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iCERi - Autism Technology in Madrid

Meeting new people

Kristan Miller, Melanie Hibbert, and PaulaMy day began at 9:30 as I attended a session entitled "USING VIDEO TO PRESENT RESEARCH: CASE STUDY OF "THE VOICE" FOR TEACHERS COLLEGE RECORD.  The young woman, Melanie Hibbert who presented the research is from Columbia University.  I met her last night and we were conversing about the variations in culture from one country to another.  I found her research very interesting as she discussed the technology used at her university that allows one to imbed a video clip about their research within the webpage that discusses their work. The picture below shows myself, Melanie and Paula, an attendee from Canada. 

I also attended a session enttitled "WHAT NOW? WHAT NEXT? A NARRATIVE ANALYSIS OF CROSS-CULTURAL ADAPTATION AND COLLEGE STUDENT RETENTION.  As some of you may know I am a student senator for the university and retention is a major focus for our university and many other institutions.  The work was presented by Dr. Jason Martin with whom I spoke with after his presentation.  His work consisted of monitoring 245 students in a curriculum and communications course via writing samples.  Of his many statements, he hypothesized that maintenance of on campus student activities throughout the semester may aid in student satisfaction and resulting retention.

Dr. Jason Martin and KristanI also attended a session entitled "HOW TO INTRODUCE SERVICE LEARNING IN THE 21ST CENTURY DESIGN EDUCATION" in which Dr. V. Jani discussed her struggles with creating and implementing service learning projects involving architectural design.  She helped her students create housing for Habitat for Humanity and for those affected by Hurricane Katrina.  She also helped her students with architectural design projects to create housing to benefit those in her local community.  She faced multiple barriers including local government officials enforcement of new initiatives that were not sufficient in solving the problems at hand.  

In total I was able to attend 10 different sessions  today. Everyone that I encountered was very sociable and friendly. When I discussed my research with others I was often asked if I was a Ph.D.  I was taken back by their comments and they were quite shocked when I explained that I was an undergraduate student.    I was able to  network with individuals from Canada, New Zealand, Kansas and Spain today.  It was quite a relief to realize that individuals in other countries are also struggling with introducing technology into education and are facing many of the same barriers. 

Tomorrow we leave at 9:30 for a sightseeing tour of Madrid!  We have also planned an afternoon trip to the Prado museum as well as a few other must see locations in the city.

Taking it all in

As many of you may know, I am currently in Madrid, Spain, attending the iCERi (International Conference for Education, Research and Innovation) 2011 conference with my mentor and internship professor Ms. Gina Jones.  We have arrived safe and sound in Spain and are enjoying the culture and taking it all in.  The usual work day begins at 10AM and lunch begins around 2PM.  We tried to walk to a local restaurant last night at 6PM only to find that many of the restaurants here in Madrid do not open for dinner until 8 or 9PM.  Europeans take time and enjoy their food, sometimes allotting 2-3 hours to eat dinner.  There is always laughter and plenty of spirits. 

Kristan MillerToday's proceedings began at 9AM and presentations began at 10:30.  I was able to network with individuals from Kosovo, France, Australia and the U.S amongst others.  

Everyone was very welcoming and respectful and asked questions about my work.  It would have been more helpful, however; if I knew Spanish....  

In high school, I took 4 years of French and 2 years of German.  Wow...today I wish I would have listened to my mother and taken Spanish.  I know only a few words in Spanish, one being Gracias!...and it has come in handy!  However, when you speak even a few words of Spanish, people think that you know the language fluently and continue to ramble on at a rapid pace.  I then greet them with my American - I have no idea what you just said- look.  Some of the other few words of Spanish that I know are Habla Ingles?  Luckily there have been quite a few people that do speak English and have been able to help us as needed.  The local culture has been quite accommodating and provided menus in English.  

Tomorrow I will be attending various presentations that relate to my work.  Information about tomorrows proceedings will be forthcoming.