School of Education News Archives

Activist Dolores Huerta rouses crowd at SSU during social justice lecture

By Lina Raffaelli on April 10, 2014 1:12 PM

There are not many women in their eighties who have the gusto and vivaciousness to rouse a crowd of a thousand faces, not only inspiring their audience but eliciting a mixture of laughter and serious reflection; Dolores Huerta is a rare exception.

On March 27 Huerta, activist and co-founder of the United Farmworkers Union, spoke at Sonoma State as part of the H. Andréa Neves and Barton Evans Social Justice Lecture Series.

The evening kicked off in The HUB, SSU's multicultural center, where Huerta spoke directly with students in an intimate and open discussion about her life and work as an organizer. Students asked thought provoking questions and sought advice for young people who desire to organize and work towards social justice in their own communities.

She later spoke in the Student Center ballroom, an event that sold-out at just over 1,000 tickets, distributed to high school and college students, community members, and faculty. Huerta covered a variety of topics, such as women rights, workers right, and marriage equality. She emphasized the importance of organizing and empowering people to make a change. "Poor people don't often think they have any power." She explained how, alongside Cesar Chavez, she helped spread a grassroots movement towards workers rights by visiting the homes of farmworkers and speaking to them face to face. 

She also strongly encouraged the audience to go see "Cesar Chavez," the feature film directed by Diego Luna, which was set to hit theaters the following day. "If enough people go and see the film, maybe we can show Hollywood that these kinds of films are important, and maybe we will see more like them in the future," said Huerta, who is portrayed in the film by Rosario Dawson.

By the end of the evening Huerta had 1,000 attendees on their feet chanting "SÍ, se puede!" a phrase that she famously coined during the farmworkers movement. She arroused and inspired the crowd, chanting "who has the power?" with a sea of booming voices shouting in response: "WE have the power!"

Student Angelica Shubbie said she loved how engaging Huerta was during her lecture. "She showed her passion, wisdom, and hope, which was inspiring to witness in person." said Shubbie. "Although her main focus is on Farm Labor Unions, it's amazing to see her work towards human rights for everyone!"

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Slideshow by Gabrielle Cordero

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.

School of Education lobby displays work to highlight alumni and local schools

By Lina Raffaelli on February 6, 2014 2:24 PM

If you've recently visited the School of Education office, you may have stopped to admire the large, eye-catching mandalas decorating the walls and student credenza. These intricate pencil-drawn creations are part of a new program that incorporates student schoolwork into the lobby decor.

The goal of the new program is to showcase the lessons that our recent graduates prepare while working in local public schools. The current installment is from Novato High School, where Single Subject Alumna Roxanna Lieva teaches art to freshman and sophomore students.

"The idea is to include the lesson plans alongside the work itself, for a more in depth understanding of the assignment" said Pamela Van Halsema. "We also want to recognize how our new teachers are excelling in local schools."

Roxana Leiva assists students during her Art & Design class

Roxana Leiva assists students on a project during her Art & Design class at Novato High

Hanging Mandalas

The student credenza displaying the lesson and mandalas from Roxana's classroom


"Additionally we visit the classrooms and observe our teachers in action, so that our display reflects not only the lesson but also the students," added Van Halsema. "We want to shift the focus back on the children we serve."

The School of Ed plans to incorporate four exhibits per year. Keep an eye out in late February for the next installation, featuring work from Rohnert Park's Monte Vista Elementary School, home to several Multiple Subject alumni teachers.

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!

Noon Event about Youth Social Justice, and Andy Lopez Highlights Need for SSU Community Engagement

By Pamela Van Halsema on November 8, 2013 4:31 PM

Photography and article by Gabrielle Cordero

This past Tuesday, The HUB at Sonoma State organized a panel and public conversation in response to the recent shooting death of 13 year old local boy Andy Lopez with a lunch hour event, A Conversation About Youth and Social Justice. The HUB is an acronym for Honoring the past; Uniting in the present; Building the Future and is a center on campus for Diversity, Vitality and Creativity. At noon, students, faculty and staff packed the Commons, which would normally be filled with people eating lunch at that hour, all gathered to discuss how this tragedy impacted our region, our schools and our campus community.


Leading the discussion were four faculty panelist who provided unique perspectives on the topic of social justice in our community, guns and youth.

