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COE repeats No. 1 ranking in US for online graduate degrees

U.S. News and World Report rated the distance education program at the University of Florida College of Education as America’s best online graduate education degree program for the second consecutive year.

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COE scholar: Students with disabilities more involved in bullying over time

Bullying graphic

Graphic courtesy of Kari Weis, Columbia (Mo.) Missourian

Research by education scholars has shown that students with disabilities are generally more likely to be victimized and to perpetrate bullying than other students.

But few studies have examined whether this discrepancy in bullying behavior changed over time as students advanced through grades.

Now a new study co-authored by UF College of Education scholar Nicholas Gage has found that the students with disabilities in the third through 12th grades are consistently more involved in bullying than other students.

“We were not surprised there was a gap in bullying, but our most notable finding was that this gap remained the same over time,” said Gage, UF College of Education assistant professor of special education.

Disproportionate bullying

Generally, as students progress in age, the level of bullying declines across all groups of students. But students with disabilities consistently are more likely involved in bullying.

For example, 44 percent of third-grade students reported some level of bullying, Gage said. In contrast, the rate was 66 percent among third-graders with a disability. In fifth grade, 40 percent of these same students reported bullying while 60 percent of students with disabilities said they were bullied or engaged in bullying. Overall, 21.8 percent of students with disabilities were bullied versus 14.5 percent of students without disabilities.

Nicholas Gage

UF College of Education Assistant Professor Nicholas Gage.

Gage co-authored with Chad A. Rose, professor of education at the University of Missouri, the study, “Exploring the Involvement of Bullying Among Students with Disabilities over Time,” which is published in the academic journal Exceptional Children.

The scholars evaluated the victimization and perpetration rates of 6,531 students in a school district in Connecticut; Gage did post-doctorate work at the University of Connecticut’s Institute of Education Science. Gage and Rose analyzed the responses third through twelfth graders provided in a survey of bullying over a three-year period.

Bullying defined

The scholars used a generally accepted definition of bullying as pervasive peer aggression with the intention to cause physical or emotional harm.

Roughly 16 percent of the students surveyed had a disability. These disabilities included: autism spectrum disorder, emotional disturbance, learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other health impairments. These students were integrated into general classrooms.

Previous studies on the victimization of students with disabilities reported increased verbal abuse (e.g., name-calling, mimicking disability characteristics, teasing), social exclusion, and physical aggression when compared with nondisabled peers. Scholars have said one serious concern is that over time victimized students may develop aggressive characteristics as a strategy to combat the victimization.

Gage said that students with disabilities are less likely to have the social and communication skills to avoid bullying.

As a result, Gage says schools need to increase their efforts to build an awareness, increase teacher training and develop ways to combat bullying in the education plans of students with disabilities.

“Kids with disabilities may need some bullying intervention to recognize and also develop social skills to prevent bullying,” Gage said. “And schools and teachers need to develop more proactive approaches around bullying, particularly for kids with disabilities. It’s about working with schools and teachers to develop competency and social skills that can have a positive impact.”


Source: Nicholas Gage, 352-273-4282
Writer: Charles Boisseau, 352-273-4449

UF teams with education tech firm to develop leadership program for Colorado educators

GAINESVILLE, Fla.  – The University of Florida joined with Promethean, a global education technology company, in announcing their collaboration on a novel, peer-coaching program to provide leadership development training to educators of Priority Improvement/Turnaround schools in Colorado.

Promethean and the UF Lastinger Center for Learning, the teaching and learning innovation incubator at the university’s College of Education, were approved by the Colorado Department of Education as one of six providers in the state as part of the School Turnaround Leaders Development grant program. The grant program addresses the critical need to train qualified education leaders in low-performing schools and districts to dramatically improve student achievement. Participants will learn and practice coaching skills, grapple with challenges to student achievement, and build their capacities to lead in Priority Improvement/Turnaround Schools.

Dr. Mark Quintana, Promethean Senior Education Consultant and advisor, said, “In a turnaround school environment, educators face unique challenges as they work to significantly improve student achievement. Training that results in a successful school or district transformation will address specific practices and strategies that support educators in meeting the needs of their student population.”

Phil Poekert

PHIL POEKERT

Philip Poekert, Assistant Director of the UF Lastinger Center and project manager of the Colorado effort, said the school turnaround program is geared for instructional leaders who serve or aspire to serve as teacher leaders, instructional coaches, school administrators, district administrators, and charter school management staff in low-performing schools.

Participants will attend a four-day summer session as well as two full-day sessions and three half-day sessions throughout the school year, all led by instructors trained by UF and Promethean. Enrolled educators are expected to implement what they have learned, and at the end of the school year will present their findings and improvements to earn a Promethean/UF Turnaround School Leaders Certificate. It is recommended that each participant serve his or her low-performing school for a minimum of two years.

“Our research-based program focuses on the most important thing that happens in schools: the quality of teaching,” Poekert said. “By increasing the capacity of instructional leaders to lead data-driven coaching conversations and integrate technology in more strategic ways, we can make a meaningful difference in outcomes for students and yield greater impact in a shorter amount of time.”

Districts and schools in the state of Colorado interested in learning more about the UF/Promethean program may learn more at http://lastingercenter.com/portfolio/colorado-turnaround-school-leaders-program.

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About Promethean

Promethean is a global education company that improves learning productivity by developing, integrating, and implementing innovative 21st century learning environments that help make everyone more engaged, empowered, and successful. Promethean’s main corporate offices are located in Blackburn, UK, and Atlanta, USA. Promethean is a member of the NetDragon Websoft, Inc. (HKSE: 0777) group of companies.  For more information, please visit www.prometheanworld.com.

About the University of Florida Lastinger Center for Learning

The UF Lastinger Center for Learning is the University of Florida College of Education’s teaching and learning innovation incubator. The center has become internationally recognized for partnering with school districts, philanthropies, governmental entities and the private sector to research, design, build and field-test innovative learning systems that transform teaching, improve student achievement and promote healthy child development. The Lastinger Center’s reach extends to school systems across Florida, in other states and recently in other nations. For more information, please visit http://lastingercenter.com.

Media Contacts
Suzy Swindle, Promethean, 206-661-0757
Larry Lansford, director of communications, University of Florida, College of Education, 352-273-4137

 

 

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Giving Reading a Boost

UF will bring its Winning Reading Boost program to more Florida elementary schools

Student participating in the Winning Reading Boost program makes strides in learning to read.

 

Watch Video

Watch WEDU Quest's story on Winning Reading Boost.See a segment on Winning Reading Boost that recently aired on “Quest,” a program from WEDU-TV in Tampa.

The University of Florida College of Education is extending the reach of an innovative program that uses phonics, rap music and other techniques to help struggling elementary students to learn to read.

In January, UF will bring its Winning Reading Boost program to four more Florida elementary schools and UF educators also are planning to roll out an improved learning-to-read model next summer.

Partnering with the college starting next semester are Rawlings and Alachua elementary schools in Alachua County and Fairmount Park Elementary and Midtown Academy in Pinellas County. They will join Lakewood Elementary in St. Petersburg, which launched the program last fall.

The college’s Lastinger Center for Learning is expanding Winning Reading Boost after it received a $400,000 grant in March 2016 from the Florida Legislature to help third- through fifth-graders who have not yet learned to read. The Lastinger Center serves as the College of Education’s teaching and learning innovation incubator.

Pilot study gets results

A recent UF pilot study showed that every student participating in a 90-day Reading Winning Boost after-school program in St. Petersburg improved their language decoding skills and reading fluency by at least 75 percent.

“The thing I’m most excited about is the program seems designed to fill in the gaps for children who are struggling to read,” said Eva Copeland, principal of Alachua Elementary. The school has targeted about 20 third graders and five fifth graders for the program who are in danger of falling behind because they cannot read.

The importance of learning to read has received increased attention in recent years. Researchers have found that if children fail to develop basic reading skills during the first few years of school they suffer not only academic problems but also economic and social-emotional difficulties. One in six students who cannot read proficiently by the third grade will not graduate from high school.

“The danger is in second grade students are learning to read and once they are in third grade they are reading to learn,” Copeland said. “If they are still struggling to read in third grade it makes the rest so much more difficult.”

Founder of the program

Winning Reading Boost traces its roots to an award-winning schoolteacher, Sue Dickson, who created the curriculum a generation ago at a time educators were abandoning teaching phonics for “sight reading,” or having students memorize words by sight. Dickson stuck with phonics and found success composing songs on the piano as a way of having dyslexic and other slow-to-read students to sound out words. In 2000, she sold the rights to her books and unique 36-step curriculum to an education book publisher. But when the rights lapsed, Dickson, who now lives in Safety Harbor, Florida, reclaimed them and partnered with researchers at the Lastinger Center to expand and improve the program, including updating workbooks with all-new contemporary images.

Shaunté Duggins, an early literacy and teacher development consultant for the Lastinger Center, said an important reason students improve their reading skills through Winning Reading Boost is they remember more information when rap, contemporary, jazz and other types of music are used.

“It makes reading fun, “ she said. “And by getting students engaged using proven learning-to-read methods they can make dramatic progress.”

Watch a segment on Winning Reading Boost that recently aired on “Quest,” a program from WEDU-TV in Tampa: http://video.wedu.org/video/2365857129.


Sources:
Shaunté Duggins, shaunte@coe.ufl.edu, 352-273-3654
Sue Dickson, SDSTTeach@outlook.com, 727-799-9825
Eva Copeland, copelaem@gm.sbac.edu, 386-462-1841

Writer: Charles Boisseau, UF College of Education, 352-273-4449

 

 

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Learning Gains from our Brains

Faculty scholars are merging neuroscience and education research to personalize multimedia and online learning

antonenko-lab-8-1-16_6665a

UF education technology researcher Pavlo “Pasha” Antonenko adjusts his EEG headwear on a study subject.

UF education technology researcher Pavlo “Pasha” Antonenko has never been afraid to take risks and go against convention. His pioneering spirit emerged in the 1990s in his Ukraine homeland, where personal computers were scarce and there was no internet connection. Fast forward two decades, to today, and you’ll find him leading groundbreaking studies at the College of Education on a radical new approach for advancing and personalizing the still-fledgling field of online learning.

SETTING THE STAGE

Antonenko’s journey to UF started in the late 1990s when he was a high school teacher. He became fascinated with computers at a time when his hometown of Nizhyn, Ukraine had no internet connections and few computers. He began building and selling computers to supplement his income while he earned a master’s in linguistics in English and German languages.

“I was one of the first people in my hometown to get an internet connection, but it wasn’t very good. I started building websites even before I had internet, but they were just sitting on my computer,” he recalls.

His career path changed dramatically in 2002 when he traveled to Orlando to work as an interpreter at a conference on education technology, a discipline that wasn’t even recognized in Ukraine. But Antonenko had found his passion: exploring ways computer technology can improve education.

“Everything I heard there and the people I met, I said ‘wow, this is what I want to do as my graduate education and job,’” he says.

Within a few months, he and his wife, Yuliya, moved a half-world away to settle in Ames, Iowa, where he spent five years at Iowa State University earning a doctorate in curriculum and instructional technology and human-computer interaction.

Along the way, Antonenko worked with Iowa State neuroscientists on one of his personal research interests—the use of electroencephalography (EEG) to monitor brain activity known as “cognitive load,” which is the amount of mental effort expended by the working memory during a learning task. EEG, which records the brain’s electrical activity, is most commonly used in medicine as a first-line, non-invasive method of diagnosing stroke and other brain disorders.

It would have been intriguing to monitor Antonenko’s own brain activity as he thought to himself, “Hmmm, I wonder if EEG might be a reliable way to study the mental processes underlying learning.” He wrote his dissertation on the topic and became one of the first education researchers to use EEG to measure the cognitive dynamics of learning.

The stars begin to align

After earning his doctorate and serving five years on the education technology faculty at Oklahoma State University, Antonenko joined UF’s ed. tech faculty in 2012. His appointment coincided with the education world’s identification of personalizing online learning as a global challenge and a top research priority of the U.S. Department of Education and the National Science Foundation.

UF administrators also targeted research of personalized e-learning for investment of state “preeminent university” funds, which enabled the College of Education in 2014 to recruit top ed. tech scholar Carole Beal from Arizona State University, where she was conducting her own pioneering neuro-education studies. Beal became the first director of UF’s new campuswide Online Learning Institute.

The College of Education made a priority of integrating neuroscience with education research to improve online learning at all levels. Pivotal developments during the 2015-16 academic year made that push a certainty.

Kara Dawson

UF Education Technology Professor Kara Dawson

Merging Neuroscience and education research at UF

In 2015, Antonenko, Beal and UF education technology colleague Kara Dawson attracted vital grant funding to lead novel interdisciplinary research projects using wireless EEG brain monitoring and other neuro-technology to study how multimedia learning can be impoved for all students, not just those who test well on academic exams. These studies focus on education in the STEM disciplines—science, technology, engineering and math—areas in which the use of multimedia learning tools “has far outstripped the ability of research to keep pace with,” says Antonenko.

Their focus on custom-tailoring instructional design for individual learner differences, rather than a “one-size-fits-all” approach, is a distinctive feature of their studies.

“Virtually all research on multimedia learning methods has been performed on high-achieving students at elite research-intensive universities, where studies like this usually occur. We are evaluating these methods with more diverse student populations and those with special needs,” Antonenko says.

FAST FACT:

In 2015, Antonenko became the first UF education faculty researcher to win 5 NSF grants in the same year.

NSF study focuses on community college students

Antonenko heads a team of highly specialized researchers drawn from multiple institutions on a three-year study, supported by a $765,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. The researchers are gauging how effective technology-assisted learning practices are for a diverse group of community college students, which now constitute nearly half of all U.S. higher education students.

The team, dubbed the Science of Learning Collaborative Network, includes top scholars in education technology, neuroscience, STEM education, neuropsychology, computer science and educational measurement. They hail from UF, the University of Massachusetts-Boston and Washington State University.

Some 120 students from three colleges—Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Bunker Hill Community College in Boston and SUNY Buffalo State in Buffalo, N.Y.—are participating in the study. The students are screened for demographics and learning differences, such as working memory and visual attention levels, to ensure a varied test group.

Team specialists in cognitive neuroscience are employing EEG and other high-tech methods, including functional near infrared spectroscopy (to measure neural changes in blood oxygenation) and eye tracking (to understand visual attention) to assess the students’ attention and mental processes while they learn using multimedia materials that include text, images, videos, animations and audio.

The researchers hope to land follow-up NSF grants by demonstrating the effectiveness of their network’s organization, infrastructure and integration of diverse research strategies, along with their unique approach to personalized learning.

“Working with scholars from other disciplines and other institutions is really exciting but it’s also challenging because each discipline and each person has a different way to work,” Antonenko says. “We have to make sure everyone is invested and feels valued and make sure we pull all of the expertise together in a way that makes sense.”

UF co-researchers are ed. tech faculty members Dawson and Beal, and psychology professor Andreas Keil. Co-principal investigators are computer science and STEM education scholars Matthew Schneps from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Marc Pomplun from the University of Massachusetts-Boston, and Richard Lamb of SUNY Buffalo State, who focuses on science education and measurement.

Adapting digital media for students with dyslexia

Professor Dawson heads an educational neuroscience study focused on multimedia learning for students with dyslexia, the most common language-based disability. People with dyslexia typically have difficulty reading and processing words.

Dawson was awarded $85,000 for the one-year project from UF’s Office of Research, which awards Research Opportunity Seed Fund grants to UF scholars for the merit and potential of their research proposals. Antonenko is a co-principal investigator.

The study involves 72 college students with dyslexia, each participating in one of four multimedia learning settings while wearing wireless EEG headsets to monitor and record brain activity during the multimedia exercise and comprehension assessment. The student volunteers are drawn from four institutions: Santa Fe Community College and the universities of Central Florida, North Florida and South Florida.

