Graduate Students Enrolled in EDC586: Problems in Education (Summer 2013)

Welcome! Please use the space next to your name below to tell us a little bit about you, what your current position is, and what you are interested in. Feel free to embed hyperlinks to any of your own digital spaces or resources (twitter, email, blog/website) you would like to share with others. If possible, upload a picture next to your name as well.

_thumbIMG_6992.jpgJillian Belanger is the ELL Coordinator at the Paul Cuffee School in Providence, RI, and a doctoral candidate in the Writing and Rhetoric program at the University of Rhode Island. She serves on the Rhode Island Teen Book Awards Committee, writes library reviews for KidoInfo, teaches cardio kickboxing, and promises herself she'll finish the novel she started during last year's National Novel Writing Month before this year's NaNoWriMo rolls around. Jillian has taught high school English in Providence for seven years, and has spent the last two years teaching college writing at Roger Williams University. Before coming to URI for her Ph.D., she completed her M.A. in ESL and Cross Cultural Studies at Brown University and earned National Board certification in adolescent ELA. Her research interests include humor communications, the rhetoric of comedy, and young adult literature. Jillian is looking forward to the hands-on, minds-on Summer Institute in Digital Literacy, and in the spirit of her Hot Topics Roundtable Discussion about "Using Social Media to Increase Civic Engagement," she may as well tell you that you can find her on Twitter, Pinterest, andGoodReads, engaging civically. Writing this, Jillian is reminded of an amusing bio she once read, which said something like, "Dan enjoys warm hats, speaking in the third person, and short, declarative sentences," but she can't steal that because plagiarism isn't her thing.

Charles Blanchette
Charlie Blanchette at Grand Tetons N.P..JPGhails from Coventry, RI where he and his wife Lynn, the director of the Coventry Public Library, are the 5th generation to live in their 1790 home. (Built the same year that George Washington became the first President of the U.S., and Rhode Island was the last of the original 13 states to ratify the U.S. Constitution) He is a Social Studies teacher at Alan Shawn Feinstein Middle School in Coventry, RI (19 years) and an Adjunct Professor of Geography in the Education Dept. at Providence College (13 years). Charlie has a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Rhode Island, (1975). After a varied career in the private sector, including sales management, marketing, advertising, and public relations, Charlie earned a teaching certificate from URI (1994), and his M.A. in Secondary Education- History from the University of Rhode Island(1999).
Charlie has been a leading advocate of Service Learning and created the S.A.V.E. program (Students Against Vandalism Everywhere) in 2005, which has earned more than a dozen national, regional and state awards, including Youth Crime Watch of America's 2008 National Advisor of the Year, 2007 National Middle School Program of the Year, and two (2) National Youth of the Year awards. He was the founder of National Stop Bullying Day/April Friends Day, and a member of CABINS (Communities Against Bullying In Schools).
He has been a presenter at multiple national conferences (Youth Crime Watch of America, National Youth Leadership Conference), and regional and state conferences (RI Third Eye, New England Youth Leadership Conference). Additionally, Charlie has conducted multiple professional development seminars and workshops for the RI Middle Level Educators (RIMLE), RI Civics Institute, and New England Social Studies Conference. He was on the executive board of the RI Attorney General's RI Third Eye program, a statewide anti-bullying and character-building and training program for K-12 youth with over 52 schools involved.

He is an avid collector or antique American bottle and glass. He is an avid golfer and has participated in Civil War re-enactments at the 135th, 140th, and 145th Gettysburg, and the 145th Antietam events as a member of Battery B- Rhode Island Light Artillery. He also was the author of The Tranformation of Centreville: French-Canadians in the Pawtuxet Valley; American-French Genealogical Society (1998), and speaks French. Charlie was also the varsity soccer coach at Coventry High School, and the baseball coach at Coventry Middle School. He is very proud of his two sons, Mark, who earned his PhD in Bio-kinesiology from the University of Southern California, and Kyle, a URI grad and actor, technical director, and set builder presently working in Boston.

