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Nicholls education students connect with elementary schools via internet

THIBODAUX – Teachers-in-training enrolled in the Nicholls State University College of Education are offering two specific services, via Skype, Adobe Connect and Google Chat, to elementary school students throughout Louisiana.

Jessalyn Bourgeois, middle education major at Nicholls State University, calls out vocabulary words to a fifth grader in Tobi Naquin's class at South Thibodaux Elementary School via Google Chat. Naquin, a graduate student in the educational technology leadership program, coordinates the tutoring session as part of her capstone project for her degree. Undergraduate students like Bourgeois volunteer for the tutoring program as an innovative method of acquiring field experience credits.

Several preschool and kindergarten classes have already signed on for the first service, “Story Time with the Colonels” – a program that includes virtual book readings, puppet shows and theater, all performed by Nicholls undergraduate students. Participating schools include Spanish Lake Primary and St. John Primary, both in Prairieville, and St. Bernadette Elementary School in Houma. In addition, the College of Education is providing a second service, virtual reading tutorials for fifth grade students at South Thibodaux Elementary School, using webcams and free internet software. The one-on-one sessions, called “Colonel Chat,” are conducted by Nicholls students and coordinated by Tobey Naquin, a graduate student in the education technology leadership program.

Nicholls State University education seniors Jana Ledet of Thibodaux, left, and Kayla Istre of Morgan City perform an educational skit via Skype for children at St. John Primary in Prairieville, La. The activity is part of a virtual field experience for students in the College of Education.

Dr. Cynthia Vavasseur, assistant professor of education and instructional technology specialist for the College of Education, said the services are “the very definition of service learning, a practice to which Nicholls is committed.”

Elementary school teachers and administrators in Louisiana who would like to learn more about the College of Education’s technological outreach initiatives should contact Vavasseur at cynthia.vavasseur@nicholls.edu or Courtney Robert, graduate assistant, at crobert3@its.nicholls.edu.

For video testimonials and demonstrations of “Story Time with the Colonels” and “Colonel Chat,” go to youtube.com/watch?v=me6jpYWE85E and youtube.com/watch?v=MJwKO04YZ1s.

For additional information, go to nicholls.edu/education.

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