While neuroscience-based methods are central to the study, Dawson is quick to make one thing clear: “In no way am I a neuroscientist.”

“To me, this is not about neuroscience,” she says, “I am interested in what neuroscience techniques can tell us about the learning process. That is what it’s all about for me.”

Dawson and her team will use their findings to evaluate the validity of merging EEG and behavioral measures and, ultimately, to develop new instructional strategies and materials that teachers can personalize for individual students with varied learning traits and backgrounds.

Besides Dawon and Antonenko, the research team includes UF ed. tech colleagues Beal and Albert Ritzhaupt, dyslexia diagnostic specialist Linda Lombardino from UF’s special education program, and UF neuropsychologist Keil. Doctoral students participating are Kendra Saunders from school pyschology and Nihan Dogan, Jiahui Wang, Li Cheng, Wenjing Luo and Robert Davis from the School of Teaching and Learning. Matthew Schneps from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysicists also is collaborating.

“We all share this mutual goal of figuring out how technology can help all types of learners,” Dawson says. “We need to make technology work so everyone feels they can learn and be smart and successful.”

MUCH PROMISE BUT NOT YET READY FOR PRIME TIME

The researchers describe both educational neuroscience studies as exploratory, but Antonenko says he expects them to yield solid preliminary findings that may lead to follow-up NSF research proposals.

“EEG appears to be a great tool for educational research that can produce important implications for teaching and learning in education.” he says. “Our focus is on helping people who need additional support as they learn using 21st century online and multimedia tools in education.”

“That is what I find most rewarding.”


WRITER: Larry Lansford, communications director, UF College of Education; 352-273-4137; llansford@coe.ufl.edu

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Counselor Ed. volunteers reflect on Orlando Pulse nightclub tragedy

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John Super (center) watches the news with other volunteers in the LGBT Center in Orlando after the Pulse nightclub shooting.


Several months have passed since a gunman killed 49 people and wounded 53 at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in what was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history — a horrific tragedy the likes of which rarely strikes so close to the University of Florida.

While the trauma of the lives lost will long linger in the minds of survivors, family and friends of the victims, the aftermath also has brought the Orlando community together in a cause for hope and unity. Citizens donated blood, stood together on social media and held vigils.

They were supported by sympathizers across Florida and the country, including a contingent of students and faculty members from UF College of Education who personally visited Orlando to assist in the communitywide effort to provide counseling and mental health care to those affected by the deadly shooting.

“This event had a huge impact on me as a counselor, a student and a person,” said Rachel Henesy, a UF doctoral student in counselor education. “On a personal and professional level, I felt a responsibility to help in any way possible.”

About 30 UF volunteers

The UF effort was spearheaded by John Super, a clinical assistant professor of counselor education, who in the days after the tragedy helped recruit and organize about 30 UF counselors and students to travel to Orlando for one-on-one counseling sessions. They helped people coping with intense feelings — such as loss, anger and fear, provided referrals to local licensed therapists and served as an emotional outlet for those experiencing their darkest days.

It has been said that out of deep pain and grief there is hope and opportunity. That is what Super found when he asked his UF students and peers from around the state to contribute to the volunteer counseling efforts.

“In the beginning, there was a moment where I thought I could either volunteer or not,” Super said. “But I knew I had to do something, and at that moment I had no idea the magnitude the tragedy would become.”

Super worked with local volunteer counseling coordinators, including David Baker-Hargrove and Lindsay Kincaide of Two Spirit Health Services in Orlando, to develop a response plan. He also coordinated with Alicia Homrich, a professor of graduate studies in counseling at Rollins College in Winter Park, who provided resources and also recruited Rollins students, Kincaide said.

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center of Central Florida served as the base of operations, with other free counseling locations established throughout the Orlando area, including LGBT-friendly bars. All told, nearly 700 people — ranging from licensed counselors, psychologists, pet therapists, interpreters and social workers — volunteered their time in the days and weeks following the shooting to assist hundreds of people from June 12 to July 4, Kincaide said.

Ties to the LGBT community

Super was well equipped to help with the grassroots counseling efforts. He has master’s in marriage and family therapy and a Ph.D. in counselor education from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, and has ties to Orlando’s LGBT Community Center. He also has Red Cross training in disaster response for mental health care and has conducted research in the identity development of LGBT individuals.

In the days after the tragedy, Super tapped his counseling connections, Orlando ties and experience in crisis intervention counseling to help address the widespread grief and fear of area residents — including a large contingent of the gay and Hispanic communities. He posted information on social media sites and sent emails to UF students and counselors asking for their help. Most not only were willing to volunteer but also shared his message to recruit others.

Though so many felt shock and heartbreak, Super said he witnessed a tremendous amount of goodness, too. He saw graduate students counsel those affected by the tragedy, and he encouraged conversation among the students to share their stories and feelings, and learn from each other’s experiences.

“I experienced such an outpouring from master’s and doctoral students who were willing to give their time and really put themselves out there driving from Gainesville to Orlando every day,” he said. “They put their own feelings and grief aside in order to help those who most needed it.”

Henesy, the UF doctoral student in counselor education, said she was grateful that Super was able to assess what was needed and get UF students and his peers involved.

Another counselor education doctoral student, Philip Daniels, said the College of Education gave him the foundation and confidence to provide the support needed for those processing the event.

“One of the first thoughts that went through my head was competency,” Daniels said. “I asked myself, ‘can I really do this?’ Then, it dawned on me. This is what I am trained for. This was a moment when everything I have learned came together so I could serve others in their time of need.”

Super said LGBT counseling has long been a staple of UF’s counseling education curriculum. Diversity and social justice is weaved into all of the counselor education courses, and LGBT issues are addressed through role-playing and discussions in every foundational class and clinical experience.

“Historically, we were one of the first several counselor education programs in the nation,” Super said. “We’ve always had a strong social justice focus that is supported by the college and our profession.”


Source: John Super, UF College of Education; 352-273-4325; jsuper@coe.ufl.edu
Writer: Kelsie Ozanne, news and communications office, UF College of Education; kozanne@ufl.edu
Media Relations: Larry Lansford, director, news and communications, UF College of Education; 352-273-4173; llansford@coe.ufl.edu

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Counselor Ed’s Kristina DePue receives national research honor

ACES President Heather Trepel presents research award to Kristina DePue

ACES President Heather Trepal presents research award
to Kristina DePue

After nearly three-and-half years of conducting behind-the-scenes research, Kristina DePue was suddenly overcome with emotions earlier this month when she was thrust into the spotlight in her field of counselor education.

“Honestly, I broke into tears,” DePue said when she received one of the most prestigious awards given annually by the American Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES).

DePue, an assistant professor of counselor education at the University of Florida College of Education, accepted the Research in Counselor Education and Supervision Award at the southern region ACES conference in New Orleans attended by scores of her peers from across the country.

“I was shocked,” DePue said. “It was an honor to be recognized, especially as I’m one of the newer faculty members in our field.”

Lead author on research project

DePue was the lead author of a research project that measured the strength of the relationships between graduate student counselors and their supervisors, as well as the relationships between these students and their clients.

The clients are people who come for therapy because of they are under mental distress, such as depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation. Professors in the studies provided live clinical supervision of graduate students, as is typical in counseling education.

The report, titled “Investigating Supervisory Relationships and Therapeutic Alliances Using Structural Equation Modeling,” is slated to appear in the December issue of ACES’ Counselor Education and Supervision, a leading journal in the counseling field.

Benefits of strong student-supervisor relationships

The study found counseling trainees who reported strong relationships with their supervisors also had the strongest relationships with their clients. In a follow up study, DePue and her co-authors discovered that both the relationship between the client and counselor, and the relationship between the counselor and supervisor predicted client improvements.

Counterintuitively, DePue’s studies show these relationships work independently of each other. While these findings may seem obvious, they are not linear — in contrast what was previously thought. Instead, the two relationships (supervisor-supervisee and client-counselor) work independently, though both directly impact client change.

DePue and her co-authors are submitting this second study to the Journal of Counseling and Development.

Although the importance of supervision is undeniable, few researchers have investigated the influence of the supervisor-supervisee relationship on whether clients’ distress is lessened in therapy, Jacqueline Swank, UF assistant professor of counselor education, wrote in a letter nominating DePue for the award.

DePue came to UF in 2013 after earning a doctorate in counselor education from the University of Central Florida, where data for the study was collected. The project had the participation of 169 master’s-level counseling trainees and 253 clients served by UCF’s community counseling center.

DePue led a team of three other researchers: Ren Liu, a doctoral student in the UF College of Education’s Research and Evaluation Methodology (REM) program, Glenn Lambie, a professor of counselor education at the University of Central Florida, and Jessica Gonzalez, an assistant professor in counseling and career development at Colorado State University.

Sources: Kristina DePue, 352-273-4339, Kathryn Henderson, ACES awards co-chair

Writer: Charles Boisseau, 352-273-4449 (office), 352-431-2269 (cell)

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Athletes have coaches, why not teachers?

The Lastinger Center’s Coaching Academy has become a national leader in certifying teacher coaches in preschool through high school.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — NFL quarterback Tom Brady has a coach. So does tennis superstar Serena Williams. Same goes for many of America’s most successful CEOs.

So why not teachers?

Scholars at the University of Florida’s College of Education and two nonprofit educational organizations are recommending just that: all teachers should have a skilled coach as a way to improve the nation’s educational system.

Research has shown that strong coaching can enhance a teacher’s practice and student learning — yet a majority of teachers say they don’t receive regular professional coaching, according to a new report from the UF Lastinger Center for Learning, developed jointly with the groups Learning Forward and Public Impact.

“Coaching is for everyone,” said Don Pemberton, director of the Lastinger Center, which serves as the college’s teaching and learning innovation incubator.

“There is kind of a stigma in education that coaches are only provided to the weak teachers,” Pemberton said. “In our work, we have reimagined coaching for all teachers. Anyone can gain value from it as they do in sports, and as CEOs do. We believe that should be the case in education. It’s really about human development.”

Only half of teachers receive coaching

Graphic - Intensive Coaching Relatively Rare
Nationwide, just half of teachers reported receiving coaching in a recent 12-month period, and only 12 percent had weekly coaching sessions, according to a 2014 survey funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and cited by the researchers.

This new report, “Coaching for Impact: Six Pillars to Create Coaching Roles that Achieve Their Potential to Improve Teaching and Learning,” is aimed at schools and administrators nationwide in hopes of developing a framework and conversation about the importance of teacher coaches. The UF Lastinger Center teamed up on the research, writing and dissemination of the report with Learning Forward, a Dallas-based professional association for kindergarten-to-12th-grade teachers, and Public Impact, a Carrboro, N.C.-based organization working to improve learning for all U.S. children.

UF education professor emerita Dorene Ross served as project leader for the Lastinger Center.

Pemberton said the report comes at a time that schools across the country are spending tens of millions of dollars on implementing some form of coaching for teachers but these programs haven’t been fully conceptualized and developed to have the greatest impact.

“The question is how to get more value? It’s a field that is ready for some innovation,” Pemberton said.

The report serves as a roadmap for schools: It summarizes the findings of academic research, provides effective coaching models and makes recommendations for incorporating high-quality coaching in the daily routine at schools.

Six ‘pillars’ for coaching programs

The authors cite six “pillars” necessary to implement successful coaching programs:

  • Commitment of education system leaders
  • Careful selection of teacher coaches
  • Shared responsibility for student outcomes by the coaches and the teachers they coach
  • Clarification of roles, time allotted and culture
  • Adequate training and support
  • Improved compensation for coaches to attract and retrain great teachers in coaching positions

Pemberton and Ross acknowledged more study was needed about ways budget-constrained school districts can provide higher or “differentiated” pay to teacher coaches.

One step toward that goal is professionalizing the coaching field through formal certification programs. The Lastinger Center’s Coaching Academy has become a national leader in certifying teacher coaches in preschool through high school, with more than 1,500 coaches either certified or currently enrolled in the program.

It is working with seven Florida school districts(1), all 30 of Florida’s early learning coalitions, and the Charleston, S.C., school system to develop coaching programs, including specialty ones aimed at early childhood education, literacy and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). The center also has contracted with the state of Georgia to develop a statewide designation for preschool coaching.

Ross said, “We think the more school districts invest in coaching the more they will realize how valuable coaching is, especially as coaches show they are truly improving the practice of teachers and, ultimately, student achievement.”


(1) NOTE:  The seven Florida school districts working with the UF Lastinger Center’s teacher-coaching program are in Alachua, Duval, Indian River, Miami-Dade, Orange, Palm Beach and Seminole counties.


Source: Don Pemberton, 352-273-4100, UF Lastinger Center for Learning
Source: Dorene Ross, 352-538-1920, UF Lastinger Center for Learning
Writer: Charles Boisseau, UF College of Education news & communications office, 352-273-4449

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National survey: UF education students score high marks in voter participation

Register to Vote Oct. 6

The College of Education and the Bob Graham Center for Public Service will co-host a voter registration event at Norman Hall Thursday, Oct. 6, from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Students not yet registered are encouraged to participate as we aim to boost student participation higher, not only in the College of Education but across UF’s campus. Can’t make it? Register at https://ufl.turbovote.org.

The University of Florida’s campus report from a national study of college student voting participation follows a national trend: In national elections, a higher percentage of education majors vote than students in any other field of study.

The National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement (NSLVE), conducted by the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education at Tufts University, involved 783 participating institutions of higher education and 7.4 million college students.

The findings reflected the percentage of each institution’s students who were eligible to vote and who actually voted in the 2012 presidential election and the 2014 midterm elections.

In the 2012 election, 65 percent of UF College of Education students voted – the highest rate among 20 fields of study on campus. That also is 10 points higher than the national average for all education students in the study.

Campuswide, UF’s student body surpassed the national average for college student voter turnout in 2012 with a 61 percent voting rate, well above the national average of 45 percent.

The 2014 national midterm election had a much lower voter turnout across the board, but UF education students maintained their high voter turnout with 38 percent, compared to 24 percent for all UF colleges. The national average was less than 19 percent—not even half the voting rate of UF education students.

UF Student Voter Participation Rates

Source: the NSLVE campus report for the University of Florida, showing voting percentages across all UF students.

 

Adam Gismondi, a program administrator at Tuft’s Institute for Democracy and Higher Education and, coincidentally, a graduate of the UF College of Education master’s program in Student Personnel in Higher Education, said it’s difficult to know why education majors vote at such a high rate.

“One possible explanation is the demographic makeup of the field of education, which leans heavily toward female students,” he said. “Women are more likely to vote than the average. Another explanation may be that the work being done in education majors tends to relate to issues intertwined with civics and politics. The students are likely engaging actively with social and political issues that raise civic awareness and foster a spirit of citizenship.”

NSLVE data above analyzes voting patterns of millions of college students across the country.

 

Elizabeth Washington, a UF Social Studies Education professor and a senior fellow for the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship at UF, had this to say about the strong voting participation of UF education students: “I don’t have data to support my assertions, but my educated guess would be that our students have an immediate concern in public education that gets their attention and that they know it’s always a high-stakes political issue that impacts them personally.”

Nancy Thomas, director of the Tufts Institute for Democracy & Higher Education, remarked on the implications of different voting rates between students in various fields of study: “The fact that education and humanities majors vote at significantly higher rates than their peers in the STEM disciplines has both policy and political implications. We know that young people who engage in civic life early on develop lifelong habits. Regardless of their chosen field, all college and university students should be educated for democracy.”


Writer: Kelsie Ozanne, news and communications office, UF College of Education; kozanne@ufl.edu
Media Relations: Larry Lansford, director, news and communications, UF College of Education; 352-273-4173; llansford@coe.ufl.edu

 

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UF awarded $3.5 million to help improve social, emotional behavior of schoolchildren

Ann Daunic, Stephen Smith, Nancy Corbett and James Algina

Ann Daunic, Stephen Smith, Nancy Corbett and James Algina

 

Ever since teachers have taught they have also had to manage the behavior of their students.

