Karen, please introduce yourself to the viewing (reading) public. What is your role with Extension and in the ‘real world’?
I have been amazed by the excitement and ingenuity I have experienced as an Extension Instructor. I have taught and developed courses at the University of California, San Diego for five years. In addition to my teaching at UC San Diego, I have also taught in both the brick and mortar classroom as well as online for various K-12 schools. Currently, I am the Special Programs Administrator for Ohio Virtual Academy and am a Graduate Professor for Madonna University.
The Ohio Virtual Academy has 14,000 students and over 500 teachers and support personnel. My responsibilities include program oversight, training, staff evaluation, High School Guidance Counseling and compliancy (K-12) of the following: Title One, Truancy, RTI, 504, Special Education Transition for High School Students.
Madonna University is a private University in Livonia, Michigan. I currently teach on campus for the Master of Arts in Teaching, Literacy Education as well as the Master of Arts in Teaching, Educational Technology programs.
Tell us a bit about your role as an instructor. How did you start working with Extension?
In 2004, I began teaching for California Virtual Academies. California Virtual Academies provided amazing opportunities for me to grow as a leader and innovative thinker. As Master Teacher of Curriculum and Instruction, I developed a Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment program for online teaching in collaboration with the University of California, San Diego. It was this collaborative effort with the Extension campus that introduced me to all that the University had to offer.
I teach a variety of courses within the Clear Credential program, Teaching Adult Learners, and Gifted and Talented Education. I offer UC San Diego students support and collaborative learning experiences to build on each course they are taking within a program creating a sense of community. We focus our time on current research, best teaching practices, and creating assignments for application directly in the classroom or work place.
Please describe some of the unique aspects of the clear credential program as well as others in which you teach. What do you find particularly compelling or exciting?
The programs that I teach within offer outstanding educational experiences for students of any age and experience level. The collaboration that occurs within the online classes allows students, even those in their early years of teaching, to provide new ideas and food for thought. Having classes offered in an online setting provides opportunities to meet others that are beyond a student’s physical community. The diversity of the classes allows for unique and rich learning experiences.
From your perspective, where do you see the future of education—even beyond the Common Core? Do you have advice for aspiring educators?
I believe the future of education has a positive outlook. Technology is going to continue to challenge schools to be innovative in order to be able to incorporate the latest devices and continuous high speed internet connection.
Schools will further develop individualized learning plans using data to inform instruction to meet the needs of every student. Project based learning, differentiation, and recognizing that each child learns differently will be in the forefront.
I encourage aspiring educators and current educators, who feel overwhelmed by the requirements on teachers today, to be reminded daily why we teach. We teach to make the difference in the life of a child. At the end of the day, after all the standards have been taught and assessments completed, what really matters is did we make a connection with a student to spark in them a love for learning.
Finally, if we’ve missed anything you would like to discuss, please include it below.
I am a proud mom of three girls. It has been exciting to watch my girls grow and explore. My middle daughter and husband are hearing impaired. We participate in the Walk for Hearing and are working hard to share information about hearing loss.