Amanda Lamberti

Communications Specialist

Education
Office: EME3123
Email: amanda.lamberti@ubc.ca


Biography

Amanda began working at the Okanagan School of Education, UBC, in 2019. Previously she worked at the City of Kelowna where she was responsible  for developing strategic communications plan and delivering tactics for the Active Living and Culture Division as their Communications Advisor. Prior to that she was the Digital Communications Consultant where she one of the Project Managers for the City of Kelowna website redesign launched in 2016.

She has an Advanced Social Media Strategy Certificate from Hootsuite Academy.

She was a volunteer English Teacher in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam from August 2013 to January 2014.

Responsibilities

Corporate Communications, Media Relations, Social Media, and Marketing.

 

Graduate Student Spotlight: Mellissa Carroll

For the first time in her 15 years of teaching secondary school, Mellissa Carroll has been instructing her students online.

“The only experience I had was working with the Google for Education platform, which essentially is a cloud-based location for classroom resources and communication,” says Carroll. “I was well versed in the top web apps used in secondary humanities and knew I was in a good position for the shift to online. That said, the way I’ve incorporated technology into my teaching up until COVID-19, has never been a replacement for the physical classroom.”

She can also empathize with some of the challenges her students may have been facing. In January 2020, she began her first online graduate course, and in mid-March, the last few classes of her in-person course had transitioned to online due to COVID-19.

“I am a social person and I like to bounce ideas off others, learn, and laugh with others. Transitioning to online in January was difficult for me. I felt more alone in my learning and didn’t experience the energy of others,” says Carroll. “I chose the UBCO Masters of Education program because I wanted to complete my degree in a (primarily) face to face program.”

***

Carroll began her Master of Education program with the intention of furthering exploring technology. Her interest in digital education steamed from a return to work after her second child.

“I realized that my practice had become stagnant and that what used to work to engage students and lead to success didn’t seem to have the same effect,” says Carroll. “My practice had to change. What was more, devices and wi-fi accessibility were finally allowing for technology to be incorporated reliably into the classroom.”

In her course Policy and Education (EADM 554), students take a close look at the ethical, political, and education principles that inform education policy and practice. A key aim of the course is to give students an opportunity to take a rigorous, research-intensive focus on a policy or related issue that interests them, either in their own research or their professional practice. Carroll decided to explore online educational technologies and their effect on a democratic education for her final research paper.

“I was initially excited about the potential of online educational resources,” says Carroll. “But the further down the rabbit hole I went, the more concerns I had about the educational ‘costs’ of these models. I couldn’t help but wonder whether all of this was good for my students.”

In her paper, she notes how educational technologies can promote a democratic education as they “improve access to education, create innovative social networks for learning, and deconstruct traditional structures of education.” These advantages can be seen through the “Great Equalizer Narrative,” a concept that essentially states that educational technologies alleviate the disparities between socioeconomic classes; and the “Disrupter Narrative,” where the belief is that leveraging technology can create an open model of education that could expand access to higher education.

There are also a number of barriers from even accessing digital education such as internet availability, devices, electricity and even student motivation to self-study.

Carroll mentions educational technology can have ‘hidden costs.’ This perspective is shaped as technology companies are often lobbying government and influencing school boards. In fact, there is generally millions of dollars at play as these companies attempt to guide policy with the focus of driving sales rather than student experience.

Even if companies are providing tools inexpensively to educators and students, there can still be a cost. Though it might not be monetary, it may mean a bombardment of advertising or access to student data.

“There is often excitement about the latest tech tool’s ability to add creativity to learning or assist overwhelmed teachers in organizing resources and assessment, but there has yet to be a technological solution for creating equity in education across regions, nations, or the globe,” states Carroll in her paper. “Educators need to temper their excitement with technology with a thoughtful grounding of intention.”

***

While Carroll notes that the pandemic has made online learning more necessary than before, she’s now seeing some of the opportunities, challenges and barriers as described in her research first-hand.

