RECAP: EPSA Career Panel and Networking Event

On March 27, 2014, the EPSA Department, TC Student Senate, Alumni Relations, and Career Services collaborated to host the first Co-sponsored EPSA Alumni Career Panel and Networking Event at Teachers College! With over 80 current students, alumni, faculty and staff members present, the event was a huge success.
The panel was hosted by our own Professor Jeff Henig and students heard from four talented alumni representing each of the EPSA programs. It included:
  • The Director of Data Management at Democracy Prep Mark Cheng (MA, Economics and Education);
  • The Team Lead for Data Management at the New York City Department Of Education, Chrissy Maloney (MA, Politics and Education);
  • The Director of Knowledge Sharing at the New York City Department of Education, Cricket Heinze (MA, Sociology and Education); and
  • The Vice President of Research and Metrics and TurnAround for Children, Joan Stamler (PhD, Education Leadership, Policy, and Politics).
The panelists gave us some insight into which courses to take at TC, what they do in their current positions, and how to be a competitive applicant in the job search. Many students took rigorous notes as they heard from our alumni and enjoyed meeting the panelists as well as many other esteemed alumni from the department. First-year Sociology and Education MA student Maya Simpson reflected on the night:
“I appreciated the diverse experiences and perspectives brought to the event by the panelists. I feel that the group really demonstrated the many routes TC grads take in pursuing their work in education within NYC.”
As the semester begins to wind down and another EPSA class approaches graduation, we hope that this event was helpful to our EPSA students and that everyone enjoyed meeting some of our incredible TC alumni. Don’t worry– if you were unable to attend, we have the entire panel on film, which we are working to upload and will share via this page as soon as it is ready.
If you have any suggestions at all for further EPSA department programming, please let us know!
On behalf of the EPSA Student Senate Representatives and the EPSA Student Advisory Council,
Tamara Sacks
MA, Sociology and Education
EPSA Departmental Representative to the TC Student Senate

Policy Pop Up Discussion Recap: Ed Tech

Pop Up PhotoFrom TC student Roger Horton, who led and organized the latest policy pop up discussion on Ed Tech:

Close to 25 people took part in a Pop-Up Discussion focused on Education Technology.  Students from EPSA, Philosophy of Education, Math/Science/Technology and other departments attended, as did Prof Gary Natriello (Director of EdLab and Gottesman Libraries) and Prof Ellen Meier (Director or the Center for Technology and School Change).  At least one alum who now works in the field of ed tech attended and participated.
The discussion ranged across several topics related to ed tech.  Several strands of the discussion centered on the size and rapid change of the ed tech industry and of technology more broadly.  It was noted by several participants that we are still in the relatively early days of the digital technology revolution and it’s not surprising that there is a lack of clarity regarding the appropriate use and impact of technology in education.  Large firms like Apple, Google and Amplify are making huge investments in ed tech but there are also many small firms engaged in innovation.  It will take time for the best technologies to emerge and prove themselves.
A scholar from Australia noted some of the positive impacts of ed tech when it is accompanied with proper planning and engagement by teachers.  There was a long debate regarding the proper role of teachers.  Do they have the knowledge to choose their own ed tech or do they need support through professional development to learn how to make proper use?  Do they have the opportunity to experiment and fail with new technology?
Another debate was whether technology can replace teachers for transmitting information in order to allow teachers to focus on the critical review of knowledge and how it is used.  Many people did not agree that this role for teachers could be so easily replaced.  There was no consensus about the role of virtual reality environments in education.
Despite the possibilities of ed tech, there were many concerns expressed.  Participants worried about the impact of ed tech on equity and equality in education, as well as on teaching.  Could ed tech be just the latest hot trend that encourages schools to buy lots of shiny new and expensive equipment (such as Smart Boards) which do not actually get used much? (Several points of evidence on that point)  NY State wants to issue $2 billion in bonds for ed tech, but one participant asked why that money would not be considered for other needs.  Another concern was that massive ed tech companies could use their capital and political weight to influence policy decisions and the actual educational use of technology.  A big concern is that tech companies do not have a deep enough understanding of teaching and learning to design products with the capabilities needed by teachers.
If wealthier districts take the risks with new technology, will they end up farther ahead than poorer districts even though there may be some expensive failures?
Overall a great discussion!
Stay tuned for the next policy pop up discussion in April. We hope to see many of you tonight for the EPSA Career Panel and Networking Event, starting at 6 PM in Milbank Chapel!