron was selected as a NASA Teacher in Space Finalist from Virginia, and is currently a NASA Space Ambassador for the United States. He designed and implemented an international student space flight project for the National Space Sciences Academy taught at Stanford University. This prototype program was a joint business and education partnership involving Stanford, the European Space Agency, Canada, Japan, NASA Ames Research Center, NASA Headquarters, and Lockheed Missiles and Space. After his selection as a national McAuliffe Educator, he co-designed and taught at the Christa McAuliffe Institute at Stanford University to establish a lead educational restructuring group for the US. While in Norfolk, Virginia, he also developed a robotics program featuring the instruction of robotics fundamentals, computer programming, and interfacing between microcomputers and industrial robots. He then served as director of Instructional Technology for the Norfolk Public Schools, where he developed district-wide strategies, funding, and budgets for numerous technology integration and professional development programs.
He became a Senior Scientist for the Educational Technologies Division of Bolt, Beranek and Newman, and late continued in the educational business sector as product and project manager for The Lightspan Partnership Inc., responsible for the design and development of interactive television and Internet products for education, including the international award-winning World Concept for Timeless Math.
Ron's additional work included directing the Curriculum and Implementation for School Marketing Development, as well as a partnership with the Distance Learning Resource Network (US Department of Education), where he designed and developed an online Star Schools Showcase.