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Worlds Ahead COE Faculty

October 2014

Alexis McKenney recently received the 2013-2014 Study Abroad Recognition Award for her new Study Abroad Program. This past summer, Professor McKenney took 11 students to Europe as part of the Inclusive Recreation Services class. Students experienced challenges people with disabilities confront while travelling. Examples of activities included experiencing the sites of Florence, Italy while using wheelchairs, and accessing the Paris, France metro system in a manner that emulates the challenges people who are blind or visually impaired experience. As Alexandra Pecharich of the FIU News highlighted recently, the class turned out to be FIU's "...most unusual study abroad program program."

September 2014

Congratulations to Maureen Kenny whose new book, Sex Education: Attitude of Adolescents, Cultural Differences and Schools' Challenges was just published!

Sex Education: Attitude of Adolescents, Cultural Differences and Schools' Challenges is a contemporary book that addresses global issues in adolescent sexuality education. With chapters from international experts in sexuality, this book provides comprehensive coverage of issues including effective sexuality education, abstinence programs, and risk prevention efforts, drawing on research currently being conducted in schools and agencies across the globe.

Emphasizing "developmentally appropriate sex education", readers will learn about adolescent's preferences for sources of sex education, as well as the timing and topics that are critical to include.

Given an increasing use of social media and technology by teens, the book addresses the intersection of sexuality and technology. This includes topics such as sexting and on line victimization, and youth's exposure to sexually explicit on line material. Strategies for both school and parents to implement to safe guard their youth are provided. With the wealth of knowledge from the international contributors to this book, culture and diversity are addressed throughout but especially in chapters on gender expansiveness, sexual minority youth, and youth with disabilities. Recommendations are made for how schools can implement sex education with adolescents in a way that will be meaningful and effective. Adapting evidenced based curriculum to local settings, as well conducting evaluations is addressed so that program planners can ensure adolescents are receiving accurate and comprehensive knowledge and skills to make informed decisions.

The latter part of this book addresses the issue of the training that is required of teachers who implement sexuality curriculums. In order for programs to be successful, those who deliver them need proper training and support. Readers of this book are sure to gain essential knowledge necessary to design, implement and evaluate inclusive and effective sexuality education with a range of youth.

August 2014

Congratulations to Meg Gardinier on your second QM Course Certification.

EDF6636 Intercultural Studies: A Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis, has recently received Quality Matters certification. This recognition represents quite an accomplishment!







July 2014

At the annual Florida Psychological Association convention in July 2014, Dr. Maureen Kenny received the Outstanding Member Award, Child and Family Division of Florida Psychological Association.







June 2014

FIU College of Education Students Make a Difference in Literacy

The collaboration between FIU College of Education students and Rockway Elementary School students resulted in improved FCAT test results!

This past academic year, FIU College of Education Elementary Education undergraduate students provided one-on-one literacy tutoring for 25 Rockway Elementary School students. The FIU students (preservice teachers) were participating in a supervised clinical literacy class with their Instructor, Lynn Yribarren. The collaboration included administrators and staff members of the elementary school whose cooperation was required to achieve the success sought after for all involved. The Rockway Elementary students improved in areas of literacy ability and the FIU College of Education Elementary Education preservice teachers acquired experience and knowledge in how to teach literacy to diverse elementary students.

As a direct result of this collaboration, Rockway Elementary students attained improved achievement on FCAT test results. The school's reading score was one of the highest in the area. The elementary school with the highest reading score in that feeder pattern was Coral Park Elementary. Coral Park also partners with the College of Education by providing one-on-one literacy tutoring by FIU's students.

FIU instructor, Lynn Yribarren, was honored at the end of the year by the school administrators and PtA.


May 2014

Dr. Laura Dinehart, Chairperson of the Department of Leadership & Professional Studies and Assistant Professor in Early Childhood Education, has just been informed by Blackboard and the Exemplary Course Program Directors that her course, Issues in Early Childhood Education, has been recognized as a 2014 Blackboard Catalyst Award for Exemplary Course. Only a select group of educators and course designers from around the world have earned the Exemplary Course designation.

The Exemplary Course Award recognizes faculty and course designers around the world who develop exciting and innovative courses that represent the very best in technology and learning. Courses are evaluated in four major areas (Course Design, Interaction & Collaboration, Assessment and Learner Support) by a peer group of Blackboard clients, a Reviewer Council, and Directors.

