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Alumna and professor emeritus receive outstanding research paper award

Kathryn Kao

December 13, 2016

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So Mi Kim, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Missouri, and Michael Hannafin, professor emeritus in the department of educational psychology, were awarded the Outstanding Journal Article Award from the Association for Educational Communication & Technology (AECT).

AECT is a professional association focused on improving instruction and learning through technology. Members of the organization hold a wide range of responsibilities in the study, planning, application and production of communications media for instruction.

"AECT has been the most precious source of insight and collaboration for my research," said Kim, who received her doctoral degree from the College of Education in 2014. "I have been able to observe and connect to many members in various leadership positions and learn how the research community bridges the gap between theory and practice to create sustainable impacts on schools and various learning environments."

Advised and co-written by Hannafin, Kim's paper examines how small groups of college students seek and evaluate online resources to address socio-scientific issues and develop group argumentation.

To trace each student's learning progression, Kim built a statistical growth model which demonstrated the benefits of scaffolding approaches. However, she cautioned against using multiple scaffolds over time in real classroom environments.

"I wanted to caution against vicious cycles," said Kim. "These are often derived from students' low epistemic engagement; efficiency-oriented computing systems; misalignment among pedagogical components in real-world classroom; and finally research programs which fail to holistically trace and unearth human and environmental factors that negatively mediate innovative educational programs."

Kim is currently researching game-based learning environments, collaborative augmented reality expedition and social media. Her responsibilities as a post-doctoral fellow include designing and studying early prototypes of innovative STEM learning environments.

"Since my retirement, my payoff is seeing how graduates excel as they transition to careers in higher education," said Hannafin, whose research interests merged contemporary theories of teaching and learning with technology applications. "For So Mi, it should open doors to pursue faculty positions at research universities."