Source: Harvard School of Graduate Education
Community-Focused: Stacey-Ann Morris, TIE’14
05/08/2014 2:07 PM
Community has always been at the core of Stacey-Ann Morris’ work. Formerly employed in the outreach department of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, Morris also volunteered as a youth leader at her church assembly, where she became aware of how prominently technology figures in the lives of young people today. “I was observing that our youth are growing up in a vastly changing context where no aspect of their lives is untouched by the media and digital era,” she says. “Not only is it transforming how they live, relate, and learn, it is influencing how they see themselves and the futures they want.” Morris became interested in the production of diverse and accessible educational media content, and enrolled in the Technology, Innovation, and Education Program (TIE) to learn how to use technology to narrow the digital and knowledge gap between advantaged and disadvantaged communities. “I think of Stacey-Ann Morris as a quiet earthquake – soft-spoken and unfailingly modest, but at the center of everything that’s happened in the TIE cohort this year,” says Senior Lecturer Joe Blatt, director of TIE, citing the comments of Morris’ peers that describe her as “thoughtful, intellectual, and patient” and “passionate about empowering children around the world.” “Community and caring are qualities we highly value in TIE,” Blatt continues, “and Stacey-Ann Morris clearly embodies them every day in every interaction.” Upon learning that she had been honored with the Intellectual Contribution/Faculty Tribute Award for TIE, Morris answered some questions about her time at the Ed School and beyond.
What will you change in education and why?
Produce diverse and accessible online and offline experiences so that our youth can believe in wide range of future and diverse possibilities. A diverse representation of formal and informal learning experiences can have a positive impact on a child’s identity development and academic achievement.
Is there any professor or class that significantly shaped your experience at the Ed School?
This is a tough one! I have a few professors that have shaped my experience at the Ed School. Through the lens of constructivism and [Assistant Professor] Karen Brennan, I have learned that knowledge should be actively constructed by the learner. In other words, all learners should create and not solely consume information. [Adjunct Lecturer] David Dockertman showed me the importance of failing fast, often, and early. [Senior Lecturer] Mandy Savitz-Romer illustrated the importance of using developmental theories and research to create meaningful and powerful interventions for career development and college readiness across the education pipeline. In Joe Blatt’s Growing Up in a Media World class, he illuminated that the media is still a powerful and pervasive entity in a learner’s development, and we must continue to examine its influences in shaping our young people’s identity and responses to social issues. And finally, though I was never enrolled in [Senior Lecturer] Karen Mapp’s class, I sat in one of her shopping classes, and to this day, one of her quotes resonates with me: “Will you use what you learned for light or darkness?” That quote occasionally pops in my mind, as I am reminded of my responsibility as a learner and educator.
Any special study spots?
My favorite spot is the Cambridge Public Library. It is a few minutes away from the campus. It is a lively place where a community of children, teens, adults, and elders convene on a daily basis.
What advice do you have for next year’s students going through your program?
There is a wise saying: “Don’t go through life, grow through life.” The program is a rigorous but beautiful journey. Don’t get too caught up in the final result, but more the gems along the way. Meet people, attend conferences and sessions, join clubs/societies, and lend a hand to someone who needs it. I also encourage incoming students to take a course outside of the Ed School, and hear what non-Ed School students and faculty members are saying about the field. It might spark innovative ideas for change or even great discussions. Finally, don’t underestimate and devalue your experiences. Everyone has something of value to bring to the table.
If you could transport one person/place/thing from HGSE to your next destination, what would it be?
I would bring my whole TIE cohort and faculty to a trip to my hometown: Ottawa, Canada. I may be biased, but I think it is one of the most beautiful capital cities of the world. Now, in terms of the “tour dates,” that would have to be a different discussion. After hearing many people complain about Boston’s winter, I am inclined to nominate a summer tour.