Kara.pngKara Clayton is a Media Educator at Thurston High School in the South Redford School District, Redford Twp., Michigan. She teaches courses in English Language Arts, Media Literacy and Video Production. Clayton is passionate about the cross-curricular inclusion of Media and Digital Literacy. As such, she provides professional development at the district and state level. She has presented her work at numerous conferences including: the Michigan Reading Association, the Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning, the National Association for Media Literacy Education, and the National Council for Teachers of English. Clayton has received recognition for her work in both Media Literacy and Media Production. These awards include: the NCTE Media Literacy Award (2012); the Michigan Youth Arts Council Touchstone Teacher of the Year (2012); the USA Today Courageous Leader Award (2010); and she was a finalist for the Cable in the Classroom Leaders in Learning Award (2006). Clayton's students have won numerous video production awards at the state and national level. Kara Clayton received her M.A. in Reading Instruction and Professional Teaching Certificate from Eastern Michigan University, and her B.A. in Communication from the University of Michigan.

markd.jpgMark Davis is a reading specialist at Barrington High School, Barrington, Rhode Island. He received his undergraduate degree from Bowling Green State University (BGSU) and stayed on to complete a Master of Education in Reading. During this time, he worked at the Martha Gesling Weber Reading Center as a clinician and graduate assistant to the Dean of the College of Education and Human Development at BGSU. Mark has presented at national conferences including those sponsored by the ASCD, Learning Forward, Learning First Alliance, American Reading Forum, and numerous regional workshop. In 2003, he was recognized for an Outstanding Graduate Proposal by the American Reading Forum and was a member of the ASCD Emerging Leaders Class of 2009. He was also a past Communications Chairmen for the Rhode Island ASCD state affiliate. His roles in Barrington Public Schools included District Literacy Coordinator, Assessment Coordinator, and RTI and Intervention Coordinator. His professional development and experience demonstrate leadership with an emphasis on teaching with technology, graphic design, and multimedia integration. Mark is a current doctoral candidate in the Feinstein Fellows program with the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College.

Brooke Gilmore

HHphoto.jpegHope Hall Currently I'm a school librarian at a large public high school in Nashville, TN. I have been both a middle school librarian and reading teacher. Sixth grade is my "sweet spot" but I'm enjoying working with teenagers. Before becoming a certified teacher and school librarian I worked in education research, at an educational non-profit, a public television, an Internet start-up and at the Tennessee State Department of Education. I worked on an initiative in 1993 called "ConnectTEN" which provided one Internet connection for each school in Tennessee. This was a huge deal 20 years ago!
I am not afraid of new challenges. I enjoy working on entrepreneurial educational endeavors. In the past five years I have had the opportunity to work on an initiative between the Nashville Public Library system and Metro Nashville Public Schools called Limitless Libraries. This initiative has allowed students in our city to benefit from sharing resources and expertise between the public and the school libraries and librarians. I have been extremely proud of my role in realizing this successful project. When I'm not teaching high school, I enjoy reading, listening to great live music (everyone here plays something), getting outdoors and camping with my 7 year old son Warren and going to events at my hometown independent bookstore Parnassus Books.

imgres.jpegJeremy Hyler is a middle school English teacher at Fulton Middle School located in Middleton, Michigan. His undergraduate degree from Alma College focused on Elementary Education. He holds a Master's Degree in Middle Level Education from Walden University. His primary focus is 7th and 8th grade English where he works with approximately 120 students on a daily basis. A firm believer in the use of technology in the classroom, Jeremy and his students have access to mobile laptop carts and he has implemented the use of cell phones into the classroom as well. He focuses on tools such as Celly, Goanimate, Wikispaces, and Google Drive. He is a teacher consultant for the Chippewa River Writing Project(CRWP), a satellite site of the National Writing Project(NWP). In addition to delivering numerous professional development opportunities to different school districts, he has presented at conferences such as the Michigan Reading Conference (MRA), Michigan Council of Teachers of English (MCTE), and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) national conference. He has two published resources on the Digital Is website about the use of the multigenre project and motivating boys literacy and one about online book groups which was done collaboratively. In addition, He has contributed to two practitioner books currently in the publishing stage and is currently coauthoring a book with Dr.Troy Hicks about the use of technology in the English classroom while meeting the Common Core National Standards(CCSS) which will be published by Routledge. In his spare time he likes to write on his blog titled the Hyler 1 blog nominated in 2011 for best new blog by Edublog awards and is an avid Twitter user @jeremybballer. He resides with his wife and three children in West Michigan where he likes to hunt, fish, and spend time in the outdoors.

