CCTE Student Spotlight: Tatyana Dvorkin, Instructional Technology & Media, M.A. 2012By mst • Apr 16th, 2012 • Category: Communication, Media, and Learning Technologies Design
Tatyana Dvorkin, current Communication, Computing and Technology in Education (CCTE) student in Instructional Technology and Media M.A. program. She was born in Kharkov, Ukraine. She came to the United States when she was eleven years of age.
Tatyana graduated summa cum laude from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 2009, with a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Anthropology.
While she was earning her undergraduate degree she taught courses for the Princeton Review SAT Prep. “I really liked teaching.” Soon after graduation Tatyana began working in eLearning Quality Assurance as Junior Project Manager at Monarch Media, Inc. an eLearning company in Santa Cruz, California. She also worked for Kabam, Inc. as a Player Experience Associate. Kabam, Inc. is a company that produces social media games.
Tatyana combines her previous experiences with academics and games into her current work as a Teachers College student, focusing on how learning and games can complement each other.
She lived in California before moving to New York City to attend Teachers College; she made the move with little hesitancy. She absolutely loves Teachers College; she has since been accepted into the doctoral program in Instructional Technology and Media. “The best thing about TC is there are a lot of opportunities for me to apply what I am learning and to be involved research projects; in fact, there are too many of them to be involved in at the same time.”
She is very happy with the selection of Teachers College; former students and professors influenced her decision to attend the college. Tatyana gathered information about the school, “It seemed as though there was a good balance at Teachers College, of integrating theory into practice.” In comparison to other programs, Teachers College offers a sound foundation in formal education, where she felt she could thrive academically.
Her current academic interest in cognitive studies is focused on understanding how students learn, so she can implement that knowledge into instructional technology design to improve learning games.
Tatyana is interested in how games, social media programs and other interactive tools can be used to improve learning, and how these tools can be designed to be successful. She hopes to use this knowledge to develop ways to improve online/blended learning programs. She is currently working with the Games for Learning Institute here at Teachers College, learning how games work in a classroom environment, eventually she wants to look at online learning and blended learning programs. “I think it would be really cool to improve the online learning programs that exist now.”
She feels online learning programs can be a really powerful tool, especially for adult learners, where attending class may become an issue because of family responsibilities, children, and financial constraints. Tatyana is a strong supporter of having access to knowledge more readily online, for all learners. “Not everyone can afford a classroom education at a prestigious university, I think they should still have access to that knowledge, I hope to be a part of that.”
She is working on two projects one through Games for Learning Institute and the other through iZone. The Games for Learning Institute is a group of different university faculty from a number of universities including Teachers College and New York University, as well as corporate partners. Members of the Games for Learning Institute including Tatyana will be presenting two papers this spring; the first to Teachers College Educational Technology Conference, Teachers College, entitled Investigating the Effects of Choice and Feedback as Learning Mechanics in an Educational Game, and the second to Games, Learning, Society 8.0, University of Wisconsin-Madison, entitled, The Impact of Choice and Feedback on Learning, Motivation, and Performance in an Educational Video Game.
They work together to find ways games can be used for learning, and when they are successful. She is a research assistant who works with Dr. Kinzer and some other graduate students at TC to investigate these topics.
She is also a research intern for iZone, which is part of the Department of Education in New York City. The Department of Education in New York is implementing the iLearnNYC program in local high schools and middle schools in New York, Tatyana works as an intern for this program. She collects observational data on how those programs are being implemented; her work will be used to write case studies for new teachers who want to implement iLearnNYC. iLearnNYC is a program that puts blended learning tools in the classroom, so students can do part of there work online and part with the teachers. Tatyana noticed the technology being used to divide lessons into manageable chunks of time, allowing teachers to differentiate instruction and permitting students to work in smaller groups, in a sense it is making the classroom smaller and allowing the content to be more personal for the students.
Her future plans after degree completion is to work for a company that designs learning games and/or learning tools. She hopes to combine her quality assurance experience with the depth and background of educational research to continue her work as a research educator, evaluating and analyzing the effectiveness of the eLearning products and tools.
Her involvement in the Teachers College community includes her work with the Games for Learning Institute and her work with the iDesign Lab, in addition to actively working on research and studying on campus. “So far I have enjoyed all my classes one way or another, even if a class wasn’t 100% perfect there’s been something to learn.”
Tatyana names two courses that have greatly impacted her education and career goals, Dr. Budin’s Democracy and Technology in Education course and Equity Ethics and Social Issue and Educational Technology courses. “What I like about those courses is they focus on sociology and philosophy, and they have really shown me that even though I have chosen more of an applied route in education. I can still do the things that I set out to do, ‘which is the idealistic improving the world type of things that every sociology major has.’ I really like those courses because they let me combine what I am doing now with my initial passion.”
The Theory and Programming of Interactive Media II class and Professor Lee’s Video Games in Education class were genuinely challenging for Tatyana, and success in those class were a rewarding accomplishment. Tatyana is an avid reader, who enjoys hiking and traveling. She plays video games, in addition to her research work.
By Deiana Jackson, Graduate Student, Mathematics Education Ed.D.