A group of senior education majors traveled to Dallas for the Kappa Delta Pi Biennial Convocation Oct. 23-27, where five of them combined to present a workshop and the sixth presented her senior honors research. While many of their peers were more seasoned graduate and doctoral students as well as professors, the Heidelberg group stood tall, and their professor, Dr. Julie Green, couldn’t be more proud of them.
“They did so great,” Julie said. “I was a little nervous for them, but they made me really proud. They got glowing reviews.”
Some of the students had attended regional education conferences previously, but none had presented, especially not on a national stage. Early childhood education majors Ryan Sarchet, Victoria Miller, Mackenzie Pinkelman, Kirsten Bumb and Julia Kagy presented a workshop titled Assistive Technology for Students with Disabilities in General Education Classrooms. Taylor Rambo’s presentation was titled You Mean I Have to TALK to Parents? Strategies for Parent Involvement.
Julie said the preparation process was long but worthwhile. “We spent a lot of late nights practicing,” she said. “They worked really hard and improved their presentation skills a lot.”
The students have been working on their presentation for several months. They initially decided on a topic, wrote an outline and then divided the research. The focus of their presentation – assistive technologies – gave those in attendance “an overview of equipment that can be used to improve, maintain or increase the functionalities of a student with disabilities,” Mackenzie explained. About 30 people attended their session, and several approached them afterwards with questions.
As for the takeaways, the students agreed with Green about the benefits of meeting new people, sharing new experiences, gaining new perspectives and seeing new places. Mackenzie said she enjoyed learning about research and activities she can apply in her own teaching.
“It was nice to get a different perspective from other students and professors,” she said. Although a bit nerve-racking, the experience of presenting was enjoyable, Julia added.
The students and their professor said their presentation was greatly enhanced by working on campus with Annie Almekinder, the School of Education’s new technology coordinator. Annie helped them design a website and suggested iPad apps they incorporated into their presentation.
“She really steered us in the right direction,” Julie said. “”She was essential to the success of their presentations.”
The students’ time in Dallas wasn’t all work. Along with attending many conference sessions, the students toured the Sixth Floor Museum at the Texas School Book Depository, where President John F. Kennedy was shot. They also had a great opportunity for a private tour of the television studio and set where the TNT show Dallas is filmed. Their tour guide was Drew Weininger, son of Provost Dr. David Weininger.