Melody Whiddon's EDP 3004 has been recognized as a 2014 Blackboard Catalyst Award for Exemplary Course. This is the second year in a row Melody has received this award. Last year she received the award for her work on EDF 5481. The award recognizes faculty and course designers from around the world who develop exciting and innovative courses that represent the best in technology and learning. Courses are evaluated by a peer group of Blackboard clients, a Review Council and Directors. Melody will be recognized at the BB World conference in Las Vegas on July 15 - 17.



April 2014

Three Education Faculty Members Receive 2014 FIU Top Scholar Awards

Professor Charles Bleiker has developed Math-Ways, an early-education enrichment program. The program uses 15 simple activities-or "games," as Bleiker calls them, despite their mostly non-competitive nature - to boost the math skills of preschoolers. The activities require just 15 minutes of one-on-one time per week, over several months, between each youngster and a facilitator, in this case one of Bleiker's graduate students. The results to date have been eye-popping.

Click here to read more about the program and its results.

Dr. Maria Fernandez was among the FIU Top Scholars recently announced by Provost Wartzok. Dr. Fernandez is the Chairperson of the Department of Teaching & Learning. She received the Notable Appointment award for her selection as a Member of the Planning Committee for the Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership (MTEP) of SMTI and APLU.

Dr. Patricia Barbetta, Associate Professor, Special Education, has also received a FIU Top Scholar Award. Dr. Barbetta received the Award for securing $325,000 from the Florida Department of Education in 2012-13 to support teachers statewide seeking endorsement in different areas or special education. This recognition was given to Established Faculty with Significant New Funding.

Dr. Eric Brewe also received recognition as an Established Faculty with Significant New Funding. Dr. Brewe is an Associate Professor, Science Education. In 2012-13 he secured $304,995 from the National Science Foundation to implement Modeling Instruction, an innovative approach that has improved students' conceptual understanding of content.

“Read My World” was the theme of the FIU Diversity Week Celebration in Broward recently.  Diana Little, Director of the Broward Center, spearheaded a group of students, faculty, and staff who were guest readers of diverse children’s literature at Mirror Lake Elementary School in Plantation.

Principal, Cindy M. Dean, shared that this school has been recognized as a “Welcoming” school and did, indeed, welcome the opportunity to have books read to the classes about diverse issues such as race, gender, ethnicity, age, varying exceptionalities, different family configurations, and children from all over the world.  Some of the readers were from the undergraduate Elementary Education and Masters of Science in Reading Education and Doctoral programs. They initiated conversations about the topics, and interacted with the students about how they would act if the characters in the books were at their school.  

In addition, the FIU students, faculty and staff at the Broward campus donated money to purchase diverse children’s literature for the school.  Sleeping Bear Press, which gave a large discount and free shipping and even donated a book, enabled FIU to give the school beautifully illustrated trade books with FIU gift bookplates in them for their library.  The Broward Superintendent, Mr. Robert W. Runcie, and School Board members, Rosalina Osgood and Robin Bartleman, also attended the festivities.  It was a wonderful chance to explore diversity and engage with this very hospitable school community!

Click here to see more pictures from the event.

March 2014

At the recent FIU Online Conference, Dr. Daniela Fenu Foerch, an Instructor in the Early Childhood Education Program within the Department of Teaching and Learning, was presented with the "Distinguished Course Award for Innovative Use of Open Course."

The Open Course Library (OCL) is a collection of shareable course materials, including syllabi, course activities, readings, and assessments designed by teams of college faculty, instructional designers, librarians, and other experts. Many of the courses can be taught and activities, readings etc. used with students at no cost to students. Unless otherwise noted, all materials are shared under a Creative Commons (CC BY) license. 

OCL courses and materials have undergone testing for accessibility and have been designed using the industry-standard Quality Matters (QM) rubric for assessing the quality of online courses.

Dr. Daniela F. Foerch received her Ph.D. at Barry University in Curriculum and Instruction, with a Concentration in Early Childhood Education. Daniela Fenu Foerch is a permanent faculty member of the Department of Teaching and Learning at Florida International University, Miami, Florida, where she teaches courses to prepare and mentor teacher candidates to work with diverse young children and their families.  Daniela belongs to two learning communities in Miami: the Faculty Learning Community at FIU and the Visible Thinking South Florida.  As part of her commitment with these learning communities, she mentors teachers in the public and private schools in Miami Dade County disseminating the PZ ideas. She has been actively involved with the Visible Thinking initiative for Early Childhood Education in Miami since 2008.