Kiley Gendron, majoring in early childhood special education, carried out two Michael D. Wilson Scholar undergraduate research projects. Her first project was during her junior year. Her second project was during her final semester as a senior. Both projects included the use of an iPad. Kiley’s first project involved her working to teach a student who is nonverbal how to use the iPad as a communication device. She used an application called Proloquo2Go, which allows the child to tap icons to have the iPad speak for him. Kiley’s research is helping to further knowledge of how the iPad can be used as assistive technology to support people with disabilities in school and in daily living. Kiley’s second project involved her using peer-mediation and the iPad in a specially designed instruction (SDI) preschool during her internship to teach and promote cooperative play skills and social skills.
[UMF Spring Wilson awardees: (left to right, front row) Kiley Gendron, Melaine Christensen, Natalie Dumont, Sarah Tarbox, Second row: Morgan Cousins, Melanie Strout, Katherine Steward, Libby Newhouse, Third row: Alexa Kusmik, Nicole Phillips, Ben Radville, Kenneth Lamb, and Brody Ford. Christy Carle, Fayette, N.C. not pictured.]
Note from Kiley: Carrying out these two Wilson Scholar projects provided me with more opportunities than I could have imagined. After my first project, I was nominated and selected to present the project at the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges’ (COPLAC’s) Northeast Regional Undergraduate Research Conference in Keene, NH. Additionally, I had opportunities to present at a round table at UMaine at Orono, and Symposium Day at UMF. Professor Loraine Spenciner, my faculty sponsor, and I submitted a proposal to the Counsel for Exceptional Children’s (CEC’s) annual international convention to present my research. Our proposal was accepted, and I traveled to Denver, CO. to present my work. Loraine Spenciner was the faculty member who supported my research projects. I value the support and I know that many faculty members in the ECS program are eager to support student research. They are always willing to guide you along the way.
On-going Research Opportunities
Student Research: Parent-Child Playgroups
Dr. Dolores Appl with students at UMF’s Symposium Day
The parent-child playgroups based on the PIWI model (Parents Interacting With Infants) that are offered at UMF provide multiple learning opportunities for students. Along with applying course content in a practical experience, some students conduct research, pertaining to the playgroups. For example, the above students presented their work at UMF’s annual Symposium Day, using a poster and curriculum they developed. Their topic was “Linking Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSP) and State Infant-Toddler Learning Guidelines in Parent-Child Playgroup Planning.” Students have also written proposals to present other work related to the PIWI model and Maine’s infant-toddler guidelines at national conferences. They have been accepted at both the annual Division for Early Childhood (DEC) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) conferences. These research projects have been approved by UMF Human Subjects Review Board and parents sign permission for themselves and their children
Other students have used videotapes of the playgroups to explore various research topics. One student was interested in father-child interactions. After viewing and pulling excerpts from several videotapes, she worked with her advisor and a father to prepare a manuscript. The article was published in the Early Childhood Education Journal.