Fueled by an unwavering passion for educational technology, graduate student Gabriella Haire, a first-year instruction and curriculum student, recently received the Fanchon F. Funk Scholars Award at the Florida Association of Teacher Educators (FATE) annual conference for her exceptional dedication to the education field. While an undergraduate, Haire earned her bachelor’s degree in education sciences, specializing in educational technology. She presented insights derived from her honor’s thesis, “Impact of Emerging Technologies and Evaluation of Application within K-12 Classrooms,” at this year’s FATE conference.

“This experience not only sharpened my research and presentation skills but also fueled my enthusiasm for contributing to the evolving landscape of educational technology,” said Haire.

Haire’s undergraduate research focused on the impact of implementing Emerging Learning Technologies (ELT) in classrooms. In her presentation, she discussed the potential positive and negative impacts of the implementation of ELTs such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Throughout the research process, she was guided by mentor Bojan Lazarevic, Ph. D., and received additional support from Maureen Conroy, Ph. D. Now a master’s student in the Educational Technology program, Haire is focused on becoming more involved in graduate research.

The conference allowed Haire to engage with education leaders, including keynote speaker Rudy Jamison, Ed.D., assistant director of the University of North Florida’s Center for Urban Education and Policy. Recipients of the Florida Teacher of the Year award, Dr. Dakeyan Cha’ Dre’ Graham (2020) and Sarah Painter (2022), also spoke at the conference.

Reflecting on her experience, Haire said, “Meeting and learning from these education leaders was an honor, and their contributions to the educational field are truly inspiring.”

During the conference, FATE awarded Gabriella Haire with the Fanchon F. Funk Scholars Award. This prestigious award is presented to pre-service students recognized for their potential as outstanding future educators. It acknowledges their commitment to the teaching profession and provides opportunities for discourse and collaboration with respected members of the teacher education profession.

Eager to delve deeper into the educational technology field, Haire is now a semester into her master’s program. This program equips students with the skills to navigate the evolving educational landscape.

“I am passionately pursuing my degree in curriculum and instruction with a concentration in ed tech because I believe in the power it holds to revolutionize traditional learning methods, making education more accessible, engaging and personalized,” Haire said, “I want to contribute to creating an inclusive community of learners that support and uplift each other.”

Gabriella Haire aspires to continue to develop her skills by participating in more educational technology research. After earning her master’s, Gabriella hopes to continue in a Ph.D. program and become a university professor.

Gabriella Haire and Bojan Lazarevic, Ph.D. standing in front of a green wall.

Gabriella Hair and Bojan Lazarevic, Ph.D.