WMU News

Education students earn top honors in technology

Dec. 1, 2003

KALAMAZOO--Three Western Michigan University College of Education students and one recent graduate have landed top state honors for their expertise in using educational technology.

The 2003 Michigan Certification of Outstanding Achievement in Teaching and Technology designation recently was awarded to WMU students and preservice educators Jessica Carter of Three Rivers, Mich.; Daryl McLeese of Decatur, Mich.; and Michael Miller of Kalamazoo. WMU College of Education graduate, Kristen DeWitt, now teaching in the Plainwell school district, received an inservice award. The four are among only 27 honorees statewide.

In addition, WMU's Dr. Robert Leneway accepted the 2003 COATT President's Award on behalf of the College of Education for its efforts to encourage and work with both preservice and in-service students to make outstanding submissions for the COATT application process. In accepting the award, he credited the efforts of WMU faculty and staff members Dr. Howard Poole, Eileen Buckley and Mary Jane Mielke for promoting and working with students to submit applications for the competition.

The annual awards are given to intern teachers and professional educators who have shown exemplary performance in teaching a unit that seamlessly integrates technology in their teaching. Achievement is demonstrated through a digital portfolio that showcases advanced competencies and specific examples of how a teacher incorporates technology in learning activities. All of the winning portfolios can be viewed at <www.coatt.org>.

For example, Jessica Carter's portfolio showcases her multi-week unit on economics, developed during her internship as a fifth-grade teacher at Kalamazoo's Chime Elementary School.

The elementary education major, who has since landed a teaching job in Indianapolis, introduced students to key economics concepts and utilized technology in a wide variety of ways throughout the experience.

From building spreadsheets for grades and creating PowerPoint presentations for students to teaching youngsters new software applications and helping them build their own databases, Carter's work reflects the type of work today's emerging teachers are prepared to handle. The inservice awards also offer examples of how professional educators who are already in the classroom can make the best use of technology.

In 2000, the College of Education launched WMU's only fully online program, allowing working teachers to enroll in the educational technology certificate program.

A year later, it was expanded to an online master's program and 18 students have graduated. Several more will complete the course in December, says Poole, a professor of educational studies.

"One of our leadership areas is training people to be technology coordinators or technology leaders," he says. "We're working with people in the schools who help teachers and school districts do a better job."

For more information about COATT or educational technology at WMU, contact Poole at (269) 387-6050 or <howard.poole@wmich.edu>.

Media contact: Gail Towns, 269 387-8400, gail.towns@wmich.edu

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