Student Wins Technology Award

Class project designed to help teachers build on-line lesson plans

April 10, 2009

Knox College student Michael Dooley is one of Illinois's most promising technology students, thanks to a class project designed to help teachers build on-line lesson plans. Dooley has been selected as a winner in the 2009 "Fifty for the Future" competition, sponsored by the Illinois Technology Association -- an organization of more than 500 Illinois-based technology companies.

Dooley was honored at an award ceremony in Chicago on April 2 for Web-based lesson plans for grade school students that he developed at Knox. A senior majoring in Spanish and Educational Studies from Brookfield, Illinois, Dooley is a graduate of Lyons Township High School, in La Grange, Illinois.

"Mike knows how to use technology to maximize student learning," said Stephen Schroth, assistant professor of educational studies at Knox, who nominated Dooley for the award. Dooley developed the Web-based lesson plans in Schroth's educational technology class last term. The plans show teachers how to gather on-line resources appropriate for use by students, Schroth said.

"Every class I teach will have technology integrated into its lesson plans," Dooley said, looking forward to work that he will do this summer in a school on a Navajo reservation in Arizona, then continuing next year in his formal student-teaching at a school in the Chicago area.

The award winners -- 11 university graduate students, 26 college undergraduates, nine Chicago-area high school students, and four who attend the Flashpoint Academy of Media Arts and Sciences in Chicago -- were selected by a committee of technology executives from business and industry, education and the non-profit sector. Winners are listed at the Illinois Technology Association website

Criteria for the award include ability and knowledge in applying technology, innovative thinking, leadership and community service, Schroth said.

A member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, Dooley is currently serving as president of the Knox Class of 2009. He also has served as co-captain of Knox's cross country and track teams -- in February, he and three teammates set a new school record for the indoor distance medley relay.

"It's one thing to have technology, and it's another to use it in the best way to impact student learning," Schroth said. "Mike shows teachers how to use technology to accomplish the front-end planning that they have to do, so that students can evaluate sources and contrasting views, without all of the inappropriate sites and extraneous clutter that are also on the Web."

Dooley's lesson plans show how to link documents, images, slide shows, and lists of Web references. "Teachers can put up useful materials, and students can work in groups, using blogs and wikis -- Web pages designed for collaboration," he said.

"I grew up using this technology," Dooley said. "Our generation, going out into the workforce, says, 'Why wouldn't we use this in a classroom setting?' I think it captures students' attention and makes teaching more efficient."

Other Educational Studies faculty who worked with the educational technology course were Diana Beck, professor and department co-chair; and Victoria Romano, instructor and coordinator of Instructional Technology Services.

Founded in 1837, Knox is a national liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, with students from 47 states and 48 countries. Knox's 'Old Main' is a National Historic Landmark and the only building remaining from the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates.

Michael Dooley