COE Outreach Initiatives

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Introduction: The importance of preparing future educators to think globally is essential for any teacher preparation program. The mission within the Northeastern College of Education is to provide our students both undergraduate and graduate with meaningful opportunities that prepare them to develop K-12 students’ human potential. We realize without exposure through such programs the opportunities to build this critical area for development would not often be sought after. Within the College of Education we have created unique ways to bring global perspectives to our teacher, counselor and physical education preparation programs. Our integration of diversity experiences are vast and include diverse internships, study abroad school and counseling center visits, international faculty co-ops and global research endeavors. Our faculty and students engage in discourse and partnership with the local community and across the world in Austria, Taiwan, China, and Ireland. Through a very intentional approach we have connected our curriculum by enhancing our faculty perspectives and bringing global awareness to our students.

 

Additionally, we work to maintain a strong connection with the largest American Indian tribe, the Cherokee Nation. Our span of influence and engagement is accomplished through the following programs:   1) Pre-service teacher internships to Austria, Taiwan and Japan; 2) Global partnerships in health and kinesiology in Japan and China; 3) Faculty research engagement in Cuba and China; 4) Faculty co-ops with university faculty from Thailand; 5) Graduate counseling research and study abroad in Ireland; 6) Partnerships within the Tulsa Global Alliance; 7) Urban and rural school-university partnerships; 8) Working across generations-connecting Veterans with K-12 students and NSU pre-service teachers.

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Theory and Evidence in Our Conceptual Framework:  Our college prepares educators who are teaching scholars, educational leaders, and developers of human potential and we have aligned its programs with these three tenets and their elements. Teaching scholars read widely and think deeply about subject matter, teaching, and research. They reflect critically on their own beliefs and their classroom practice in order to make pedagogical improvements, facilitate learning, and encourage P-12 students to be lifelong learners. Educational leaders advocate for children/adolescents and families; they understand the political nature of teaching; and they are able to inspire and motivate others by modeling effective communication skills, professional demeanor, and professional attitudes. Finally, developers of human potential are committed to the philosophical position that the development of human potential is their fundamental task, and they recognize that students’ well being impacts their learning.

We support these tenets by embedding them into our curriculum content and creating practical assignments that tie in research and theoretical development while simultaneously creating avenues to reach optimal levels of teaching and learning. We utilize best practices by incorporating our conceptual framework and identifying ways to invest in the communities our university serves through meaningful internship experiences. We partner with local districts in areas where demographically disparaging statistics are a reality. We foster the need for exceptional teachers in low socioeconomic levels. To effectively create components for instruction and practice we offer field based experiences in partnership with urban and most recently rural school districts.

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Center for Educational Creativity and Innovation (CECI)

Center for Educational Creativity and Innovation, Northeastern State University, 3100 East New Orleans, BAED161, Broken Arrow, OK 74101

Phone:  918-449-6590
Send comments or questions to: Dr. Linda Wilson, CECI@nsuok.edu
 

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The Teaching & Urban Reform Network (TURN) Pre-I field experience is designed to place pre-service teachers in high challenge schools and pair them with effective faculty. The program was created as an early identification option for pre-service teachers who exhibit dispositions, academic performance and desire to commit to serving and teaching in urban schools and communities. Through this effort TURN candidates interact with executive staff and school board members in the Tulsa district and parents and teachers within the community. Core courses such as Educational Psychology and Clinical Teaching are taught at the urban school site in conjunction with the internship experience. Every assignment objective includes ways to use culturally relative instruction, inclusiveness of all socioeconomic demographics, heterogeneous pedagogy and cultural awareness and sensitivity.

Urban, rural and international internship experiences are what we promote for every pre-service teacher, pre-professional counselor and physical education individual. We believe that to be fully equipped with true knowledge of diversity one must experience it. We are selective in our field immersion and treat the internships with such careful consideration that our candidates are aware of the importance of the gainful opportunity to learn.

Contact:  Dr. Allyson Watson, leggett@nsuok.edu

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The Linking Educators Academically Rural Network (LEARN) Pre-I field experience is designed to place pre-service teachers in high challenge rural schools and pair them with effective faculty. The program was created as an early identification option for pre-service teachers who exhibit dispositions, academic performance and desire to commit to serving and teaching in rural schools and communities. Through this effort LEARN candidates interact with executive staff and school board members in the Maryetta district and parents and teachers within the community. Core courses such as Educational Psychology and Clinical Teaching are taught at the rural school site in conjunction with the internship experience. Every assignment objective includes ways to use culturally relative instruction, inclusiveness of all socioeconomic demographics, heterogeneous pedagogy and cultural awareness and sensitivity.

