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Fellow travelers: Two new faculty explore new technology

The Lynch School welcomes its first associate dean for research and a new associate professor in the Department of Teacher Education, Special Education, Curriculum and Instruction this fall. James Slotta, a pioneer in the study of  “collective inquiry” and collaborative learning using new technologies, comes to LSOE as its inaugural dean for research from the University of Toronto, where he was an associate professor and the Canada Research Chair in Education and Technology. Deoksoon Kim joins the faculty from the department of teaching and learning at the University of South Florida (USF), where she specialized in foreign-language education and uses of technology in education and second-language acquisition.  

James Slotta, associate dean for research

A prolific and well-regarded researcher, Slotta has been exploring new models of learning for two decades. While working on his Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, he joined a University of California, Berkeley, research group in the mid 1990s that was investigating how the digital revolution could be harnessed for the classroom.  

New forms of “active learning that engage the entire class in collaborative and collective inquiry” are key to helping students gain a deep understanding of difficult subjects such as science, he said.

Science is of particular interest to Slotta, who studied physics as an undergraduate at the Case Institute of Technology. He earned a master’s degree in psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  

“I want to deepen the understanding of the undergraduate learning experience,” said Slotta. He intends to continue his research at LSOE while working with faculty members to help develop research visions and strategies for the School—and secure grants and funding.

Slotta has another goal: he’d like to partner with professors in other departments and jointly explore new ways of learning in science and technology disciplines. One hope, he said, is helping the Lynch School position itself as a learning resource for all departments on the Boston College campus.

Deoksoon Kim, associate professor in the department of Teacher Education, Special Education, Curriculum and Instruction

A native of Seoul, South Korea, who earned her B.A. in English language and literature from the University of Suwon, Deoksoon Kim founded and served for four years as president of the Tip-Top Kids English School in Seoul, an after-school English instruction program for economically disadvantaged children. (Between 1997 and 2000, more than 1,400 children studied English at Tip-Top Kids.)

Kim earned a master’s and a Ph.D. in language, literacy, and sociocultural studies from the University of New Mexico before moving to USF in Tampa in 2006. She earned awards and accolades for her innovative teaching there, including a 2012 Outstanding Educator Award from the Sunshine State Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages Association (SSTESOL), and an Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award from USF for the 2007–08 academic year.

At the Lynch School, Kim looks forward to teaching classes on how educators can use technology, including social media, to enhance teaching and learning. She will also develop courses on teaching English as a second language.

Kim’s research focuses on literacy development in English-language learners (ELLs) and the incorporation of technology into teaching and teacher education. One recent study on English-language learners’ strategies for reading computer-based texts at home and in school appeared in the CALICO Journal. She says that “understanding and improving educational opportunities and outcomes for ELLs are pivotal tasks in our increasingly diverse society.” In addition to her ongoing work on language learning, she is also studying how Asian female scholars in North American universities navigate their career paths.

—Chris Reidy