Ph.D. in Education, 2014
School of Education
August 1, 2009
“Technology is a conduit for both bequeathing and receiving the latest relevant information.”
“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success” (Dale Carnegie).
In the fall of 2003, Paul Rama accepted a position as an on-line English tutor for Chinese students. Using the video messaging power of MSN Messenger, he planned to tutor students far across the ocean. The novelty of the set-up was intriguing and innovative; it was disappointing, then, when technical challenges overwhelmed the efficacy of the endeavor, forcing him to withdraw his participation. However, this failed opportunity became the springboard for Paul’s academic and professional aspirations.
From this video conferencing stint sprung a plethora of ideas on infusing technology into language education. As print media is static and often outdated, technology is a conduit for both bequeathing and receiving the latest relevant information. Basing his teaching repertoire on this philosophy, Paul implemented technology at each turn while teaching at every level from kindergarten through university. Whether using e-mail collaboration or video presentations, students demonstrated progress and expressed excitement about learning a foreign language while simultaneously extending their technological competence.
Language and technology have been at the core of Paul’s research experience. While an undergraduate at BYU-Hawaii, he helped set up an online vocabulary size test used in L2 language attrition research. Through professional conference presentations and workshops, Paul has focused on meaningful and effective uses information and communication technologies.
As the Teaching Associate Consultant at CSU Long Beach, Paul assisted other language instructors who desired to integrate technology into their teaching, but were unsure of how to effectively do so. During individual meetings with colleagues and formal workshops that he organized and conducted, Paul exposed simple ways of utilizing common technology to enhance language teaching. This expertise proved hugely successful in filling the technological demand of the department.
Expressing his views on the potential of technology in education, Paul states,
Technology is exciting and always evolving. It can be both frustrating and tremendously rewarding. Although the curve to effective technological integration in education can be steep, with continual refinement, it can provide benefits that traditional methods lack. Like the failed on-line tutoring experience, the bumps can merely be stepping stones to pedagogical breakthroughs.
Paul earned a B.A. in TESOL/Spanish from Brigham Young University-Hawaii and a M.A. in Spanish from CSU Long Beach. He is currently leading a small team of SURF-IT (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship – Information Technology) fellows in a project examining video games and learning.