“Some students are really struggling with loneliness, and as a parent, I’m seeing my youngest child regress somewhat in his social skills,” says Carroll. “A number of students require additional support or simply the ability to raise their hand and ask a quick question. Online learning will be a struggle for these students. However, I have also witnessed one of my students, who rarely shares or contributes at school, find his voice and participate online more than he has all year. Other students are loving the freedom of working at their own pace. My thoughts are that some students will experience success in the remote learning environment, but many others will struggle socially, emotionally, or academically.”

 

About EADM 554: Policy and Education

Dr. Christopher Martin’s course has students explore how educational policy and practice in free and open societies should respond to dissenting views on education and its key aims. Topics include the role of the state and the free market in education, the nature and limits of teacher freedom of expression, and the aims of higher education. Students are encouraged to develop their own line of thinking on a controversial issue in education policy or practice, assess the merits of different points of view on that controversy, and present a clear and reasoned position of their own.

Along with Carroll’s paper on Debunking Digital Education, students’ projects explored the state provision of adult education, the tension between effective teaching and teacher autonomy, the aims and purposes of history education, justifying a national, equality-promoting curriculum for Pakistan, and a defense of a greater educational role for student support services in a university.

Congratulations to Margaret Macintyre Latta, university and community partners for receiving a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Partnership Grant!

Co-Curricular-Making: Honoring Indigenous Connections to Land, Culture and the Relational Self, is led by Margaret Macintyre Latta, director of the Okanagan School of Education with community partners including Okanagan Nation Alliance, Central Okanagan Public Schools, IndigenEYEZ, Kelowna Art Gallery, Kelowna Museums Society and the universities of Alberta and Ottawa.

The initiative will be receiving $1 million grant to seek respectful ways for educators to approach their curricular practices oriented towards reconciling pedagogies and healthier ways to live in the world with others. The research will enhance understandings of Indigenous cultures and supports, and mobilize local, place-based, land-based First Nations ways of knowing and being.

Globally, classrooms are recognized as sites to address civil, racial, ecological, and social tensions and inspire reconciliation. A key understanding of the education field is that teaching and learning must reflect local traditions and perspectives. This project will ground reconciliation efforts accordingly, bringing a cross-section of community partners committed to curricular Indigenization into continual conversation with each other for an extended time. The partnership will enter into shared knowledge-building conversations, engaging local Knowledge-Keepers and Elders with participating educators and the extended community. Project partners collectively understand this to be the task of reconciliation—to work alongside each other, learning with, through, and from each other.

Okanagan School of Education faculty involvement includes Sabre Cherkowski and Karen Ragoonaden as co-investigators, and Wendy Klassen and William (Bill) Cohen as collaborators.

PLUS:

Co-investigators

Dwayne Donald, University of Alberta
Jan Hare, University of British Columbia
Nicholas Ng-A-Fook, University of Ottawa
Sandra Styres, University of Toronto
Terry Beaudry, Central Okanagan Public Schools

Collaborators

Adrienne Vedan, University of British Columbia
Joanne DeGuevara, Central Okanagan Public Schools
Jonathan Rever, Central Okanagan Public Schools
Kevin G. Kaiser, Central Okanagan Public Schools
Linda Digby, Kelowna Museums Society
Rhonda Ovelson, Central Okanagan Public Schools
Richard Oliver, Central Okanagan Public Schools
Desiree Marshall-Peer, Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program

Community partners

IndigenEYEZ
Kelowna Art Gallery
Kelowna Museums Society
Okanagan Nation Alliance
Central Okanagan Public Schools
University of Alberta
University of Ottawa

Each year the Provost recognizes individuals who make a significant impact on the culture of teaching and learning.

Congratulations to the 2020 Teaching Excellence and Innovation Award recipient, our very own Professor Karen Ragoonaden!

Here is what Dr. Ragoonaden’s nominator had to say:

Dr. Ragoonaden always treated me with respect, offering both support and encouragement. I always felt like a knowledgeable and empowered individual with her and with the colleagues and researchers she works. In academic and community arenas, Dr. Ragoonaden has constructed the round table, where everyone has a respected voice.

