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Boni Hamilton

Boni Hamilton’s research in her CU Denver doctoral program summarizes and extends the pedagogy of her already rich career. “It feels I’ve lived my life to do this,” she says. “I really believe I have a responsibility to all children, and the way I can play that out is to help teachers help children. I’m translating university-based knowledge into practical classroom practice.”

After achieving her first doctorate in education in 2011, Hamilton knew she needed more experience with urban classrooms and multilingual students. She chose the Urban Ecologies concentration at CU Denver, and her research with the E-learning Community for Academic Language Learning in Math and Science (ECALLMS) answers her needs. Hamilton works with area classroom teachers to test ECALLMS e-learning modules. These self-paced courses are designed to expand teachers’ skills with multilingual students in math and science classes. Teachers take the modules in groups to facilitate shared learning. Through the process of group discussion of new practice skills, the teachers are replicating the constructivist learning style that Hamilton developed intuitively years ago.

Following an early career of elementary school teaching, Hamilton taught herself computers. By 1999, she had developed a specialty of supporting elementary teachers in bringing technology into their classrooms. She saw that children learned independently and in groups when self-motivated. Children would virtually teach themselves computers when the programs extended or displayed their learning. Hamilton coached teachers to facilitate learning through technology, rather than simply instructing students in using computer programs.

Push back came from many who believed they should teach computer programs for children to use in their studies. Hamilton’s methods prevailed, and they were documented in her book It’s Elementary! Integrating Technology in the Primary Grades. Then, while pursuing her first doctorate, she learned constructivist educational approaches. These were the methods she’d developed intuitively years before.

Hamilton’s current research work at CU Denver furthers her humanistic constructivist values. She gives classroom teachers evidence-based methods to enhance their effectiveness with multilingual learners. Passion in her voice as she talks about her research confirms that Hamilton truly has lived her life to reach this work.

CU Denver School of Education &
Human Development

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