coE-News: May 19, 2009, VOL 4 ISSUE 8
Study: online classes can save schools money, expand students’ learning time
University of Florida education technology researcher Cathy Cavanaugh (right) predicts more public school students in kindergarten through 12th grade will take classes online, have longer school days and more of them in the next decade. Academic performance should improve and schools could save money—an especially appealing pitch when budgets are tight. (more)
Top teachers reveal ‘secrets’ of teaching success
What an intriguing idea for advancing school improvement: Round up several dozen of Florida’s best public school teachers, pick their brains about how they teach and why their methods work so well, and then pass on their teaching secrets to educators throughout the state, and beyond. Such a gathering actually occurred, and now UF education researchers, led by Fien Professor Dorene Ross (right, assisting student), have compiled the teachers’ top tips for a new, online guide of best teaching practices called “Secrets of Successful Teaching.” (more)
Girls are best allies against playground bullies–UF study
Playground bullies may meet their match from where they least expect – in the ranks of kids who are anti-bullies — and most of them are girls, a new UF study finds. “Boys may be more likely to bully, but girls are more likely to defend those being bullied,” said Jim Porter, who did the research for his doctoral dissertation in counselor education at UF. (more)
EduGator Class of ’09 perseveres to celebrate well-earned degrees
Members of the UF EduGator Class of 2009 will be remembered for many reasons, but especially for their perseverance and strong will as fighters and survivors. The ’09 classmates endured three straight years of substantial college budget cuts, the threatened elimination of core undergraduate programs, the prospect of a tight job market in teaching after graduation, and even a nationwide swine flu scare that threatened their graduation ceremony. None of that seemed to matter, though, to the 130 undergraduates who marched across stage May 2 to receive their bachelor’s degrees at the College of Education’s commencement ceremony. (more)
Ambitious effort to curb shortage of math, science teachers gets boost
A no-holds-barred effort at UF to reverse the dire shortage of science and mathematics graduates has received a welcome financial boost that promises to improve the recruitment and education of future teachers in the technical fields. UFTeach, a new teacher education program that takes a radically different approach to teacher recruitment in math, science and computer science, recently garnered a $50,000 grant from the Frances C. and William P. Smallwood Foundation. (more)
Awards & Appointments
Ryndak named B.O. Smith Professor for novel special education research
Children with severe disabilities figure to benefit from groundbreaking research by UF special education researcher Diane Ryndak, in new studies supported by her appointment to the 2009 B. O. Smith Research Professorship. While occupying the prestigious three-year post, Ryndak, an associate professor, will investigate methods to improve educators’ decision-making in the instruction and placement of students with disabilities in inclusive, general education classes. (more)
3 faculty land UF opportunity grants
UF has awarded Faculty Enhancement Opportunity grants to three education faculty members for creative professional development activities that will advance their scholarly acumen and the institution’s mission. (Pictured above from left:) Silvia Echevarria-Doan (counselor education), Ester de Jong (teaching and learning) and Kara Dawson (education technology) together received more than $97,000 in the campuswide program, which UF President Bernie Machen started last year to support faculty professional development opportunities. (more)
Graff receives national dissertation award for reading research
Jennifer Graff, a 2007 doctoral graduate in curriculum and instruction, has received the 2009 Dissertation of the Year Award from the International Reading Association for her research concerning young girls and their book preferences. Graff was cited for her work titled, The Literary Lives of Marginalized Readers: Preadolescent Girls’ Rationales for Book Choice and Experiences with Self-Selected Books. Graff also has an M.Ed. in reading education and an Ed.S. degree from UF. She currently is an assistant professor in language and literacy education at the University of Georgia.
Lefave, M., Behar-Horenstein, L.S. & Dix, A. C. (2009). Productivity and relevance of the curriculum professors’ research. Journal of Faculty Development 22(3), 179-190.
Publisher creates online author’s page for CSI Director Dana
Corwin Press has created an author’s page on its Web site for Center for School Improvement Director Nancy Dana (right) that includes a link to the CSI’s Web page. Among several book credits with Corwin, Dana is the lead author of the bestseller, The Reflective Educator’s Guide to Classroom Research: Learning to Teach and Teaching to Learn Through Practitioner Inquiry, Second Edition (Corwin, 2009). Corwin Press publishes practice- and research-oriented publications for K-12 educators, teacher educators and advanced-level education students.
P.K. Yonge News
Spotlight shines on C.A.M.P. Gator mentoring program
C.A.M.P. Gator, a joint UF-P.K. Yonge leadership program in which UF student-athletes and other student leaders serve as mentors to PKY middle school students, is garnering some local and national attention on several fronts: UF student mentor Francesca Enea of the No. 1 ranked Lady Gators softball team was honored for her community service work by the Daily Points of Light Institute, a national volunteerism advocacy group . . . The Collegiate Athlete Mentoring Program also received a 2009 Collegiate Group Volunteer Award from the local Work of Heart volunteer recognition group . . . Two ex-Gator football players—Phil Trautwein and Jason Watkins—who served as 2008 mentors, recently signed contracts with National Football League teams . . . The 2009 C.A.M.P. mentors include Gator Olympian swimmers Shawn Frazier and Brad Alley . . . C.A.M.P. Gator director is Matt Ohlson, an Alumni Fellow and Presidential Management Fellow in the college’s educational administration program.
In the News
ST. PETERSBURG TIMES (online blog) – Lastinger Center for Learning – May 14, 2009
On the Times’ daily education blog called The Gradebook, the college’s Lastinger Center for Learning was mentioned for partnering with the Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE) in the foundation’s “Secrets of Successful Teaching” project. Lastinger Center researchers, led by STL’s Dorene Ross, helped FEE produce an interactive guide of best-teaching practices based on what dozens of teachers told them after being named Florida’s best teachers according to 2008 FCAT scores. The blog’s staff writer, while acknowledging the controversy surrounding FEE’s use of standardized test scores in choosing the top teachers, referred readers to the Web site for the useful tips in the online guide.
GAINESVILLE SUN — UF COE Commencement — May 3, 2009
The spotlight fell on new ProTeach bachelor’s degree graduates Joshua Pate (the only male student marching) and Kristy Strength (age 35, dubbed “Mom” by her younger peers) in the Sun’s front page (local section) article on UF’s spring commencement ceremonies.
TREASURE COAST NEWSPAPERS — UF education students — April 17, 2009
Two UF master’s students in social studies education (Garardo Aponte and Faryn Bouse) were quoted in a print and online article about the tough job prospects that soon-to-be-graduates in teacher education will face upon entering the job market. This newspaper chain covers Stuart, Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin counties on Florida’s East Coast.
TAMPA TRIBUNE – Cathy Cavanaugh (Education Technology) – April 15, 2009
In an article reporting on the Florida Legislature’s proposal to reduce the pot of funds that flows to the Orlando-based Florida Virtual School, Associate Professor Cavanaugh points out how increased enrollment in the virtual school relieves pressure on traditional public schools by reducing enrollment in crowded classrooms.