Dr. Ragoonaden is influential, inspirational and innovative. She truly takes the time to build relationships and to foster understanding. I have learned a number of invaluable skills and techniques from her, including allowing space for students to grown on their own. As my role model, Dr. Ragoonaden helped me develop a strength and a resilience which convert challenging moments into learning experiences.

Without a doubt, Dr. Ragoonaden is an excellent candidate for this award. She has affected the lives of numerous students, colleagues, and community members. She is the pebble thrown into the calm lake, creating ripples that flow outward affecting change in many lives. I am honoured to have her as my supervisor and mentor.

Excellence in teaching cannot be taught. Dr. Ragoonaden developed her mastery, based on theory, awareness and feedback. It is evident that her successes are attributable to her hard work, her persistence, and her dedication.

Congratulations to Dr. Sabre Cherkowski for receiving the 2020 Researcher of the Year Award, Social Sciences and Humanities.

Associate Professor Sabre Cherkowski is a catalyst for sustainable improvement in schools and leadership transformation within educational systems. She is recognized internationally for her innovative research examining the impact of positive learning environments on creating a flourishing effect in schools. Her work is aimed at nurturing the next generation to have a transformative impact on society.

Learn more about Dr. Cherkowski and her research.

Congratulations to Dr. Peter Arthur for receiving a UBCO 2020 Golden Apple Award. The Award recognizes Dr. Arthur’s dedication to fostering instructor-student relationships.

The Golden Apple Awards are a student-led initiative to acknowledge teachers who support the wellbeing of their students in the academic environment.

Here is what a student had to say about how he supports student wellbeing:

“While I could nominate Peter Arthur for all of the categories, the area where he truly excels is in fostering student-instructor relationships. His commitment to developing student-instructor relationships begins on the first day of class when he invites every student to book a time with him for a one-on-one, low-stakes, casual conversation. During your conversation he makes a point of getting to know you as a person and not just a student. He also makes a point of introducing himself and removing the barrier between himself as a professor and you as a student. For many students, especially first year students, this is the first time and maybe only time during their university experience where a professor initiates a relationship with them. When you meet Peter you quickly realize that he kind, genuine and empathetic.

In class, Peter makes a point to learn every single student’s name without using name tags. Peter treats every student as a colleague, not as a student. He starts every class email with some variation of “dear colleagues” which serves to establish and develop this relationship. He further fosters a student-instructor relationship by encouraging all students to address him by his first name. Peter also makes himself accessible to all students and makes a point of continually affirming his commitment to supporting students.

Above all, Peter display passion for his teaching and demonstrates a genuine interest in his students. Peter makes it a priority to foster student-instructor relationships because he cares about his students and their success and he wants to be a true student advocate and student supporter. I have yet to meet a professor whose commitment to developing student-instructor relationships even compares to Peter’s and I truly believe Peter deserves recognition for improving student wellbeing at UBC.”

Congratulations Dr. Arthur.

Girl counting beads

Associate Professor, Greg Wetterstrand, shares a few at-home learning tips for parents and guardians.

  1. Check with your child’s school website for learning resources, activities and ideas. Professional educators can provide resources approved by the Ministry to help nurture learning.
  2. Talk to your child to understand what they are interested in. Use these interests as a core around which you can create activities.
  3. Structure learning. We all need structure to help us feel safe and grounded. Have ‘school’ and learning at a regular time each day.
  4. Praise effort – reward achievement.
  5. When possible, try to work on learning activities together.
  6. Pose questions. Asking your child questions about their thoughts encourages thinking.
  7. Find online resources.
  8. Keep activities short – shorter for younger ones – longer for those older.
  9. Take breaks for physical activity – dance to a video, kick a soccer ball.
  10. Help your child to focus with kind encouragement.
  11. Be creative and challenge your child. Make musical instruments from objects in the house; build a rocket; make something out of wood or found objects.
  12. Read to your child and have your child read to you.
  13. Write about what you’re doing by keeping a journal. Or encourage them to do video journals.
  14. Do calculations – find ways to measure, add, subtract, count, divide, and multiply.
  15. Draw, paint or sculpt every day.
  16. Create a puppet show or theatre play.
  17. Devise an experiment, this could include cooking or baking.
  18. Share responsibilities for keeping the house running to help teach life skills.
  19. Hug your child frequently. Talk to them and listen.
  20. Manage your own anxiety. We are all in this together, but this too shall pass.

