Dr. Jennifer Ashton, Dr. Peter Kalenda, & Dr. Jessica Sniatecki Present at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) International Conference in Toronto

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Dr. Jennifer Ashton, Dr. Peter Kalenda, & Dr. Jessica Sniatecki Present at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) International Conference in Toronto

This past week, three college professors from the Education and Human Development and Healthcare Studies presented sessions at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) International Conference in Toronto, Canada.

Their sessions included:

1. Positive Aspects of Disability Among College Students; Jessica Sniatecki (Healthcare Studies), Jennifer Ashton (Education and Human Development), Linda Snell (Nursing)

The number of students with disabilities pursing a college education has increased dramatically in recent years (Hitchings, Raue & Lewis, 2011; Horn, Nevill, & Griffith, 2006; Snyder, deBrey, & Dillow, 2016), yet, evidence suggests that these students continue to encounter significant challenges and barriers that may have a dramatic effect on their college experience (Madaus & Shaw, 2006; Author, 2015; Stodden et al., 2001). Positive experiences and aspects of being a college student with a disability have not garnered as much consideration and have received little attention in the professional literature to date. The current study sought to address this gap through examination of positive aspects of disability among twelve undergraduate students. Data were gathered via qualitative interviews.

2. Creating Learning Experiences that Promote Informal Science Education: Designing Interactive Zoo Exhibits through Action Research; Peter Kalenda (Education and Human Development)

Currently, there is little research regarding zoo guests shifting their real-world conservation-related practices (RCPs) after visiting an exhibit. This study utilized relevant research on exhibit design to create and study the effectiveness of a mobile interactive exhibit at the Seneca Park Zoo that promotes socialization, engagement in science, and conservation-related practices among guests.

The overall findings of this study highlight the ways in which guests engaged with and were impacted by this exhibit. Findings revealed the importance of the location of interactives and signage as well as a range of readability concerns for visitor engagement. In addition, findings highlight the roles of parents in informal learning environments, and the impact of exhibit design on dwell time and questioning. This study demonstrates the value and importance of utilizing an iterative design process informed by action research when creating learning experiences in zoos. This study also reinforces how difficult it can be to both influence and measure the shifting of guests’ RCPs.

3. When the Curriculum Triggers: An Auto-Ethnography of Teacher Educator Growth; Jennifer Ashton (Education and Human Development), Maria Timberlake (SUNY Cortland)

This autoethnography examines the profound effect that my interactions with two teacher candidates had on my pedagogy as an inclusive teacher educator. They each approached me privately to tell me that they were classified with an emotional and behavioral disability (EBD) and educated in very segregated settings from a very young age and that the readings and discussions in my class were causing them significant emotional turmoil. My curriculum uses Disability Studies in Education (DSE) as a foundation for understanding historical marginalization and exclusion in special education. A Foucauldian (1987) framework of Ethical Practice was used to analyze the process of analysis of self as agent of transformational change. Allan (2009), Freire (1970), hooks (1994), and Danforth (2014) provide additional depth to the theoretical analysis.


Peter Kalenda, pkalenda@brockport.edu

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