Graduate Studies Archives

Alumna Kaki McLachlan selected as 2014 PBS Digital Innovator

By Lina Raffaelli on June 20, 2014 3:15 PM

Kaki McLachlan at the 2013 Teacher Technology Showcase at Sonoma State

Kaki McLachlan shares an interactive project at the 2013 Teacher Technology Showcase at Sonoma State

As education is rapidly running to catch up with today's digital advances, institutions have begun to acknowledge and reward educators who are helping pave the way through useful and creative classroom strategies.

PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators Program is a year-long professional development program designed to foster and grow a community of ed-tech leaders. Each year PBS hand-selects 100 digitally-savvy K-12 educators who are effectively using digital media and technology in their schools to further student engagement and achievement.

School of Education Alumna Kaki McLachlan, graduate of the Single Subject Credential Program and Master's in Education in Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning, has been selected for this honor for the 2014-2015 school year.

"When students use technology in the classroom it allows them to take ownership of what they are learning," said McLachlan. "It is also an engaging way for students to gather up-to-date information in a variety of ways and share what they have learned in more exciting ways then ever before!"

Kaki McLachlanShe acknowledges that all the new technology can be confusing for teachers. "New amazing resources are available each and every day for teachers. At times, it can be overwhelming, but it's not necessary to know it all!" Trying a new technology with students can be a risk, and doesn't always work perfectly. She notes, "It's important to remember, as a teacher, that not every lesson is going to be a success. This is especially important to remember when you begin to implement new projects with technology in the classroom. It is okay to fail! We are students too."

McLachlan teaches science and technology to 6th-8th graders at White Hill Middle School in Fairfax. In addition to teaching life science, this year she took on two brand new technology elective courses focusing on digital citizenship and media.

Throughout the year McLachlan will participate in various virtual trainings in educational technology. As a Digital Innovator, she is expected to lead several professional development activities in the 2014-2015 school year to share her innovations with other educators within her school and district 

The PBS Learning Media Digital Innovators Summit was held in June, hosted at the PBS headquarters in Washington D.C. You can learn more about Digital Innovators by following the event on Twitter at #pbsdigitalinnovator and #pbsdisummit.

Why Learn About Being an Entrepreneurial Educator--an #Edupreneur?

By Pamela Van Halsema on June 13, 2014 11:38 AM

Guest Blogger Dr. Paul Porter, SSU Professor of Educational Leadership

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Educators + Entrepreneurialism = Edupreneurialism

"Edupreneurialism?"  Just another term or something meaningful?  As an instructor in this course The Entrepreneurial Educator, of course, I lean towards the term having great meaning.  For too many years educators have avoided any ties to business, and business has criticized education's graduates.  This artificial separation has led to neither side being able to benefit from the depth and wisdom of the other.  Every business must see itself as a learning organization.  Every school and student must see themselves as a bit more like a business. 

If we are to truly move to 21st century learning and embrace the concepts of the Common Core, our students (and teachers) must begin to think of themselves not as passive recipients of knowledge but as finders and shapers of their own future.  In the course we explore the concept of every student and teacher seeing themselves as an "economic unit of one,"  not in just a financial sense, but with the belief that each student must, early in their education, begin to see themselves as responsible for developing themselves, for marketing themselves, for discovering their passions and for aligning these passions and interests with the realities of today's world.  This is not a task for a career project as a senior in High School, but a way of thinking that needs to be nurtured at an early age.

Come and join us in exploring this concept. Begin looking at yourself as an entrepreneurial educator. Our course begins on June 23 and is hosted on Canvas.net.  Enrollment is free.

Education Specialist Clear Induction Program at Sonoma State University

By Pamela Van Halsema on June 12, 2014 11:29 AM

education specialist clear induction program now accepting applications for Fall 2014The Educational Leadership and Special Education (ELSE) Department is pleased to announce that we have preliminary approval from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) to offer a Clear Education Specialist Induction Program.

What does this mean for you? 

All teachers are initially issued a preliminary credential, which must be "cleared" within a period of time after it is earned. The induction process has been designed based on research that indicates that teachers are more successful, and that they stay in the profession longer when they have been provided support during the early years of their career. The CTC has given candidates holding a Preliminary Education Specialist Credential two options to receive early career support and clear their credentials: Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA), or a university based induction program. Now that SSU has an approved program in special education, you can pick us to complete your induction into the profession of teaching!

