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MirandaNet Fellowship Profiles (MirandaNet Archive - as of March 2015)

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Mechelle De Craene



Personal Statement | ICT Details | Recent Projects | Case Histories | Publications

Personal Statement

"It matters if you just don't give up." Stephen Hawking

Google Translator Experiment: "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana."

En español aquí | En Français ici | Auf Deutsch hier | In Italiano qui |

Mechelle (as a kid!)

I am a special education teacher in Florida certified in Special Education K-12 and Art K-12 (Ages 5-22 in the States). I am considered a highly qualified teacher under US NCLB requirements and am a National Board Certified Teacher. I've also taught ESOL (English as a Second Language). I have my Bachelors in Psychology with a Biology minor, and my Masters and Ed.S degrees and in Special Education with a Gifted Education endorsement from the University of Florida. (Go Gators!!)

I have worked in both urban and rural school settings and experience teaching children with the following special needs: Autism Spectrum, ADHD, Dyslexia, Downs Syndrome, Physcially Handicapped, Tourette Syndrome, Educable Mentally Handicapped (i.e. 55-69 IQ), Speech and Language Impaired, Visually Impaired, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Severely Emotionally and Behaviorally Disturbed, Twice Exceptional (i.e. Gifted/LD) highly gifted (i.e. above 145 IQ) mathematics and science, and Severe and Profound Mentally Handicapped (i.e. severe is typically < 34 and profound is typically < 20 IQ).

Additionally, I've taught at both the primary and secondary levels. I am interested in pedagogical issues related to both educational technology and special education (e.g. the digital divide, promoting virtual diversity including those individuals with special needs, gender differences with regard to technology, developmental psychology e.g. child development and ICT, and assessing the efficacy of computerized reading programs as a literacy tool for students with special needs). My primary goal is to keep advocating for children, especially for children with special needs and/or children who live in poverty.

Also, I'm very grateful that my mentoring on my classroom-based research relating to Child Development & ICT and the Digital Divide has all been through the MirandaNet Academy. I'm so happy to be apart of the MirandaNet family. The international collaboration and mentorship has truly inspired me both as a teacher and a scholar.

ICT Interests

I've seen the benefits of technology within my classroom with my students with special needs. Hence, technology is a part of our daily curriculum. We blog, play video games, Inspiration and Kidspiration Concept Mapping, create digital storyelling projects, make digital comics of reader's theater projects, Discovery Channel's United Streaming, etc. I've found this has increased motivation of students with special needs in my classroom as well as their reading and writing levels. It's both fun and inspiring to see the kids' faces light up in front of the computer.

Additionally, I've been "playing" with computers since I was a kid. My uncle bought us kids an old computer from the company he worked for. Also while in elementary school I was a part of a local university study involving computers and mathematics. Back then we were called "microkids" and very few girls were chosen to go to use the only school computer. The first year of the project my school only had 3 students go. I remember feeling both excited and embarassed at the same time about being the only girl chosen that year.

Recent Projects

ILET Scholar (International Leadership in Educational Technology) in the summer of 2005 at the University of London (IoE) and the University of Barcelona, which was funded by The European Union-United States Department of Education Atlantis Program. (culminating thoughts paper here see 2005)

Volunteer Work: Helped to organize donations of school supplies for students and teachers who were hurricane victims, church camp counselor, grief counselor leading support group for children whose parents were divorcing or passed away due to illness, Special Olympics, Very Special Arts, Co-sponser teacher for the Art Club, Parent-Teacher-Student Association (PTSA), teacher-sponser for afterschool chess club, helped teach swimming to students who are visually impaired both in Florida and at the Perkins School for the Blind near Boston, founder of a grassroots project called Very Special Techies.

Awarded scholarships for the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis Supercomputing SC06 Learning & Physical Challenges Education Program 2006 and 2007 focusing on STEM Education.

Met with US senators and discussed technology and how it can help students with special needs at both Capitol Hill and the Library of Congress in June 2007 through Cable in the Classroom.

Passed Oral Defense Exam and Written Exams for Specialist (Ed.S) Degree at the University of Florida focusing on the efficacy of Computer-Assisted Reading Instruction and emerging technologies in Special Education.

Completed the National Institute of Health (NIH) Human Subjects Participation course to work on a research project funded by the NIH and the US Department of Education related to reading disabilities. Trained 2nd grade teachers on reading aquisition and disabilities through Florida State University's Florida Center for Reading Resarch (FCRR) responsible for professional development for teachers at two elementary schools, observation, data collection, technology training and support.

