Category Archives: Community Outreach

astronomy festival

ECU faculty inspire science on National Mall

Summers are warm but certainly not lazy for ECU faculty. Many ECU Faculty use this time as an opportunity to reach beyond the campus and inspire and excite people of all ages in learning and doing science.

In Washington D.C. the annual Astronomy Festival on the National Mall, hosted by Hofstra University and funded by NASA through the Music and Astronomy Under the Stars program is one such opportunity that engages an estimated 10,000 people.

Dr. Sharon Schleigh, faculty member in the Department of Mathematics, Science & Instructional Technology Education (MSITE) was invited to join a group of astronomers from the nation’s foremost scientific institutions, organizations and universities to present exciting demonstrations and answer questions about the latest astronomical discoveries or careers in science.

The annual event begins during the daylight hours by engaging visitors to the National Mall in hands-on astronomy activities, demonstrations and presentations. Visitors have opportunities to use solar telescopes, watch planetarium shows, and ask astronomers questions about topics of interest and possible career choices. Visitors continue to join the event late into the evening and as the day progresses to night, astronomers set up a variety of large telescopes across the Washington D.C. National Mall to allow participants to view local objects in the night sky such the Moon, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn; and spectacular objects such as colorful double stars, star clusters that sparkle like diamonds on black velvet, and some favorite nebulae such as Orion Nebula, the Ring Nebula and the Dumbbell Nebula.

“Bringing astronomy to the National Mall and partnering with astronomical organizations gives us a very special opportunity to encourage children to pursue their interest in science or math and to promote public understanding of science,” said Dr. Lubowich. “Gazing at the rings of Saturn or the Moon’s craters captures the imagination, no matter how old you are.”

Participating Science Organizations: American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Association of Physics Teachers, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Carnegie Institution for Science, Celestial Chart, Center of Physics & Astronomy Education Research, E-planetarium/Discovery Dome, International Dark Sky Association, NASA – Goddard Space Flight Center, Lunar and Planetary Institute, National Center for Earth and Space Science Education, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, National Science Foundation, Naval Research Laboratory, #Popscope, Society of Physics Students, Space Telescope Science Institute, US Naval Observatory, and the Washington Area Astronomy Meetup.

Participating Colleges and Universities: American University, Catholic University of American, East Carolina University, Georgetown University, George Mason University, George Washington University, Montgomery College, Rice University.

Participating Astronomy clubs and related organizations: Amateur Observers’ Society of New York, Astronomical Association of Greenbelt, Goddard Astronomy Club, National Capital Astronomers, Northern Virginia Astronomy Club, Rappahannock Astronomy Club, and the Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers.

Organizations that have supported the AFNM to spread the word to their members and the public via social media include: the American Astronomical Society, American Geophysical Union, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Association of Science-Technology Centers, Astronomers Without Borders, Astronomical League, Astronomical Society of the Pacific/Night Sky Network, Astronomy Magazine, National Academies of Science, Marian Koshland Science Museum, National Optical Astronomy Observatory, National Science Teachers Association, Nerd Nite DC, Sky and Telescope Magazine, Sidewalk Astronomers, Society for Science & the Public.

Miles and Rawls-

COE grant educates students on the science of drug abuse

Tonya Little presentationThe Science Education Against Drug Abuse Partnership (SEADAP) program aims to expose students from 6th through 12th grade to the real-world applications of the scientific method in order to teach them about drug addiction.

Now in its third year, the SEADAP program continues to implement hands-on curriculum educating students about the science of drug addiction and the adverse effects of widely abused substances while exposing students in research activities to increase their interest in STEM careers.

Students are led in the design of their own experiments on planaria, a type of flatworm, with Teachersnicotine, alcohol, and sucrose solutions to conduct investigations from lab manuals that specifically address the National Science Education Standards & Common Core, while building partnerships with medical scientists, addiction specialists and professional educators, to educate the general public about drug abuse.

ECU recently hosted a group of educators from Pitt, Martin and Lenoir county public schools, continuing to expand the SEADAP program into North Carolina’s STEM curriculum.

Rawls with teachersECU is collaborating with Temple University on this project. Dr. Scott Rawls of Temple is the co- principal investigator, and Dr. Rhea Miles of ECU is the co-principal investigator.