Advantages of the SSU Induction program over BTSA include:

  • The option to clear your credential even if you are not employed as a teacher.
  • A one-year timeline to complete the clear credential.
  • Coursework aligned with our master's degree program in special education; you can earn 12 of the 30-36 units you need for the MA by completing induction.
  • Core induction courses offered in a hybrid format;
  • Come to campus on 5 Saturdays, do the rest of the work online. 
  • (This will account for 6 of the 12 units you need to complete for induction).
  • Supportive professors and rigorous instruction, similar to what you enjoyed as a SSU credential candidate.

We will offer the Clear Education Specialist Induction Program at SSU for the first time in the fall semester of 2014. Find more information and an application on our website: http://www.sonoma.edu/education/else/clear-induction-es/index.html  We will be taking applications until August 10. We hope you will consider being a member of our inaugural cohort of clear credential candidates!

Please contact Dr. Jennifer Mahdavi (jennifer.mahdavi@sonoma.edu) with any questions you have about this exciting new opportunity.

Maker Day in Marin Showcases How Teachers and Students Integrate Creativity and Science

By Pamela Van Halsema on April 2, 2014 9:11 AM

The MAKER Movement has taken hold in many schools around Northern California. Over the last several years interest in the grass roots MAKER Movement has grown. MAKER Fairs around the world have attracted hundreds of thousands of people. Now MAKER is beginning to spill into schools and be used by innovative teachers seeking to provide engaging, hands-on, authentic learning experiences in Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics.  

You can find out what MAKER is all about the 1st annual MAKER Day on April 12 at the Marin County Office of Education.See how the future is being imagined,invented, designed, programmed, and manufactured by Marin County students.Meet the MAKERS and have fun with the hands-on exhibits. Everyone is welcome--teachers, kids, families and more-- and it's free! HERE to register.

GO Green and ride your bike to MAKER Day on April 12. Valet bike parking courtesy of the Marin County Bicycle Coalition!

The Marin County Office of Education and partners Autodesk, Microsoft, Edutopia, Intel Clubhouse, Marin County Bicycle Coalition, Lego Play-Well, Buck Institute for Education, and Bay Area Science Festival are hosting MAKER Day on April 12, from 10:00-4:00 at the Marin County Office of Education, 1111 Las Gallinas Avenue, San Rafael. Experience the excitement, creativity, genius and the "do it yourself" ingenuity of our students. More info at http://make.marinschools.org.

The School of Education encourages both pre-service and in-service teachers to take advantage of this opportunity to see how schools are incorporating the MAKER mindset in their classrooms.

Professors Kathy Morris and Debora Hammond Honored with Goldstein Award

By Pamela Van Halsema on January 31, 2014 3:31 PM

Dr. Kathy Morris

Dr. Kathy Morris, Goldstein Award recipient

Sonoma State has named two faculty members as this year's recipients of the Bernard Goldstein Award for Excellence in Scholarship.  These faculty demonstrate a strong commitment to the teacher-scholar model here at the University.

The award recognizes the important connection between faculty professional development (scholarly creative activities) and enriched learning environments for students.

Dr. Kathy Morris received her Ph.D. in Educational Studies - Teacher Education from University of Michigan. Since joining the Sonoma State University faculty, Dr. Morris has authored or co-authored five peer reviewed publications, completed two book chapters and six other publications. In addition, she's participated in 38 conference presentations since 2003 alone.

Dr. Morris has been a Carnegie Fellow on two different projects; The Goldman-Carnegie Quest project related to elementary school mathematics teaching and the MSRI Carnegie Elementary Math Project. For the past five years Dr. Morris has been a Principal Investigator and Co-Director on grants totaling three and a half million dollars. This includes a current $500,000 State grant related to the California Common Core project.

This work has led to her current book project on effective strategies for implementing Math lessons. Dr. Morris was instrumental in the design of the MA in Mathematics Education through the School of Education. Graduates of this program are teachers who go on to take leadership roles in the K-12 education system.



Dr. Debora Hammond

Dr. Debora Hammond, Goldstein Award recipient

Dr. Debora Hammond received her Ph.D. in History of Science from University of California, Berkeley.  She is an international expert in the history of systems thinking; she has given plenary talks six times for the annual meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences. She has over 20 publications on topics which range from systems thinking, to food, education, ecology and sustainability.

Her book, The Science of Synthesis; Exploring the Social Implications of General Systems Theory was published in 2003. She has also been an invited speaker, workshop organizer or participant in over 28 conferences and events. Her two recent publications in 2013 are "Reflections of Recursion and the Evolution of Learning" and "Systems Theory".

