Jackie Hlubb, a science teacher at Belpre Middle School, is currently working with The College of Engineering and The College of Education in a joint investigation into video game simulations and their uses in the classroom. The project, which is known as STEAM, is designed to evaluate the level of success students achieve when games and virtual simulations are implemented into the science curriculum.
Science has always been a passion and an interest for Ms. Hlubb. She feels that science has many implications and uses, and it is this overreaching quality of science that she finds fascinating. Science can explain and answer questions about our world and our universe, which is something that is fascinating to Hlubb.
With an attitude such as hers, it is no surprise that Jackie Hlubb has an affinity for scientific investigation. Her affinity, however, goes much deeper than just a casual interest – she enjoys the feeling that overcomes her when a student truly understands a concept for the first time. She can impart knowledge and inspire future generations of students to love and respect science, which proves to be a great driving force in her teaching career. Just as firmly-rooted as her zeal for the world of science is Hlubb’s inspiration for becoming a teacher. She deeply admired and respected many of her high school teachers and aimed to someday have the same level of dedication to her students.
When working with students, she prefers to use hands-on activities that require critical thinking skills. “When you struggle and finally make the connection, it means more than having the information handed to you. You really earn it,” says Hlubb. This, of course, is the philosophy under which her classroom operates.
The field of science education has changed in many aspects throughout her thirty-three years spent as a teacher. Initially, science teachers were free to teach towards their passions and focus on the subject matter that they found most interesting or most enjoyed. The integration of science state standards has provided a more balanced and well-rounded science education. It has opened up the field of science and ensured that many more students can cover topics that they are passionate about. Nevertheless, if things do not change, then the individualized approach to education will not exist for teachers. The more standards and restrictions limit there are, Hlubb explains, the less freedom and creativity for students and teachers alike.
Ms. Hlubb feels that gaming will play a positive role in the future because it will allow students to interact with information that they find interesting and will address their individual interests. Overall, she believes that programs like STEAM will open up a great number of possibilities for study and reflection.