UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Laura Guertin, professor of earth science at Penn State Brandywine, and Timothy W. Simpson, Paul Morrow Professor of Engineering Design and Manufacturing in the College of Engineering, are the recipients of Penn State's 2019 Teaching and Learning with Technology Impact Award.
The Teaching and Learning with Technology Impact Award celebrates the accomplishments of faculty members whose work transforms education through the use of technology. The award is given in recognition of excellence represented by a single contribution or series of contributions.
Guertin is credited with using technology to engage students in introductory-level earth science courses. Colleagues said Guertin is constantly reassessing and revising her use of technology get the the most benefit. She’s also a frequent collaborator across Penn State campuses.
Recent research projects have included student-generated audio narratives, ePortolios with Google Earth and ArcGIS Story Maps, and other technological tools for geoscience research and outreach. Guertin also leads a project that assesses the use of audio to enhance student learning, research that’s funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Guertin has collaborated with the College of Information Science and Technology, Library Services and the Schreyer Honors College.
Guertin uses technology to aid students in field work, projects such as podcast production to better their communications skills and services such as Flickr to link students from different campuses. She’s won numerous tech-related awards on campus and has been hailed as author of one of the “Top 50 Must-Read Higher Ed I.T. Blogs” by EdTech.
“I welcome technology in my classroom,” Guertin said. “There is a wide range of tools that can help facilitate my instructional methods and student-learning goals. However, I approach technology with caution. It should not just be used because it is there. I believe that a thoughtful exploration of overarching course goal and secondary objectives needs to occur before a piece of software or audio or visual recording device is integrated into a course.”
Students also praised Guertin’s use of technology, saying it improved both their learning and communications skills.
“Guertin’s use of technology has enhanced my learning experience,” a student said. “Once, we created a podcast to raise awareness for issues related to water. This multimedia assignment was created in stages throughout the semester. I was able to further delve into the full scope of my chosen topic. I’ve been able to grow not only as a student but as an individual through her classes. I’m excited to learn more.”
Timothy W. Simpson
Simpson’s expertise in 3-D printing and partnerships with industries led to every mechanical engineering student becoming skilled in designing printable materials in Penn State’s Maker Commons. Simpson helped fix bottlenecks in the printing process, allowing students to take full advantage of technological resources at University Park so that students could gain hands-on experiences working with partners such as Boeing, KCF Technologies, Discovery Space and State College Area School District.
Graduate students are also benefiting from Simpson’s expertise.
He developed, launched and now leads the additive manufacturing and design master’s program, one of the first in the nation, boasting about 70 students in its first year of offering.
Since becoming a Teaching and Learning with Technology 3-D printing fellow in 2015, Simpson’s work has led to several NSF-sponsored projects resulting in more than $1 million to conduct 3-D printing educational research with colleagues across campus. That’s led to partnerships that have produced new 3-D printing applications for teaching and research, evaluation methods for printed materials and recently the use of machine learning to create design guidelines for 3-D printing. These partnerships are offering hands-on experience for students, enhancing their learning and helping prepare the next generation workforce to use 3-D printing to its full potential.
Simpson’s collaborations with the College of Arts and Architecture led to a curriculum that encourages students to engage with a range of design concepts, tools and processes under the umbrella of “making.” These initiatives led to general education offering titled “making for the masses,” which brought together many faculty and students from wide-ranging disciplines.
“I’m thrilled to recommend Dr. Simpson for this award, which has the potential to shed additional light on the pivotal role he is playing not only engaging with technology but fostering collaboration in disciplines across campus,” a nominator said. “In ways that range from small to large, from undergraduate education to advanced and specialized research at the highest levels, Dr. Simpson’s impact has been remarkable.”