Dr. Hammond works with graduate students in the Hutchins Action for a Viable Future MA program, and as Coordinator of the MS in Organization Development. Dr. Hammond has the honor to be selected as an invited participant to the 2014 International Federation for Systems Research Conversation which will be held in Linz, Austria. This biennial event gathers a team of researchers together to work collaboratively for a week on a shared theoretical paper.

The vision of Bernie and Estelle Goldstein is definitely reflected in this year's "Goldstein Awards for Excellence in Scholarship" winners.  Each recipient will receive $1,500 to support their ongoing scholarship efforts.  Debora Hammond and Kathy Morris will be formally recognized at the annual Exposition of Faculty Research event that will be held later this spring.

'Taste' of Graduate Study Available to Newly Credentialed Teachers

By Pamela Van Halsema on January 10, 2014 1:40 PM

If you just finished your credential in Fall, the School of Education has a unique offer for you to get a little taste of what graduate study in education is like.  This might be just the right opportunity for those teachers who may be waiting to begin a full time teaching position in Fall, but have more flexibilty in their Spring schedule.   

For the semester immediately following completion of the credential program, students at SSU are classified as a "continuing education student." During that time (and that time only), students are able to enroll in one or two classes leading toward a Master's In Education degree through Open University, with instructor permission. For this unique opportunity, students do not need to apply to SSU or School of Education program for this offer to be valid.

The fee structure is $280 per unit through Open University.

Courses are offered one night per week, usually at 4-6:40 or 7-9:40 pm, or on Saturdays, and may have a hybrid model wherein some classes meet face-to-face and other sessions are constructed online through Moodle (or some other platform).

The spring 2014 course offerings are listed on our web page at http://www.sonoma.edu/education/graduate/electives.html. Not all courses are appropriate for students exploring the program as some have pre-requisites. But many of the courses will be useful for any teaching career and will apply to your MA degree if you apply and are accepted later on.

The process to enroll through Open University can be found at the Extended Education web page at http://www.sonoma.edu/exed/misc/open-university.html

Generally, the steps to follow are:

1. Look over the course offerings and determine if you wish to take any of the courses listed.

2. Get the REGISTRATION form in the Extended Ed office and secure the instructor approval and department chair approval to enroll in the class.

3. Pay the fee of $280 per unit, or $840 for a 3 unit class, $1,680 for two classes. (Note, this is significantly less expensive than the normal SSU graduate program course fee structure.)

4. Start attending classes the week of January 13.

While engaged in the course or courses, seek advising, review the programs we offer and, if appropriate, apply to that program in the spring for consideration of fall enrollment.

Note, attending courses as a "continuing education student" does not automatically allow you entry to that program--you must still go through the normal application process later if you decide to move forward with the advanced degree. No more than two courses taken through Open University can be applied toward your MA degree. The instructor must approve your enrollment.

To see what MA concentrations we offer and connect with one of our faculty advisors, see our Graduate Studies webpages for more detailed information.

SSU's Teacher Technology Showcase Fosters Dialogue & Innovation

By Lina Raffaelli on January 8, 2014 2:08 PM

Where can you play PacMan with a carrot controller, walk on the moon, and play a digital piano using Play-Doh, all in one evening? One month ago, educators and students gathered together for the Teacher Technology Showcase, and were able to do all three in this year's interactive Maker's Space.

The annual event, now in its third year, is an open house for creative thinking about how to effectively use technology in teaching. Thirty six presenters shared and demonstrated their ideas for lesson plans, tutorials, and tools, all designed to improve learning and student engagement. The event gathered over 200 attendees, including SSU credential and master's degree students, SSU faculty, staff, and alumni, and Bay Area educators.

Posters around the room encouraged participation and dialogue with phrases like "Choose to be Creative," "Create classroom activities that don't yet exist in the world!" and "Ask me how this meets the needs of all learners." One of the graduate students who attended said, "I really appreciated the opportunity to talk with the presenters about the benefits for students."

Watch the video slideshow:

This year the School of Education welcomed the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) as a partner for the event. Presenters from SCOE provided many of the hands-on Maker Space activities, and helped spread the word out about the Showcase to local schools. Technology Showcase supporters Edutopia and KQED also sent representatives to present and share information about the resources and tools they offer for the classroom.