But in recent years primary grade teachers are reporting a spike in the number of young children who struggle to handle their emotions and regulate their behaviors – meaning more students have issues such as being unable to follow instructions, resorting to tantrums and arguing with peers.

Now, scholars from the University of Florida College of Education have begun research on a curriculum they hope will provide teachers and schools with new tools to improve the social and emotional “literacy” of the youngest schoolchildren.

The researchers recently received a $3.5 million federal grant to study the effectiveness of the Social-Emotional Learning Foundations (SELF) curriculum they developed through a previous pilot study.

Thousands of schoolchildren to participate

“If these children don’t receive some support during this critical time they could develop more serious and chronic behavioral problems that will interfere with their future school success.”

Ann Daunic, principal investigator

Approximately 1,400 students in kindergarten and first grade at 60 urban and rural elementary schools in Florida will participate in the project following a screening process to select students at risk for emotional and behavioral problems. In this first year, 20 schools in five school districts have signed on – in Baker, Bradford, Levy, Marion and Putnam counties. Twenty more as-yet-identified schools will participate in each of the subsequent two years.

“If these children don’t receive some support during this critical time they could develop more serious and chronic behavioral problems that will interfere with their future school success,” said Ann Daunic, scholar emeritus at the UF College of Education and principal investigator on the project.

“As a matter of fact, researchers have determined that social-emotional development is closely linked to future academic performance,” she said.

Co-principal investigators on the project – also from the UF College of Education – are: Nancy Corbett, assistant scholar in special education, Stephen Smith, professor of special education, and James Algina, professor emeritus of research and evaluation methodology.

The four-year study is funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education.

Daunic said research shows that about 10 percent of students who receive special education services have been diagnosed with emotional and behavioral disorders. But these students are not usually identified until they approach adolescence, particularly those who have internalizing problems such as anxiety and depression – which are more difficult for teachers to spot than externalizing behaviors such as class disruption, aggression or defiance.

Curriculum includes 50 lessons

The new UF study is designed to identify and help children earlier who may have these problems. The researchers will measure the effectiveness of a curriculum that includes 50 lessons integrated with selected storybooks, given over 16 to 20 weeks.

According to Co-PI Corbett, “These lessons are designed to help students build social-emotional competencies such as learning to identify emotions – their own and others’ – to develop self-management and relationship skills and assume responsibility for their own behavior.”

While about one-third of the lessons will be provided to the entire class, the majority of SELF lessons will be given to small groups of the preselected students who are at risk of developing emotional and behavioral issues, Corbett said.

This approach is one way the UF project differs from previous research, explained Daunic. “The small group setting allows these children more time to develop receptive and expressive language skills that are fundamental to social-emotional growth.”

Students at participating schools will be assessed before and after program delivery and measured against control group students, to see how much of a difference the curriculum makes. The researchers expect to see improvements, based on findings from a previous pilot study.

“We hope to determine whether the curriculum enhances students’ social-emotional development and overall adjustment to school,” Daunic said. “This project will make an important contribution to researchers and practitioners looking to help children at risk for emotional and behavioral problems.”


Source: Ann Daunic, 352-359-1871
Writer: Charles Boisseau, 352-273-4449

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International group installs COE professor as president-elect

 

Ester de JongThe world’s largest organization of educators committed to advancing English language teaching for non-English speaking students has installed a UF College of Education professor and school director as its president-elect.

Ester de Jong, professor of ESOL/bilingual education and director of the college’s School of Teaching and Learning, has assumed the penultimate leadership post for TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) International Association and is on track to become the group’s president at the TESOL convention in Seattle in March 2017.

TESOL is a professional community of more than 12,500 members—educators, researchers, administrators and students—representing 156 countries.

“Teaching English to English learners involves many complex issues, with equity and access, technology use and multilingualism playing important roles,” de Jong said. “TESOL is in a unique position to advocate for professionalism in English teaching around the world that is responsive to these global trends.”

De Jong said she values the personal and professional opportunity her leadership role in TESOL offers as a forum for shaping and sharing the group’s important message.

“One of my goals is to raise awareness of the multilingual realities in which English teaching and learning takes place and how it contributes to developing bilingual multilingual competence for speakers from diverse backgrounds,” she said.

In addition to her UF appointment as STL director, de Jong continues to be involved in teaching and research projects related to language policy, bilingual education and mainstream teacher preparation for bilingual learners. In 2013 she received the Award for Excellence in Research on Bilingual Education from the National Association of Two-Way and Dual Language Education. She is widely published in peer-reviewed academic journals on bilingual and language education and policy and has published a book titled “Foundations of Multilingualism in Education: From Principles to Practice,” which focuses on working with multilingual children in K-12 schools.

De Jong also was the lead investigator on a recently completed, seven-year study, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, to assess and advance the teaching of English language learners in Florida’s public schools. She is currently a co-principal investigator on a Florida Department of Education grant involving the creation of a Center of Excellence in Elementary Teacher Preparation at UF’s College of Education.

De Jong has an Ed.D. in literacy, language and cultural studies from Boston University and joined the UF education faculty in 2001.


SOURCE: Ester de Jong, 352-273-4227 ; edejong@coe.ufl.edu
WRITER
: Larry Lansford, communications director, UF College of Education; 352-273-4137;
llansford@coe.ufl.edu

 

 

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UF Foundation selects education professor for research award

Mary Brownell

Mary Brownell

The University of Florida Foundation has selected education professor Mary Brownell to receive one of just two grants given annually to university faculty members to advance their critical research projects.

Brownell, a leading scholar and policy expert in special education and teacher preparation, said the $25,000 UF Foundation Term Professorship Award would allow her to develop ways of improving the practices of new teachers and interns, especially for teaching students with disabilities.

UF created the special three-year award in 2013 to support Florida’s overall goal of becoming a preeminent global university by addressing complex societal issues. It is given annually to two research professors.

Brownell said the award would help her work on two related projects.

First, she and her research assistants will develop a digital assessment tool to allow faculty members to better evaluate the learning opportunities education students have when they work as teaching assistants in K-12 schools.

“The problem is that we assume school-based experiences improve teaching. Yet, we really do not know what it is about these that make them effective,” Brownell said. “If we are going to improve teaching, we need to better understand the aspects that work best.

“With this assessment tool you’ll be able to examine the best practices and link those back to teacher and student performance.”

Secondly, she wants to work with education technology colleagues to tap virtual technology in a fresh way to improve teacher practice. This would involve the use of video and simulations of specific practices of effective teachers.

She said such tools are underused in the education field though they are becoming widespread in training students in other professions, such as medicine, nursing and information sciences.

Brownell said she felt honored to receive the highly competitive award, for which she was recommended by the College of Education’s research advisory committee. But perhaps just importantly her selection shines a light on the College of Education.

“Education sometimes doesn’t get the attention and respect that it deserves, not only nationally but locally,” Brownell said. “Putting a spotlight on the college could be the nicest part of the award.”

Brownell joined the University of Florida faculty in 1990 and has a lengthy list of accomplishments, including publishing more than 100 scholarly works and securing $42 million in federal grants to fund education research. She directs the college’s CEEDAR Center to improve the preparation of teachers and leaders working with students with disabilities. It was launched with a record $25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. CEEDAR is short for Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability and Reform.


Source: Mary Brownell, 352-273-4261
Writer: Charles Boisseau, 352-273-4449

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COE doctoral student honored for ‘teaching tolerance’

Cody Miller and one of his ninth-grade English students.

Cody Miller and one of his ninth-grade English students.

Ninth-grade students at P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School are starting the school year today in the classroom of a language arts teacher who has recently gained state and national attention for his effective instructional methods.

Cody Miller, 27, who is in his fourth year teaching ninth grade English language arts, reaches far and wide for inspiration to teach writing and literature to students — and it is paying off.

Miller was one of five U.S. educators honored for excellence by the Southern Poverty Law Center at a July ceremony in Montgomery, Alabama.  The center’s Teaching Tolerance project says it selects K-12 teachers who excel at reducing prejudice and supporting equitable experiences among students for the $2,500 biennial award.

Miller also was among a select group of Florida instructors ranked by Florida Department of Education for having the highest impact on the academic growth of their students during the past three years.

In addition to teaching high schoolers, Miller is pursuing a doctorate in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in English education from UF College of Education.

In an interview, Miller talked about his teaching philosophy and the methods he uses to engage students in literature and language arts.

“Helping students become both writers and readers and understanding that literacy and literature is a way for them to gain autonomy and power in society really drives my English language arts curriculum,” Miller says.

He credits Paulo Freire, an influential Brazilian educator and thinker, for being a big influence. Freire emphasized dialogue with students and concern for the oppressed.

Miller says students aren’t empty vessels, that education is a relationship between teacher and students as opposed to a “banking model” in which the educator makes deposits into the mind of the student.

Educator Rudine Sims Bishop, a professor of emeritus at Ohio State University, who pioneered what she called a “windows and mirrors” concept to children’s literature, also has influenced Miller.

“Students should be able to have literature and poetry and narratives that act as mirrors so they can see themselves and windows so they can see other people’s experiences,” Miller says.

He tries to set this foundation from the first day of class when students exchange personal letters with him about their learning experiences and later as they “co-create” the curriculum for the class.

In addition to classics such as “Romeo & Juliet,” Miller assigns texts like “If You Could Be Mine” by Sarah Farizan, an Iranian-American who writes about a teenage lesbian in Tehran, where homosexuality can be punished by death. Such books inevitably become a rich source of dialogue and study among students and often gives them the courage to tell their own stories in and out of the classroom, Miller says.

In a recent video about Miller, several of his teenage students were asked to describe him in one word. Among the responses: “woke” (meaning aware of injustices), “intelligent” and “decolonial.”

Miller co-sponsors the “De-colonizing Club,” a lunchtime discussion group open to all students to explore globalization and how colonialism and the dominant U.S. and Western culture has influenced their identities. He also leads school-wide professional development on creating inclusive spaces and curriculum for LGBTQ students.

After he completes his doctorate degree, expected in 2009, Miller wants transition to a career as a professor of English education. “I would eventually like to work with future teachers and think about how I can broaden my sphere of influence,” he says.


Source: Cody Miller, 352-392-1554
Writer: Charles Boisseau, 352-273-4449

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COE alumna Stacy Ellis named new UF Baby Gator director

COE alum Stacy Ellis (right) succeeds retired director Pam Pallas as Baby Gator director.

COE alumna Stacy Ellis (right) succeeds newly retired Pam Pallas as UF Baby Gator director.

After conducting a national search, the University of Florida has named a College of Education alumna as the new director of Baby Gator Child Development and Research Centers at UF.

Deciding the best candidate was already on staff, the university appointed Stacy Ellis, formerly the associate director for organizational operations at Baby Gator. She is a 2008 education doctoral graduate in curriculum and instruction.

Her promotion became effective June 17. Ellis succeeded Pamela Pallas, who retired after 13 years as Baby Gator director. Pallas also was a clinical associate professor in early childhood studies at the College of Education.

With Pallas at the helm, Baby Gator went through a growth spurt that saw it blossom into a nationally recognized center. Baby Gator is known both for its innovative daycare services and its collaboration with UF faculty researchers in cutting-edge early childhood studies.

In 2010, Baby Gator became the hub of the research activities for the new UF Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies, which last year was renamed after COE alumna and major donor Anita Zucker. Ellis replaces Pallas on the center’s leadership team.

Before receiving her doctorate in education, Ellis earned her master’s in family, youth and community services in 2002 and her bachelor’s in human resource development in 1999, all at UF.

Ellis originally joined Baby Gator in 2004 as a teacher in the two-year-olds class and then rejoined in 2008 after completing her graduate degree. She quickly moved up the ranks from teacher, assistant director of educational programming, associate director for organizational operations, and now director.

Ellis says her major focuses as she steps into the new role will be to increase salaries for Baby Gator teachers, introduce new research based practices, and build on Baby Gator’s long-standing relationship with the College of Education and the Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood studies.

“We have a model demonstration program that is nationally recognized,” she said. “My ultimate goal is to expand on that and push Baby Gator towards innovation in the early childhood field.”

Pallas said that Ellis’ knowledge, experience and ideals, from both her College of Education theoretical background and her years of practical experience at Baby Gator, made her the top candidate for the position.

“I know she will help grow, achieve and maintain Baby Gator’s well-deserved recognition under her tenure as director,” Pallas said..

When Pallas arrived in 2003, Baby Gator was enrolling around 80 students and had only one location. Now, Ellis takes over a center that enrolls 333 children across their three centers and maintains a long waiting list.

Ellis will oversee Baby Gator’s continued growth as it strives for preeminence in the field and is working cooperatively with the Anita Zucker Center and community agencies to partner in unique ways.


Writer: Kelsie Ozanne, news and communications office, UF College of Education; kozanne@ufl.edu
Media Relations: Larry Lansford, director, news and communications, UF College of Education; 352-273-4173; llansford@coe.ufl.edu

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UF awarded $10M to personalize online math learning

The UF College of Education is assembling top faculty researchers from multiple fields to seek solutions in two critical areas of 21st century education – personalizing online math instruction and adapting educational technology for students with visual impairments.

The studies are funded by two grants, worth more than $10 million combined, from the Institute of Education Sciences, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education.

Massive data mining for personalized learning

Nearly $9 million of the grant money supports a new project called Precision Education: Virtual Learning Lab, which bring together top experts in informatics, math education and professional development for teachers. Their charge is to advance a new approach for exploring massive sets of student data to update and personalize virtual instruction for math students.

Carole Beal

Carole Beal

“With the increased use of computers in education, the large-scale mining of existing education data represents a big new opportunity for computers to help teachers adapt their practice for today’s digltal world and help their students to improve their virtual learning,” said UF education technology Professor Carole R. Beal, the principal investigator of both studies.

The new Virtual Learning Lab comprises faculty researchers at UF and the University of Notre Dame, and experts from Study Edge, a Gainesville-based online tutoring company.

Over the next five years, the researchers will conduct studies in the emerging discipline known as precision education, which uses education data from prior students—such as standardized test scores, personal traits, teaching methods used and school administrative records—to personalize the learning experience for future students.

No more one-size-fits-all lesson plans geared to some “statistically average” student profile.

The researchers will focus on online or virtual learners, relying on the hot, new education technology of “big data” learning analysis. Their approach has them using powerful “supercomputers” to rapidly scrutinize the massive education data, plus figures from students’ use of interactive or group learning tools.

“Our grand challenge is to improve the achievement of struggling online students,” said Beal, who was recruited from the University of Arizona in 2014 to head the new UF Online Learning Institute. “We will design new teacher development programs on the use of learning analytics and personalizing instruction, and how to track student progress when every student is doing something unique.”

Researchers at the Virtual Learning Lab will develop and test their personalized model of precision education on a popular online tutoring tool called Algebra Nation, which the UF Lastinger Center for Learning launched in 2013 in tandem with Study Edge. Algebra Nation has since been used by more than 3,000 teachers and 200,000 math students from all 67 Florida school districts—mostly ninth graders gearing up for the mandatory end-of-course exam in algebra 1.

The researchers delight at the wealth of revealing learning data the Algebra Nation students and program are generating. Near the end of the study, researchers will compare test results of students using the updated and personalized version of Algebra Nation with the scores of students who used the regular version.

Beal said the Virtual Learning Lab also will serve as a national hub for researchers nationwide—forming a network for sharing findings and collaborating on new efforts to advance the fledgling field of virtual precision education and personalized learning.

“Our findings in the Virtual Learning Lab project will serve as a national model for a new approach to developing online learning systems,” she said.

The project’s co-principal investigator is Walter Leite, UF professor of research and evaluation methodologies (REM) with expertise in big-data mining and learning analysis. Other College of Education faculty researchers involved are: Corrine Huggins-Manley (REM), and Don Pemberton and Philip Poekert from the college’s Lastinger Center for Learning.

