Thursday, September 4, 2014

Welcome Back! Fall 2014

On Wednesday 8/27/14, the division of Educational Psychology and Methodology held its welcome back orientation for new and returning students and faculty!  We had a great time catching up and meeting new people.  We also held our RGSO elections and have an all new eboard!

Congrats to the new 2014-2015 RGSO eboard members:
President:  David Bogin
Vice President:  Julio McLaughlin
Secretary:  Jin Cho
Treasurer:  Tom Robertson
Representatives:  Mary Gaynor & Amber Williams

We already had our first RGSO meeting and have a lot of awesome events in the works.  Here are some pictures from the orientation!  We did a mixer activity where groups of students and faculty had to use recyclable materials and create something useful.  The winners created an automatic water dispenser for pets!  Other creations included a Halloween costume, play toys for kids, a desktop organizer, and a chess-like board game.  It was great to see everyone working together and coming up with creative ideas!  It's going to be a great year!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Recap of Spring 2014 Events!

Educational Psychology and Methodology RGSO Brown Bag #1: Chandelier: A New Way of Seeing 2/26/14
Dr. Trevor Tebbs gave a presentation on a new web-based system called Chandelier which can be used for psycho-educational activities, particularly in the area of assessment.  Chandelier was designed to be used primarily by psychologists and school administrators who can then grant access to parents or teachers as needed.  It is an innovative system which facilitates the assembly, storage, and management of data in order to create a holistic portrait of a person.  The portraits contain data on behavioral factors, modifiers, psychometric factors, and predispositional/genetic factors, but is presented in a way that all the information is readily available in one place.  There are many layers of data presented in a succinct, interactive way.  This enables the monitoring of progress, provides insight for the development of personalized learning plans, enhances communication, provides easy access to assessments, and could be a great source of data for research. 

Educational Psychology and Methodology RGSO Brown Bag #2: Writing Instruction for High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) 3/26/14
Dr. Kristie Saddler presented an overview of characteristics of children with high functioning ASD and how they interfere with writing, followed by a review of research-based interventions including technology-aided instruction, sentence construction, peer writing, and self-regulated strategy development (SRSD).  She then discussed her own research in this area using single-subject designs with quantitative and qualitative measures.  Results after the SRSD-based writing interventions indicated that participants with ASD improved overall writing ability, the number of words generally increased, and most students enjoyed using the strategies and felt it helped them become better writers.  

Educational Psychology and Methodology RGSO Brown Bag #3: Researching Literacy Teaching and Learning 4/16/14
Dr. Peter Johnston, a Vincent O'Leary Professor in the Reading Department at UAlbany discussed ways of thinking about literacy, teaching, and research, and their significance for teachers and students.  He presented research on the outcomes of relationally oriented reading instruction for 8th graders and how to develop social imagination.  He believes engaged reading develops the relational, narrative self and social imagination leads to many positive outcomes including:  better social skills, increased cooperation, more positive view of peers, decreased angry responses in personal interactions, increased moral development and increased self-regulation.  It encourages students to think about their future possible selves, moral agency, reading agency, and changing identities by talking through and about books. 

Student Panel Discussion - The Dissertation Process 3/12/14
Educational Psychology doctoral students Georgia Brooke, Holly Meredith, Kim Speerschneider (Westcott), and Chris Valle were speakers for a student panel discussion on the dissertation process.  They were all at different stages and shared their experiences such as picking a committee, writing a proposal, balancing teaching/work and the dissertation, what the defense process is like, and gave general tips and advice to fellow students. 

Educational Psychology and Methodology RGSO Spring Social Event: “Waiting for Superman” Movie Night 4/9/14
In collaboration with Kappa Delta Pi, the international honor society in education, the ed psych RGSO hosted another successful movie night!  Graduate and undergraduate students watched the educational documentary entitled, “Waiting for Superman” followed by an informed discussion of the American public education system, charter schools, socioeconomic status, and achievement. 

Two-Day Workshop on Applied Propensity Score Analysis (PSA) 4/30/14 and 5/7/14
In this workshop, Jason Bryer provided participants with a theoretical overview of propensity score methods as well as illustrations and discussion of PSA applications on day 1 followed by more advanced topics of PSA on day 2 (i.e. sensitivity analysis, bootstrapping PSA, analysis of non-binary treatments, and analysis of multilevel data).  Big thank you to Jason Bryer for running the workshop!

