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COE Helps Schools in Digital Age

Tablets and smart phones, Google Apps and Hangouts, technology has changed the way people interact. Schools, however, have been slow to adapt. With the help of the College of Education’s Center for Educational Leadership and Service (CELS), directed by Associate Professor Jason LaFrance, K-12 leaders from around the United States will learn how to create learning opportunities that 21st century students need.

CELS, with the National Principals Academy, is sponsoring a one-day workshop led by Dr. Scott McLeod, a visionary on technology leadership and preparing students for the future, and Dr. Steven Edwards, an international expert in education leadership development. The workshop will be held October 24, 2014, at the Coastal Georgia Center, Savannah, Georgia.

Through a combination of presentations and smaller “micro sessions,” participants will explore new ideas about how education can and should prepare students for the rich and challenging world they will live in, and to process those ideas with other attendees, LaFrance explained.

“In this workshop attendees will learn about creating a vision for success in the digital age, better technology integration, and how to overcome fear, control and other policy concerns,” LaFrance said. “Our conference leaders will frame how they see the future of education and share how to become a leader who creates the learning opportunities our students need and deserve”, LaFrance continued.

School leaders will come away with strategies to overcome barriers to integrating technology in their district /school; developing a vision for technology infused education; how to better help students compete in a global economy positively impact a school’s culture and climate; and how to embed best practices with current Common Core standards.

For more information on “Leading and Learning in a Digital World,” click here http://academics.georgiasouthern.edu/ce/conferences/leading/


EAGLES Tutoring Takes Flight

More than 15 percent of Georgia’s adult population doesn’t finish high school, and for many the time and effort to get a General Education Development (GED) credential can be daunting. “The U.S. Department of Education reports about 1.2 million adults in Georgia without a high school diploma,” said College of Education Assistant Professor Amelia Davis. That’s why Davis decided to create EAGLES Tutoring, a weekly tutoring session for adults hosted in the College of Education. EAGLES (Enhancing Adult Georgians’ Life and Educational Skills) Tutoring is designed to help adult students seeking to improve their basic skills or obtain their GED®. Davis, who is in the Department of Curriculum, Foundations and Reading, specializes in adult learning and adult basic education and worked in the field of adult education for 12 years prior to coming to Georgia Southern.

“It’s a great opportunity for adult learners to build their basic academic skills and for future educators in the College of Education to get firsthand experience developing strategies for working with parents who many not have a high school diploma or who may lack the basic skills needed to assist their child with schoolwork,” Davis said. Students who volunteer with the tutoring program receive training on working with adult learners, and may get service-learning credit.

“Ogeechee Technical College (OTC) in Statesboro provides a great basic education and GED preparation program,” Davis remarked. For the past two years Davis has volunteered time each week with Ogeechee Tech’s Adult Learning Program. “The EAGLES program is scheduled on Fridays when GED preparation isn’t offered at OTC, but I also wanted to broaden awareness of adult education by bringing it to Georgia Southern and to provide more opportunities for adults in our community,” she added.  OTC’s lead adult education instructor, Nancy Holt, says that the one-on-one help provided by EAGLES Tutoring is a big boost for the area. “This is a wonderful program,” she remarked. “Students in our program who need extra help or want to get caught up have another option with this program. We’re not competing with each other, we’re working together to help the community,” she said. “It’s especially helpful because EAGLES Tutoring can provide the one-on-one attention we can’t always give,” she added.  Holt is a COE alumna with undergraduate and graduate degrees in education.

While the program is new this fall, Davis said she expects it to grow as word gets out. “We’ve already had a positive response from COE majors and even faculty who are volunteering as tutors, and from the community. I hope with time that EAGLES Tutoring will really take off,” she added.

Tamela Evans, a COE Ed.D. candidate works with Joseph Lee at EAGLES Tutoring

Tamela Evans, a COE Ed.D. candidate works with Joseph Lee at EAGLES Tutoring

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Faculty Collaborates on New NSF Grants in Education

Antonio Gutierrez, a new assistant professor in the College of Education, Department of Curriculum, Foundations and Reading, is part of two newly funded grants from the National Science Foundation totaling $950,000. Both grants concern issues surrounding different aspects of teaching and learning in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The first grant seeks to increase the number of students with disabilities participating in high school computer science courses. According to Gutierrez, about 13 percent of K-12 students are identified as having disabilities but the majority of these students are intellectually able to learn computational thinking and programming. “The problem is that this group is terribly underrepresented in these types of courses and only about 1 percent of computer science doctorates are awarded to students who have disabilities,” Gutierrez said.  The goal of the project, called Access CS10K, is to increase the successful participation of students with disabilities in Exploring Computer Science (ESC) and Computer Science Principles (CSP) courses through educator professional development and the development of curricula and tools for students with disabilities in those courses.