Teachers will be working with high school students from Pitt, Martin, and Lenoir counties to conduct research investigations at ECU to study the effect of nicotine, caffeine, alcohol and sucrose on planaria under the direction of Miles in the Department of Mathematics, Science, and Instructional Technology Education in the College of Education.

Teachers will also work with students to study the effects of drug addiction on flatworms through the SEADAP grant.

For more information on the SEADAP Program contact Dr. Rhea Miles at 252-328-9366 or milesr@ecu.edu.

Instructor Jose Gregory of Dunwoody, GA, leads the AP US History session during the 2016 APSI.

2016 AP Summer Institute a huge success!

The College of Education’s Center for STEM Education hosted the 2016 AP Summer Institute (APSI) at South Central High School in Greenville June 27 – June 30.   More than 120 educators from across the state and country attended this year’s APSI, which is more than double the amount of participation from last year.

“This is the fourteenth year that ECU’s College of Education has hosted the AP Summer Institute,” said APSI Director, Dr. Lori Flint. “Our goal is to train highly qualified teachers to bring more rigor to their classrooms and expose more students in rural areas to AP courses.”

Flint attributed the increase in participation to the addition four new AP sessions: AP US History, AP Psychology, AP English Language and AP English Literature. Previous APSI’s offered only STEM AP sessions including: AP Biology, AP Calculus AB, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, AP Physics 1 and AP Statistics.087A1418

“AP courses enhance student skills and better prepare them for college-level work,” added APSI Coordinator Ann McClung. “First-year college students who have taken these classes are much better writers than students who were never exposed to AP coursework.”

Each session is four-days long and is taught by a certified College Board consultant who has taught the AP course, served as an exam reader for several years and received additional training from the College Board.

Participants pay $575 for 30 hours of intensive training over four days. The fee for the non-residential institute covers training materials, snacks and lunch. The ECU APSI is a College Board endorsed non-residential summer institute.087A1392

“Our consultants have been unbelievable,” said Flint. “The sessions have been so engaging our participants hardly take time for snacks or lunch. They are not only getting expert advice on how to prepare students for AP exams they are also networking and learning about best practices from their peers.”

ECU College of Education CSTEM AP Summer Institute

  • AP Biology – Instructor, Tom Willis of Saint Simons Island, GA
  • AP Calculus AB – Instructor, Deb Castello of Orlando, FL
  • AP Chemistry – Instructor, Linda Kruegel of Hertfort, NC
  • AP Environmental Science – Instructor, Gordon Chenery of Nashville, TN
  • AP Physics 1 – Instructor, Jiang Yu of Fitchburg, MA
  • AP Statistics – Instructor, Gloria Barrett of Pittsboro, NC
    NEW for 2016
  • AP US History – Instructor, Jose Gregory of Dunwoody, GA
  • AP English LanguageInstructor, Terry W. Filippo of Clemson, SC
  • AP English Literature Instructor, Patricia Whyte of Bluffton, SC
  • AP Psychology Instructor, Nancy Fenton of Trevor, WI

Above –  Instructor Jose Gregory of Dunwoody, GA, leads the AP US History session during the 2016 APSI.

Dr. Grant Hayes

Public School Forum of NC elects Hayes as member

The Public School Forum of North Carolina’s Board of Directors officially welcomed Dr. Grant Hayes, dean of the College of Education, to its membership on June 7. Hayes was elected for a two-year term of service during the organization’s annual meeting on May 16 and is effective July 1.

The Public School Forum of NC’s mission is to “shape a world-class public school education that supports all children in reaching their pull potential and drives a vibrant North Carolina economy,” according to the Forum’s website: www.ncforum.org.

Established 30 years ago, the Forum has launched programs like the Beginning Teacher Network, Education Policy Fellowship Program, Teaching Fellows Program, and the NC Center for Afterschool Programs among others.

“The Forum is comprised of an impressive and well-rounded group of individuals who are working hard to advance and improve North Carolina’s public schools through research, policy and advocacy,” said Hayes. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to contribute to this work.”

Each year, the Forum determines top 10 education issues to address for the year. The 2016 list is below, and the list from 2015 can be found online: Top 10 Education Issues 2015.

