Ulana Plawuszczak Pidzamecky, MA
Graduate Researcher, UOIT, Canada
Academic and Professional Bio
Ulana holds a B.A. in Ukrainian Language & Literature and European History, an M.A. in Slavic Languages and Literatures, and a B.Ed/OTC (OISE), all from the University of Toronto. In addition, she holds a certificate in Russian from the Norwich University Russian School in Vermont.
Professionally, she works both as a translator (a book about the EuroMaidan is in progress), and as a junior-intermediate teacher/consultant with the International Languages Program of the Toronto Catholic District School Board. Earlier in her career, she created a program for non-speakers of Ukrainian, in order for these students to learn alongside their Ukrainian-speaking peers, and eventually enter the Ukrainian-speaking stream. Later, recognizing the continued need for classroom innovation in both learning and teaching, she began to compile and distribute collections of online and multimedia resources for Ukrainian language education. Thus far, she has produced three volumes of these electronic resources, and the fourth is nearing completion. Each volume is categorized and indexed for easy reference, and each resource is hyperlinked for immediate Web access. Ulana has helped to organize a number of in-service workshops and webinars for Ukrainian Heritage Language teachers, so that they can make the best use of such resources within the broader context of ongoing collaborative professional learning. (See: the project Web site and resources.)
As part of her efforts to encourage Ukrainian Canadian language educators to embrace blended learning, BYOD (“bring your own device”), and digital devices outside the classroom, Ulana served as editor-in-chief of OOMROOM: Learning Community, the first fully-integrated, interactive online learning portal for K-12 students of Ukrainian (at any level), their teachers and parents. Currently under redevelopment, the popular tool is a project of the Ukrainian Knowledge Internet Portal (UKiP) Consortium Association, a consortium of organizations interested in the development and deployment of on-line resources for learning the Ukrainian language and culture. Headquartered in Edmonton at the University of Alberta’s Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, the UKiP Consortium Association coordinates an inter-provincial network of institutions that develops and provides bilingual (Ukrainian-English) on-line learning resources to Canadian schools and post-secondary institutions, as well as to an extended world-wide audience. Ulana is a governor of the Board of UKiP, as well as of the Ukrainian Language Education Centre, University of Alberta. In the winter of 2015, she was part of a visioning initiative for the ULEC, which addressed the question: “What does Ukrainian-English language and culture education need to sustain itself through another generation (2030)?”
Ulana has recently joined the EILab team as a graduate researcher and will be assisting in the partnership project between the UOIT EILab and the Educational Training Centre of Economic and Business Management of Kyiv National Economic University, entitled Competencies, Empowerment, and Strategies in a Digital World. In connection with this, she contributed an online presentation to the 1st International Scientific Internet Conference Innovations in Business Education (Kyiv, Ukraine, March 27, 2015) on the topic of the role of digitally-enabled Ukrainian language learning for the development of Ukrainian society within the context of increasing globalization and plurilingualism.
As a graduate student of the UOIT Faculty of Education M.Ed program, Ulana’s research interest is teacher digital literacy and its impact on classroom practices in K-12 world languages teaching and learning. In relation to this, she is preparing an M.A. research proposal entitled Investigating the Role of Voluntary Online Communities of Practice in Second/Foreign Language Education. She recently served as a student researcher for the UOIT Faculty of Education SSHRC Partnership Development Grant project proposal “Improving Our Schools,” aimed at mobilizing new tools and models to separate educational achievement from income and thereby reshape education to meets the challenges of a digital economy. A central feature of the proposed project is the key leadership role of Faculties of Education as anchor institutions in their communities.
- Investigating the Role of Voluntary Online Communities of Practice in Second/Foreign Language Education