The second NSF grant uses learning management systems (LMS) software and research on learning to identify and improve STEM undergraduates’ learning behaviors, motivations and outcomes. “This grant is particularly interesting because it looks at ways to improve understanding of the cognitive, metacognitive and motivational factors that influence undergraduate STEM learning outcomes using unobtrusive, technology-driven methods,” Gutierrez said. In addition, he said the study will test whether direct strategy instruction and motivational interventions embedded in a LMS can improve student learning, produce behavior-based early warning system that predicts student outcomes and will test for differential effects for women and members of underrepresented minority groups.

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COE Assistant Professor Antonio Gutierrez, Curriculum, Foundations and Reading.

Gutierrez helped write the winning grant proposals and will serve as a consultant on both projects. He came to Georgia Southern University from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he was a grant writer and coordinator of the Center for Mathematics, Science and Engineering Education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.


2014 Jack Miller Award Winners Announced

The 2014 Jack Miller Awards were announced at the College of Education’s annual Fall Faculty and Staff Meeting on August 13, kicking off the 2014-15 academic year.

The Jack Miller Faculty Awards are given annually to recognize and reward faculty for demonstrated excellence in the areas of teaching, service and scholarship/creative activity. The awards are determined by a faculty member’s performance based on specific criteria. This year, awards were made in all areas as well as the Jack Miller Educator of the Year Award.

Jack Miller was a former dean of education at Georgia Southern and in 1994 endowed the award. He is now President of Central Connecticut State University.

This year’s winners were: Kymberly Drawdy, Award for Service; Julie Maudlin, Award for Teaching; Charles Hodges, Award for Scholarship and Creative Activity; and Lina Soares, Educator of the Year.

Kymberly Drawdy is an associate professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning. She received her doctorate from the University of Alabama. Her research interests include appropriate delivery of services for students with disabilities in alternative placement and residential treatment facilities, transition goals and services for incarcerated youth with disabilities, self-determination as a motivational approach and professional development in schools.

Julie Maudlin is an associate professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning. She received her doctorate from Georgia Southern University. Her research interests include early childhood education, cultural curriculum studies, creativity, consumption and public pedagogy.

Charles Hodges is an associate professor in the Department of Leadership, Technology and Human Development. He received his doctorate from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. His research interests include learner motivation, self-efficacy, self-regulation, online or technology enhanced teaching and learning, instructional design, emerging technologies and peer review as an instructional strategy.

Lina Soares is an associate professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning. She received her doctorate from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. Her research interests include critical pedagogy and critical literacy, content-area literacy, adolescent literacy, teacher education and gifted education.

Pictured below (l-r) are COE Dean Thomas Koballa with award winners Kymberly Drawdy, Lina Soares, Charles Hodges and Julie Maudlin.
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COE Faculty Helps Boost Undergraduate Research with Election to National Organization

Associate Professor Kymberly Drawdy, Department of Teaching and Learning, was recently elected to serve as a councilor on the Social Sciences Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR).

Founded in 1978, CUR is a national organization of individual and institutional members representing over 900 colleges and universities created to support and promote high-quality undergraduate student-faculty collaborative research and scholarship. CUR Councilors are elected to three-year terms and attend yearly business meetings. Each Councilor serves on a committee to network with other individuals in their discipline and to help shape the future of CUR and undergraduate research.

Drawdy has been spearheading undergraduate research with COE colleagues Associate Professor Meca Williams-Johnson and Clinical Instructor Kathleen Tootle, by embedding action research in the special education teacher education program. Six SPED students last year looked at school improvement plans in the partner schools where they were assigned and matched the curriculum they were teaching to those curriculum goals in the school improvement plan for specific students. The students were accepted to present their research at two regional and one national conference. “Being able to conduct and use research is so important for teacher development and for preservice teachers’ impact on P-12 learning, Drawdy said. Tootle is also in the Department of Teaching and Learning. Williams-Johnson is in the Department of Curriculum, Foundations and Reading.

“I am glad to be a part of a national organization that promotes undergraduate research,” said Drawdy.

Also elected to serve as a councilor on the Social Science Division of the Council was Assistant Professor Laurie Gould, who works in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences’ Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology.

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COE Associate Professor Kymberly Drawdy

“I was absolutely thrilled to be elected to the governing council for CUR,” said Gould. “Under the leadership of Karin Scarpinato (associate dean in the College of Science and Mathematics), Georgia Southern University’s CUR has done a phenomenal job of promoting undergraduate research on campus. It is both a privilege and an honor to represent Georgia Southern at the national level,” she added.


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