ETEC Award

At the end of each academic year, the Department of Educational Technology (ETEC), College of Education presents the Burniske Outstanding Master’s Project Award to an ETEC student.

The Burniske Outstanding ETEC Master’s Project Award is given to an ETEC student whose master’s project and other graduate work in the department best exemplify what Buddy valued in his students’ work: innovation, high quality research and writing, and significance to the field.

Nominees for the award are reviewed by a faculty selection committee and a recipient is recommended to the department for approval. A plaque representing this annual award with the name of the student recipient and the year is displayed in the College of Education.

Buddy award plaque



Adam Halemano 2014 Burniske Outstanding Master’s Project Awardee

For his final master's project, Adam developed and evaluated a web-based instructional module teaching beginner level adult students, with little to no musical background, how to identify and engage in playing chords and scales on a contemporary piano keyboard. Adam discusses this project in the scholarly paper, Piano Basics for Online Mobile Learning.

Visit Adams's ePortfolio to learn more about this outstanding master’s project.

Adam is a technical analyst / corporate trainer for a renowned commercial real estate firm base out of Houston, TX. His interests include Art, Music, History, Politics, and Philosophy. In his downtime, he loves to sketch, sing, and play the piano and ukulele. Adam is of native Hawaiian ancestry and was born and raised in Hawaii.

When it comes to the personal pursuit and acquisition of knowledge, through formal or informal means of education, my philosophy is pragmatic yet modestly idealistic. To me, education is a fundamental prerequisite toward sensibility, inspiration, and enlightenment. As educated individuals, I am of strong opinion that we are better able to maintain a level of intellectual acuity and social responsibility that brings about many advantages to ourselves and the rest of society.

Within the broad scope of academia, I consider myself a digital pluralist. The utilization of digital technology as a teaching device within the classroom setting, in my opinion, is primarily geared to improve pedagogic efficiency and instructional proficiency. While technology has many "communal" uses within the wide array of social mediums that comprise our global community, as an educational tool, I now have a much greater sense of appreciation for its intrapersonal and introspective qualities that help to foster a more heuristic and resolute form of cognitive learning and thinking.

As a recipient of this memorial award, I am humbled and honored to be a part of Dr. Burniske's noble and remarkable legacy with the Department of Educational Technology. While I have never had the privilege of meeting this beloved man, whom many affectionately refer to as "Buddy", I consider myself fortunate that his family chose to preserve his memory in a manner befitting of his noble character and esteemed reputation as a dedicated facilitator of knowledge. With great care and dedication, I too will endeavor to preserve his memory by living up to the embodiment of qualities valued by Dr. Burniske.

With much esteem, I would like to extend a warm "Mahalo Nui" to the Burniske family, my ETEC ohana (cohort, peers, and critical friends) and faculty (Dr. Curtis, Dr. Mike, Dr. Bert, and Dr. Hattori) for their knowledge, feedback and support. To my academic advisor - Dr. Peter Leong, I wish to convey my sincerest gratitude and respect for his insight, guidance, and wisdom. He has been an integral part of my success within the ETEC program and for this I am eternally grateful.

To the Final Fab Four...we did it you guys! - Adam "Boy" Halemano, May 2014

Marisa Yamada

Marisa Yamada 2013 Burniske Outstanding Master’s Project Awardee

For her final master's project, Marisa developed and evaluated a mobile-based module which instructs smartphone users on how to utilize a speech-to-text app in place of typing for online assignments. Marisa discuss this project in her scholarly paper, Talking is the new typing: Challenging smartphone users to dictate instead of type to enrich the mobile learning experience.

Visit Marisa's ePortfolio to learn more about this outstanding master’s project.

Marisa is a graphic design freelancer who is searching for an inspiring position in the educational technology field. Her interests include mobile learning, augmented and virtual reality, and distance learning. She hopes to continue further research in these topics.

Being in the Educational Technology program was such a great experience for me because I was able to grow as a person and at the same time learn so many new things about education & new technologies. I felt inspired all the time!

I look back at the work I did when I first took classes and then later on in the field, and I find a huge improvement. This is attributed to the amazing feedback & support from the ETEC ohana and faculty especially to Dr. Bert, Dr. Ho, Dr. Peter, Dr. Lin, Prof. Hattori, Frank Jumawan, and my critical friends.

Thank you also to the Burniske family for sharing Dr. Buddy Burniske's legacy with us and giving us students something to aspire to. I will take his inspiration with me as I find my own path in this new and exciting field!

