Kent State Instructional Technology Professor Wins 2016 Outstanding Research and Scholarship Award
Kent State University’s Summit Professor of Learning Technologies Richard Ferdig has spent a lot of his time at Kent State using technology to improve teaching and learning environments. Ferdig’s contributions to technological advancement are the reason he was named one of the recipients of the 2016 Outstanding Research and Scholarship Award.
The Outstanding Research and Scholarship Award honors Kent State’s exceptional researchers and scholars. The University Research Council and the Division of Research and Sponsored Programs selected Ferdig along with two other recipients based on their quality of research and the impact it has had on society.
Ferdig, who received his Ph.D. in educational psychology with a focus on technology and cognition, says his research focuses on combining cutting-edge technologies with pedagogic theory to create innovative learning environments.
“Years ago, the big thing was getting one computer in the classroom, and now, look how far we’ve come,” Ferdig says. “This all comes from a constant process of studying how we teach and learn with technology.”
Ferdig says this award is recognition of 20 years of research.
“Research is a team effort,” Ferdig says. “This was not an individual award. Many people have contributed to this research over the past 20 years. I was blessed to be a part of it.”
Ferdig says his research interests include online education, educational games and simulations, the role of faith in technology and finding a deeper psychology of technology. One of his projects that has received a lot of recognition is the Cuyahoga Valley National Park application for smartphones.
The app received funding from the National Science Foundation. Ferdig explains that people touring the park can learn science by using the app.
“We have one of the greatest parks in the country right in Kent State’s backyard,” Ferdig says. “My hope for this application is that people will learn science and see how it plays a part in their everyday lives. In doing so, I hope they get a better understanding of what they see, whether it’s related to climate, littering or habitat growth.”
Other projects that have evolved from Ferdig’s research in technology are virtual reality experiences that teach kids about melanoma, obesity and asthma. Also, Ferdig is working on creating and studying apps that help kids with learning and behavioral needs.
“The special education apps are more about helping parents, teachers, administrators and students individualize and differentiate instruction based on their learning needs,” Ferdig says.
Ferdig says all these projects have been a unique opportunity for him to be able to learn more about technology and how to teach it.
“This award recognizes the amazing things happening at Kent State with research,” Ferdig says. “I hope this award results in more recognition of research going on behind the scenes at Kent that many people may not know about. Kent State is very supportive of any faculty, staff or students pursuing research projects.”
To find out more about the 2016 Outstanding Research and Scholarship Award recipients, visit www.kent.edu/einside/news/kent-state-honors-2016-outstanding-research-and-scholarship-award-recipients.