Teresa Coffman, University of Mary Washington professor of education, was recently named the 2014 Innovative Educator of the Year by the Virginia Society for Technology and Education.
The VSTE created the award as a way to give recognition to teachers who implement and encourage “innovative educational practices –especially those that champion the smart integration of technology.”
“Dr. Coffman consistently demonstrates her professional commitment to and passion for innovative teaching that is grounded in compelling research,” said Mary Gendernalik-Cooper, dean of the College of Education. “She brings these qualities to bear with her students in ways that encourage them to think differently about who they are becoming as educators, and how their uses of technologies will shape transformational learning experiences for their own students.”
Coffman’s areas of expertise and scholarly research include educational theory, pedagogy, technology in instruction, and teacher preparation. She is also the author of “Using Inquiry in the Classroom: Developing Creative Thinkers and Information Literate Students” and “Engaging Students through Inquiry-oriented Learning and Technology.”
Coffman’s most recent venture into technology is researching how Google glass can be utilized in the classroom.
“I’m examining how we can improve upon our practice as educators and learners by using technology,” said Coffman. She explains how asking questions in class quickly escalates with the curiosity of students and the technology is so easy that students say, “OK glass, tell me how this works.”
Coffman sees the future of education integrated with technology, “Teaching needs to be more transformational. We need to extend beyond the creativity into innovative thought that can help us solve real world problems.”