Professor Ron Lopez, Professor of Chicano and Latino studies was the first to speak. Lopez touched upon the deeper issues rooted in the Andy Lopez case. His comments about injustices prevalent in. He spoke as an expert on social justice issues as they relate to Latino experience in the United States, and discussed how Andy Lopez was a product of a neighborhood that was essential lacking services. Prof. Lopez added that we must find ways to live that "help prevent these things from happening in our community."

Speaking from a law-enforcement perspective, Professor Napoleon Reyes, brought his expertise in Criminal Justice to the conversation. Reyes noted that he has seen several similar cases where the use of deadly force was ruled to be justified. He provided data and statistics related to police-related incidents in other times and places for comparison to the Andy Lopez shooting.

Professor Cynthia Boaz of the Political Science department spoke about the role of youth in global uprisings and social justice movements.  Since Sonoma County youth and Sonoma State students want to do something to engage the community and make positive change, Boaz stressed that the first thing any strategic movement needs to have is a clear, unambiguous goal. 

Anthropology Professor Margie Purser spoke after Reyes, expressing that this incident hit her close to home. Her home is relatively close to Andy Lopez's family, she stressed to students that Lopez was part of all of our community. "These are my neighbors. This is us." As a resident of Santa Rosa, Purser described the archetype of Santa Rosa's identity, and how it is not an accurate representation of the current community.  She commented on the lack of representation from SW Santa Rosa in City Council. 

Dr. Carlos Ayala, the Dean of the School of Education talked about how the Andy Lopez shooting directly impacted himself and his family.  He accompanied hundreds of students who walked out of school to march in protest just days after the tragic event.  He called on SSU students to consider a career in teaching to really make a direct impact and help students like Andy in our community.  He called on everyone at SSU to be better connected to the people of Sonoma County.

Mark Fabionar, Director of The HUB followed the panel by encouraging all students and attendants to actively participate in the conversationby forming into small groups to respond to the panelists' statements, consider what is needed to create a just, vital and healthy community, and how students and others from SSU can be part of the change that is needed to bring healing and justice to our region and the people who live here.

After the groups concluded their conversations, the participants re-gathered as a whole to contribute their own perspectives. There were a diverse range of viewpoints from students, faculty, residents of Santa Rosa and community members.  The most frequently asked question from participants was "What is our goal?" Participants deliberated ways on forming a mutual achievable goal. They also discussed what strategies and tactics can be organized to achieve those goals.

Students and faculty of Sonoma State advocated various ways to make small impacts on campus. Students were encouraged to explore and engage with the neighborhoods in which they reside. Some other suggestions included an increased involvement with on-campus affairs as a technique to directly impact others in the campus community. Simply by participating in campus dialogues like the ones hosted by the Hutchins Dialogue Center at SSU can help students become more aware of social justice issues both locally and more universal issues.

The level of active participation from the event seemed to provide hope for social justice in our community. Not only are community activists speaking, but students are raising their voices and concerns as well. Involvement and participation from SSU students in the discussion panel exemplified the curiosity the younger generation maintains and the direct impact their presence holds. No matter what stance they take, students seem willing to talk seriously about these issues and wrestle with important decisions about how they individually, and the University as a larger entity, can help can do what is needed to made sure social justice is always part of the conversation.

SFSU Provost Sue Rosser addresses campus community and opens up discussion on unconscious gender bias in the STEM fields

By Lina Raffaelli on November 1, 2013 2:08 PM

Sue Rosser lecturing

Dr. Sue Rosser addresses audience questions

Two weeks ago Sonoma State welcomed Dr. Sue Rosser, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at San Francisco State University, for a campus-wide academic discussion. Dr. Rosser delivered a thought-provoking lecture on Unconscious Gender Bias, delving into the complex issue of underrepresentation of females in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Rosser is a noted scholar, having written 13 books and contributed to more than 130 journal articles on this and related topics.

The event was supported by every school on campus and many departments and programs, including the School of Education's Noyce Scholarship Program. The NOYCE Scholarship Program works in collaboration with the School of Education to recruit STEM majors to consider a career in teaching, in order to fill an important need in our California public schools.

Several Noyce scholars, many of whom now teach in local public high school science and math classrooms, attended the lecture, and then had the valuable opportunity to meet with Dr. Rosser after the event and discuss how an understanding of unconscious bias can help their own teaching practice.

The first of Rosser's four discussion points was the exclusion of females as experimental design subjects. For example, for a long period of history only men participated in drug trials. Problems arose as drugs were released and women began taking prescriptions designed for men.

