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USDLA Board Member
The USDLA’s 2018 Student Achievement Award Winner
The winner of the United States Distance Learning Association’s 2018 Student Achievement Award is Natalie Marlowe, a 2018 graduate of Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. Natalie received this award for her work as a student in a two-year video conferencing and technologies course that was team taught between Kenai Central High School and Soldotna Prep School in Soldotna, Alaska.
This two-year course is divided into four levels. Level One, Enhancing Curriculum/Team Teaching, is a semester long course that takes place outside the regular school day and is designed as an introduction to Videoconferencing Technology, focusing on basic video conferencing etiquette as well as practicing becoming comfortable speaking in front of the camera. One of the main components of the course was for students to participate in “meet and greets” with other classrooms around the world. Level Two gives students the opportunity to connect with industry professionals to hear how they are using video conferencing solutions for professions such as telemedicine and telejustice.
Level Three requires students to spend five hours job shadowing multiple business professionals who use video conferencing on a day-to-day basis and requires a more in-depth study of the different video conferencing platforms, different models of equipment, and includes the do’s and don’ts of videoconfrencing etiquette. Level Four is the student Internship portion of the program and Natalie was selected as an intern for i2i Technologies in order to fulfill this requirement. While an intern, Natalie created a LinkedIn profile that she updated monthly with a blog denoting news specific to video conferencing on the Kenai Peninsula. She also acted as a resource for teachers in the school and community and helped identify and coordinate video conferencing opportunities.
Overall, this course afforded Natalie the opportunity to become a Certified Video Conferencing Coordinator through Polycom. She also gained experience using a variety H.323 and SIP hardware solutions in addition to several cloud-based software solutions. Natalie taught educators on a national level how to apply aspects of distance learning through collaborations such as her monthly blog. She promoted the use of educational resources such as CAPSpace as well.
Through this experience, Natalie served as a distance learning coordinator for remote schools in Alaska and promoted video conferencing to local teachers, showing them how to effectively use it to collaborate and enrich their classrooms. She has also connected with students from Palestine, Ghana, and Malaysia as well as with students from Canada and the United States for events such as Child Soldiers: Caught in Conflict, Dignity Day, and International Day of the Girl Child Conference
Natalie has created multiple presentations to demonstrate how distance learning is being used on the Kenai Peninsula and has presented them to groups such as the New York Consortium for distance learning. She also gave a presentation for the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) during National Distance Learning Week. Natalie is highly respected by her peers, teachers and those who have worked directly with her. In fact, Meredith McCullough Natalie’s Language Arts teacher stated the following: “Natalie is a positive role model in our school. She has served in our student government, has participated in numerous clubs in various capacities, and is known by her peers for her kindness and empathy.”
Elaine Shuck, Director Communication & Development, i2i Technologies stated: “I have watched Natalie develop into a high caliber academic achiever. As an intern with i2i Technologies she had several responsibilities. She spoke frequently, both physically and virtually, to K-20 educators and at company events, and used her social networking communities to share her experiences as an intern.”
Natalie’s participation in this course has taught her lifelong skills such as problem solving, coordinating, and public speaking. It has also provided her with a vision as to how videoconferencing can be used moving forward. In fact, Natalie stated, “It would be beneficial to the future of society to incorporate the technology that is available to it, to provide the quality education that students deserve. This investment would reduce the inequalities that rural students suffer without causing undue stress upon the state’s budget.”
It is safe to say that Natalie is well deserving of this award and her future is very bright. After graduation she will be attending George Fox University in Oregon and pursue a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
November 5th – 9th, 2018 – National Distance Learning Week (NDLW)
November 28th – 30th, 2018 – International Forum for Women in E-learning (IFWE) – San Antonio, Texas
Learn more about the USDLA and how you too can be a member. The association supports all core markets including Enterprise, Government, Telemedicine, Education and others.