Kate E. O'Hara, Ph.D.
This Executive Summary serves as an in-depth description of my teaching, scholarship, and service from Fall 2012 to the present portfolio submission date of December 1, 2013.
The corresponding portfolio contains evidence and artifacts which reflect the six indicators adopted on September 29, 2011 by the School of Education as well as alignment to the NYIT Vision for 2030.
Philosophy and Practice
Central to my portfolio is a refined professional statement that encompasses my background as an educator, my teaching philosophy, and my research framework. I consider the statement to be refined because through my work as a teacher educator, I continually revise, develop, and articulate through reflective practice. And in the spirit of Paulo Freire, my reflection is also transformative action.
In my professional statement I describe how “I design and enact a curriculum that encompasses multiple goals; the official knowledge teachers are expected to know; a background in theory and corresponding hands-on activities in which to apply; opportunities through a variety of means to share their pedagogical challenges and successes; and support as they navigate experiences within the realm of higher education.“
This design is reflected in the content of my course syllabi and in both my enhanced and online courses in which I employ a variety of instructional strategies, which include both direct and indirect instruction, independent and group work, collaboration, cooperative learning, hands-on activities and discussions that lend themselves to a students’ application of “theory vs. practice.” Discussions are marked by dialogue rich with criticality, with knowledge not merely gained, but used to positively transform existing conditions of teachers and their students, in particular through the use of technology.
This level of critical thinking was noted during the MSIT Chair’s observation, “Dr. O'Hara is a very effective instructor. Her strengths are her capacity to create student-centered learning…She also challenges the students to be critical thinkers in analysis of information and decision making for their own practice.”
Because of my expertise in both pedagogy and technology, I currently teach five courses for the School of Education:
- EDIT 701: Contemporary Strategies for Technology Integration in the Curriculum
- EDPC 605: Curriculum Design and Development
- EDIT 603: Foundations I: Philosophy and Technology of Education
- EDIT 605: Instructional Applications of the Internet
- EDSS 620: Social Studies and Technology
It was during an observation of one of these courses that the Dean of Education noted, “Dr. O’Hara demonstrated her knowledge of the subjects covered in the lesson and responded well to students’ questions…The lesson was well organized and the outline of the session’s content was prepared in advance. Dr. O’Hara used thought-provoking questions to facilitate the discussion of the online activity and the topic of knowledge and knowing.”
Additionally, in both my face to face and online courses, my teaching strongly emphasizes the need for students to develop critical literacy skills when examining current research, trends, and developments in instructional technology as well as traditional K-12 teacher resources and curriculum. Drawing on my background in critical pedagogy, I guide my students in critical evaluation of education Web sites and articles that offer a differing perspective than those commonly found in K-12 education. Students’ critical evaluation is reflected in such projects such as: Research Review Online Map, Theories of Learning Video, and Historical Thinking Project.
