While academics always have their eyes on the job postings, I’m currently not actively pursuing a new position. As such, my public profile is going to be limited to my CV, and some abbreviated information about my research interests.
K-12 Online Readiness
Generally speaking, many K-12 students perform poorly in online courses. One (of many) possible causes stems from a lack of ‘soft skills’ necessary to be successful in an online course. I have been utilizing surveys developed from other researchers that have been shown to predict success in online courses with decent accuracy. Rather than use these surveys as a “weeding” tool to select and prevent, they should be used to employ targeted supports for students who demonstrate (or self-report) a weakness in one or more of these soft skills before taking their first online course.
Preservice Teacher Technology Integration
While we are doing a better job in preparing pre-service teachers to integrate technology in their future classrooms, this preparation does not translate into actual practice. We’re providing them with the skills and knowledge, but their lessons and plans for future use are often low-level (i.e., replacement activities that do not employ radically different instructional strategies; that is, essentially the same lesson could be done without the technology). I am currently working with other pre-service educators to explore how we can improve transfer to practice.
As many of you know, I have a degree in Futures Studies. On and off, I dabble with the concept of teaching futures in K-12. This can take many forms. As an enrichment activity, many students around the world participate in Future Problem Solving competitions. More recently, there is a push to incorporate foresight strategies into the K-12 curriculum. One such source is Teach the Future, initiated by my former advisor, Peter Bishop. From a research standpoint, there is some research on the benefits of teaching and improving students’ future time perspective. Again, I only dabble in this space when I have time.
Homemade PowerPoint Games
Homemade PowerPoint Games were the focus of my dissertation. Rather than having students learn by playing games, this line of research examined how students would learn by building games integrating content, a concept known as constructionism. In summary, previous research on the games had shown no difference in student performance, so we began to look at the process of game construction, comparing it to the justifications for why the project should show increased achievement. I found that the justifications were not implemented properly in the game design process. Over multiple iterations, I was able to refine the project implementation to where students who created games performed statistically better on tests than those who did more traditional strategies.
The concept of low-tech game design (i.e., these games were created with PowerPoint rather than through programming or coding) still holds promise in schools given the current push for makerspaces and design thinking in classrooms.