Two other participating UF faculty scholars are: George Michailidis, director of the UF Informatics Institute; and Juan Gilbert, chairman of computer and information sciences and engineering, and a pioneer in the field of human-centered computing.

Other key team members are psychology and computer science professor Sidney D’Mello of the University of Notre Dame and online tutoring specialist Ethan Fieldman of Study Edge. 

Helping students with sight impairments solve online math problems with graphics

The theme of personalized online learning carries over to Beal’s second federal grant, a three-year, $1.4 million project to help solve the unique challenges that blind and visually impaired students must overcome in learning online.

Think about it: How can students who can’t see the images on their computer screen solve algebra or geometry problems filled with line, bar and circle graphs, figures, geometric shapes and maps?

Beal sought solutions to help these students for several years while at Arizona, and she is expanding her studies now with her new UF colleagues. She said one of her ongoing research interests is to explore how technology can make online learning more accessible to students with special needs.

“In my investigations, I have found that students who appear disengaged in the traditional classroom are often among the most active learners in the online learning setting,” she said.

N.-Gage

Nicholas Gage

Beal has assembled a research team with colleagues from both Arizona and Florida to explore how technology can make online learning more accessible to students with special needs. They are Nicholas Gage from UF’s special education program as co-principal investigator, and, from Arizona, Sunggye Hong and L. Penny Rosenblum, both education researchers in disability and psycho-educational studies.

The researchers will develop and test an iPad-based instructional system to train students with visual impairments to locate and decipher targeted information in math graphics problems. The system includes audio, print and braille cues in accompanying books to point users to targeted graphics and word problems.

Beal said they plan to recruit up to 150 middle and high school students with visual impairments for the project from regular schools and specialized residential programs in Florida, Arizona and other states.

“Some of our students will be from regular schools and receiving special education services, while others attend specialized residential programs such as the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine,” Beal said.

Dean Glenn Good of the UF College of Education called the federal grants awarded to Beal’s research teams “a major accomplishment in light of how extremely competitive it is to win major awards in education research.”

“The big winners from these projects,” Good said, “will be the struggling students who will benefit from the enhanced learning tools and teaching strategies that will help them succeed in their technology-based learning activities.”


SOURCE: Carole R. Beal, 352-273-4178; crbeal@coe.ufl.edu
WRITER
: Larry Lansford, communications director, UF College of Education; 352-273-4137;
llansford@coe.ufl.edu

 

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20 states join UF’s sweeping reform effort to boost teaching of students with disabilities

Mary Brownell

Mary Brownell

The recent addition of five new states rounds out a 20-state roster for a federally funded effort, led by the University of Florida, to help states vastly improve the effectiveness of teachers and public school principals who serve students with disabilities.

Supported by $25 million from the U.S. Department of Education, the UF College of Education has created a national center that is in the midst of a five-year, project to lead major reforms in policy and educator preparation. Their mission: to help states increase academic success for students with disabilities by improving the training and practices of their teachers and school leaders.

A team of faculty scholars from UF’s nationally ranked special education program heads the CEEDAR Center, based at the College of Education. CEEDAR is short for Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability and Reform.

Guidelines to meet needs of all students

The UF CEEDAR Center’s reach and scope extends beyond its 20 member states. Center leaders hope teaching strategies and standards proven successful in its federally supported project will be considered for adoption by all states.

Last year, the CEEDAR team joined forces with the Council of Chief State School Officers to distribute a nationwide report on “clear policy actions” and guidelines that education department leaders in every state can take to meet the needs of all their students, especially those with disabilities.

The CEEDAR Center was charged to partner with education leaders, groups and agencies, and university teacher prep programs from five states each year, from 2013 through 2016.

The latest and final five states to join—the “class of 2016”—are Kentucky, Mississippi, Colorado, Nevada and Rhode Island.

“We are thrilled to be part of the cutting-edge CEEDAR consortium and the technical assistance it offers,” said Ann Elisabeth Larson, dean of education and human development at the University of Kentucky. “Thls is an opportunity for the state of Kentucky to ensure that our teachers and school leaders are well prepared to provide the highest-quality instruction for all learners.”

Florida, the CEEDAR Center’s home state, was one of the first five states to join in the first-year cycle, along with California, Connecticut, Illinois and South Dakota. Year Two in 2014 saw Georgia, Montana, New Hampsire, Ohio and Utah come in. Last year, Arizona, Michigan, Missouri, Oregon and Tennessee were added.

“It is our intention that the 20 partnering state teams will benefit from the successes and lessons learned from each of the five-state cohorts before them,” said CEEDAR Center Director Mary Brownell, a UF special education professor. “The state teams will strengthen and initiate reform efforts to  significantly improve the preparation, licensing and evaluation of teachers and administrators who educate students with disabilities, from kindergarten through high school.”

Brownell said between 60 to 80 percent of students with disabilities spend time in general education classrooms, underlying the need to improve teaching and leadership in all schools.

The CEEDAR leadership team (clockwise from bottom left), : Erica McCray, Mary Brownell, Paul Sindelar, Meg Kamman (center coordinator)

The CEEDAR leadership team (clockwise from bottom left): Erica McCray, Mary Brownell, Paul Sindelar, Meg Kamman (center coordinator)

Brownell’s co-directors of CEEDAR are fellow UF special education professors Paul Sindelar and Erica McCray.

Each state CEEDAR team comprises general and special education faculty experts and administrators from state universities and teacher prep programs, and state education agency leaders and regulatory officials. The teams each have a designated leader and facilitator chosen from one of four participating national groups—the UF CEEDAR Center, the American Institutes for Research, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and the University of Kansas.

CEEDAR faculty and staff used a comprehensive vetting process to select the 20 partnering states, based on their needs and goals, level of commitment and engagement, collaborative spirit, level of support from state education officials, and other factors.

“Each state has their unique needs and solutions for raising the standard of teacher and principal preparation to advance inclusive education for students with disabilities,” Brownell said. “Connections and communication among the network of states and with the CEEDAR team are crucial to developing an effective, comprehensive course of action for each state.”

She said the CEEDAR strategy places heightened emphasis on exposing all students to high-quality instruction in reading, writing and mathematics. Instruction is based on two teaching frameworks that provide increasing levels of academic and behavioral support to any students who need it.

Brownell said educators in the 20 CEEDAR states gain access to a host of resources, including the consulting services of the CEEDAR faculty and staff and the center’s partnering support organizations. Those include the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, the Council for Exceptional Children, the Council for the Accreditation for Educator Preparation, the National Association of State Directors of Special Education and the Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps.

CEEDAR also stages webinars and workshops and has created a website with a Facebook-style “wall” for member-networking and sharing ideas. The site also offers numerous multi-media resources to help state teams bolster their knowledge of best teaching practices, teacher prep regulations, program licensure requirements, and other pertinent topics.

Brownell said many states are already developing detailed action plans, strengthening collaborations between state education interests, expanding professional development programs for teachers, redesigning their teacher prep programs, and enacting new standards so all teachers and principals can work successfully with students with special needs.

With 20 states enrolling five at a time at one-year intervals, she said their progress varies from state to state, but “we’re seeing very encouraging results.”

 


CONTACTS
   SOURCE: Mary Brownell, UF College of Education; 352-273-4261
   WRITER: Larry Lansford, communications director, UF College of Education; 352-273-4137

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New school director Holly Lane embraces tradition of ‘vigorous research’

Holly Lane

Holly Lane

The University of Florida College of Education has appointed one of its own—associate professor of special education Holly Lane—as the new director of the college’s School of Special Education, School Psychology and Early Childhood Studies (SESPECS).

Lane, an accomplished scholar in literacy education, has served as associate director of the school since 2012 and also coordinates its doctoral program in special education. She succeeds Jean Crockett, who is leaving the post after seven years to resume her teaching and research responsibilities as a professor of special education.

Lane and Crockett will share director duties during the summer transition until Lane assumes sole leadership on Aug. 16.

Lane said her most important role as school director will be to ascertain how she can best support faculty in their work —“and then keep everything else out of their way.”

“We have an exceptional group of scholars and teachers, so supporting their outstanding work will be my top priority. With several retirements coming over the next few years, I also expect new faculty recruitment, development, and mentoring to be a large part of the job,” she said.

Currently, Lane also directs the University of Florida Literacy Initiative (UFLI), a joint program of the College of Education and its affiliated P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School—with several outreach and public-school projects designed to help students who struggle to read or write.

Her research interests include literacy intervention and prevention of reading difficulties through effective early literacy instruction and teacher education. She has published a multitude of peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and a book.

In her 22 years at UF, Lane has served as the lead or co-principal investigator on contracts and grants totaling more than $8 million. She and faculty colleague Nicholas Gage were recently awarded a $1.25 million grant from the federal Office of Special Education Programs to support a doctoral leadership training program focusing on special education.

She also leads the evaluation of a intensive reading improvement effort called “Winning Reading Boost,” developed by the college’s Lastinger Center for Learning. The program, funded in March with $400,000 from the Florida Legislature, is being used to help five failing elementary schools in south St. Petersburg improve the reading of their most struggling students.

Lane said sustaining the school’s strong research program is an ongoing priority for SESPECS.

“A vigorous program of funded research allows for more flexibility in what we do as a school,” she said.

Lane also is strong on teaching and academics. In 2014, she was instrumental in helping the college’s dual certification program—in elementary and special education—become one of the first teacher preparation programs in the nation to receive accreditation from the International Dyslexia Association.

She earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in special education from UF and is previous winner of the college’s Outstanding Graduate Teacher Award. She is the 2016 vice president of the Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children and is on track for the group’s presidency in 2018.

Lane taught special education in public schools for eight years in three North Florida counties before joining UF’s education faculty in 1994.

Her predecessor as school director, Jean Crockett, has headed SESPECS for the past seven years.

Jean Crockett

Jean Crockett

CROCKETT’S TENURE AS DIRECTOR NOTED FOR MILESTONES

During Crockett’s tenure:

  • Two major centers for research and professional development were established: the interdisciplinary Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies, and CEEDAR, the Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability and Reform. The latter center was created with the aid of a $25 million federal grant, the largest award in College of Education history;
  • Federal research and training funds generated by SESPECS faculty more than tripled from $15 million to $52 million;
  • The school added seven faculty members, including two as part of UF’s top-10 Preeminence initiative;
  • Crockett’s program, special education, consistently ranked among the top five in its specialty area in the U.S.. News and World Report rankings.
  • Seven Ph.D. graduates captured prestigious national dissertation research awards.

Students in UF’s special education program will benefit from Crockett’s return to teaching and research. She is an acknowledged leader in the field, previously serving as president of the Division for Research of the international Council for Exceptional Children from 2007-2011.

Crockett, who has a doctorate in special education from the University of Virginia (1997), has served as special education editor of the Journal of Law and Education for 15 years. She has published five books and multiple book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles. Since 2008, she has designed and produce the “Doctoral Student Seminars in Special Education Research,” an online seminar series engaging 10 doctoral students scholars selected annually through a national competition sponsored by the Council for Exceptional Children.

“I have had the opportunity to support programs and scholars who are nationally and internationally recognized for the strength of their research and influence on public policy,” Crockett said. “I am confident that Dr. Lane will build on these impressive strengths with innovative and creative leadership. I wish her all the very best.”


CONTACTS
   SOURCEHolly Lane, PhD. UF College of Education; 352-273-4273
   SOURCEJean Crockett, UF College of Education; 352-273-4292
   WRITER: Larry Lansford, communications director, UF College of Education; 352-273-4137

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Nepali PhD candidate cited for promoting global engagement

uttam-giving-speech

Uttam Gaulee speaks at Turlington Plaza during a vigil to commemorate the earthquake victims in Nepal.

Nepal native Uttam Gaulee has scaled some impressive peaks as he has pursued a doctorate in higher education administration at the UF College of Education.

Earlier this year, he was one of 10 scholars nationwide chosen by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) to receive the 2016 K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award, which recognizes leadership ability in teaching and learning.

The AACU was impressed with Gaulee’s academic work and contributions to the university and the community. He represents “the finest in the new generation of faculty who will be leading higher education in the next decades,” AACU President Carol Geary Schneider wrote in a letter announcing Gaulee’s award.

In May, Gaulee defended his dissertation for a doctorate in Higher Education Administration with a research paper titled “American Students’ Experiences with their International Peers on Campus: Understanding Roadblocks, Enhancing Pathways of Global Engagement.”

He used surveys, interviews and focus groups to uncover roadblocks to improving global engagement among U.S. students. Despite the professed importance of “global competency” in an increasingly interconnected world, he found that most domestic students largely missed opportunities to create rich meaningful relationships with foreign students.

Gaulee’s interest in international learning stems from his personal journey, which began on the other side of the globe, in a valley not far from the world’s tallest mountains.

He grew up as the eldest boy of eight children in a poor family in the small city of Surkhet. His parents were subsistence farmers. No relatives had ever attended college. But Gaulee showed academic promise, became a star student and pursued a college degree while working as a high school English teacher.

In an interview, Gaulee laughed about how naïve he was and how limited his worldview had been.

“In Nepali, my name means the best,” Gaulee said. “And I grew up thinking my family is the best, my country is the best, my language is the best, and so on.  It wasn’t until I was able to cross those hills and was exposed to other parts of the world that I learned from people from many different countries.”

In time, he traveled to Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, where he earned a master’s in education from Tribhuvan University and then to England for an international academic conference. This led him to apply for and receive a Fulbright Scholarship to earn another master’s degree, in education administration and policy studies, at the University of Pittsburgh.

In 2012, Gaulee came to UF, where he has worked closely with Dale Campbell, professor and coordinator of higher education administration, who chaired of his dissertation committee, and with David Miller, his committee co-chair and director of the School of Human Development and Organizational Studies in Education.

Gaulee’s interest in improving global relationships has stretched across UF’s campus. He served as a graduate student senator to the Student Government and spearheaded the effort to rename the campus’ North Lawn the “Global Garden” to serve as a social space where U.S. and international students can gather and learn about each other’s cultures. The space also would display artifacts from around the world, highlighting UF’s commitment to creating a globalized community of scholars and students. The Student Government passed a resolution calling on the university to create the garden.

Miller said he first met Gaulee when he directed a task force that formulated the Learning without Borders: Internationalizing the Gator Nation initiative, a plan designed to improve student engagement in international learning experiences.

“Uttam has shown remarkable passion and leadership in creating opportunities for students to heighten their international awareness,” Miller said. “I expect he will continue to be a driving force in internationalizing student experiences at whatever institute of higher education he ends up in.”

Gaulee is on track to receive his doctorate in August and then he and his wife plan to return to Nepal. He is considering an opportunity to serve as a leader at a new university in his hometown in hopes of improving Nepalese and international higher education at large.

“I’m grateful for all the opportunities I have had to keep learning,” Gaulee said. “I want to help others to do the same, and inspire them to learn about different cultures and societies.”


Source: Uttam Gaulee, 412-805-4745
Writer: Charles Boisseau, news and communications, UF College of Education; 352-273-4449

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Acclaimed scholars to participate in UF’s first International Teacher Leadership Conference

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Globally recognized speakers and researchers are beginning to line up to participate in the University of Florida College of Education’s first international academic conference to explore the crucial role a new generation of “teacher leaders” can have in improving public schools and student achievement.

The International Teacher Leadership Conference, scheduled March 2-3 in Miami, is designed to bring together scholars and practitioners from across Florida, the country and the world to examine the emerging field of teacher leadership.

The conference is being organized by the Lastinger Center for Learning, the College of Education’s R&D arm that spearheads professional development programs to improve teaching and learning in schools and districts across Florida and beyond.

Conference organizers have already begun receiving proposals for research papers and presentations, and they hope to get hundreds by the June 30 submission deadline. They also have confirmed keynote speakers who are widely known for their methods of teaching and scholarship to improve education from the inside out.

