Saturday, April 20, 2024

What to know about the Education Resource Center

NewsCampus NewsWhat to know about the Education Resource Center

DYLAN MARX
Staff Reporter




Located on the first floor of Willard Hall, the ERC functions as a tool offered to all students and faculty on campus. 

The ERC provides various services, including technology and equipment, testing kits, SMART Board room rentals and study spaces for use. Students are able to access any of these amenities with the presentation of their ONEcard. 

The main need for the center comes from the fact that students in the education field must have hands-on experience in teaching a classroom before they enter the workforce. Professor and chair in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, Martha Buell, who is also an expert in early childhood education, stressed the importance of such experience. 

“You need to be able to go in [to the classroom] and do what you need to do, whether it’s use a SMART Board or teach a lesson or demonstrate something – you need to know how to do that the minute you walk in,” Buell said. “The children will not wait patiently while you figure out what you’re supposed to be doing.”

Buell emphasized that knowing how to use the necessary technology to complete a lesson is crucial when teaching younger students. If a teacher is not prepared on how to use certain tools, the students could begin to act up, and the ability to engage the students will be lost. 

“You’re not going to just lose them for the 10 minutes that you’ve spent figuring out how to use a piece of technology,” Buell said. “You are going to lose an entire 45 minutes because one of them is going to start doing something that another one’s going to do, and then you’re going to have a behavioral breakdown.”

The resources provided within the ERC, such as the SMART Board rooms, give students an opportunity to become familiar with these necessary technologies to avoid the scenarios discussed by Buell. 

In addition to the hands-on experience, Ameerah Stafford, associate director of the Education Resource Center, put an emphasis on the importance of the study spaces and the collaboration that it allows. 

“I think just in general it is a hub for learning, experiential learning and collaboration with faculty, students and other students that are not in the pre-service student teaching program,” Stafford said. 

According to Stafford, even though the center is specifically catered to students in the field of education, it is a resource that can be utilized by anyone regardless of major. 

“The Education Resource Center is really meant for the entire campus,” Stafford said. “We primarily support pre-service teachers and faculty members in the school of education.” 

Despite this, awareness is a large problem for the ERC. According to Stafford, knowledge about its presence mainly spreads through word of mouth, which makes it difficult for students outside of the education major to know that it is available. She also acknowledged that the center could benefit from more advertisement throughout campus.

This need was reaffirmed by junior human services major, Kelly Oberheim, who is an employee at the ERC. 

“I think outside of the education major it could definitely be promoted a little more with advertising in Morris,” Oberheim said. 

According to Buell, the center’s main focus is to familiarize students with resources that are useful in teaching older grades, and Buell would love the opportunity to expand more of this focus to children of younger ages. 

Buell also expressed a desire to use the center to better the availability of and knowledge regarding assistive technologies. 

Stafford made it clear that in order to support these new endeavors and improvements to the center, there needs to be greater support from the community. With that in mind, she hopes to organize events in the future, such as open houses and ice cream socials, that can raise awareness regarding the center and increase its use. 

In addition, ERC employee Daniella Downing, a senior elementary education major, noted that the space is a friendly environment that is always open to new ideas and feedback. 

“If you don’t come to the ERC, you should,” Downing said. “It’s a really good spot to work.”

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