To share what I have learned in my various programs of study (MA & PhD), and make it accessible to people in other contexts, I gear much of my work towards to the goal of improving educational practice through making theoretical ideas and research-based approaches accessible in a variety of contexts. My first three artifacts – a publication for practitioners, an instructional video, and a video lecture – are demonstrations of my goal of being inclusive in thinking about complex ideas in accessible modes of communication. I believe that this is one way we can begin to reduce educational inequalities. My fourth artifact is selections from an annotated Teaching Geography course syllabus that I taught this semester. In this class, I used the wealth of information from the local community and other everyday contexts to help build content and pedagogical knowledge for undergraduates and master’s-level preservice teachers. This is another way I believe that educational inequalities can be reduced – by acknowledging and validating the already existing knowledge and possibility for learning that exist beyond the walls of the school.
Artifact 1: Publication for Practitioner Journal on Technology Use With Preservice Teachers
Kerr, S., Schmeichel, M., & Janis, S. (2015). Using Evernote as an interactive notebook with pre-service social studies teachers. Social Studies Research and Practice 10(1).
Teacher educators are expected to create experiences for preservice teachers that prepare them for the “real world” of teaching and the ever-changing contexts of schools and teaching. In this article, my co-authors and I discuss integrating two different aspects of real world oriented teacher education – field-based instruction and technology – through the use of Evernote to create digital interactive student notebooks. Our goal is to provide other practitioners with some insight into how we used Evernote to address two different pedagogical goals of a field-based course: 1) to enrich our pedagogies through the use of a digital interactive notebook to organize our interactions with preservice teachers who were spending more time in the field, and 2) to teach preservice teachers how to use a cloud-based technology that can be used with their own students in the future. We describe Evernote, how we used it to work against the theory/practice gap, and discuss the importance of taking the time in teacher education to teach technology to “digital natives.”
Click here to view a PDF of the publication in Social Studies Research & Practice.
Artifact 2: Instructional Video
Three Minute Theory – The Rhizome
Theory is often viewed as separate from practice. I argue though that theory is always imbricated with practice. This is an idea that helps guide my instruction with preservice teachers who sometimes have difficulty understanding and translating the things they learn in their university classes to their student teaching experiences. Although thinking with theory is an important way to consider, reflect, and enact in practice, the reading of theory is often difficult and dense. When I started reading theory in my master’s, I struggled to any find resources that introduced theoretical concepts in simple and understandable ways. Through conversations with countless graduate students and faculty across institutional contexts, I understand that I am not alone in this frustration. Many people that I speak with are intimidated by reading high-level theory, though they often acknowledge its importance for informing and thinking about practice. To help fill this simple information void, two colleagues and I started a YouTube video series called Three Minute Theory. In this video series, we provide short primers on complex ideas. These videos are not meant to be all-encompassing of the concept, but are intended simply as a starting point – for those times when Wikipedia feels too complex! I hope that after viewers watch the videos, they are able to go to other sources where the concept is used and have some idea of what it means.
This video is an introduction to Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s (1987) concept of the rhizome which is a popular term right now in poststructural and new materialist research to think about what connections do, and how they matter in different processes. I have found that this concept is often interesting to preservice teachers who are just starting to make sense of the complex space of classroom. Specifically, I have used this video in several classes I teach to help students think about the other ways that relationships can be understood beyond hierarchies and binaries. These ideas have been helpful in prompting preservice teachers to think (differently) about the classroom (and other non-school contexts) and the ways in which learning occurs.
To access the video, copy and paste the following link into your browser window: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnteiRO-XfU
Artifact 3 – Selections from an Annotated Syllabus
Teaching Geography Syllabus for Undergraduate and Master’s-Level Preservice Teachers
In the fall of 2014, I taught a Teaching Geography class to both undergraduate and masters students. In addition to students gaining pedagogical and content knowledge related to geography, my main goal for the course was to have students recognize the interrelationships between socialites and spaces, and how those interrelationships are always imbricated with teaching and learning. To achieve this, I curated a number of experiences outside of the formal classroom, readings from a variety of sources and disciplines, and assignments that allowed students to experiment with the interactions between spaces and social forces. In this artifact, I included selections from the course syllabus. Within the text, I annotated my rationale behind various pedagogical/assignment decisions, as well as reflections about the pedagogical/assignment decisions after they were implemented in class.
To view a PDF of the annotated syllabus, click here.