Poster Session with Guest Speaker Dr. John Hitchcock 5/9/14
Our 13th annual poster session was held in University Hall with guest speaker alumnus Dr. John Hitchcock.  Dr. Hitchcock graduated from the doctoral program in 2003 and now directs a large evaluation and education policy center in addition to being a tenured faculty member at Indiana University. He discussed how the training he received at UAlbany helped prepare him to work in multiple settings, and offered insights about job searching, funding, publishing, etc.  It was great to see all the interesting research projects fellow students have been working on throughout the semester!  Keep up the good work! 

Educational Psychology and Methodology RGSO Spring Outing: Picnic in Thacher Park 5/10/14
For our spring semester outing, the RGSO went back to Thacher Park for a great day of BBQing and relaxing with fellow classmates and faculty. 

Community Service Activities:
Relay for Life 4/26/14
The Ed Psych RGSO created a team and participated in UAlbany’s Relay for Life this year at the SEFCU arena!  We had a great time walking and raising money for the American Cancer Society!  A total of $210 was donated by our team! 

Ronald McDonald pop tabs
By the end of the Spring 2014 semester we had filled a gallon sized Ziploc bag of pop tabs which were donated to the Ronald McDonald house in Albany.  Money collected from these pop tabs is being put towards an elevator in a new building which is bigger and allows the Ronald McDonald house to serve more families!  Thank you to everyone who donated their pop tabs!  This is a community service activity we would like to continue in the future so save your pop tabs and bring them to Ed Psych events or contact Jessica Lamendola for where to drop them off!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Recap of Fall 2013 Events!

Educational Psychology and Methodology RGSO Brown Bag #1: Following Up Think Aloud Studies 9/18/13
Dr. Sigmund Tobias, an eminent research professor at UAlbany, and doctoral student Fei Chen have been conducting research on cognitive readiness to deal with the unexpected.  Fei presented results of a “think aloud” study which was investigating the cognitive processes involved in adapting to unexpected events.  Preliminary results suggest that internal cognitive checking and persistence in problem solving might be key cognitive processes in dealing with the unexpected.  The brown bag provided a forum for students and faculty to learn about this research area and then discuss how to follow up think aloud studies with more experimentally oriented research.

Educational Psychology and Methodology RGSO Brown Bag #2: Research and Educational Technology 10/16/13
Dr. Tobias returned for our second brown bag along with Dr. Fletcher from the Institute for Defense Analysis to discuss the impact and effectiveness of educational technology.  More specifically, the research focused on computer tutors and learning.  Educational technology allows for more individualization of education at a lower cost.  After comparing the cost to increase math achievement by 1 standard deviation, it was cheaper to implement computer based instruction than extending the school day or reducing class size.  Digital tutoring leads to students attempting more problems at every difficulty level with greater probability of success.  Cost projections showed that implementing digital tutoring could save millions of dollars over time.

Educational Psychology and Methodology RGSO Brown Bag #3:  The Three Paradigms of Gifted Education 11/20/13
At our final brown bag of the fall semester, Dr. Dai posed three questions:  What is the state of gifted education in the US?  How do we develop programs and services that are theoretically coherent, practical, and viable?  What issues need to be resolved through research and consensus building?  A history of gifted education was presented along with the three paradigms of gifted education:  1) the gifted child paradigm, 2) the talent development paradigm, and 3) the differentiation paradigm.  

Educational Psychology and Methodology RGSO Fall Outing: Apple Picking and Picnic at Thacher Park 10/20/13
On Sunday, October 20, 2013, we spent the afternoon apple picking at Indian Ladder Farms followed by a picnic at Thacher Park.  

Educational Psychology and Methodology RGSO Social Event: “Race to Nowhere” Movie Night 11/8/13
We watched an educational documentary on November 8, 2013 called “Race to Nowhere” followed by an informed discussion about personal experiences with homework and school in the United States and other countries.  Also discussed was how schools and society put a lot of pressure on performance in and outside of school and how there is a need to redefine success in society.  This was a fun and informative event!