  1. Direct Adequate Resources to Public Schools, Teachers, and Leaders
  2. Transform the Profession to Make NC a Teaching Destination Again
  3. Emphasize Quality, not Quantity, in Charter School Growth
  4. Elevate Race as a Focal Point of Public Education
  5. Fix the Broken A-F Grading System
  6. Support the State’s Struggling Schools
  7. Maintain High Standards for North Carolina
  8. Make Evidence-Based Decisions on Expansion of Private-School Vouchers
  9. Expand Access to High-Quality Early Childhood Education
  10. Build Bridges for Students through Expanded Learning

To follow or join conversations with the Forum and issues, #EdTalksNC can be found on Twitter, Facebook and at edtalks.ncforum.org/.

Berryman

Freshman education major recognized by top honor society

The ECU Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi national honor society has named Glenesha D. Berryman as the Outstanding First-Year student at ECU for the 2015-2016 year. Berryman is studying English education in the College of Education and is also completing an English major in the Harriot College Department of English. She is an EC Scholar and member of the Honors College.

Taylor Carangi Paige Anderson LMU Presentation

IHAT Center Presentation at Loyola Marymount University

The Irene Howell Assistive Technology [IHAT] Center was invited to do a virtual presentation at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

The presentation was facilitated by IHAT Center Co-Manager, Taylor Carangi and IHAT staff member, Paige Anderson, both ECU Special Education majors, via Skype on April 26, 2016. It offered a virtual tour of the IHAT Center and an introduction to assistive technology and universal design for learning.

The presentation was given to general education and special education pre-service teachers who are in an early field experience course taught by Dr. Vicki Graf at Loyola Marymount University.

The IHAT crew members did a phenomenal job sharing information and fielding questions about our special education program here at ECU, assistive technology, universal design for learning, and processes for determining AT selection for individuals with disabilities.

2016 Spring EdCamp

ECU College of Education Hosts First EdcampECU

The ECU College of Education successfully hosted its first EdcampECU on Saturday, April 23 at Speight and Rivers Buildings. The event drew over sixty participants including  teachers, media coordinators, instructional technology specialists, and school district personnel from across the region and several ECU Faculty members.  EdcampECU followed the unique “unconference” format with sessions being suggested by participants during the conference. Sessions did not have presenters, instead they were organized as discussion groups where educators shared and learned from each other. EdcampECU focused on the integration of technology in the classroom and included topics such as formative assessment tools, Google Apps, project based learning, flipped classrooms, gamification, technology to improve literacy and much more. In addition to the regular EdcampECU sessions, participants joined a lunchtime webinar from teacher and author, Heather Wolpert-Gawron of www.tweenteacher.com who discussed “writing as creating” in her experience teaching ELL students writing with the integration of 3-D printing projects.

Participants brought their own devices to the conference where they followed the live agenda and session notes on Google Docs while highlighting the events of the day via the #edcampecu live twitter feed. In the high energy closing session, referred to as the “Smackdown” in Edcamp tradition, participants drew and a representation of their EdcampECU experience and shared with the group in 30 seconds or less in order to have a chance to win one of several document cameras or devices donated by IPEVO.

EdcampECU participants had rave reviews of the event. When asked about their favorite part of the day, participants shared that they enjoyed “The freedom and flexibility to engage in meaningful conversation” and “Getting to collaborate with fellow educators…and a relaxed atmosphere in which we could learn something new.”

Teachers were awarded .6 CEU’s for attendance and the conference was offered free to participants due to the generous sponsorships of the ECU College of Education, Taskstream, and the Edcamp Foundation. Doorprizes were offered by Nearpod, Classcraft, Chromville and IPEVO. The conference was organized by the Office of Assessment, Accreditation and Data Management led by Instructional Technology Consultants, Holly Fales and Jason Whited. In addition, Lauren Boucher and Melissa Tedder of Pitt County Schools and Dr. Todd Finley, Associate Professor of English Education assisted with the event.

Daniel Dickerson

Dr. Daniel Dickerson Represents ECU on Fulbright Commission Panel Addressing STEM Study Abroad Partnerships with the Czech Republic

Dr. Daniel Dickerson, associate professor in the Department of Mathematics, Science, and Instructional Technology Education and ECU STEM CoRE (Collaborative for Research in Education) Co-Director, is among a small group of scholars from across the United States selected to sit on a Fulbright Commission sponsored STEM Expert Panel to address university faculty from across the Czech Republic regarding STEM study abroad possibilities. He will join faculty from MIT, Purdue, Michigan, Georgia Tech, and other STEM intensive institutions.