Urban, rural and international internship experiences are what we promote for every pre-service teacher, pre-professional counselor and physical education individual. We believe that to be fully equipped with true knowledge of diversity one must experience it. We are selective in our field immersion and treat the internships with such careful consideration that our candidates are aware of the importance of the gainful opportunity to learn.

Contact:  Dr. Stan Sanders, sande008@nsuok.edu

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Austria/Taiwan Pre-II Field Experience Immersion:  Selected candidates apply to complete their second internship with international foci. These candidates apply and provide responses to notable questions that allow a committee to understand their passion for learning new cultures and transcending the learning experience into their future classroom. In the past four academic semesters, our pre-service teachers have been allowed to take part in a cultural exchange in Austria or Taiwan. The lived experience allowed the interns assigned to Austria to teach lessons in a United Nations school and work with faculty from the school to develop lessons and evaluation of the teaching. The same is true for the Taiwan experience, where those selected interns taught and implemented lessons but also were immersed into Taiwanese families and culture. These experiences developed the candidates and the faculty. The perspective for teaching was broadened by an extensive cultural encounter.

Contact:  Dr. Cindi Fries, fries@nsuok.edu

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Recruitment and Retention of Diverse Students, Faculty and Administration: It is our goal to maintain a diverse culture in our college. We do so to build upon the belief that our faculty promotes leadership, skill and ability and research with respect to their area of discipline. We actively seek faculty who represent a broad array of diverse backgrounds including racial and ethnic variations, sexual orientation, and gender equality. Because it is important for us to work to maintain diversity in the student population we ask each faculty member within the college to provide service in local schools for 10 hours per semester. This engagement assists K-12 common education students to see a reality that they too can achieve a positive future.

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We host an annual outreach and partnership with the KIPP Tulsa College Preparatory Academy. Each August, we bring 90 students in the current 7th grade class at KIPP to participate in a major outreach opportunity. We pair the students with diverse faculty from across the institution and share programs with them. The students work with volunteers in the Association of Black Collegians, the Japanese Exchange Students and the university liaison for diversity. In addition, the classes focus on math, science, and anthropology to engage them in fields where there is an under-representation of ethnic diversity.

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Celebration of Teaching: Imagine, one day celebrating the very best in teaching and paying honor to the annually awarded Oklahoma district teachers of the year. Through a grant sponsored by the Oklahoma Regents for Higher Education, Northeastern State hosts a conference with 500 participants from across the state. We bring students from 3rd through 12th grade who have indicated a desire to enter the teaching field in their future and provide breakout sessions with nationally recognized teachers. Additionally, the students hear a keynote from the United States National Teacher of the Year and enjoy a lunch which includes round-table discussions on the importance and benefits of choosing teacher education as a career. We evaluate this event and our responses show significant factors which indicate student’s preference or desire to pursue elementary and secondary education is solidified after this conference. Lastly, we emulate best practices by integrating topics of innovation in the breakout sessions. Most of the students who attend are first generation college students and are presented hands on workshops on robotics, kinesthetic learning, team building and technology.

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Tribal Heritage and Cross-Generational Connection: We work diligently with the largest American Indian tribe, the Cherokee Nation. Several faculty members work with the common education components of the Cherokee Nation and provide professional development and service learning through our partnership. We recently adopted a program that will provide a baccalaureate degree in Cherokee Language. This is a unique program and could not have been possible without a formal partnership with tribal leaders. In recognition of the respect we give the Cherokee Elders, many of the seminar course offerings include teaching from members of the tribe. The program director works with secondary majors and is a member of the Cherokee Nation. The cultural component of this program has gained national attention and has been positively received in the community.

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To further our work across generations, we launched a five week symposium with World War II veterans. Each week, military veterans gather to share stories, pictures and historical artifacts to our entire branch campus community. The historical teaching event includes pre-service teachers who are majoring in secondary history, community members who hold history close to their hearts, young children from the local elementary schools, and faculty and staff who build the symposium in as a part of their curriculum.

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Language, Culture and Global Diversity: Northeastern State University’s eastern horizons were broadened recently by an international cultural exchange between our College of Education (COE), China, and Thailand. Dr. Ron Cambiano led four Northeastern students to Weifang, China. The Education Professor accompanied this group of education-hopefuls to create collaboration between the University in Weifang and NSU. As the trip brought the diversified, global classroom to life, this initiative brought both a promotion of goodwill and best education practices.

Two of the College of Education faculty, Drs. O. Susan Frusher and Renèe Cambiano, welcomed an international scholar, Dr. Gig, from Chang-Rai, Thailand to our campus. Frusher and Cambiano worked with Gig to facilitate a study within the COE. Gig spent one month observing their teaching and conducting research on motivation in the classroom. Taking what she learned, she used the study to further implementation of these observations back home in Thailand. Our pre-service teacher candidates were able to engage in critical discussion with Dr. Gig and learn about how culture influence education in Thailand.