Registration for the conference opens Sept. 1. The registration fee is $250. There are 150 scholarships available for teachers who will make presentations at the conference. Scholarships will cover registration fee and lodging.

The formal title of the conference is “Co-constructing a New Vision for Teacher Leadership: A Conversation Among Scholars and Practitioners About Teacher Leadership.”

Among other things, conference goers will discuss what educators mean by teacher leadership, which in the broadest terms refers teachers who lead school improvements in and outside of their classrooms.

“The field still lacks a common conception of the meaning of teacher leaders,” said Philip Poekert, assistant director of the Lastinger Center. “Our hope is the conference will create a framework for conversations and research about effective teacher leadership.”

Many educators increasingly view teacher leadership as a way to drive school improvement and enhance educational outcomes. For many years, scholars have been examining teacher leadership and have explored aspects such as the influence teacher leaders can have and how they can spark student achievement.

“Teacher leadership has become a central part of school reform efforts across the world,” said Tom Dana, associate dean of the UF College of Education. “This is an ideal time to create an exchange of ideas among scholars and practitioners to better understand teacher leadership and to advance the theory and practice in the field.”

The upcoming conference is the latest element of a new UF College of Education program to develop leadership skills among kindergarten-to-high school teachers. In February, the Lastinger Center selected 40 teachers for a new Florida Teacher Leader Fellows program to build a statewide teacher leadership network, improve the quality of classroom teaching and enhance outcomes for students.

The 18-month professional development program will conclude at the Miami conference, where these practicing teacher leaders will interact with education scholars from around the world. Below are confirmed speakers for the conference.

  • Gloria Ladson-Billings’ research examines the practices of teachers who are successful in multicultural classrooms. She is the author of critically acclaimed books, including “The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children.” She holds the Kellner Family Distinguished Chair in Urban Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also is past president of American Educational Research Association.
  • Nancy Fichtman Dana is a best-selling author and expert in the study of practitioner inquiry. She serves as a professor of education in the School of Teaching and Learning at UF’s College of Education. Author of 10 books and over 60 articles, she has coached numerous teachers across the country and abroad in the study of their own teaching and leadership practice.
  • John MacBeath is professor emeritus at the University of Cambridge and has authored or co-authored 20 books on education. He serves as director of Leadership for Learning at the Cambridge Network and projects director for the Centre for Commonwealth Education. His research focuses on educational leadership, and he also has worked with schools, education authorities and national governments on school self-evaluation.

See the conference website to learn more about the event, submission guidelines, and other details.


Writer: Charles Boisseau, 352-273-4449
Media Liaison: Larry Lansford, director of News and Communications, 352-273-4137

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Q & A with Kara Dawson on closing the ‘digital divide’

Kara Dawson

Kara Dawson is the College of Education’s newest Irving and Rose Fien Professor.

It was in 1990 when Kara Dawson gained an insight that was to become the central focus of her research career as a professor of educational technology.

Back then she was teaching 5th, 6th and 7th graders in Virginia Beach, Virginia, at a time when personal computers were just catching on and the invention of the first internet browser was three years away. Dawson attended a workshop on authoring software and began experimenting with using technology in her classroom as a way to engage struggling students.

Fien Professorship boosts Dawson’s research and teaching

Kara Dawson received the College of Education’s Irving and Rose Fien Professorship for 2015-2018.

The professorship provides:

  • $15,000 annual research fund
  • A half-time research assistant
  • $15,000 annual salary supplement

The grant is helping to advance Dawson’s research to promote technology use for all students, including:

  • Creating a network of teacher fellows to engage in a study of technology practices in classrooms.
  • Coordinating an annual interactive lecture series on the topic to connect a community of interested individuals.
  • Supporting doctoral students interested in this area through travel funds and other opportunities.

She soon came to see that educational technologies could improve the learning outcomes for virtually all students. She became her school’s technology integration specialist and in 1994 she returned to college to earn a doctorate in the emerging field of instructional technology from the University of Virginia.

In 1999, she came to the University of Florida’s College of Education and has served as coordinator for the educational technology program and co-developed five advanced degree programs, both online and for the classroom. Her many research projects have included:

  • Evaluating the effectiveness of multimedia and mobile apps for dyslexic schoolchildren
  • Studying how students with different cognitive profiles learn in multimedia environments
  • Investigating a growing “digital divide” whereby middle-school students’ socioeconomic status, gender and ethnic background affect their computer savvy

Last year, the College of Education’s Research Advisory Committee selected Dawson as its Irving and Rose Fien Professor. The three-year post supports veteran faculty members with a track record of successful research aimed at helping at-risk learners in kindergarten-through-high school, mainly at high-poverty schools.

Recently, Dawson took time to discuss her research and the ways incorporating technology and digital tools into traditional classrooms can help all types of learners to flourish. Below are excerpts.

Q: Can technology help students who struggle in traditional schools?

A: Yes, particularly if they are bored, not engaged or struggling to learn content. In schools, we are very limited in how we think about success and the way that students can access content and show what they know. We are also limited in the ways we think about how we teach. These limitations are very real and exist for many reasons often outside the direct control of individual teachers and administrators. But we should keep thinking about how to make school better for all students. Technology is not going to be the end-all-be-all solution, but it can help a lot more than it is helping.

Q: These multimedia tools may get them more engaged?

A: Yes, but we need to figure out how to match technologies to students. And how to match students to technologies. More importantly, students have to be empowered to think about what works for them and to seek alternatives to support their learning now and in the future.

Q: Can you provide examples of how technology can be useful in a classroom?

A: Well, there are a lot of ways technology can be useful in the classroom. I have done quite a bit of work with whole class projects that help students become digital communicators, creators and collaborators. But these uses are different from thinking about how technology can meet individual needs. Two simple, readily available tools are: text-to-speech and speech-to-text apps.

Q: With speech-to-text, you mean there is a web page or a textbook that is enabled to read the text to a student?

A: Yes. For example, for a student struggling to get through a 40-page chapter on U.S. history, text-to-speech could be the difference between accessing the content or not. For another student listening to the chapter may simply be a preference rather than a necessity. But, the types and quality of the technologies available to these students as well as the mindset of their teachers determine whether they can use this feature. Unfortunately, many digital resources created for K-12 education are poorly designed (especially some digital textbooks) and some educators still view reading as the only way to access content. So, the apps may be simple but the context in which they need to be used is quite complex.

Two other examples are speech-to-text and word prediction. I once taught a student who was very articulate but with horrible handwriting. Why not let him communicate his ideas through speech-to-text apps? Why not teach students who struggle with spelling (or really all students) how to use word prediction? Once again, these are simple apps, but the challenge is how do you bring them to the complex world of K-12 education.

Q: Let me take a devil’s advocate position. How do you respond to those who say kids need to learn how to spell, that we shouldn’t have a tool to do it for them?

A: Don’t get me wrong, it’s important that students to learn to spell. But not everyone is going to be good at it and this shouldn’t deter students from being able to communicate their ideas. It shouldn’t continually hinder them from succeeding in school, especially when the goal of a particular learning task may not be focused on spelling.

“There needs to be some empathy and understanding that being smart is not equivalent to being able to read and write. Imagine if we gauged how smart you were based on whether you could communicate through song. Technology can level the playing field.”

Q: Is this a big debate in education, one with parents and others, that there is work to do to get this message out?

A: There needs to be some empathy and understanding that being smart is not equivalent to being able to read and write. Think about it, students who struggle with reading, writing and spelling are essentially doomed in a school environment if learning every subject is predicated on these three skills.

Imagine if we gauged how smart you were based whether you could communicate through song. And so everyone who had a good voice and was gifted in that way would shine. Or what if we communicated everything through drawing? So it’s just a very limited way we think about things.

If a student cannot read well (or quickly) and all content is provided through a textbook then she will struggle to learn science and history even if she has innate strengths in other areas, such as the visuospatial strengths needed to succeed in science. Technology can level the playing field for these students.

Q: As far as the Fien Professorship, what do you hope to accomplish over these three years?

A: I really hope to make progress on the ways we can use technology to support the needs of all learners.

I am involved with two studies about how nontraditional college students learn in multimedia environments. We hope to find out how multimedia and online environments can be modified to meet the needs of different kinds of learners and extend our work to K-12 students. One of the most exciting things is that these studies require interdisciplinary collaboration. We need the expertise of special educators, psychologists, computer scientists and neuroscientists. And, I get to work with closely the exceptionally smart colleagues in my own program as well — Albert Ritzhaupt, Pasha Antonenko, Carole Beal and Swapna Kumar.

I also want to make an impact people’s awareness about how technology can meet the needs of all learners. In particular, I plan to work with and learn from teachers who are trying to figure out how to use technology to help their students and with preservice teachers. They have the chance to be leaders in their schools after graduation.

And I’m working with a grassroots group of parents led by Blake Beckett (from P.K. Yonge, the College of Education’s developmental research school) to find ways parents can use technology to support their children.

There are several potential funding sources to further this work and I’m looking forward to see where these ideas and conversations go.

Q: Does it feel daunting with such a big subject? There seems so much to learn.

A: I know I’m not going to solve it; there are so many folks from so many areas trying to make a difference for students. I want to do what I can do and try to make things better and connect with other people who are doing interesting work. I don’t consider it daunting because I’m not naïve enough to think it’s going to ever be completely solved but I want to make progress and be part of the solution.


Source: Kara Dawson, 352-273-4177
Writer: Charles Boisseau, 352-273-4449

 

Gainesville Sun: HIgh-achieving teachers

Gainesville Sun: P.K. Yonge teachers noted ‘achievers’
The Gainesville Sun
May 16, 2016
Five P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School teachers were highlighted in the newspaper’s Achievers blog: Jon Mundorf for receiving the Outstanding Young Alumni Award from the College of Education, and Cody Miller, George Pringle, Bill Steffens and Kate Yurko for being among the Florida public school teachers ranked as having the highest impact on student achievement.

‘Global classrooms create worldly connections for future teachers

COE preservice teachers interact on Skype with alumna Luz Delfin, currently teaching at the American School in Bolivia.

COE preservice teachers interact on Skype with alumna Luz Delfin, currently teaching at the American School in Bolivia.

University of Florida education students are using technology to connect with educators and classrooms worldwide to learn about other cultures and education systems first-hand thanks to a new Global Classroom Initiative (GCI) developed by UF researchers.

Swapna Kumar, a clinical associate professor of educational technology in the College of Education, said the program prepares preservice teachers to use technology to develop global awareness for themselves and their future students. It also provides opportunities for students to participate in virtual conferences and interact with innovative global educators.

The program is funded by a grant from the Longview Foundation for World Affairs and International Understanding, an organization that promotes the teaching of global competence and intercultural skills in schools throughout the United States.

Swapna Kumar

Swapna Kumar

Seventy UF education students have benefited from the initiative since it was launched last fall through online modules in the college’s course on Integrating Technology into the Elementary Classroom.

Skype and Adobe Connect are two programs used by the future teachers to connect classrooms across borders. They will have access to Skype in their future classrooms, both stateside and in other countries.

“Communication technologies today make it much easier to provide students with authentic experiences of other cultures,” Kumar said.

Elementary education senior Heather Brown said the program has helped her understand the importance of global education.

“The Global Classroom Initiative is educating me further and giving me invaluable experiences that will help me grow as a teacher so that I can have a lasting impact on my students,” said Brown, who will graduate with her bachelor’s degree in May.

UF Global Classroom students also joined their instructor at the Florida Connected Global Education Conference held recently in Gainesville as another form of future teacher professional development.

UF Global Classroom students also joined their instructor at the Florida Connected Global Education Conference held recently in Gainesville as another form of future teacher professional development.

Kumar is co-principal investigator on the program with Mary Risner, associate director of outreach at the UF Center for Latin American Studies. They said they hope the global classroom instruction will prepare UF’s education students to possibly work with the Alachua County school district’s first global magnet program planned for Fall 2017 and in other districts some students will teach after graduation.

“In today’s society, teachers need to be prepared to understand a diverse student body and to help their students better understand the world with an open mind,” said Risner, a 2011 COE doctoral graduate in curriculum and instruction.

She said UF students explore global themes in the GCI modules, connect with educators in Bolivia and Japan, prepare a lesson plan for elementary students about foreign nations and learn about job and study opportunities abroad.


CONTACTS/CREDITS
    SOURCE: Swapna Kumar, UF College of Education; 352-273-4175; swapnakumar@coe.ufl.edu;
    MEDIA LIAISON: Larry Lansford, news & communications director, UF College of Education; 352-273-4137; llansford@coe.ufl.edu;
    WRITER: Katelin Mariner, news-communications intern, UF College of Education

Gainesville Sun, WCJB-TV: P.K. Yonge celebrates former teacher Toy Whitley

P.K. Yonge celebrates former teacher Toy Whitley
WCJB-TV, The Gainesville Sun
May 2016

P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School dedicated a reading chair to honor long-time teacher Toy Whitley, who passed away last year at the age of 95.

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School finance leader named 2016 Distinguished Alumnus

Henry Boekhoff

Henry Boekhoff

Henry R. Boekhoff (MEd ’70, PhD ’78, ed. leadership) is widely recognized as a leader in the field of school finance and for his dedication to improve the quality of public education across Florida. Now, after four decades working behind the scenes at many Florida school districts, Boekhoff is in the spotlight.

He is the 2016 winner of the University of Florida College of Education’s Distinguished Alumni Award. UF President Kent Fuchs and education Dean Glenn Good presented the award to Boekhoff Saturday evening at UF’s commencement ceremony for undergraduate degrees at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Boekhoff, 73, said he was surprised to learn he would receive the award considering he has worked mostly out of public view during his long career.

“Most likely I am being given the award because of the sheer longevity of my career, and part of that is the opportunity I have had at a relatively early age to make a mark in the area of school finance,” he said.

Humble beginnings

The honor comes to a man who rose from humble beginnings.

Born in New York City in 1943, Boekhoff grew up in Nassau County, Florida, on a would-be chicken farm. His family was poor, especially after his father died suddenly of a heart attack when Henry was 7 years old.

His mother never remarried and the family didn’t have money for college. After graduating high school, Boekhoff found a job cleaning barnacles from vessels at a shipyard in Jacksonville. Soon enough he enlisted in the Army, where he earned college credits toward an accounting degree. After his discharge, he transferred to the University of Florida and in 1966 earned a bachelor’s in business.

Boekhoff’s career in school finance started by chance not long after he discovered he disliked working as an auditor for an accounting firm. He took a job as director of finance for the Nassau County School District in Fernandina Beach.

He quickly made a name for himself and went on to serve as deputy superintendent and chief financial officer for many of the state’s largest school districts, including Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Orange counties, where he displayed a passion for education and commitment to schools and communities.

More recently, Boekhoff has served as co-CFO of Florida Virtual School, the country’s first, statewide internet-based public high school and a provider of online K-12 education programs. Boekhoff still works full-time for the virtual school as a special assistant to the chief financial officer.

Life-long learner

Along the way, Boekhoff continued his own education and returned to the University of Florida to receive a master’s in education in 1970 and a doctorate in Education Leadership in 1978.

He said his career has been guided by an understanding that financial considerations are at the heart of creating a well-functioning public school system.

“It’s crass to say in a way, but if you don’t have the funds you can’t keep hold of good employees and if you don’t have good employees the children are going to suffer,” he said.

Often referred to as the “dean” of school finance officers in Florida, Boekhoff helped shape the formulas that determine how funds are distributed to public schools and advocated for fair and equitable school funding. He coined the phrase “adequacy and equity” to highlight the inequitable distribution of education funding caused by the wide disparity in property values between rich and poor counties in Florida.

Boekhoff’s leadership helped Florida craft one of the most equitable education funding formulas in the nation.

“I have always been an idealist,” Boekhoff said, citing Thomas Jefferson as an inspiration. He paraphrased the founding father: “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.”


