Dr. Josh Ellis was recognized on April 24 by CLS Department Chair Susie Amato-Henderson at the annual Dean’s teaching showcase luncheon. College of Sciences and Arts Dean Bruce Seely selected Ellis, Assistant Professor in the Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences (CLS) for his synthesis between research and teaching.
Following his experience as a K-12 teacher in Minneapolis, Ellis was driven to understand more about how teachers know when their students have learned. As a budding researcher with his eye on K12 education, Ellis entered the STEM Education doctoral program at the University of Minnesota, where faculty embraced this connection between research and educational practice. “I learned how to rigorously analyze teaching through a research lens, and I also learned how to conduct more meaningful research through the teaching lens. I firmly believe that I need both research and teaching to do it.”
This synthesis is embedded in Ellis’ research and classroom instruction at Michigan Tech, where he teaches future K-16 educators. His approach is especially useful when exploring how educational technology can support student learning. This might be best shown by a comment Ellis shared from B.W. Seibert: “Teachers will never be replaced by technology … but teachers who use technology effectively will replace those who do not.”
Ellis considers this perspective “both a warning and an opportunity for teacher education students at Tech eager to use the incredible technological tools of our age to push the boundaries of what we think learning is.” He applies Seibert in his instructional technology course (ED3100) and in his with the newly developed foundations of online teaching (ED5101) course. Both courses help educators learn to reach broader audiences, engage diverse participants and empower people of all abilities and backgrounds to achieve more. Students “learn how technology can lower barriers to finding information and more quickly allow students to seek knowledge and understanding.”
As one of 12 Deans’ teaching showcase members, Dr. Ellis is now eligible for one of three new teaching awards to be given by the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning this summer recognizing introductory or large class teaching, innovative or outside-the-classroom teaching methods, or work in curriculum and assessment.