Presentations covered a broad range of topics, and were aimed at various teaching levels, including elementary, secondary, and special education. Presenters shared their utilization of various websites including Prezi, Wix, Twig World, and Moodle, as well as a handful of useful iPad apps used for behavioral change, teaching science, and verbalizing emotions. In an attendance survey many participants said they appreciated the relevance and practicality of the presentations, as well as the broad range of topics and grade levels included.

One of the goals of this event is to help educators see creative and practical uses for a variety of applications for the classroom, and encourage them to try out some of these new ideas with their own students. To help them put the ideas into practice, each of the presenters created an online version of their presentation which is available online on the School of Education website. One elementary school principal left saying, "I have homework!" commenting on how there were so many things to learn at the showcase.

Read about the Tech Showcase in the Sonoma State STAR

3rd Annual Sonoma State Teacher Technology Showcase December 5

By Lina Raffaelli on November 15, 2013 10:40 AM

Technology has infused education, and teachers have at their fingertips an overwhelming array of choices in software, mobile apps and web-based resources for teaching and instruction. This year's SSU Teacher Technology Showcase provides the opportunity for both new and experienced teachers to share what technologies they are using and demonstrate how they are using applications to more fully engage students and impact student learning. This year the School of Education has partnered with the Sonoma County Office of Education to make this event, now in its third year, bigger and better than ever, with 40 presentations and interactive displays. The event will take place on Thursday, December 5 from 5:00-7:00 p.m in the SSU Cooperage and is free and open to the public (parking on campus is $5.00 per car)

Dr. Carlos Ayala, Dean of Education, says that the Showcase represents two very important movements that will have a broad impact in the North Bay education sphere: "First, it represents the collaborative nature of education agencies, non-profits, community agencies, and businesses working together to accomplish change," said Ayala. "Second, it represents the latest in educational technology innovation." The School of Education is reaching out to strengthen partnerships in our region, share ideas and leverage resources to innovate and meet the needs of our public schools. This year KQED, Edutopia and Google will participate in the fair.

Tech Showcase 2012 presentersPresenters at the 2012 tech showcase share their innovations

techshowcase2.jpgAttendees learn about pedagogy for mobile devices




The showcase has continued to grow each year both in attendance and presentation numbers. "Last year, there were 150 people in attendance and 26 presentations from both pre and in-service educators," said Assistant Professor Jessica Parker, who is the annual event coordinator. "This year, we expect 250 local educators, administrators, and campus community members to attend to experience 40 presentations from our teacher candidates and alumni of our program that are working in local schools."

Makey Makey supplies for the Maker Space at the Technology ShowcaseThanks to this year's partnership with the Sonoma County Office of Education, this year's fair will also incorporate a unique and interactive "Digital Sandbox" and experiential Maker Space. The Maker Space will offer attendees hands-on opportunities to hack a laptop with MaKey MaKey, use play dough to conduct electricity via Squishy Circuits, and create Blinky bugs. "This is all part of the School of Education's effort to promote the Maker philosophy and learning," said Parker. "Additionally, local educators will demonstrate how they have integrated Maker culture into their classrooms."

"The goal of the Showcase is to highlight how educators are creating better learning environments for students through the integration of technology," said Ann Steckel, SSU's new Director of Educational Design & Curricular Innovation. "The School of Education is always excited to bring educators and community members together to support local teachers, administrators, and faculty to discuss their work." Since coming to SSU this semester, Steckel has been working to bring faculty on SSU's campus together to strengthen pedagogy and support one another for more collaboration and innovation in the realm of teaching. Helping faculty develop and share ideas for effective use of Moodle and other online tools is one part of that work. Although the Showcase centers on Preschool through 12th grade instruction, the event can help university faculty think about the way they incorporate technology into their college level courses as well.


Read here about the success of the 2012 tech showcase

Planning to come this year? Tell your friends! Share the event on Facebook!

California Reading Association Institute brings prominent language and literacy experts to SSU campus, Nov. 1 & 2

By Lina Raffaelli on November 1, 2013 12:38 PM

Today Sonoma State University welcomes the California Reading Association's Annual Professional Development Institute, Literacy: Passport to the World! to campus. This two-day conference is the premier event for literacy professionals in our state. Mendocino County Special Educator Nancy Rogers-Zegarra, one of the organizers of this year's event noted that she is "excited that the conference will act that this year's conference will be held on a university campus so that K-12 and University educational leaders can meet and learn together and form partnership for future work. The North Bay International Studies Project and the School of Education have been wonderful partners in encouraging collaboration."