The Okanagan School of Education will be offering all Summer Institute in Education (SIE) courses online.

As the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation is rapidly evolving, we have decided to take a proactive measure in changing course delivery. We took into consideration that many of our instructors are teachers in our local school districts, and may not have spare time to alter their course plans should a delivery change become mandatory later on.

By implementing a change in course delivery now, we’re able to provide our SIE instructors with additional time and resources to help ensure a smoother transition.

Instructors will post their updated course syllabus, format and assignments on Canvas (canvas.ok.ubc.ca) once they’re available.

Please note: Students must be available during the currently posted course dates and times as courses may be synchronous, asynchronous or a combination of both.

View the complete list of Summer Institute in Education courses at education.ok.ubc.ca/sie.  Registration details are listed on each course page.

If students have concerns regarding their courses, please check canvas, contact your course instructor or email us at sie.education@ubc.ca.

If you still have concerns or academic issues, email Margaret Macintyre Latta, Director of the Okanagan School of Education at margaret.macintyre.latta@ubc.ca

 


Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
The Public Health Agency of Canada continues to assess the public health risk associated with the virus. For information on UBC’s response and frequently asked questions, visit covid19.ubc.ca.

The Okanagan campus is still open; however, some services and operations have modified hours or are closed. For the most up to date campus-specific information, visit ok.ubc.ca/covid19.

If you have concerns or questions about UBC’s response to the coronavirus, please contact vicepresident.students@ubc.ca

For Faculty of Education specific updates, please visit educ.ubc.ca/covid-19.

Recent UBC Broadcasts
We would like to draw your attention to the most recent UBC Broadcasts, as there is some critical information for students, faculty and staff:

Student Resources

 

 

We’re having a pre-celebration for Pi Day at the Okanagan School of Education, with a guest feature from one of our graduate students, Leslie Shayer! Shayer is a Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at Okanagan College, and a Master of Arts in Education student. She is currently working on finishing her thesis where her research focuses on the impact of contemplative practices on math anxiety.

Read Shayer’s profile to learn more about her research.


March 14 is Pi Day, since 3.14 are the first three digits of pi (π). Pi is defined to be the circumference (or perimeter) of a circle divided by its diameter, where the diameter is a straight line from one point on the circle to another point on the circle, going through the center. I know, I know, you were hoping to read about pie…

If math makes you cringe, for one day I challenge you to try to have a more positive attitude and an open mind towards mathematics. After all, how you feel about math can affect those around you.

Here are a few of my favourite math activities to help celebrate Pi Day:

  1. Go for a walk with a friend (pets included). Count the number of birds that you see on your trip. Compare with the next walk you take. Were there more or less birds on the next walk? Can you think of a reason for the difference? Great data collecting!
  2. When grocery shopping, try to strategically place the contents of your cart on the belt in a way to minimize wasted space. Can you do better next time? Celebrate your spatial skills – the person in-line behind you is probably in awe of your spatial awareness!
  3. Bake with a youngster. Take your favourite recipe (maybe pie?) and double it. Ask them to double all the ingredients for you. Make sure that you take care of putting things in and taking things out of the oven. Congratulations for working with fractions – see that wasn’t so bad!
  4. Mix drinks with another adult. Take your favourite drink recipe and double it to share with another adult. Toast to proportions – you couldn’t mix drinks without them!
  5. Wrap a present – yes, it can be for yourself. Can you find a way to use just enough paper without wasting? Great surface area work!
  6. Relax with some colouring. Try colouring a mandala (a geometric shape, generally made of sand, used for relaxation). Some free ones may be found online.

Did you know that Geometry could be so fun?

If you’ve tried one of two of these activities, pat yourself in the back. Or better yet, have a piece of pie (including pizza-pie)!

