About Me

Hello all and welcome to my EdTech Blog!

My name is Rochelle Tkach, and I am so delighted that you are viewing my blog and sharing my passion for educational technology in the 21st century. I hope that my blog will provide you with insight regarding the current trends in the world of EdTech. With interest and experience using educational iPad apps, I also hope to provide helpful and useful reviews of current apps for K-12 education. I further hope you enjoy the snap shot of my EdTech research and projects with Brock University and the District School Board of Niagara (DSBN).

You may be wondering who is behind the screen so here is a little bit about my research and teaching experiences!

Last year, I graduated from the Concurrent Education program at Brock University with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in Child and Youth Studies and a Bachelor of Education degree for the primary/junior level (K-6). I have my additional qualifications for Special Education Part 1 and Intermediate History (Gr. 7-10). I am now pursuing my Master of Education at Brock University in the Teaching, Learning, and Development strand with Dr. Tiffany Gallagher. I am also completing extensive research projects with my committee members, Dr. Camille Rutherford and Dr. Xavier Fazio. I will be completing a two-year comprehensive thesis program, which entails conducting my own original research. I am also an Ontario Certified Teacher working for the District School Board of Niagara as an Elementary Occasional Teacher. I have a lot on the go, but I am loving every minute of it!!

Now for a bit of my background. My teaching journey really began when I started volunteering for the Learning Disabilities Association of Niagara Region (LDANR). I volunteered as a tutor for the Reading Rocks program to provide explicit instruction to students with learning disabilities or ADHD. I then went on to volunteer for two of their social skill and self-advocacy programs for children and youth with learning differences. I soon went on to be a program facilitator for the LDANR's Reading Rocks Junior program. This program provided small group and one-on-one literacy instruction for children aged 4-6 who were at-risk of reading difficulties. The program provided preventative measures to avoid waiting for students to fail before implementing remediation programs.

I became very passionate about supporting students with learning difficulties that I decided to complete my fourth year honours thesis with Dr. John McNamara. I tested the effectiveness of the Reading Rocks Junior early intervention program through pre- and post-tests. These tests measured students' emergent literacy skills. During program sessions, facilitators and volunteers provided hands-on and engaging activities for students to work on these emergent literacy skills such as phonological awareness, print knowledge, sight words, and oral vocabulary. After analyzing the data, the results showed statistical significance to support how this reading program helped children at-risk of reading difficulties improve emergent literacy skills. Overall, the study demonstrated the importance of not waiting for children to fail before providing reading intervention. Programs like Reading Rocks Junior have the potential to support children early on to lessen the impact their reading difficulties may have on their future educational experiences.
While working on my undergraduate thesis, I also started working for the DSBN as a Tutor in the Classroom. This experience is what really sparked my interest in EdTech! I supported a small group of students a few times a week by working on educational iPad apps for literacy and numeracy. It was so rewarding to see how engaged and excited students were to work on the iPad. I noticed such a significant difference in motivation when teaching students on the iPad compared to other instructional approaches.

Now that I am a graduate student, I have decided to really pursue my passion of teaching with tablets and conduct my own original research to test the effectiveness of iPads in the classroom. Over the past year, I conducted a pilot study of my thesis research to study how Apple iPads enhance students' use of 21st century skills. I specifically focused on how certain app features and the multi-modality of apps have the potential to improve students' knowledge construction and collaboration skills. Please see my research page for updates and conference presentation slides on my current studies.

Along with my graduate research, I am currently a resident at the Niagara Educational Technology and Innovation Hub (Niagara iHub). Through the iHub, I have been actively working with educational technology start-up companies to provide insights regarding their products. As a researcher and teacher, I have been able to support these companies by formulating White Papers on their product. My past experience has been working with the edtech company Cube for TeachersI am currently working alongside Chalk.com. Please contact me if you are interested in an edtech White Paper.

I hope this page has given you some insight regarding my background. I am also writing blogs for Learning Bird so please click the image below to view my work with them!

Rochelle :)