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Critical Reflections:  Our programs utilize best practices by incorporating our conceptual framework and identifying ways to invest in the communities our university serves through meaningful experiences and internships that are immersed in global connections and partnerships. Candidates speak personally to visiting scholars, interact with diverse cultures through student exchanges, and connect Common Core curriculum to global topics through lived experiences and personal connections. Our international clinical faculty rate our candidates highly in classroom teaching and values their ability to quickly integrate into a culture quite different from their own. Candidates reflect on their experience and report this reflection as a part of the internship.

Truly, our College of Education faculty has brought us full circle in the sphere of learning!

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Reading/Literacy Centers and Community Engagement: Our university (Tahlequah) includes two additional branch campuses (Broken Arrow & Muskogee). We have locations in every major area of need residents, commuters and families. To serve as a resource to the communities where our campuses our housed we have two thriving literacy centers. The Broken Arrow Literacy Clinic is on the BA campus and is a hub for schools, teachers, and parents. In one year, the BA literacy clinic served 367 students of varying diverse backgrounds to improve reading proficiency and receive direct one-to-one instruction with trained reading specialist and pre-service teachers. The BA literacy clinic has observation rooms and trained directors to assist with student feedback and teach parenting classes on ways to improve their own children’s reading skills at home.

Contact:  Dr. Stephan Sargent, sargents@nsuok.edu

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On the Tahlequah campus, through a private donation of $1.2 million dollars, we erected the Cappi Wadley Literacy Center. This new facility is equipped with the latest technology, reading materials, teaching tools, parent training room, and small group reading classrooms. The grand opening was this fall semester. The Northeastern State University main Tahlequah campus is located in one of the poorest communities in northeast Oklahoma. The Wadley Literacy Center has already helped several school districts through nightly tutoring offerings and parent resources on parent night. These efforts have been sustainable and we serve as an example for other reading programs across the nation. Many top reading faculty and researchers have visited our centers to see the long term impact that we are creating.

Contact:  Dr. Tobi Thompson, thompsto@nsuok.edu

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Reading Center Evidence of Sustainability: Our efforts have resulted in the passion of candidates extended to seek external international placements and diverse settings for employment that previously would not have been considered from their previous experiences with diversity and culture. Our reading centers feature tutoring based on diverse populations, to include those community members, students, and other stakeholders who are not native English speakers.

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Culture and Community Engagement:  Cultures are shared though community events such as Kid’s World, which NSU has been closely involved with since 2004. Kids' World International Festival is a three days event for families. It takes place in Tulsa every other year and has provided Oklahoma families and schools with a unique place to imagine, discover and share. Sixty exhibitors and vendors ranging from local businesses and educational organizations to ethnic and cultural groups from around the world unite with the singular purpose of providing families and schools a safe, friendly environment to learn about people and cultures from faraway places. NSU’s College of Education is involved in virtually all aspects of Kid’s World, to include creating curriculum connected to Common Core standards for teachers, planning hands on activities for P-12 students, volunteering for the 3 day event, and logistics connected to the event. Over 100 pre-service teacher candidates volunteer for Kid’s World from NSU during the event.

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Sustainability: The internship experiences, immersion in varied cultures and activities, and travel abroad are planned events in each academic year. The impact of a global perspective is reflected in the reflections of candidates on issues facing educators such as bullying, social media, technology, and parent involvement. Through international and global experiences, a wealth of information from a variety of cultures and people is gleaned, helping shape the intent and focus of our candidates in addressing these global concerns facing educators today. Each of these efforts are ongoing and a part of the vision, mission, and strategic plan of the College. We work collaboratively within the College to ensure that our current students and graduates are equipped with the tools to carry out careers with excellence. Dr. Debbie Landry serves as a leader to provide avenues for collaboration. Evidence of this is the continuous inclusion of an international and global perspective in classes, internships and collaboration with diverse cultures in numerous aspects of the Unit’s programs.

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Robotics--Technology in Education: The COE began a pilot robotics initiative in the Fall of 2013 in Technology in Education classes. A robotics lab was created on the Tahlequah campus, with plans to expand to Broken Arrow after the pilot semester. During their Technology in Education class, COE teacher candidates experience a robotics unit where critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork and leadership are fostered. Feedback from teacher candidates indicates that they feel better prepared to facilitate these skills in their P-12 students based on these experiences. Students are also given the opportunity to compete at varying levels, and to mentor and interact with elementary, middle, high school, and university students.

Contact:  Barbara Fuller, fullerbe@nsuok.edu

Robotics team shines in global competition

Office of Communications & Marketing | Northeastern State University
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. -- At first glance, it may seem out of place. Maybe even a little crazy. But with only a short preparation period, the robotics team of Northeastern State University Edubots received much attention and praise during a recent global competition.

