News from the Aurora University community

EdD alumnus receives national educator award

Posted by on December 2, 2014

Jacobs Teacher Educator Award Recipients

Josh Mika (left), EdD ’13, receives the Indiana University School of Education’s Jacobs Teacher Educator Award.

Josh Mika, EdD ’13, is one of four teachers from three states to receive a Jacobs Teacher Educator Award from the Indiana University School of Education this year. The annual award honors teachers who use technology to support innovative, inquiry-based teaching and learning activities in their classrooms.

Mika, a teacher and librarian at Beebe Elementary School in Naperville, Illinois, implements inquiry-based learning with K-5 students in the classroom through his lesson plans and utilization of the school website. He also utilizes the school website in hopes of engaging students outside of the traditional school day, which is something he learned while completing his Doctor of Education degree at Aurora University.

“The study I did on the mobile generation in the doctorate program taught me that what we are teaching in the classroom isn’t transferring to outside of the classroom,” Mika said. “I want to give students the opportunities and encourage them to go learn more or go and explore more. The most rewarding thing is seeing what you teach being applied not necessarily in the real world, but outside of the formal school day.”

Along with providing his own students opportunities, Mika looks forward to giving back through the Jacobs Teacher Educator Award, including contributing to the video repository of best practices for teachers. These how-to videos give teachers information on classroom procedures and lesson planning for various topics.

“I wanted to be a part of the program in order to give back,” said Mika, who is the first teacher-librarian to receive the award. “I felt elated when I found out about my acceptance. The added knowledge that I helped to break the mold of the school librarian and changed the committee’s thinking to include teacher-librarians as valuable instructional partners has been a great honor. It makes the quote, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ all the more real for me.”