Writer: Charles Boisseau, Office of News and Communications, UF College of Education; 352-273-4449
Media liasion/Director of News and Communications: Larry Lansford, 352-273-4137

 

 

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UF Anderson Scholars program honors 17 ProTeach students–most ever!–plus 2 faculty mentors

Seventeen COE ProTeach elementary education students have been named UF Anderson Scholars for their outstanding academic performances during their first two years at UF—the most education students to receive the award in recent memory.

Two education faculty members—Mary Ann Nelson and Caitlin Gallingane—also were recognized for the second year in a row for mentoring or inspiring several of the honored students.

Anderson Scholars awarded with highest distinction are, from left, Katelyn Mayer, Caley Rappa and Krista Steele.

Anderson Scholars awarded with highest distinction are, from left, Katelyn Mayer, Caley Rappa and Krista Steele.

The Anderson award is the highest recognition bestowed on undergraduate students for their academic excellence. Anderson Scholar certificates are given campuswide by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to students who have earned cumulative grade point averages of at least 3.90 (with distinction); 3.95 (high distinction); and 4.0 (highest distinction) during their freshman and sophomore years.

College of Education students receiving the Anderson Scholar award with highest distinction are Katelyn Mayer, Caley Rappa and Krista Steele.

Education students awarded with high distinction are Simona Blanarikova, Lindsay Burn, Lauren Cassell, Autumn Finke, Felica Hanley, Margaret Kelly, Abby Newman, Caley Rappa and Alexandra Smart.

Scholars honored with distinction are Shannan Campbell, Sicily Guarisco, Cassandra Lussier, Tori Rubloff and Sydney Vail.

“Being recognized as an Anderson Scholar is a huge honor. It also reaffirms that our school takes pride in our accomplishments and that they recognize us for doing so,” said Krista Steele of Orlando. She said she hopes to teach first or second grade after graduation “and make a difference in students’ lives and the education field.”

NELSON, Mary Ann 2014 resized

Mary Ann Nelson

Anderson Scholars faculty honoree Mary Ann Nelson is a special education lecturer; her colleague Caitlin Gallingane is a clinical assistant professor in the School of Teaching and Learning. Each student honoree can anonymously nominate one instructor for the faculty honor. Nelson actually has been selected three times overall for the faculty award.

“You go into teaching with the hope of inspiring students. It is always an honor when a student acknowledges any contribution you might have made in that direction,” Nelson said. “I love what I teach and who I teach and it is such a privilege to be a part of their professional training.  I think of them as junior colleagues and it pleases me to be able to share my knowledge and experience with them.”

Student winner Caley Rappa, also from Orlando, described faculty honoree Gallingane as “the teacher we all want to be when we grow up, not just as a professor but especially an elementary school teacher. I believe Dr. Gallingane is the heart and soul of the College of Education.”

GALLINGANE, Caitie (2013)

Caitlin Gallingane

Gallingane said she and other COE professors work as closely as they can with undergraduate students because they identify with students’ concerns as they prepare for careers in a constantly evolving profession.

“I try to see things from their perspective and give them the support they need to be successful,” Gallingane said. “I act as an advocate because I care about their experience at UF.”

The Scholars award program is named in honor of James N. Anderson, who served as the first dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1910 until 1930. Anderson Hall bears his name.


WRITER: Larry Lansford, director, news and communications, UF College of Education; llansford@coe.ufl.edu; 352-273-4137

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Anita Zucker Center co-director honored for leadership, impact on behavioral disorders

Maureen Conroy

Maureen Conroy

Maureen Conroy, co-director of the University of Florida Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies, has received the 2016 Outstanding Leadership Award from the Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders.

CCBD, a division of the Council for Exceptional Children, presents the award to an individual who has made significant contributions to the field of behavioral disorders in the areas of research, leadership, teacher education and policy. Conroy was recognized April 14 at the CEC’s annual conference in St. Louis.

Conroy, the Anita Zucker Professor in Early Childhood Studies, has advanced research and practice in the field of behavioral disorders through her work in early identification, prevention and intervention. For 35 years, she garnered more than $15 million in research and training grants, produced 90 peer-reviewed publications and trained the next generation of leaders. A member of CCBD since 1981, Conroy has served in a number of leadership roles, including co-editor of its flagship journal, Behavioral Disorders.

Brian Boyd, who received a doctoral degree at UF under Conroy’s mentorship, nominated her for the award, citing her years of research, practice and teaching.

“I can attest to the importance she feels in ensuring her students acquire the ability to conduct sound research that contributes to the field, and importantly, educators, families and children,” said Boyd, now an associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Boyd, also recognized at the conference, received the CEC’s 2016 Distinguished Early Career Research Award. The honor recognizes scholars who have made outstanding scientific contributions in basic or applied research in special education within 10 years after receiving their doctoral degree.

Independent of her award selection, Conroy was invited by the Institute of Education Sciences to present her research at the conference. She and her colleague, Professor Kevin Sutherland of Virginia Commonwealth University, shared findings from their recent investigation of an early childhood classroom-based intervention. Developed to support early childhood teachers’ use of effective practices, the intervention is designed to improve the social, emotional and behavioral competence of young children at risk for behavioral disorders. Their large-scale, four-year study was funded by the institute, which is the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education.

The CEC is an international professional association of educators dedicated to advancing the success of children with exceptionalities through advocacy, standards and professional development. The mission of the CCBD is to improve the educational practices and outcomes for children and youth with emotional and behavior disorders.


Source: Maureen Conroy, 352-273-4382
Writer: Linda Homewood, 352-273-4284

 

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PKY instructor cited nationally as outstanding teacher-researcher

Ross Van Boven

Ross Van Boven

Practitioner Scholars

Ross Van Boven received his doctorate in curriculum and instruction, a program designed to prepare practitioner scholars.

What is a practitioner scholar? A professional who brings theoretical, pedagogical and research expertise to help identify, frame and study educational problems as a way to continually improve the learning conditions in their schools and districts.

Middle school teacher Ross Van Boven has received a prestigious national award presented by the American Education Research Association for outstanding research by examining what he does every school day.

Van Boven specializes in working with sixth and seventh graders at P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School who are on the margins — whether because they are struggling or high-achieving. His study at the public school affiliated with the University of Florida’s College of Education examined his experience in teaching a gifted sixth-grade student during the 2014-2015 school year.

The Teacher as Researcher Award recognizes a pre-kindergarten to 12th-grade teacher for research conducted in their schools. Van Boven received the award at the association’s annual meeting, held this year in Washington, D.C., April 8-12. AERA says its teacher-as-researcher special interest group is the only one like it: dedicated to recognizing high quality research done in schools by preK-12 instructors on their own practice.

Van Boven is a “learning community leader” at P.K. Yonge, which is UF’s special school district created to develop innovative solutions to educational challenges.

His training and experience is notable for his teaching as well as his scholarship. He has earned three degrees from UF’s College of Education: a bachelor’s (’06) and master’s (‘07) in elementary education and, in December, a doctorate in curriculum and instruction.

Van Boven’s doctorate was in a program tailor-made by faculty in the Curriculum, Teaching, and Teacher Education program area to focus on the unique needs of practitioners who wish to become scholars of practice, leading change and improvement from within their local districts, schools and classrooms, said Nancy Fichtman Dana, a UF education professor and a leading international authority and researcher on teacher professional development and school improvement. Dana served as the chair of Van Boven’s dissertation committee.

Van Boven in his classroom.

Van Boven’s award-winning project, the capstone for his dissertation, took a close look at how best to teach gifted and talented students.

VanBoven-600

Ross Van Boven teaches his students at UF’s P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School.

Van Boven’s award-winning project, the capstone for his dissertation, took a close look at how best to teach gifted and talented students at a time P.K. Yonge is transforming its approach to a “push-in” teaching model from a “pull-out.” In the push-in approach, general education and special education teachers work within the regular classrooms to serve all learners; in the pull-out approach, teachers work with these students in separate classrooms.

“It’s a real challenge to provide the time and services to all the students in the program,” Van Boven says. With a caseload of 41 students, he bounces from classroom to classroom to help learners in subjects ranging from math to social studies. Not only does he have to know the content, he must collaborate closely with the content-area teachers, which sometimes is problematic because of contrasting styles and time schedules. He also closely consults with parents to better understand their child’s needs and to personalizes lessons.

Van Boven tracked his experience of teaching one of his students by using a variety of tools, including his cell phone’s voice-to-text feature to capture episodes in near real time and digital recording of interviews so he could transcribe them later for analysis.

He says his research helped to improve his teaching in a variety of ways, such as more closely working with content-area teachers to rework the timing of his push-in to classrooms and planning periods with other teachers. “This allowed for ongoing collaboration and hopefully continues to remove some of the pressures teachers felt for planning to meet student enrichment needs,” he wrote in a report of the study.

He has shared his P.K. Yonge findings with the school’s administration and teachers, including the school’s five other learning community leaders. The study informed their perennial challenge: How best to provide in-classroom lessons to gifted students without disrupting the heterogeneity of classrooms.

Dana says Van Boven’s research “provided a rich accounting of how one middle school child was experiencing the program, and these insights led to specific actions Ross and his colleagues took to improve this new model.”

The school has launched a pilot program to cluster some gifted-and-talented students in the same classes to help learning community leaders and core teachers improve efficiency and coordination.

Despite the challenges, Van Boven says the collaboration required in the push-in model is helping teachers – including him – grow in their own practice. The award highlights the power of practitioner research to improve education for students – and provides Van Boven an opportunity to broaden his impact by sharing his experiences with other teachers.

“I am hopeful that my advocacy for students and collaboration with content-area teachers will result in sustained opportunities to provide content enrichment for students on my caseload,” Van Boven wrote.


Source: Ross Van Boven, P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School; 352-392-1554
Media Relations: Julie Henderson, P.K. Yonge DRS; 352-392-1554
Writer: Charles Boisseau, UF College of Education, news and communications office

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How Outstanding Young Alum saved his teaching career

Meet Jon Mundorf

Winner of UF College of Education’s 2016 Outstanding Young Alumni Award.

Jon Mundorf

By Charles Boisseau

Jon Mundorf was considering quitting the profession after three years of teaching elementary school in Naples, Florida.

He felt frustrated and ineffective despite doing his best to follow the top teaching methods, curriculum, and steps laid out in educator manuals.

“Only a small number of kids really got it when I would teach,” Mundorf says.

Some did not speak English, others had behavior problems or any number of learning disabilities. He came to realize: The standardized teaching methods he was using were ineffective because his students weren’t standardized.

In the summer of 2006, Mundorf decided to look for a better way to teach and give his career a spark.

He found it. He learned new teaching methods that are designed for educators to more effectively reach all their students, and he has gone on to become an award-winning teacher, and an internationally recognized practitioner of teaching to meet the needs of all learners.

Young Alumni Award

Jon Mundorf works with a student in his classroom.

Jon Mundorf works with a student in his classroom.

Today (April 8), Mundorf, 36, received the UF College of Education’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award, one of 23 Gator alumni across campus who will be honored as leaders in their professions at a ceremony at Emerson Alumni Hall.

Mundorf’s story surely holds lessons for other teachers who are early in their careers, when research shows a high percentage leave the profession.

Mundorf, Ed.D., is a 2014 graduate of UF’s online doctorate in curriculum and instruction program, which is designed to strengthen the skills of practicing educators. His dissertation was about his experience of using universal learning methods to teach a blind student to read in his integrated classroom.

This school year, he joined UF’s P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School, where he teaches seventh grade language arts.

“Dr. Mundorf brings to our classrooms extensive knowledge and many years of experience in leveraging technology and non-tech strategies for supporting the needs of each learner,” P.K. Yonge Director Lynda Hayes says. “He is a dedicated practitioner scholar committed to providing the best possible seventh grade English language arts experience for our diverse students.”

Universal Design for Learning

Mundorf credits his transformation to a decade ago when he entered Harvard Graduate School of Education’s summer institute on universal design for learning (UDL), a partnership with the nonprofit Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), which now includes Mundorf among its teaching cadre. UDL is a method of using inclusive teaching methods to meet the needs of all learners.

“Upon returning from Harvard, I reinvented myself as a teacher,” Mundorf wrote in his UF dissertation. “Instead of focusing and complaining about the disability I saw in my students, I chose to target the disability in our curriculum. The barriers within the curriculum were minimized because I had developed a student-centered stance for exploring the curriculum with my students.”

Mundorf’s ability to engage an audience with his love of teaching is striking, and he can turn a brief interview into a lively hour-and-half discussion of his teaching philosophy, education research findings and lessons he has learned along the way.

A native of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Mundorf often wears a jacket bearing the logo for Bowling Green State University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in education. He also has a master’s degree from Florida Gulf Coast University and joined the small ranks of teachers certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, a nonprofit that aims to advance accomplished teaching for all students.

In an example of his inclusive teaching methods, Mundorf says he provides choices in how a student engages with reading materials, providing audio-visual, text-to-speech, captioning, and, if necessary, Braille formats. His students also have choice in how they express their grasp of the subject, such as writing an essay, making a speech or giving a visual presentation.

This way, students with high-incidence disabilities, such as dyslexia – by some estimates up to 20 percent of students – as well as less common disabilities like blindness are given a better opportunity to succeed.

“We allow students multiple ways to learn, engage, and demonstrate mastery,” Mundorf says. “If I only give them one way, it leaves some out.”

Mundorf is in demand to teach not only students but other educators. He has consulted with schools and organizations on inclusive teaching practices, accessibility, technology integration and other ways to improve teaching and learning. In the fall of 2015, he traveled to Fukuoka, Japan, to provide the keynote speech and lead a workshop on inclusive classroom instruction at the National Conference of the Japanese Academy of Learning Disabilities.

Mundorf says students will succeed in the 21st Century not by memorizing all the prepositions in the English language. They will succeed by becoming expert learners. And the same goes for teachers.

“Teaching can be extremely challenging and there is no one right way to do it,” he says. “You have to constantly work at it to reach all the learners. When you feel like you have figured it all out, the next day things change. Teachers have to be the lead learners in this effort.”


Source: Jon Mundorf, P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School; 352-392-1554
Writer: Charles Boisseau, UF College of Education, news and communications office

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COE well represented at world’s largest education research meeting

Some 55 University of Florida College of Education faculty and graduate students were among the 14,000 scholars from around the world who converged on Washington, D.C., April 8-12 for the 2016 Centennial Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association to examine critical issues of education research and public policy.

Pasha Antonenko

Pasha Antonenko

The AERA meeting, featuring some 2,600 sessions, is the largest gathering of international scholars in the field of education research. More UF education faculty and graduate students, from multiple disciplines, attend AERA’s annual meeting than any other professional gathering. This year’s UF contingent included 25 faculty members and 30 graduate students in education.

The massive AERA gathering is a showcase for groundbreaking, innovative studies in a diverse array of education issues and trends. This year’s conference theme is “Public Scholarship to Educate Diverse Democracies.”

UF presentations included pertinent topics such as:

  • Corrine Huggins-Manley

    Corrine Huggins-Manley

    Educating the captive audience: inmates in state correctional facilities

  • Studying the digital divide in Florida schools
  • Exploring the outcomes of persistently disciplined students assigned to alternative schools
  • How elementary principals relate teacher appraisals to student achievement
  • Measuring charter schools’ effect on student achievement
  • Self-regulatory intervention for middle schoolers with emotional and behavioral disorders
  • Struggles facing novice black female teacher educators
  • Aha! Exploring problem-solving insight using electroencephalography?
  • Adding technology to help students with visual impairments
  • Using instructional coaching to boost preservice teacher development
  • How online resources for mathematics support student learning
  • Principals as instructional leadership coaches
Albert Ritzhaupt

Albert Ritzhaupt

The busiest COE faculty attendees were Pasha Antonenko (education technology), Corinne Huggins-Manley (research and evaluation methods) and Albert Ritzhaupt (ed tech) with each involved in five research presentations. Among doctoral student participants, Zachary Collier (REM) was involved in four presentations, and Stephanie Schroeder (curriculum, teaching, and teacher education) in three.

complete listing of participating UF education faculty and advanced-degree students, along with their respective presentation topics, is available on the COE website.