It's been a wonderful journey, thank you! –Marisa Yamada, May 2013

Meilene Roco

Meilene Roco: 2012 Burniske Outstanding Master’s Project Awardee

For her final master’s project, Meilene developed an online instructional module, using VoiceThread, to teach non-speakers of Chinese some basic pronunciation of: 1) commonly mispronounced Chinese names, 2) proper forms of address, and 3) basic greetings. Meilene discusses her project in her scholarly paper, Learning Pronunciation of Chinese Surnames, Proper Salutations and Useful Greetings Using VoiceThread.

Visit Meilene’s ePortfolio to learn more about this outstanding master’s project.

Meilene is a Chinese language instructor who loves people, languages, cultures and lifelong learning. Meilene wanted to produce an online module teaching Chinese pronunciation following instructional design principles learned in her program, to benefit anyone with an interest in the subject.

During her course of study in the program, Meilene also developed an interest in the role of trust in distance education collaboration. She touches upon the topic in one of her ePortfolio samples. She hopes to research further in this area in the future.

I was at a total loss for words and overwhelmed when I read the email from Dr. Curtis Ho. It took hours before I could reply.

In receiving this award, I keep thinking that if it takes a village to raise a child, then it certainly takes a whole learning community to raise a graduate, too. My work is the culmination of all the sharing of knowledge and learning I gained from those who taught me and journeyed with me in the program. My professors, TAs, peers, critical friends and research participants; my supportive husband, son and daughter; and most of all, God, who graciously provided me everything I needed. I am truly very thankful.

I would like to have known Dr. Buddy Burniske. It seems that he and I share common interests in international cultures. Mahalo to the award committee for the recognition and especially to the Burniske family for celebrating Dr. Burniske’s legacy in such a meaningful way. I am deeply, deeply honored.

Renee Adams

Renee Adams: 2011 Burniske Outstanding Master’s Project Awardee

For her final master’s project, Renee developed an instructional module that provided information to support students’ work on their e-portfolios. Renee describes this project in her scholarly paper, Developing Your Master’s E-Portfolio: An Instructional Module.

Visit Renee’s ePortfolio and read her paper on ScholarSpace to learn more about this outstanding master’s project.

Renee is currently a 7th grade social studies teacher with the Hawaii State Department of Education at Samuel Enoka Kalama Intermediate School on the slopes of Haleakala in Makawao, Maui.

Renee’s acceptance speech:

Ok, look at me. Maybe I coulda woulda shoulda retired to work in the garden at this point in my life, but obviously, I chose to enter the OTEC program.

Of course, if you know me, you would believe me when I say I had no idea what I was really getting in to, including how much it costs to go to graduate school these days. I read an email passed on by the principal to the staff and thought, this sounds interesting, I think I can do this. When I looked at the program website, the only thing that really stopped me in my tracks was, ironically, the idea of creating an e-portfolio.

So here I came, to Wist Hall for the weekend. Met my teachers, met my 2008 cohort, met the Burniske Award winner, Craig Okumura, saw his project. I was convinced that I would never be doing something at that level. So I was surprised, shocked, really, to hear that I had been chosen to receive this award. It was the farthest thing from my mind. By that time I was in full survival mode thinking, one assignment at a time. You’re almost there; can’t stop now. The end is near.

When the conversation ended, I sat there stunned. I honestly wondered why I was chosen. So I went back to the Burniske website, which I had not revisited for three years, to see if that would shed light on this.

I found a wonderful piece he wrote about running downhill, something he did as a child in the Berkshire Mountains in Western Massachusetts. He said that for him “it was simple, just stay on your feet, letting your body hurl you faster than it seemed you could possibly go.” He loved it, and then reports, “It seems I have often been running downhill, going just as fast as I could, letting my arms and legs carry me faster than even I imagined that I could go.” And this disposition to run downhill led him to adventures most of us only dream of.

In another piece he goes on to speak of gathering the courage to confront one’s fears; embracing the uncertainty in life.

It must have been remarkable to be in his classes.

I began to get it.

For nearly 22 years, I cared for my incredible daughter Naomi Nahalaimalama Adams, born with a congenital heart condition, whose heart gave out while she was waiting for her second heart transplant at UCLA Medical Center in March 2007. She taught me well about the cone of uncertainty that Dr. Burniske refers to as the place of life. She was much smarter than me. She made me laugh; she made me strong; she taught me what was really important; and what was real. And that I must make every day count.

So I chose OTEC instead of gardening, I chose to take on new challenges and live life to the fullest; to make each day count. After my world stopped over and over in those years, I had internalized the reality of uncertainty and the choice to be courageous.

Our instructors told us from the beginning that it’s not about the technology, and you didn’t lie!