During its April 15-21 trip to the 2013 VEX Robotics College Challenge World Championship in Anaheim, Calif., the NSU College of Education team of future teachers competed against future scientists and engineers. They finished 44th in the 52-team field and earned the Judges' Trophy.

"We are so proud to see this team pull together and do something that, to our knowledge, no College of Education has done," said Barbara Fuller, who served as faculty adviser to the team with Dr. Renee Cambiano. "Robotics can be applied to anything. It fosters critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork and leadership. These experiences will allow these students to add a layer of teaching to their classrooms and affect the lives of thousands of children."

The team included Tandy Morris of Westville, Savanna Atchison of Afton, Megan Bloom of Cushing and Laura Myers of Wilburton.

NSU began its Robotics in Education program in November 2012. Classes started in January, and on Feb. 2 the robotics team "Edubots" qualified for nationals during the VEX Robotic Regional held at Sequoyah High School and hosted by the Cherokee Nation.

"We didn't know to be afraid," said Morris, a junior majoring in special education. "We believe it is important to show that teachers are making an effort to learn technology."

At the world championship, NSU Edubots was the only qualifier from a college of education, the only all-female team and its roster of four was among the smallest. Other teams represented science and engineering colleges and programs, and most numbered between 8-20 members.

"It was fun to see the reactions of everyone," Morris said. "The other competitors and the judges would ask where the rest of our team was."

Other institutions participating included the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Purdue, Michigan State and the New York Institute of Technology. Teams from Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Spain, Malaysia and the United Kingdom also competed.

Teams raced to have their robots place bean bags in a "goal." Among the collegiate contests, the robots started on automated programs before being manipulated by controllers. A bot's role is to either score or block an opponent from scoring. The Edubots team used VEX Robotics kits.

"They don't come with instructions," said Atchison, a junior and early childhood education major. "But soon you realize you don't have any boundaries. You can take the pieces and put them together in a design you create yourself."

Fuller's belief in the educational value of robotics was demonstrated during the competition. Participants were eager to share information and learn from the successes and mistakes of others.

"A team's victory counted more if the final score was close," said Myers, a junior majoring in elementary education. "I've never seen a competition that was more collaborative. A winning team might score bean bags for their opponents. We learned so much and it was fun to be the underdogs. Everyone wanted to know what we were doing and why we were so passionate about this."

Though team members found fun in competing, their long-term objective is to use robotics as teachers.

The College of Education curriculum at NSU permits ample opportunity for teacher candidates to apply robotics to the education of students. As part of their coursework, the robotics students visit area schools to see the use of robot technology in classrooms, or study how it can be implemented.

"It is really amazing to see what children can do without constraints," Myers said. "It is important that we realize that learning isn't just about getting the right answer. It is also about working your way there, even if you make 500 mistakes."

Though she initially found it intimidating, Atchison quickly found enthusiasm for the challenge.

"I saw a robot and wondered whether it came in a kit," she said. "There were pieces everywhere. But I think it appealed to me because, within the teaching world, it is always good to be one step ahead and know what is coming. After I graduate, I want to be able to integrate robotics into my classroom because I know my students will find it interesting."

Bloom, a junior majoring in science education, said technology has always been an indispensable component of education.

"I think technology is even more applicable today," she said. "Today the students have computers and video games at home. They are growing up with technology and are better than most adults at using it. It is important for teachers to get in front of technology and teach with these tools."

Cambiano echoed the sentiments of team members when she praised the "perfect storm" of people who helped create the College of Education robotics program.

Dr. Deborah Landry, dean of the College of Education, provided impetus for the program after seeing the application of robotics in education during a visit to Taiwan. Dr. Vanessa Anton, assistant dean of the College of Education, and her husband Terry, enlisted sponsorship and bought equipment for the class. Dr. Calvin Cole, robotics instructor at Sequoyah, mentored NSU administrators, advisers and students, and allows the Edubots team to practice at SHS.

"The Cherokee Nation bought two robots for us, assists us through Dr. Cole and has a building dedicated to robotics at Sequoyah High School," Cambiano said. "We have the full support of the NSU College of Education and its administration. It is an incredible feeling to have people saying you can do it – you can compete against MIT and engineering students."

Atchison called the competition "one of the best things I've ever done" and said one need not be a science major to learn about and utilize robotics.

"It is not as scary as it seems," she said. "I'm not an engineer or a math major. It may seem daunting, but once you get started it becomes much easier. I learned skills which will help me be a better teacher all around, and I encourage others to get into robotics."
Published: 5/14/2013 10:16:16 AM

For more information about robotics in education at NSU, contact Barbara Fuller at 918-444-3767.

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