2008 HASTAC Scholar (A Consortium of Humanists, Artist, Scientists, Social Scientists, and Engineers) sponsored through HASTAC at Duke University

Afterschool Tutor at Vashti United Methodist Orphanage.

Case Histories

Incidentally...Cyberkids know That! A longitudinal ethnographic study on cyberkids, incidental learning, and digital media. I'm working in collaboration with Dr. John Cuthell researching the skills and schemas of children and ICT.

Reprogramming Piaget: A Developmental Look at ICT and 21st Century Learning , presented at Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education (SITE) 2006 International Conference in Orlando with Dr.John Cuthell.

Drafting the Architecture for a Digital IQ, to present at the Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education (SITE) 2007 International Conference in San Antonio with Dr. John Cuthell. Here is the SlideShare of our PowerPoint .

Additionally, I conducted a classroom-based pilot study entitled Pedagogical Blogging: Exploring Blogging as a Learning Tool for Middle School Students with Special Needs and presented it (via Power Point Poster) at the University of Barcelona's el V Congreso Multimedia Educatvo in Barcelona, Spain in the summer of 2005 through the ILET Program.


Here's an article by one of my favorite Art professors:

The Art of Digital Storytelling by Dr. Craig Roland in School Arts magazine  


Awarded a Citigroup Teachers are Heros Teacher/Mentor Grant in 2004.

Research Assistantship Positions:

Student Research Assistant for Dr. Donald A. Dewsbury at the Harvard Libraries Cambridge, MA and at the Boston Public Library Copley Square in the archieves section for his book: Dewsbury, D. A. (2006) Monkey Farm: A history of the Yerkes Laboratories of Primate Biology,Orange Park, Florida, 1939-1965. Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press.

Student Research Assistant for Dr.Charles Spielberger (former president of the American Psychological Association) at the University of South Florida for studies on State-Trait Anxiety with Children.

Student Research Assistant for Dr. Lynn Durel in the pyschobiology department at the University of Miami (for honors program credit) on Type A Behavior and Coronary Heart Disease.

Student Research Assistant for Dr. Frank Scafidi (with Dr. Tiffany Fields as principal investigator) at the Touch Research Institute at the School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics at the University of Miami, scientifically coding the sleeping patterns of premature babies (for honors program credit).

Student Research Assistant in the biochemistry lab at the James A. Haley Hospital specializing in Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA).

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer & Research Institute


De Craene, M.M. (2006) Virtual Support via the Blogosphere , in Terry Freedman's eBook Coming of Age: An Introduction to the new worldwide web. pg. 37.

De Craene, M.M. & Cuthell, J. (2006) Clickerati Generation Update: The Digital Divide Starts Early on Terry Freedman's Information & Communication Technology in Education Website, also posted on The Digital Divide Network Headlines

De Craene, M.M. (2006) Digital Storytelling a Practical Classroom Management Strategy on Terry Freedman's Information & Communication Technology in Education website and the upcoming ebook entitled, Coming of Age: An Introduction to the New World Wide Web (2nd ed.) Also posted on the British Council website (see archives) .

De Craene, M.M. (2006) Let's Flatten the Schoohouse .

De Craene, M. M (2006) Video Games: School Practicalities on Terry Freedman's Information & Communication Technology in Education website.

De Craene, M. M. (2007) Storybook Settings by Satellite: Google Earth for Language Arts & Reading Class on Terry Freedman's Information & Communication Technology in Education Website and the upcoming ebook entitled, Coming of Age: An Introduction to the New World Wide Web (2nd ed.) Also mentioned on EduPodcast by Antonio Sofi .

De Craene, M. M. (2007) Special Needs, Social Computing & the Digital Divide , TechLearning Educators Ezine.

Top 10 Finalist in Technology & Learning Magazine's Leader of the Year 2006

Cable's Leaders in Learning Award 2007

Basia Korczak Award 2007

Additionally, I interned for Psychology Today magazine in 2002, as well as contributed articles for my college newspaper.My favorite college article that I authored is entitled Twinkle, Twinkle Little Mars published in The Gator Times Newspaper...(and yes, my favorite journalism professor was surprised at my quirky title choice). The article is about Smart Plants (i.e. genetic engineering:cross-breading a mustard plant with an incandescent jellyfish) developed at the University of Florida Biotechnology department for NASA.

To conclude, here are a few of my favorite quotes that I like to share with my students:

"How shall I talk of the sea to a frog? If it has never left his pond? How shall I talk of the frost to the bird of summerland, If it has never left the land of its birth? How shall I talk of life with a sage, If he is prisoner of his doctrine?"

- Chung Tsi, 4th Century B.C.

"We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers."

—Carl Sagan

"Be the change you want to see in the world." Mahatma Gandhi

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