After teaching for over 30 years, I thought I knew something, and then I started something that took me to a place that reaffirms the importance of lifelong learning, that opened my mind to places I didn’t know existed, I ran downhill for three years, and I am a different person today. What a run! It was exciting, challenging, engaging,

It was about becoming a better teacher, about learning about the unlimited potential of technology in our classrooms that had now become the world. It was about stretching – running downhill – but not racing my peers- usually racing against time. It was about pulling together with my peers, in every single course, And the better I became at that, the better the learning was. All of the graduates here today – you taught me the most important lessons about teaching and learning – we lived them.

Don’t you find it amazing that we were really virtual strangers, who because of this program were brought together to work and learn and create, and become friends? Yet many of us have never even met in person? What does that say for the future of global relationships?

It’s not my moment, if anything, I represent what we ALL went through, and we literally went through it together, collaborating, supporting, coaxing, learning, we did this together gang, and that’s why this day belongs to ALL of us.

I am truly humbled to have been chosen to receive the Burniske Award. It seems that everyone in this department has been inspired by the life and work of Dr. Burniske, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to study and grow with you. You just didn’t turn out to be the unapproachable ivory tower gods and goddesses I expected (except when I was actually in your classes, of course).

This is what you have all reaffirmed in me, the genuine feeling that it is good to be alive, that life is good.

I am so honored to share this day with you. Mahalo nui loa from the bottom of my heart. we have finished, and we may be better technologists, we may be better educators, but what really makes us special, I believe, is that we are better people.

So thank you to Dr. Burniske. It’s obvious he’s around here, as is my daughter. They are certainly in our hearts as we keep alive their legacies.

Mahalo to the Burniske family and the College of Education for providing an opportunity for us to celebrate our work. And for an opportunity to teach my sons about life.

Hong Ngo

Hong Ngo: 2010 Burniske Outstanding Master’s Project Awardee

For her final master’s project, Hong developed and evaluated an interactive PDF learning module on establishing a hybrid learning course for the Vietnamese teachers of English at the Center for Foreign Affairs and Language Training (CEFALT) in the Ho Chi Minh City of Viet Nam. The module provided the teachers with basic knowledge of hybrid learning, effective strategies for incorporating available technologies into their teaching, and a framework for establishing a hybrid learning course. Hong describes this project in her scholarly paper, Introduction to Establishing a Hybrid Learning Course for the Vietnamese Teachers of English at CEFALT.

Hong worked for CEFALT, one of the ten sections in the Department of Foreign Affairs in Viet Nam. She started her work there as a part-time office staff member. With endless efforts at work and in her self-education, Hong was employed as an academic administrator. She received various awards for her great contributions to the development of her institution. In 2006, Hong became a government official of Viet Nam Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In March 2008, under the East-West Center full-time scholarship award funded by Ford Foundation’s International Fellowship Program, Hong was able to pursue her Master’s degree in Educational Technology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Hong came to the Educational Technology (ETEC) Department with serious aspirations for more equitable and high quality learning opportunities at her school. She was in the 2-year degree program. Though most of the ETEC courses were very difficult, she enjoyed her study because of the practicality of the courses and a fabulous learning community created by her cohort and ETEC faculty. Hong was impressed by the professionalism, enthusiasm, and dedication to students of her professors and instructors in the ETEC Department. These factors have greatly contributed to success in her graduate study.

In the ETEC Department, Hong has had a wonderful opportunity to acquire the knowledge of Educational Technology and translate it into practice. Introduction to Establishing a Hybrid Learning Course has been the first instructional module that Hong designed for the Vietnamese teachers of English at her school. Hong tried her best in order to develop a useful self-instructional module for them. As a result, her participants including the subject matter expert, all valued the design and the practicality of the module. Further, her module was selected for the Burniske Outstanding Master’s Project Award for 2010.

When I saw an email from Professor Curtis Ho, regarding “Burniske Outstanding Master’s Project Award”, I thought that someone just won this prize. I opened it in order to say “Congratulations” to this person… However, WOW! That email was for me. It was unbelievable. I read it three times to ensure that it was true and it was! I heard about this award in 2008. At that time I was a new student in the ETEC program. I didn’t think about it after that because reaching that award was beyond my imagination. I didn’t know Dr. Burniske as well. I am truly honored to receive this Award and to learn about Dr. Burniske. Also I am deeply grateful to my first-year academic advisor – Professor Catherine Fulford, my academic advisor – Professor Curtis Ho, all ETEC faculty for their wonderful instruction, guidance, and support to me, to my family in Viet Nam for their moral support, to Kim Small – IFP scholarship specialist for his wonderful support and encouragement, to Ms. Minh Kauffman and all IFP staff for granting me a higher education opportunity, and to my peers and project participants for their feedback on my work. Thank you all. Without you, this would be impossible! – Hong Ngo