HOW LISTING WAS COMPILED: Data was retrieved directly from AERA’s online annual conference schedule and organized alphabetically by participants’ names. Listing does not distinguish between presenters and non-presenting participants and co-investigators. AERA’s complete listing and schedule of conference presentations and participants’ roles is available at www.aera.net. Click on “Events & Meetings” and navigate to the 2016 annual meeting portals.


WRITER: Larry Lansford, director, News & Communications, UF College of Education; 352-273-4137

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College of Education Symposium wrap up

College of Education Symposium wrap up: View photo slideshow

The COE student-led Education College Council and Student Alliance of Graduates in Education (SAGE) presented the inaugural COE Research Symposium March 31 at Norman Hall. See photos on our Facebook page.

If you missed the symposium: Watch keynote address

Keynote speaker Benjamin Justice, education historian at Rutgers University, spoke Thursday on “The Hidden Curriculum of Justice: How the American Criminal Justice System Educates, and Miseducates, Citizens.”

If you missed it, watch the keynote: Watch the live stream.

His presentation was part of the inaugural research symposium hosted by two COE student organizations –the Education College Council (ECC) and the Student Alliance of Graduates in Education (SAGE).

Check back later today for photos. 

Student groups host inaugural Research Symposium

March 29
Two COE student organizations–the Education College Council (ECC) and the Student Alliance of Graduates in Education (SAGE)–are hosting the college’s inaugural Research Symposium this Thursday, March 31, at Norman Hall. The event is open to all COE students, faculty and staff, and the general public. See details in flier below.

The complete 2016 Research Symposium Program will include workshops, research sessions, roundtable discussions and keynote speaker Benjamin Justice, education historian at Rutgers University. Dr. Justice will speak on “The Hidden Curriculum of Justice: How the American Criminal Justice System Educates, and Miseducates, Citizens.” For more information, contact ECC president Stephanie Schroeder at stephyuf@ufl.edu.

symposium flyer JPG2

Gainesville Sun: Making black lives matter in Alachua County

Brianna L. Kennedy-Lewis: Making black lives matter in Alachua County
The Gainesville Sun
March 29, 2016
Brianna L. Kennedy-Lewis, an assistant professor of education in the School of Teaching and Learning, writes about how the community can improve the education and outcomes for students in the wake of the recent tragic police shooting of a suicidal, black 16-year-old.

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Upgrades to historic Norman Hall being fast-tracked

Norman Hall has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1989

Norman Hall has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1989.

The University of Florida’s College of Education is moving quickly to finalize plans to renovate its aging, historic home.

The state’s $82.3 billion fiscal budget, signed by Gov. Rick Scott March 18, includes $14.1 million to pay for the first-ever major improvement project in Norman Hall’s 84-year history.

The renovations and repairs include an overhaul of the stately building’s “envelope,” meaning its infrastructure, including new roof, windows, plumbing, electrical system, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and removal of asbestos and lead paint.

The improvements also include adding many student-centered features, such as configurable classrooms and meeting spaces, more space to boost research capacity, and even installing electrical outlets to support student technology needs.

“We are very grateful to the state for the funding to pay for these badly needed improvements,” said College of Education Dean Glenn Good. “The renovations will make the building more suitable for preparing the educators and educational leaders who will address the educational opportunities and challenges of the future.”

Dean Good and the college staff members will soon meet with the officials of UF’s Planning, Design and Construction Division to finalize the time lines and priorities.

The funds will pay for the first phase of what is estimated to be a $24.4 million project. UF will request the $10.3 million balance in future years.

Importantly, the project will address a backlog of critical deferred building maintenance issues, including damaged electrical wiring because of vermin invasion, failing plumbing, mold in floor tiles and carpet, water damage, and elevators that cannot pass inspection.

The renovation and repairs involve logistical challenges, such as temporarily moving the classrooms and offices to another location during construction.

The college’s staff first began planning improvements to Norman Hall in the 1980s and securing state funding has been one of UF’s capital improvement and maintenance priorities.

The L-shaped red-brick building was built in 1931-1934 as the P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School to closely resemble the university’s original academic buildings constructed starting in 1905.

Norman Hall includes embellishments such as the north façade’s monumental plaque honoring the great educators of the past.

Norman Hall includes embellishments such as the north façade’s monumental plaque honoring the great educators of the past.

Located across Southwest 13th Street from the main campus, the building has a steeply pitched roof punctuated with dormers, decorative brick work and architectural embellishments. These include arched doorways and carvings, such as the north façade’s monumental plaque honoring the great educators of the past, from Plato, Socrates and Aristotle to McGuffy and Froebel.

In 1957, the building was renamed for long-time Education Dean James W. Norman when P.K. Yonge moved to its own campus a few blocks away. In 1989, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The College of Education is rated among America’s top-ranked education schools. The college has 2,800 students enrolled in 28 undergraduate and graduate academic programs and projects to increase enrollment 20 percent during the next five years.


Sources: Dean Glenn Good, 512-273-4135, Associate Dean Tom Dana, 352-273-4134
Writer: Charles Boisseau, 352-273-4449

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US News ranks UF College of Education 20th; 2 programs in top 10

College of Education ranked among America's bestGAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida College of Education maintained its Top 20 rating among the nation’s public education schools, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 Best Graduate Education Schools survey, released today (March 16, 2016).

The rankings continued to place UF as No. 1 among education colleges in Florida and first among public universities in the Southeast.

Two College of Education academic programs remained in the top 10 specialty areas: special education at No. 5 and counselor education, which moved up three spots to No. 6. Two programs made the second top 10, with curriculum and instruction at No. 17 and elementary teacher education at No. 19.

For these rankings of on-campus programs, U.S. News surveyed 376 graduate education schools granting doctoral degrees, with 225 providing the necessary data to be calculated in 10 key quality measures. Counting all educational institutions — private and public — the college ranked No. 30.

The college registered gains in several of the survey’s key metrics—its ratio of doctoral students per faculty instructor and its funded research activity.

During 2015, education faculty members were awarded $20.8 million in external funding, a 5 percent increase from the prior year, the U.S. News report showed.

“These rankings provide further evidence that the College of Education is emerging as one of the nation’s very best in preparing educators and creating innovations in 21st century education,” said Glenn Good, the college’s dean.

“Our college plays a leading role in advancing the University of Florida toward its goal of becoming one of the nation’s preeminent research universities.”

US NEWS LOGO (2016)These ratings for on-campus graduate programs come only two months after U.S. News rated the College of Education’s distance education offerings No. 1 — America’s best online graduate education program. The e-learning program also earned the nation’s highest score for student admissions selectivity, considered a metric for the high quality of students enrolled in the program.

Below are highlights of notable developments and research at the College of Education that are gaining notice.

  • The new UF Coaching Academy is re-imagining teacher professional development to improve classroom teaching, school leadership and student achievement.
  • The Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies is increasing its influence and impact with its interdisciplinary approach on children’s development and learning from birth to age 5.
  • The college’s new Center of Excellence in Elementary Teacher Preparation is allowing education professors to work with the local school district to pioneer new strategies and best practices for transforming elementary teacher preparation statewide.
  • The UFTeach program, a collaboration between the colleges of Education and of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is recruiting top math and science majors on campus to prepare them to become effective instructors to teach these vital subjects to middle and high schoolers.
  • Aided by $25 million in federal support, UF special education faculty are helping multiple states strengthen their professional standards and methods for preparing teachers and leaders serving students with disabilities.
  • The college’s “education innovation incubator,” the UF Lastinger Center for Learning, is developing and field-testing novel learning system models to transform teaching and learning, and promote healthy child development across the state and beyond.

“The top rankings are a testament to the dedication and commitment of the entire College of Education community,” Dean Good said. “But the most important way we measure our success is how well we are helping to solve educational challenges and strengthen our society.”

View the complete U.S. News Best Graduate Education Schools rankings.


SOURCES: Glenn Good, 352-273-4135; Tom Dana, associate dean, UF College of Education, 352-273-4134
WRITER: Charles Boisseau, news and communications office, UF College of Education, 352-273-4449

Orlando Sentinel: 40 fellows selected for teacher-leader program

Teachers tapped to help boost classroom performance
Orlando Sentinel
Feb. 29, 2016
A group of 40 educators were selected for a new UF College of Education leadership program to improve their classroom skills and student learning. The Florida Teacher Leader Fellowship is funded by a $764,553 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The story cited Philip Poekert, assistant director of the college’s Lastinger Center for Learning.

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School names corridor after former principal to honor daughter’s gift

SCALES-HOLLOWAY, Leslie (PKY donor)Leslie Eggert Scales-Holloway (BAE ’68) was visibly moved as she reflected on her late father’s role as the beloved principal at P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School from 1947 to 1952. “He strongly believed in the connection between school and community,” she said in a recent interview. “That was Daddy.”

Scales-Holloway of Orlando, and a P.K. Yonge “lifer” (attending kindergarten through high school there), has pledged a $100,000 gift in support of the school’s proposed state-of-the-art secondary building. Like P.K. Yonge’s ultramodern elementary building, which opened in 2012, the 21st century design of the secondary building will “transform the educational experience for today’s and tomorrow’s students,” according to school Director Lynda Hayes.

While the secondary building project is still in the fundraising stage before construction can start, school officials have honored Scales-Holloway for her generosity by naming a key portion of the new elementary wing as the Dr. C. Lee Eggert Learning Corridor, in honor of her father, the former principal.

“The (learning corridor) space is flexible and can be used in so many different ways. Daddy would have loved this space and seeing the potential for a wide variety of learning activities and community events taking place here,” Scales-Holloway said.

After Dr. Eggert’s time at P.K. Yonge, which has served as UF’s K-12 laboratory school since 1934, he joined the faculty at the UF College of Education where he was a professor of secondary administration. His work with the Florida Parent-Teacher Association and chairmanship of the Florida Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools endeared him to students, parents, teachers and administrators statewide.

After graduating from P.K. Yonge, Scales-Holloway went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in education in 1968 from the UF College of Education. She taught school in Alachua and Marion counties and served for several years as a member of the Marion County School Board.

She was recently joined in celebrating the naming of the Dr. C. Lee Eggert Learning Corridor by her husband Rufus (who also goes by “Dick”), three siblings (also P.K. Yonge “lifers”), extended family, P.K. Yonge faculty and staff.

The prevailing sentiment at the school may best be summed up in the words of Ashley Pennypacker-Hill, P.K. Yonge program and outreach specialist and a P.K. Yonge alumna (class of ‘99): “We are delighted that this beautiful space will now remind us of P.K. Yonge’s past and will continue to support P.K. Yonge’s future.”

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Early learning ‘action network’ taps Lastinger Center specialist for national fellowship

Valerie Mendez-Farinas

Valerie Mendez-Fariñas

Valerie Mendez-Fariñas of the University of Florida Lastinger Center for Learning didn’t have to think twice about joining a vibrant national movement over the next three years to improve early learning opportunities and resources for our youngest children.

Mendez-Fariñas, a professional development specialist, is one of 38 American leaders in the early-childhood arena recently selected to fellowship posts with the newly formed Equity Leaders Action Network (ELAN). The network brings together state, county and national experts who seek to reduce racial disparities in early learning systems.

The ELAN group evolved from a program called BUILD, created over a decade ago by the national Early Childhood Funders Collaborative. The BUILD program’s purpose: to support states’ efforts to build high-quality early-childhood systems that ensure all children have an opportunity to develop and reach their full potential without discrimination or bias.

Mendez-Fariñas will work with other ELAN fellows to help states identify and eliminate inequities based on race, ethnicity, language and culture in our early childhood state systems. They also will help build support and influence states’ policies in the areas of health, early learning and family support.

“I’ve always believed in the power of collaboration, and now I have 37 new critical-thinking friends in the network who will help strengthen my work, fuel my passion and push my thinking,” Mendez-Fariñas said.

She has worked for more than 23 years in education, including positions as a special education teacher, adjunct professor and quality improvement specialist.

Part of her work as an ELAN fellow will involve studying data from the UF Lastinger Center’s groundbreaking Early Learning Florida program, which blends online and face-to-face professional development for thousands of early childhood practitioners who work with infants, toddlers and preschoolers in Florida centers, schools and family child care homes.

Her main focus, though, will be on training certified early learning coaches in Florida’s 30 early learning coalition districts, working through Early Learning Florida. The eight-month, job-embedded process equips the coaches-in-training with new skills for helping fellow practitioners learn and implement new, equitable teaching methods.

“Coaching creates opportunities for reflective discourse that may include conversations about key issues, practices and policies that create disparities between groups of children,” Mendez-Fariñas said.

Since 2014, the Lastinger Center, the R&D innovation hub for the College of Education, has built a statewide network of over 200 certified Early Childhood Coaches and 280 Community of Practice facilitators who are improving the quality of early learning programs throughout Florida.


CONTACTS
SOURCE: Valerie Mendez-Fariñas, (c) 305-490-7825
WRITER: Katelin Mariner, communications intern, 352-273-4449
MEDIA RELATIONS: Larry Lansford, director, news & communications, UF College of Education,   352-273-4137

EduGator Talk on standardized testing coming to Tampa March 8

Join the UF College of Education and Tampa Gator Club to connect with fellow Gators and gain insight into one of the most hotly debated topics in public education: standardized testing.

In addition to hors d’oeuvres and genuine camaraderie, 30 minutes of the evening will be set aside for representatives from the UF College of Education and Hillsborough County Public Schools to weigh-in on the circumstances surrounding, and consequences of, standardized testing in schools.

UF College of Education Faculty: Dorene Ross and Sevan Terzian

Gator Alumnae and Hillsborough County Public Schools Representatives: Melissa Snively (board member) and Angelique Xenick (supervisor, high school guidance services)

When: Tuesday, March 8, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: The Rusty Pelican, 2425 N. Rocky Point Drive, Tampa, FL 33607
RSVP: Register online before March 4.

Here is more to know about the UF faculty speakers:

Ross, Dorene 081 (cropped mug_'06)

Dorene Ross

Dorene Ross is a professor emerita from the School of Teaching and Learning, where she also served as interim director from 2000-2003. She also consults as a professional development specialist for UF’s Lastinger Center for Learning and has collaborated with Lastinger specialists to develop an Instructional Coaching Professional Development sequence used with coaches, instructional leaders and building administrators. She has a long history of work in schools and teacher education with emphasis on preparing teachers to work with diverse student populations.

 

Sevan Terzian

Sevan Terzian

Sevan Terzian is an associate professor of social foundations of education and associate director for graduate studies in the School of Teaching and Learning. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on the history of U.S. education and the philosophical foundations of education. His scholarship has focused on the history of science education, popular media and education, and the history of technology and education. He has published two books, Science Education and Citizenship: Fairs, Clubs, and Talent Searches for American Youth (2013), and American Education in Popular Media: From the Blackboard to the Silver Screen (2015). He is researching a book about the history of gifted education.

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40 educators chosen for UF’s new leadership network

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida’s College of Education today named 40 public school educators to a new program to develop leadership skills and share their expertise with teachers across Florida. The selected teachers are the first Florida Teacher Leader Fellows and will participate in an 18-month program designed to build a statewide teacher leadership network, improve the quality of classroom teaching and enhance outcomes for students.

Don Pemberton

Don Pemberton

“These teachers are all passionate about leading their schools and districts to improve student learning,” said Don Pemberton, director of UF’s Lastinger Center for Learning. The center is the College of Education’s R&D innovation hub that spearheads novel professional development programs to improve teaching and learning.

The idea: Nurture a crop of teachers who can inspire and empower others to better the teaching and learning at their schools, districts and, ultimately, across the state. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation invested in this idea to get the program off the ground.

The 40 fellows, selected from 217 applicants, are practicing classroom teachers, school counselors, media specialists and instructional coaches at pre-kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high schools across Florida.