Both the Dean’s and the Chair’s comments coincide with my student evaluation scores, which range from 6.0 to 7, “Very Good to Outstanding.” My students also took the time during their evaluation to include written feedback about my teaching which aligns to the NYIT Vision for 2030
- The instructor helped me a great deal in me being able to complete various projects. She also pushed me to do my very best and nothing less. The professor is very consistent and she has high expectations for her students which push us to do our best work. Fall 2012
- Professor O'Hara truly is a standout teacher because of her sheer dedication to her students. Spring 2013
- Our instructor, Professor O'Hara is an excellent guide, motivator and teacher. Her presence online had encouraged us to participate and invest our time and effort in completing the requirements of the course. Spring 2013
Effective Use of Technology for Teaching and Learning
Every semester I provide students guidance in using resources and digital folders in TaskStream, an electronic assessment and management system. Additionally, I choose to enhance my face to face courses with Blackboard. Blackboard enables me to communicate online and digitally share resources that relate to the course assignments and also help students in the completion of those assignments. Students in both the face to face and online courses that I teach use technology applications extensively for their assignments, with regard to all aspects of Copyright Fair Use, and the Teach Act
EDIT 603: - Pinterest - Evernote - Padlet - Google Drive - Smore - TedEd - LucidPress - Weebly - Blogger - WordPress - Livebinders -
EDPC 605: - ScoopIt - Glogster - Word Clouds (Wordle - ABCya - Tagxedo - Tagcrowd - Word Mosaic) - Padlet - Online Cartoons and Comics (MakeBeliefsComix - ToonDoo - Pixton - Stripgenerator) Online Mapping Tools (VUE - Bubbl.us - Gliffy - Google Drawings) - Google Docs and Forms - Online Presentations (Prezi - Animoto - Slideroll - Empressr - Google Slides)
EDIT 605: - Screencast Tools (Jing and Screenr) - iMovie - Windows Movie Maker - Stixy -Smore - Capzles - Podcasting (Garageband – Audacity)
EDSS 620: - GPS: Geocaching - Interactive White Boards (Promethean and SMART) - iMovie - Windows Movie Maker - Google Earth -
NYIT Vision for 2030
By 2030, NYIT will be known for teaching and learning that is challenging, engaging, learner-centered and career-focused. ∙ NYIT faculty members will develop and teach courses that engage its diverse student body, building enthusiasm for the subject.
(2030 Teaching Quality Working Group, 2010 update)
By using the online tools themselves, my students are more engaged and are better equipped to integrate the use of Web 2.0 tools in their own K-12 classrooms, thus impacting their students’ learning. Additionally, with knowledge of current tools and effective implementation strategies, students are better able to support colleagues in their schools and districts. My students explain:
- Professor O'Hara was great and integrated the new tools appropriately for the class, and really helped us use them in real world situations. Fall 2012
- I loved the new tools and applications we learned throughout the course. It was so useful and helped me really enjoy this program! Spring 2013
- You made me try things I normally wouldn't do. The work was not busy work. Spring 2013
Curriculum Writing and Program Development
- Assisted with the review of the Master of Arts in Teaching Program proposal; provided both copy and substantive editing.
- Designed and composed an elective course for the Master of Science in Instructional Technology Program: Social Media and New Literacies
- Designing and composing courses (EDPC 605, EDIT 663, and EDSS 620) for the newly revised Master of Science Program in Instructional Technology which focuses on educating instructional coaches. The revised syllabi will also be part of our new SOE MSIT Program in Abu Dhabi
NYIT Vision for 2030
By 2030, NYIT will be known for its career-oriented undergraduate and unique and distinctive graduate and professional programs. ∙ Curriculum will be revisited at regular intervals, with changes based on assessment of student learning, feedback from alumni and employers, and consultation with members of relevant professional communities (NYIT 2030 Programs Working Group, 2010 update)
My research interest focuses on the effective use of technology to empower users to become agents of social change. Of particular importance to me is urban K-12 teachers’ effective use of technology to enhance student achievement and their own professional development. More specifically, (1) urban teachers creating online communities to support their own professional development (2) students using Web 2.0 tools to increase literacy skills and (3) utilization of online resources by both teachers and students to enact a critical pedagogy. In alignment with my background in critical pedagogy, my research also addresses teacher education as it relates to contexts of power, oppression and social justice. In my research, I employ the use of narrative and autoethnographic studies, couched within a sociocultural framework.