Brien Jennings

Leah.jpegLeah Lubman is the Middle & High School Media Specialist at Paul Cuffee School and a Graduate of Simmons College in Boston. A lover of all things Library Media, she's worked to build a now three year old high school library at Paul Cuffee, while planting, watering, and growing programming at both schools. Leah also works with staff on technology integration and training. These elements add-up to a lot of time spent participating in fun and engaging work. Leah also has a fine arts background in Sculpture and Photography, which she says, "Oddly enough, comes in handy." Some examples of collaborative, engaging, professional, fun will be on display during Reading The World; a co-presentation with Josie Batista. For more information and entertainment follow me at Twitter via @Comedy1613 or Pinterest.

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Erica Mailand is from Eastern Long Island. She is a certified teacher in 5 areas: early childhood, childhood, students with disabilities: early childhood, students with disabilities: childhood, and visual arts (k-12). She is currently a student at New York University, completing her Literacy Specialist M.A.

DSC00040.JPGLaura Morrison is a certified int/senior teacher, currently completing her M.A. with a focus in social media and education. She has taught English Literature in the Canadian public high school system and also English as a second language in Seneca College's English Language Institute. She currently works full-time as a research assistant at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. In this role, she helps create and deliver research projects which are delivered in the Toronto District School Board's elementary and secondary schools. The research projects focus on how technology, specifically mobile computing devices, can motivate students and how social networking sites can develop communities of practice and collaborative learning in the classroom and beyond. The studies are theoretically grounded in a multiliteracies pedagogy. After the completion of her M.A. next year, Laura plans to continue her learning in a PhD program in Toronto, Ontario.

Joan Mouradjian

Pat Murtagh is a speech pathologist in Scituate, RI for grades 6-12 .She is a doctoral student in the joint URI/RIC cohort program. She is an Autism Cadre member for the support center of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). She is a state-wide trainer for school teachers and has been a presenter for the 1 in 150 ASD Conference at the RI Convention Center. Since working extensively with the autistic population, her goals include researching treatment interventions and collaborating with teachers and parents of these children. In her experience as a hospital and rehabilitation therapist , she has seen the benefits of augmentative devices with neurologically impaired patients. She hopes to achieve similar results for her non-verbal students. By attending the institute she hopes to gain digital tool knowledge which will facilitate her goals.

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Diana Psyras is a special education teacher in the Cupertino Union School District in California for grades 3-5 students with mild to moderate learning needs. She recently completed her M.A. at Santa Clara University and previously has worked for many years in software technology sales roles. Her goal is to bring technology in a meaningful way to help students with special needs to be even more successful learners by helping them improve attending skills, while fostering curiosity, and critical thinking. Technology can help students who might experience struggles with executive functioning such a planning, revising, completing, prioritizing, and organizing their work. Special needs students often require additional repetition of new concepts. Students can develop fluency, maintenance, and generalization in a fun and engaging way with the multisensory learning experiences that the digital world can provide.


David Quinn is a Ph.D. student in the the University of Rhode Island / RIC Ph.D in Education program. Previously, he was a 7th grade ancient history teacher at King Philip Regional Middle School in Norfolk, MA. He is a graduate of the Brown University Master of Arts in Teaching program and earned his B.S. from the University of Massachusetts--Amherst. In addition to his work in the classroom, he has also served on the Seekonk School Committee and works as a consultant for Nutmeg Education, a K-12 assessment and intervention web platform

photo.JPGSusan Unger is a Science educator for grades K-8 at St. Peter School in Warwick, Rhode Island. She received her B.A. in Biology-Psychology at Immaculata University and began working as a research assistant at Villanova University while earning a Master of Science degree in Experimental Psychology. She continued a stimulating and satisfying research career as an intern at Smith-Kline Laboratories. She enjoyed working on many research projects in basic and applied science in various settings such as Wills Eye Hospital/Jefferson Hospital, Wyeth Laboratories, and the SUNY Binghamton Department of Biology. Her love of science has remained a life-long passion, and her mission is to encourage students to become passionate about science as well. Digital media has been useful in promoting creative learning and thinking skills for her students as well as exposing students to the work of scientists around the world. All grades use these digital media tools through access to Smartboard technology and computer labs as an enhancement to the science curriculum. Susan founded and continues to facilitate St. Peter's robotics club for grades 5-8. She encourages participation inside and outside of the classroom in design challenges and engineering projects. Digital media is an invaluable asset for all of these pursuits. Susan is currently a student (cohort 2012) in the URI/RIC Ph.D. in Education program. Her research goal is to encourage students to see the value and relevance of science education for all, and to foster and maintain an interest in science from the early years through middle school.

Dianna Locke