Looking for more math positivity? Read this CBC article “When Math is Accessible to any Brain We Can Make Better Political Social Choices, says Mathematician.” Or watch this TEDx presentation on “Believe in Your Maths Potential”.

Or check out this book from your closest library: Paulos, J. (1988). Innumeracy: Mathematical illiteracy and its consequences. New York, NY: Hill and Wang.

Do you have any math tips or activities to share? Leave them in the comments!

Date: Friday, March 6
Time: 3 to 4:30 p.m.
Location: EME 4116

Dr. Jenna Woodrow will be talking about the Thompson Rivers University Canadian High School Ethics Bowl, held February 29, 2020. The Ethics Bowl is both a collaborative and competitive event where teams of high school students, grades 9-12, teach and learn from one another as they compare bold strategies and take part in courageous conversations about ethical dilemmas such ethical topics as automated moral decision-making, sexting, and climate change refugees. Participants imagine, criticize, compare bold strategies, and amend their original positions when faced with convincing arguments. The unique collegial dynamic of the ethics bowl, where students pose and respond to probing questions emphasizes the skills of communication and collaboration: critical thinking, active listening, articulation and expression, open-mindedness, and respectful dialogue and disagreement.

Join Jenna Woodrow as she outlines the theoretical and practical virtues of this high impact learning activity. The ethics bowl meets all six core competencies of the BC Curriculum, and helps foster an engaged, dynamic, and resilient intellectual community among students, teachers, and professors.

 

As seating is limited, please register online.

On March 5, Professor Ragoonaden will be part of the panel discussion with the Honourable Janet Austin. She will be bringing her unique insights and experience to Her Honour’s area of focus: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Learn more about the panel on the Festival of Ideas website.

What are a few of the initiatives UBC Okanagan is doing to be more equitable and inclusive?

UBC has developed an Action Plan on Inclusive Excellence, and part of our work here in the Okanagan is leading campus and community action-orientated initiatives. Our aim is to bring a community of people together to share, connect and move forward in fostering and building relationships that are respectful, reciprocal and responsible.

The Equity and Inclusion Office (EIO) is one unit that is very involved in leading not only student-based initiatives but also faculty and community-based initiatives across the Okanagan and Vancouver campuses. Specifically, at the Okanagan School of Education, we work closely with the EIO. Our more recent community-based initiative was inviting Shelby McPhee to both campuses to talk about his experience being racial profiled,  followed by an open and honest discussion about discrimination and marginalization.

We also brought a panel of students together from the African-Caribbean Student Association who addressed the same issues in the context of the Okanagan.

Another initiative we have coming up is a book and podcast discussion on How to Be An Anti-Racist by Ibram X.Kendi. We have three discussion dates (Mar. 4 LIB 106), March 11(UBC Innovation Library, downtown) and March 20, Innovation Theatre) planned. For more information on how to get involved, visit cme.ok.ubc.ca.

 

What can someone do to help advance equity and inclusive?

I think we need to come to an understanding of ourselves first. So look into and think about our own backgrounds – family, social, political, and economic influences. Recognize that some values or orientations are normalized. Reflect on and question how these ways of being and ways of doing impact not just the individual but society at large.

 

How can educators and parents can teach children and adolescents about equity and inclusion?

Attitudes and mindsets develop at a very early age.

I would encourage parents and educators to expose children and adolescents to multiple ways of teaching and learning. For example, using multiple resources, not just textbooks that belong to a very euro-centric paradigm. We often learn mathematics from a western science point of view, but there are other perspectives; such as Indigenous or Eastern approaches to teaching and learning.

 

Do you have any book recommendations on the topic of equity and inclusive?

Aside from our upcoming book and podcast discussion book, How to Be An Anti-Racist by Kendi. I would recommend The Skin We’re In by Desmond Cole for a sense of what’s happening right now in Canada.

I would also recommend Equity Myth: Racialization and Indigeneity at Canadian Universities.  The book is co-authored by Frances Henry, Enaskshi Dua, Carl E. JamesAudrey KobayashiPeter LiHoward Ramos and Malinda S. Smith.

And White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo.