Student Profile

MEET Benton CunniNgham

Doctor in Education with a major in Education Innovation

Wesley Black

Benton Cunningham
Degree:
EdD with a major in Educational Innovation
Hometown:
Lincolnton, GA
Mentor: Megan Buning, PhD
Area of Interest:  EdTech 

Why did you decide to pursue the EdD program? 

A doctorate degree is definitely alluring, but it was not a decision I entered into lightly. Balancing work, life, family, and school can be challenging, but I sought to know more. In public education, educators encounter a great deal of research that has been conducted for initiatives, programs, and products. I approached the program as a way to understand this process because of my limited knowledge on how to conduct research. I felt an Ed.D. program would help me learn more professionally; stretch my mind; and better myself, the educators I serve and, ultimately, my students.

My Passion:  

Purposeful educational technology. Educational technology is about more than students with devices in their hands — it is students using technology to create experiences they would not otherwise have without it. Therefore, educators must be innovative, yet purposeful, risk-takers by incorporating technology into their instructional practices so our future workforce is prepared for the future job market. I strive to empower other educators by modeling effective and purposeful educational technology practices as a solution to instructional challenges. Ultimately, I wish to inspire teachers to feel confident enough to fail forward with educational technology in the name of student learning.

Supportive Mentoring:

Dr. Buning has been supportive as a mentor and professor. I value her advice and wisdom in regard to being a reflective practitioner. Dr. Buning encourages goal setting and, as a former college coach, she values mental performance training. Through conversations in and out of class, Dr. Buning, has taught me to constantly reflect on my progress toward the goal and to take stresses day to day. This has been sage advice and I have carried it into my life as a mother, educator, and doctoral student. In fact, her suggested visual reminder of my goals helped me to maintain focus for the first year’s life adjustment.

Pursuit of Passion: 

In my current position, as the Digital Learning Specialist for The Columbia County Board of Education, I train educators to use and implement purposeful practices in their classrooms. I read literature regarding current best practices, and this program has helped me learn how to better evaluate the effectiveness of new tech to enhance the learning process. My knowledge of quantitative and qualitative data has allowed me to better evaluate my own data as well as data from software used by our department.