Proposal accepted and funded by Institutional Support of Research and Creativity Grants (ISRC) at New York Institute of Technology, Building Awareness with Avatars: Exploring Social Issues Virtually, $5,922.00. Role: Co-PI, 2012
Submitted IRB modification to continue data collection through December 31, 2013
External Funding Proposals
Proposal submitted to, and unfunded by, Google. CS4HS: Google Computer Science for High School. The CS4HS and NYIT Summer Institute. $14,602.00. Role PI, 2013
Projects: Pending and in Progress
1. Pending. I designed an original grant proposal, College and Career Ready: Teachers Using Web 2.0 Tools to Support Student Achievement which is based on a Freirean framework. The proposal has been submitted to the Spencer Foundation. I will act as PI in this Participatory Action Research Project, working with 10 high school teachers whose students are unsuccessful in mainstream high school due to low academic performance, lack of attendance, or discipline problems. The participating school is classified as a Title I school, receiving federal funding because of its high percentage of students from low-income families. I will work with teachers, creating a virtual classroom for each class that will support traditional instruction outside the scheduled school day. By creating a blended class, with virtual space and face to face direct instruction, academic support is inherent; opportunities to access and submit work online, work at one’s own pace, and receive individualized feedback from both peers and their teacher. This innovative practice of virtual classroom use and Web 2.0 tools as a means of teacher professional development and student academic support aligns with the our national Common Core Standards and reflects the knowledge and skills that students will need for success in college and careers.
2. In progress. I am a CoPI in collaborative research project with colleagues from the School Counseling and Communication Arts departments, in which we developed and piloted virtual tools to engage K-12 students in virtual role play. The virtual role play was used by in-service teachers and counseling candidates to problem solve with their students around social issues. My research team developed virtual tools, conducted a pilot study utilizing avatars, and is currently in the process of analyzing the collected data to assess the effectiveness and student outcomes. The purpose of the project was to determine if the use of avatars in educational settings has the potential to improve student attitudes, awareness, knowledge, and skills in examining social issues. We hypothesized that use of virtual tools, avatar technology in particular, will have a strong and lasting effect on student opinion and student action as related to social issues in both a local and global context. In light of critical pedagogy, this new awareness will enable students to make connections between knowledge, power, and constructive agency. Additionally, we proposed that the use of avatar technology will increase student engagement and aid in literacy development.
3. In progress. I have been invited to be a CoPI in a study that aims to investigate data generated by teacher candidates who complete the edTPA, which is required for New York State teacher certification. Research questions include: What are the benefits and disadvantages of using tailored rubrics within a scoring consortium as compared to rubrics associated with the edTPA? What aspects of the teaching/learning process are privileged/marginalized by the edTPA? How do the scores produced by edTPA calibrated scorers compare to the scores produced by scoring consortium participants?
EdTPA is a high stakes measure of a complex act. Meaningful teaching has consequences that are not always immediately obvious or measurable. Decades of research reflects the harms of high-stakes assessment on teachers, learners, and schools. As a high-stakes assessment, the edTPA has the potential to devalue aspects of teaching that are not formally assessed and limit opportunities for faculty and students to imagine new possibilities for education. To explore this issue in a meaningful way, this study will create an edTPA Scoring Consortium that will generate results that represent an alternative to those generated by Pearson scoring. One concern that will be addressed by this project involves the effects of standardized assessments on equity and diversity - in schools of education as well as the profession as a whole. Standardized assessments have historically perpetuated privilege; because the edTPA will be used to certify candidates as well as in statewide rankings of Schools of Education, it seems likely that candidate scores and institutional rankings will be differentiated by privilege and resources. It is possible that edTPA may feed into an existing cycle in which the public school teaching population does not share cultural characteristics of the students it serves. A scoring consortium consisting of a partnership of public and private institutions (SUNY, CUNY, Bank Street College, Teachers College, Columbia Univ) reflecting a range of selectivity, has the potential to address this issue.
O’Hara, K.E. (Ed.) (under contract) Teacher Evaluation: The Charge and the Challenges. Counterpoints: Studies in the Postmodern Theory of Education. Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.
O’Hara, K.E. & Tutela, J.J. (under contract). Teacher Evaluation in Urban Schools: I'm Supposed to Do What? By When? And How? In K.E. O’Hara (Ed.). Teacher Evaluation: The Charge and the Challenges. Counterpoints: Studies in the Postmodern Theory of Education. Peter Lang Publishing, Inc
O’Hara, K.E. (in press). Urban Teachers and Technology: Critical Reflections in the Age of Accountability. In J.A. Gorlewski, B.J. Porfilio, D.A. Gorlewski, & J. Hopkins (Eds.), Effective or Wise? Teaching and Assessing Professional Dispositions in Education. Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.
