PSU doctoral student tapped as 2013 Emerging Leader

Rurick NackerudRurik Nackerud, an instructor in the Graduate School of Education’s Curriculum and Instruction Department and doctoral candidate, has been named an Emerging Leader by Phi Delta Kappa International. He is among the 25 recipients that PDK has identified across the US under the age of 40 that demonstrate innovative practices in education. The 2013 Emerging Leaders are hosted at an event in Washington, DC, in December, and will spend two days networking, meeting with education leaders, and talking to policymakers.

Mr. Nackerud’s work in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction is helping to advance technology usage and research in preK-12 classrooms. In addition, he is doing doctoral work on games as learning tools—an emerging field in education. This summer he was assigned to the GSE’s iPad Research Initiative and helped to distribute and train faculty and students in the use of iPads and iPad minis in preK-12 teacher education classes.

“Through his leadership and his skills with technology, he has impacted not only my research project in a positive way, but also myself—as a professional researcher educator,” says Professor Esperanza De La Vega who supervised his work this summer. “Because of Rurik, I find that I take more risks and am willing to try new ways of organizing and using technology in my professional and personal life.”

Mr. Nackerud represents a new generation of university instructors who grew up with computers and technology, also known as “digital natives.” Because of his familiarity with online games, he was invited to a faculty book club last year to lead a demonstration of multi-player online games and how they could be used for learning. Dr.  De La Vega explains, “At one point, I remember turning to Rurik and saying, as my online character failed the task, ’Oh no, I died’.” Rurik used that moment to catch our attention with ’Dying is good!’ He went on to explain how learning from failure was good and that there was much to learn from digital games and how our brains were given another opportunity to do-over and try again.”

The GSE is already benefitting from his work on projects like the iPad Research Initiative. He is a valuable resource for other faculty members and will certainly help contribute to the knowledge base.

Along with a hosted trip to the nation’s capitol, the PDK Emerging Leader program will provide Mr. Nackerud opportunities to publish and travel.

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