Feb. 22, 2012 - Union University doctoral student Christie Rodgers has been nominated for the David Pickler Technology Award. The Shelby County School (SCS) System award annually recognizes educators for innovative uses of standards-based technology integration projects. The focus of the award is to honor practical, technology-based ideas that can be shared with other teachers, while also recognizing educators who regularly use technology to enhance instruction. The award will be given to two teachers – one in grades K-5 and one in grades 6-12. Rodgers is a doctoral student on Union’s Germantown, TN campus, while also serving as a 5 th grade teacher at Sycamore Elementary School in Collierville, TN. Rodgers began her teaching career with Shelby County in 1996 and taught for SCS until 1999. After spending a decade in the private school sector, she returned to public education during the 2010-2011 school year. Related to her doctoral studies at Union, Rodgers indicates, “Union University has challenged and inspired me in every aspect of my professional career. As a doctoral student, one must learn how to research and analyze that research. Because this is such an intensive program, I am constantly reading. However, I have enjoyed learning new things and sharing those ideas with my colleagues both in the public and private sectors of education.”
The topic for which Rodgers has been nominated for the Pickler technology award is related to Augmented Reality (AR), the blending of virtual and real worlds. But it was at Union University, in Dr. Stephen R. Marvin’s seminar, where Rodgers was first introduced to the idea of AR. To this end, Rodgers states, “The very first time I heard about augmented reality was from Dr. Marvin during one of our first dissertation seminars. The enthusiasm Dr. Marvin showed for this type of technology intrigued me. It was also of interest to Beth Sansone, another Doctoral student who also chose to study Augmented Reality. The more we investigated and researched, the more we realized this could play a major role in education. We both feel very blessed that Dr. Marvin inspired us both to focus on emerging technologies. It is a true honor to be a student where so many professors take a sincere interest in your success and growth as a professional educator.”
Rodgers believes that AR is going to revolutionize K-12 instruction in reading and science. She says that her students beg to use the technology when learning. From a very practical perspective, she explains how a child can open a book, point a mobile device or webcam at an AR code, and watch a 3D image appear before them. Rodgers says, “the excitement and enthusiasm for what they are studying increases significantly.”
In a desire to share this passion for learning technology with others, Rodgers and Sansone are scheduled to co-present related to their newly discovered technological research topic. They will be making local in-service presentations at St. Mary’s School, Collierville Elementary, and Sycamore Elementary within the next few weeks.