With no research to reference, it was impossible to predict potential side effects a woman might experience from a given medication. Although this oversight was arguably unintentional, men continued to the serve as the archetype for research, creating a knowledge gap between how drugs may affect the genders differently.

By excluding half of the population, drug manufacturers took serious risks with the health of their patients. Rosser noted that if more female scientists had been involved behind the research then perhaps the inclusion of females as study participants would have began much sooner.

Attendees packed in the Cooperage Oct. 21 to hear Sue Rosser

Attendees packed the Cooperage to hear Sue Rosser's lecture

It is historical circumstances like this, Rosser argues, that have contributed to an unconscious gender bias over time. It's something that is ingrained in our history, and often something we unknowingly contribute to. However, women have made huge strides in the STEM fields, and more females are beginning to saturate these fields every day.

One strong point Rosser discussed is the importance of education and the early introduction of science and math.

"I know that the gender gap has improved in some areas of STEM but not enough," said NOYCE coordinator Dr. Kirsten Searby. "As parents we should expose our children to science at an earlier age so it becomes a gradual, natural area of study for all children."

Another contributor to unconscious bias is the overwhelming male majority amongst politicians and policy makers. Those in charge define what problems are the most important and the order in which they shall be researched. Similarly as professionals in the STEM field, fewer women equates to a weaker representative voice in the general community.

NOYCE Scholar Josh Baca asks a question

NOYCE Scholar Joshua Baca asks a question during the Q&A portion

Rosser argues that diversity is the key for innovation to excel and STEM fields to keep their forward-moving momentum. Diversity ensures that important decisions aren't made with any overpowering singular bias, unconscious or otherwise, while providing multiple perspectives on which to draw conclusions and contribute ideas.

Educators hold the power to be a major influence in this shift, as teachers cultivate early interests in science and mathematics, and encourage students to pursue STEM degrees and careers.

"The more females we have in STEM, the more they will be role models in our schools" said Searby. " I believe we need to have more science in elementary schools, so girls will feel comfortable with it early." Parents, teachers, and STEM professionals can also help encourage girls.

"I encouraged my son and daughter to follow their passion and keep an open mind. Most people do not have a thirty year career in the same field," said NOYCE scholar Anne Chism. "Education is the key to being successful, regardless of what your definition of successful is."

The full lecture is available on YouTube

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.  

    Ed Tech Tips: Fantashow, Soundcloud and Diigo

    By Pamela Van Halsema on September 30, 2013 4:25 PM

    Are you interested in finding a way to share your students' podcasts or listen to audio books via the web? Looking for more efficient research methods, or wishing you could annotate the web with your own sticky notes? If so, then Assistant Professor Jessica K. Parker has a few recommendations for you in this, our first of the semester Ed Tech Tips Blog post.  Give these tools a try:  

    1. Fantashow by Wondershare. Customize your own slideshow from your photos or video, add some text and special effects, and then share on YouTube, Facebook, Moodle, or even DVD. This resource is fast, (relatively) easy, and free (up to a certain point).

    soundcloud.jpg 2. SoundCloud: Share your sounds (e.g., music, interviews, language, appropriate noises, etc.) on SoundCloud and have access to the largest community of artists, bands, news organizations, podcasters, etc. This site lets you share your podcasts or your students' podcasts, follow your favorite organizations or news agencies, listen to audio books, and find wonderful historical gems. You can search by theme: books, learning, comedy, news, arts, or business. Try adding a SoundCloud audio link or ask students to create a SoundCloud creation to spice up your online modules.
     
    diigo.jpg3. Diigo: This web-based research tool will transform the way your search and gather information. Diigo allows you make annotations, highlights, and sticky notes for the web. (You can make these annotations private or give access to specific people/groups/classes). This is referred to as social bookmarking: as you read on the web, instead of just bookmarking with your browser's bookmarking tool, you can highlight portions of webpages that are of particular interest to you.

    You can also attach sticky notes to specific parts of the pages and then categorize your notes based on theme--this is called tagging. Then your Diigo highlights and sticky notes will remain on the pages; whenever you return to the original webpage your highlights and sticky notes will be there. There is also an educator account too! You can use Diigo on any web browser and even on an iPad.
     
    Keep following our blog for upcoming EdTech tips!
    Or follow the #EdTech hashtag on our Twitter feed to get more great Educational Technology news and information.