O’Hara, K.E. (2014). Unraveling Technology Use in Urban Schools. In K. Tobin & A. A. Shady (Eds.), Transforming Urban Education: Urban Teachers and Students Working Collaboratively. Rotterdam, NL: Sense Publishing.
Peer Reviewed Articles:
Dahir, C., O’Hara, K.E., & Kim, Y. (2013). Advancing Awareness with Avatars: Using Virtual Characters to Combat Bullying in Schools. Journal of Professional School Counseling.
Dahir, C., Kim, Y.J., & O’Hara, K.E. (2014, April). Advancing Awareness with Avatars: Using Virtual Characters to Combat Bullying in Schools. American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, April, 2014
O’Hara, K.E. (2013, October). Using Web 2.0 Tools to Meet ELA Common Core Learning Standards. Workshop presentation at the 18th Annual Rockland Literacy Extravaganza, St. Thomas Aquinas College, Sparkill, New York.
O’Hara, K.E. (2013. June). Navigating a Literacy Rich World: Untethering English Language Learners from the Classroom. Paper presentation at the Emerging Learning Design Conference, Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey.
O’Hara, K.E. (2013, March). From Filtering to Freire: Critical Use of the Internet in Urban Classrooms. Paper presentation at Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education, New Orleans, Louisiana.
O’Hara, K.E. (2013, March). Illuminating Inequities: Technology and the Common Core Standards. Paper presentation at the 6th Annual Conference on Equity and Social Justice, New Paltz, New York.
Demonstration of Professional Competence
Course Evaluator, Google in Education, Google, Inc.
September 2013- present.
Director of Teacher Education and Instructional Technology, NYS Teachers Center: Rockland Teacher Center, March 2011-present.
English Specialist, Urban Teachers Education Program, Rutgers University, September 2011- present.
Director of Teacher Education and Instructional Technology, NYS Teachers Center: Rockland Teacher Center, March 2011-present.
Service to the Profession
American Educational Research Association
Research proposal reviewer, 2011, 2013
Excelsior: Leadership in Teaching and Learning
Manuscript reviewer, 2011, 2013
International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)
Research proposal reviewer, 2010
New Visions for Public Schools
Selection Committee Member: Fund for Teachers Program, 2007-present
Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education, English Education SIG, Equity & Social Justice SIG
Research proposal reviewer, 2012
Service to the School of Education
School of Education, Conceptual Framework Group 2013-present
School of Education, Strategic Planning Group 2013-present
School of Education, Course Developer: School Violence Prevention & Intervention for Non-tuition Revenue 2012-2013
School of Education Assessment and Accreditation Committee 2012-2013
School of Education Search Committee 2009-2013
School of Education Curriculum Committee 2009-2012
School of Education Admin Council Committee 2009 - 2011
School of Education Commencement Liaison 2009-2011
Service to the Community
Coalition for the Homeless, First Step Program, New York, New York, 2011- present
Design and conduct technology based workshops, literacy instruction, and career skills training for woman in the First Step Job Readiness and Training Program.
Soup Angels of Nyack, New York 2010- present
Prep Cook and Service Team Member for an all-volunteer, non-denominational, non-profit organization that assists community members in need on a weekly basis.
American Educational Research Association Member since 2003 Division K
American Educational Research Association
Member of Paulo Freire, Critical Pedagogy, and Emancipation SIG since 2010
Member of Urban Learning, Teaching, and Research SIG since 2010
Member of Technology as an Agent of Change in Teaching and Learning SIG since 2009
International Society for Technology in Education
Member since 1999
National Council of Teachers of English
Member since 1993
New York City Writing Project
Member since 2007
New York State Association for Computers and Technologies in Education
Member since 2000
Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education
Member of English Education SIG since 2011