CRA logo The Professional Development Institute offers over 60 sessions, focusing on the Common Core, the new California English Language Arts/English Language Development (ELD) Framework, reading comprehension, writing, early literacy, the new ELD standards and techniques for teaching English learners which are issues and challenges our schools and districts are currently facing.

The conference features literacy leaders, educational experts, and award-winning children's authors. These sessions will provide the latest researched based strategies for teachers, librarians and administrators, who are transitioning to the new Common Core State Standards as well as a forum to discuss literacy issues, provoke innovative thinking and network with colleagues from around the state.

Dr. Karen Grady, Professor in the Sonoma State Reading and Language Program in the School of Education noted that while "teacher educators have been working on the ideas associated with Common Core for some time--this is a unique time of transition which provides the opportunity for educators to re-imagine what we have been working on all along."

Dr. MaryAnn Nickel, Sonoma State Professor of Reading and Language emphasized this transition must be grounded in literacy research. Educators must "meet the needs of all learners, and as we move to interpret Common Core standards into practical applications, we need to stay true to sound literacy theory as both our anchor and our path forward." The CRA, with this professional development conference provides this anchor, and offers educators a hub for collaboration and communication on literacy education.

Nell Duke & P. David Pearson Speakers include internationally respected researchers, including:

  • Regie Routman, an internationally respected educator and author with more than 40 years of experience teaching, coaching, and leading in diverse schools across the U.S and Canada.

  • Nell Duke, an award-winning literacy researcher and professor of Language, Literacy, and Culture at the University of Michigan

  • Linda Dorn, most well known as the primary developer and lead trainer of the nationally recognized Partnerships in Comprehensive Literacy Model. She is a professor of reading education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and has taught for 30 years at the elementary, intermediate, and college levels.

  • P. David Pearson, a professor at UC Berkeley who lead the creation of the Literacy Research Panel to respond to critical literacy issues facing policymakers, school administrators, classroom teachers, and the general public. He also works with teachers to promote deeper learning as they navigate the new Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts.

  • Many SSU professors and School of Education graduate students from the Master of Arts in Education program will also be presenting sessions, and some SSU students will be volunteering to help at the conference. Speakers include Dr. Charles Elster, Dr. Karen Grady, Dr. MaryAnn Nickel and graduate student Diane Dalenberg. Professional development credit units for the conference will be available through Sonoma State University's School of Extended Education for professional educators who attend. For more information about the conference schedule and about the California Reading Association, see californiareads.org.

    Ed Tech Tips: Padlet, Vialogues & Todaysmeet

    By Lina Raffaelli on October 24, 2013 4:29 PM

    Padlet wall example Welcome back to Tech Tips and Tools, brought to you by Jessica Parker. This second installment is focused on tools which allow users to post and share ideas and inspirations in unique, easy, and meaningful ways online--no need to install a thing. 

      1. Padlet: http://padlet.com/  Padlet allows you to create your own online wall, and all your students or colleagues need access to is the link that is created just for you. Pose a question or a ask folks to respond to a prompt, and then your students can respond on the wall using a combination of text, images or videos. It's basically a digital piece of paper for brainstorming, sharing, notetaking, discussing or listing ideas and comments. Padlet is already being used by School of Education faculty in their classrooms as either a brainstorming or pre-reading activity and even as a formative assessment tool like an exit ticket.

      Vialogues = video + dialogue 2. Vialogues: https://vialogues.com/ Wondering how to make a digital video more interactive? Vialogues is your answer. This site gives you the ability to annotate a video--it allows you to add comments throughout the video and it then time-codes those comments and hyperlinks it. Teachers (or students) can post comments, polls, or surveys to scaffold the video content and create a collaborative viewing.

      3. Todaysmeet.com: http://todaysmeet.com/ Want to capture questions, ideas, and inspirations while engaged in a long activity like a (boring) meeting, student presentation, a long film clip, or a guest lecture? Create a backchannel then using Todaysmeet.com. A backchannel is a real-time form of online communication that complements live communication. An example of the backchannel includes a person presenting at a conference; this "front" person is the main speaker, and she employs a "back"channel to allow the audience to post their questions, comments, and/or epiphanies during her presentation. Todaysmeet.com does not require a log-in. Just create your own "room" and then share the hyperlink and students can post their comments in real time as the activity (in the front) continues. It's also great for collective notetaking, sharing resources, or as a brainstorming tool.