Educators selected for the program said they want to become better teachers and inspire others.

  • “By participating in the Florida Teacher Leader Fellowship I hope to improve my teacher leader skills and ignite those skills in the amazing teachers I am surrounded by at Matanzas High School,” said Amanda Kraverotis, an instructional coach in Flagler County.
  • “I chose to apply to this fellowship to challenge myself personally and professionally and to grow as a teacher, learner, mentor and leader,” said Adrienne Reeder, a reading teacher at Dr. Edward Whigham Elementary School in Miami. “I hope to gain an adaptive perspective on how to provide meaningful instruction through inspiring leadership.”
  • “Since I teach the middle school population, I know that there are specifics about their lives I will never know in detail. I have only a small amount of time to make a difference in their lives, so I better be impactful,” Daryl W. Pauling Sr., a math teacher at Carver Middle School in Delray Beach. “I want to be a part of the transition of working for a better understanding to expand a person’s knowledge to make them better.”

UF’s Lastinger Center created the program in partnership with the Center for Teaching Quality (CTQ), a national nonprofit organization. CTQ will support fellows by facilitating virtual collaborations with project staff and other fellows, measuring the impact of the work they lead, and engaging educators and influencers across the state as their leadership efforts expand.

“There are so many teacher leaders across the state who are seeking to have a greater voice and impact in their schools,” said Barnett Berry, CEO of CTQ. “The goal of this fellowship is to help these leaders share their expert practices across schools and districts.”

Phil Poekert

Phil Poekert

The teacher-leader program will formally begin March 1, when the fellows come to Tallahassee for two days to learn about creating a fellowship community and engaging in educational policymaking. In June, the fellows will come to UF’s main campus in Gainesville to launch their personal leadership projects. The fellowship will continue with an international teacher leadership conference in Miami next year.

UF education researchers say they will closely follow the fellows and document the impacts of professional learning on teacher and student growth as a way to continually refine and improve the program.

“Through developing and researching the fellowship, we want to better understand what teacher leadership looks like in schools and districts across the state. And we want to know how to cultivate a group of teacher leaders who, in their support of individual schools and districts, advance the state’s education system for the benefit of Florida’s students,” said Philip Poekert, assistant director of the Lastinger Center.

Below are the 40 educators selected for the inaugural Florida Teacher Leader Fellows program:

County and/or District

School

Educator

Alachua

W.W. Irby Elementary

Lorena Sanchez

Brevard

Meadowlane Primary

Sarah Brown

Broward

District-based

Pembroke Pines Charter Elementary

Tropical Elementary

Isabel Nodarse

Donald Nicolas

Amy DeCelle

Duval

Paxon

Mai Keisling

Flagler

Matanzas High

Amanda Kraverotis

Florida Virtual

Florida Virtual School

Charles Cummings

Hillsborough

Bloomingdale High

Heather Hanks

Lake

Grassy Lake Elementary

Kelly Dodd

Lee

Riverdale High

Tortuga Preserve Elementary

Deneen Kozielski

Jennifer Grida

Leon

John G. Riley Elementary

Bridgette McCloud

Levy

Yankeetown

Cara Dunford

Martin

Crystal Lake Elementary

Christina Kennard

Miami-Dade

Charles D. Wyche Jr. Elementary

Dr. Edward L. Whigham Elementary

Eneida M. Hartner Elementary

Gulfstream Elementary

Kendale Lakes Elementary

Rockway Middle

William H. Turner Technical Arts High

Maria Silva

Adrienne Reeder

Nicole Fernandez

Osmany Hurtado

Lianna Saenz

Michael Windisch

Treesey Weaver

Orange

Wyndham Lakes Elementary

Deborah Carmona

Palm Beach

Carver Community Middle

Del Prado Elementary

Forest Hill Community High

Forest Hill Community High

Royal Palm Beach High

Suncoast Community High

Daryl Pauling

Tyler Montgomery

Jillian Gregory

Allison Hammill

Daniella Suarez

Stephen Kaplan

Sarasota

Imagine School at North Port Upper Campus

Tiffany Bailey

Seminole

District office

Lyman High

Pam Ferrante

Martha Ladd

St. Johns

John A. Crookshank Elementary

Timberlin Creek Elementary

Jacqueline Zahralban

Andrea Dieckman

St. Lucie

Frances K. Sweet Elementary

Lincoln Park Academy

Palm Pointe Educational Research

Nardi Routten

Makeda-Ione Brome

Glenna Sigmon

UF Lab School

P.K. Yonge Developmental Research

Jon Mundorf

Volusia

Deltona High

Dylan Emerick-Brown

Walton

Walton High

Deena Martin


CONTACTS
  Sources
   — Rebekah Cordova, professional development coordinator, (c) 303-246-4331; (w) 352-273-4105
   — Don Pemberton, 352-273-4103
   — Phil Poekert, 305-586-8665, UF Lastinger Center (Miami office)
  WriterCharles Boisseau, news and communications, UF College of Education, 352-273-4449 

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40 Florida educators chosen for new UF leadership network

See the complete list of educators
selected for the program

“These teachers are all passionate about leading their schools and districts to improve student learning.”
— Dr. Don Pemberton, director of UF’s Lastinger Center for Learning

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida’s College of Education today named 40 public school educators to a new program to develop leadership skills and share their expertise with teachers across Florida. The selected teachers are the first Florida Teacher Leader Fellows and will participate in an 18-month program designed to build a statewide teacher leadership network, improve the quality of classroom teaching and enhance outcomes for students.

“These teachers are all passionate about leading their schools and districts to improve student learning,” said Dr. Don Pemberton, director of UF’s Lastinger Center for Learning. The center is the College of Education’s R&D arm that spearheads professional development programs to improve teaching and learning.

The idea: Nurture a crop of teachers who can inspire and empower others to better the teaching and learning at their schools, districts and, ultimately, across the state. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation invested in this idea to get the program off the ground.

The 40 fellows, selected from 217 applicants, are practicing classroom teachers, school counselors, media specialists and instructional coaches at pre-kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high schools across Florida.

Educators selected for the program said they want to become better teachers and inspire others.

  • “By participating in the Florida Teacher Leader Fellowship I hope to improve my teacher leader skills and ignite those skills in the amazing teachers I am surrounded by at Matanzas High School,” said Amanda Kraverotis, an instructional coach in Flagler County.
  • “I chose to apply to this fellowship to challenge myself personally and professionally and to grow as a teacher, learner, mentor and leader,” said Adrienne Reeder, a reading teacher at Dr. Edward Whigham Elementary School in Miami. “I hope to gain an adaptive perspective on how to provide meaningful instruction through inspiring leadership.”
  • “Since I teach the middle school population, I know that there are specifics about their lives I will never know in detail. I have only a small amount of time to make a difference in their lives, so I better be impactful,” Daryl W. Pauling Sr., a math teacher at Carver Middle School in Delray Beach. “I want to be a part of the transition of working for a better understanding to expand a person’s knowledge to make them better.”

UF’s Lastinger Center created the program in partnership with the Center for Teaching Quality (CTQ), a national nonprofit organization. CTQ will support fellows by facilitating virtual collaborations with project staff and other fellows, measuring the impact of the work they lead, and engaging educators and influencers across the state as their leadership efforts expand.

“There are so many teacher leaders across the state who are seeking to have a greater voice and impact in their schools,” said Barnett Berry, CEO of CTQ. “The goal of this fellowship is to help these leaders share their expert practices across schools and districts.”

The teacher-leader program will formally begin March 1, when the fellows come to Tallahassee for two days to learn about creating a fellowship community and engaging in educational policymaking. In June, the fellows will come to UF’s main campus in Gainesville to launch their personal leadership projects. The fellowship will continue with an international teacher leadership conference in Miami next year.

UF education researchers say they will closely follow the fellows and document the impacts of professional learning on teacher and student growth as a way to continually refine and improve the program.

“Through developing and researching the fellowship, we want to better understand what teacher leadership looks like in schools and districts across the state. And we want to know how to cultivate a group of teacher leaders who, in their support of individual schools and districts, advance the state’s education system for the benefit of Florida’s students,” said Dr. Philip Poekert, assistant director of the Lastinger Center.

Below are the 40 educators selected for the inaugural Florida Teacher Leader Fellows program:

County and/or District School Educator
Alachua W.W. Irby Elementary Lorena Sanchez
Brevard Meadowlane Primary Sarah Brown
Broward District-based

Pembroke Pines Charter Elementary

Tropical Elementary

Isabel Nodarse

Donald Nicolas
Amy DeCelle

Duval Paxon Mai Keisling
Flagler Matanzas High Amanda Kraverotis
Florida Virtual Florida Virtual School Charles Cummings
Hillsborough Bloomingdale High Heather Hanks
Lake Grassy Lake Elementary Kelly Dodd
Lee Riverdale High

Tortuga Preserve Elementary

Deneen Kozielski

Jennifer Grida

Leon John G. Riley Elementary Bridgette McCloud
Levy Yankeetown Cara Dunford
Martin Crystal Lake Elementary Christina Kennard
Miami-Dade Charles D. Wyche Jr. Elementary

Dr. Edward L. Whigham Elementary

Eneida M. Hartner Elementary

Gulfstream Elementary

Kendale Lakes Elementary

Rockway Middle

William H. Turner Technical Arts High

Maria Silva

Adrienne Reeder

Nicole Fernandez

Osmany Hurtado

Lianna Saenz

Michael Windisch

Treesey Weaver

Orange Wyndham Lakes Elementary Deborah Carmona
Palm Beach Carver Community Middle

Del Prado Elementary

Forest Hill Community High

Forest Hill Community High

Royal Palm Beach High

Suncoast Community High

Daryl Pauling

Tyler Montgomery

Jillian Gregory

Allison Hammill

Daniella Suarez

Stephen Kaplan

Sarasota Imagine School at North Port Upper Campus Tiffany Bailey
Seminole District office

Lyman High

Pam Ferrante

Martha Ladd

St. Johns John A. Crookshank Elementary

Timberlin Creek Elementary

Jacqueline Zahralban

Andrea Dieckman

St. Lucie Frances K. Sweet Elementary

Lincoln Park Academy

Palm Pointe Educational Research

Nardi Routten

Makeda-Ione Brome

Glenna Sigmon

UF Lab School P.K. Yonge Developmental Research Jon Mundorf
Volusia Deltona High Dylan Emerick-Brown
Walton Walton High Deena Martin

 

Sources (UF Lastinger Center):
— Rebekah Cordova, professional development coordinator, (c) 303-246-4331; (w) 352-273-4103
— Phil Poekert, 305-586-8665;
— Don Pemberton, 352-273-4103;
WriterCharles Boisseau, news and communications, UF College of Education, 352-273-4449 

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Ed. tech’s Ritzhaupt named distinguished alumnus by alma mater

Albert Ritzhaupt

Albert Ritzhaupt

Award-winning UF education technology researcher Albert Ritzhaupt received the Valencia College Distinguished Alumni Award for his contributions to the ed. tech field.

Ritzhaupt, who received his associate’s degree from Valencia in 2001, is an associate professor and coordinator of the College of Education’s ed. tech program.

He said the award motivates him to continually set high goals.

“Both hard work and persistence can payoff,” said Ritzhaupt, a COE faculty member since 2010. “I hope to expand on certain avenues of research and continue to contribute to my field.”

Ritzhaupt has his Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction with a specialization in instructional technology, and an MBA degree focusing on computer and information sciences.

He was nominated for the award by his former professor and mentor Colin Archibald, who teaches computer science at Valencia. He said Ritzhaupt’s unusual combination of graduate degrees gives him an advantage in his field.

“I don’t know of anyone else who studied computing only to later study education,” Archibald said. “This makes his work very important and his perspective very rare.”

A large portion of Ritzhaupt’s research encompasses the design and development of technology-enhanced learning environments. His research has reported in more than 80 publications and conference proceedings. He is the editor of the Florida Journal of Educational Research and associate editor of the Journal of Educational Computing Research.

Ritzhaupt has won best research paper awards from several national and international professional organizations.

Funding sources for his studies include the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and the Florida Department of Education.

Ritzhaupt has also played an important role in advancing the COE’s online master’s degree program in education technology.

Last year, the program went from being unranked to ninth in the nation by TheBestSchools.org, a higher education website for college information seekers.

The excellence of the ed. tech online program played a role in advancing the COE’s overall online master’s degree program to the No. 1 spot in the 2016 rankings of America’s Best Online Programs in Graduate Education by U.S. News and World Report magazine this year.


CONTACTS
    SOURCEAlbert Ritzhaupt, UF College of Education; 352-273-4180
    WRITERKatelin Mariner, UF College of Education; 352-273-4449
    MEDIA LIAISON: Larry Lansford, communications director, UF College of Education; 352-273-4137

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Education professor wins $1.2 million grant to lead UF team on 3-D paleontology technology project

Pasha Antonenko

Pasha Antonenko secures fifth NSF grant

University of Florida educational technology researcher Pasha Antonenko is leading a team of UF scientists from multiple disciplines to create a novel curriculum for the middle and high school grades and assist paleontologists working on projects worldwide.

The three-year, $1.2 million project will help students develop their skills in real-world science technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), Antonenko said. It is a collaboration with teachers and students in 10 public schools in California and Florida. Among the participating schools is UF’s P.K. Yonge Development Research School. The other schools are yet to be determined.

Workshop participants visit the University of Florida's Fab Lab to print a model of a fossil horse tooth.

Workshop participants visit the University of Florida’s Fab Lab to print a model of a fossil horse tooth.

A comparison of the fossil tooth (top) with the scaled printed version (center).The printed 3D model was enlarged to twice the size of the original fossil to demonstrate how scan data can be manipulated to facilitate specific lesson plans. In this case, the differences in the teeth of two fossil horses (another shown at bottom) of very different sizes could be compared after scaling the small horse to the size of the larger horse, potentially serving as a lesson in critical observation skills.

A comparison of the fossil tooth (top) with the scaled printed version (center).The printed 3D model was enlarged to twice the size of the original fossil to demonstrate how scan data can be manipulated to facilitate specific lesson plans. In this case, the differences in the teeth of two fossil horses (another shown at bottom) of very different sizes could be compared after scaling the small horse to the size of the larger horse, potentially serving as a lesson in critical observation skills.

The NSF grant is one of five that the Ukraine-born Antonenko has won in recent months.

Called “iDigFossils,” the project will allow middle- and high-school students who are studying bones to scan them in three dimensions and upload them to virtual collections that paleontologists and others can access worldwide and reproduce using 3-D printers.

Antonenko is an associate professor of educational technology in UF’s College of Education.

He said the team is seeking to address an ongoing problem in 21st century education: how to integrate STEM lessons across multiple disciplines. For example, how do you take what lessons students are learning in math classes and apply them to other fields of study, such as biology?

“The problem that we are addressing is to integrate STEM in the classroom in effective ways without overloading the mathematics teacher or the science teacher,” he said.

More specifically the project will use 3-D scanning and printing activities in the context of paleontology as an integrative STEM discipline, he said. “It will provide a good way to integrate STEM in K-12 education. It’s a very meaningful way to also contribute to actual science, that’s the other angle of it.”

About $100,000 of the funding will pay for 3-D scanning and printing carts and five laptops for each of 10 participating school districts.

Antonenko is serving as principal investigator on the project. Co-principal investigators are: Bruce McFadden, curator and professor at UF’s Florida Museum of Natural History; Aaron Wood, research assistant at the museum; and Corey Toler-Franklin, an assistant professor in UF’s Computer & Information Science & Engineering Department and director of its Graphics, Imaging & Light Measurement Laboratory.

More information can be found on the NSF website: http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1510410&HistoricalAwards=false.


Source: Pasha Antonenko, (352) 273-4176
Writer: Charles Boisseau, (352) 273-4449
Media Liaison: Larry Lansford, (352) 273-4137