The STEM Expert Panel is part of a capacity building workshop, “Bringing More U.S. Students in STEM to Czech Universities,” sponsored by the Department of State, Office of Global Educational Program, the Fulbright Commission in the Czech Republic in cooperation with Czech universities that offer education in STEM. The workshop will take place in Prague, Czech Republic on April 19-20, 2016 and will be followed by campus visits on April 21-22.

While there, Dickerson will speak to participants during meeting sessions regarding STEM education program development and explore ways to build collaborative efforts with the Czech Republic. Additionally, the US delegation will tour eight Czech universities, attend a reception at the residence of the US Ambassador, and explore innovative ways to enhance global partnerships.

Dr. Dickerson has more than 70 publications, 130 conference presentations, and has been involved in grants as PI, Co-PI, Senior Personnel, or Evaluator totaling over $10 million.

Alecia Castellano, a junior Special Education Major, works on the new Varisdesk in the IHAT Center.

IHAT Center Receives Corporate Donation from VARIDESK

Kristin Messina, a junior Recreational Therapy major, tries out the new Varidesk in the IHAT Center.

The Irene Howell Assistive Technology [IHAT] Center (College of Education, Rivers 128) is excited and grateful for a corporate donation to the IHAT Center by VARIDESK. The VARIDESK company makes height-adjustable standing desks. Standing desks are universally designed to allow for all individuals, with or without disabilities, to benefit from them. They allow for people to sit and stand as needed in their work and/or recreation space in both home and office environments. These desks also qualify as assistive technology, whose federal definition is “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. “ (Technology Related Assistance to Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988 (Tech Act).

Standing desks can be used to “increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities” for individuals with physical disabilities which may require them to weight bear for strength for certain periods of time, for individuals with attention or behavioral concerns by allowing them to have more flexibility of movement, and even for ease of computer and technology use for individuals who may need to be in a prone stander during various times of the day, either at home or school. VARIDESK donated two standing desks for the IHAT Center to include in our professional development sessions we offer to students and faculty on assistive technology, specifically in the sessions on Introduction to AT and UDL, AT for Behavior, and Alternate Access. Please feel free to stop by the IHAT Center located in Rivers 128 to see and try this wonderful addition to our lab.

Pictured above: Alecia Castellano, a junior Special Education Major, works on the new Varisdesk in the IHAT Center.

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ECU hosts design thinking sessions for education professionals

The College of Education hosted two design thinking workshops. Local K–12 educators, high school students and ECU faculty attended a workshop to confront important challenges in higher education and design innovative solutions on Monday, March 21.

Design ThinkingThe next day, local K–12 educators were taken through the full cycle of design thinking in a short timeframe. The activity focused on the fundamental values of human-centered design: a bias toward action, a culture of iteration and the importance of rapid prototyping. The latter portion of the session will uncover the results of the activity and tie them back to the day-to-day challenges.

As a new way to problem solve, companies like IDEO and Google are embracing design thinking, according to Militello.

“This workshop may affect our professional students in profound ways because it provides them with a tool set for managing change in schools which is not generally provided in preparation programs,” said Militello. “In making the case for design thinking, we’re asking school leaders to admit that the answers to modern challenges they face don’t yet exist; that off-the-shelf solutions or strategies that neighboring schools employ are not going to meet the unique needs of the communities they serve.”

Nash

Dr. Nash presenting during the COE’s design thinking workshops.

Dr. John Nash, associate professor of educational leadership studies at the University of Kentucky and the founding director of the Laboratory on Design Thinking in Education, or dLab, will facilitate the sessions on both dates. He’s also a director at the Center for Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education, or CASTLE, at the University of Kentucky.

Nash is a specialist in the design and prototyping of innovations in education. He teaches a range of courses on design thinking, school technology leadership, and school reform. His current research agenda focuses on the methods to design and prototype of innovations in education.

The events are sponsored by the Wells Fargo Distinguished Professor in Educational Leadership, Dr. Matt Militello.

Design thinking is a creative strategy for dealing with old and emerging problems. This approach differs from the traditional scientific method by considering known and unknown parameters to seek alternative solutions in an iterative manner.

“The intent of the Wells Fargo Endowment in Educational Leadership is to build capacity for local school educators,” said Militello. “Design thinking is a way to build capacity for these educators and for those who train them. ECU’s College of Education is well positioned to be at the forefront of technologies and innovations that can best assist our school educators. This series is another example of this type of forward thinking work.”