Tara Kaczorowski, who is entering her final year in the joint doctoral program in special education offered by SUNY Buffalo State and the University at Buffalo, recently completed the highly competitive and intensive Learning Analytics Summer Institute at Harvard University.
Held June 30–July 2, the institute accepted just 30 participants from around the world. The majority of participants were computer scientists and statisticians with a few educators. Kaczorowski, however, was the sole educator in the field of exceptional education.
“Not one individual from special education was represented last year,” said Sharon Raimondi, exceptional education professor and director of the joint doctoral program. “We are very pleased Tara represented both special education and the exceptional education program we have here.”
Along with attending workshops, each participant had the opportunity to discuss his or her work.
Kaczorowski shared an interactive iPad-based math tool she created for students with learning disabilities.
“It gives them a way besides pencil and paper to practice their math skills,” said Kaczorowski, who previously taught in the Attica Central School District and now teaches a Buffalo State graduate course on adapting literacy instruction for students with mild disabilities.
Her expertise in making learning tools accessible for a diverse population was embraced by her peers at the institute, she said. Last spring, she tested her creation with third-graders in the Buffalo School District and garnered positive results.
“One student who did extremely well was about three grade levels behind,” she said. “She realized when she got stuck, she could look back at the video component of the program and support herself. That was pretty exciting to see.”