Deanna Kamakeeaina Reece

Deanna Kamakeeaina Reece: 2009 Burniske Outstanding Master’s Project Awardee

For her final master’s project, Deanna designed and created a two-dimensional, side-scrolling video game on cell structures and functions of the typical animal cell for seventh grade science students in an intermediate school in Hawaii. Deanna describes the design of this project in her scholarly paper, Cell Block: The Creation of a Video Game for Seventh Grade Science Students.

Deanna is currently a Producer/Director for Maui Community College’s cable channel, MCC-TV. She writes, produces, directs, shoots and edits a variety of programs for the college. Deanna also assists instructors with their technology needs for their classes. Whatever kind of technology they want or need, she helps them to learn to use it or helps them to find solutions to their needs.

When I entered the ETEC program, I wasn’t sure the program was the right one for me since I already had a strong technology background and the program seemed to be geared more towards k-12 teachers, and I am not a teacher. However, I learned a lot about instruction, what goes into creating units of instruction and lesson plans as well as taking information and using technology solutions to create effective instructional modules. Without the ETEC program, I might never have discovered serious games. I have been a gamer since the days of Pong and I hadn’t realized that it is possible to make really good games for educational purposes, exciting games that teach real things to real people.

I was truly surprised to win this award. I am very honored that the committee recognized the work, research and meticulousness I put into my project. I would like to thank the committee, my instructors Mike, Ellen, Ari, Peter, Bert, Mary and especially Curtis, my advisor, for all the encouragement they gave me. Of course, I could not have done any of this without the support of my family, especially my husband Jim, my mom, my brother, and my late night companion Kekoa, who passed over the Rainbow Bridge at the beginning of the semester. I would also like to thank the students who tested my game.

I look forward to what the future has to offer and what I may be able to contribute to both the educational field and the gaming world. E kūlia i ka nu‘u – Strive to reach the highest. - Deanna Kamakeeaina Reece

Craig Okumura

Craig Okumura: 2008 Burniske Outstanding Master’s Project Awardee

For his final master’s project, Craig developed an instructional module aimed at delivering a basic science topic taught in medical school in a digital interactive and multimedia format and at increasing accessibility to the basic sciences using the Internet. Craig describes the design of the module in his scholarly paper, Enhancing basic sciences with an interactive, multimedia-enhanced, web-based instructional module for first-year medical students.

Visit Craig's portfolio to learn more about his work in instructional design and graphic design.

Craig attributes most of his interest and skills in technology to his experience working for the UH Sea Grant College Program. Among his many duties, he was given the opportunity to design the program’s quarterly newsletter. Impressed by the design (photography, typography, and layout), the director expanded his role to include designing and printing posters, brochures, and guidebooks. Positive reactions to his work and encouragement from his colleagues and friends led him to enroll in the master’s program in Educational Technology. Midway through the program, he transferred his skills and knowledge to an instructional support position at the UH John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM). There he conducted his master’s project, developing an interactive, multimedia-enhanced, web-based instructional module that will be used by every first-year medical student class.

I’ve spent three years in the ETEC program – worked hard and enjoyed every moment of it. But it is unbelievable to me that I am worthy of such an award. I didn’t know Dr. Burniske, but I believe I would have learned a great deal from him. His high standards and character echoes through each student, staff and faculty member who knew him. I am truly honored and humbled to receive this award. – Craig Okumura, 05/18/08

At JABSOM, Craig assists lecturers with technology presentation needs, administers the student content management system, and designs the curricular handbooks. He also owns a graphic design and multimedia company. He hopes that one day soon his work accomplishments and master’s degree will lead him to an instructional design or other educational technology position.

Mike Travis

Mike Travis: the first Burniske Outstanding Master’s Project Awardee

For his final master’s project, Mike developed a web-based instructional module titled What is Assistive Technology and How Can It Help Students? Mike’s scholarly paper describes the design of the instructional module with the goal of teaching future educators about assistive technology and how it can best help students with language-processing differences.

Visit Mike’s ePortfolio to learn more about this outstanding master’s project.

Mike’s experiences with technology have spanned over 27 years and many different fields, from programming in BASIC on an Atari 800 with a cassette tape drive, creating presentations at a marketing/new product company, co-founding a web-development company, and serving as the technology director at a small private school in Hawaii. Through it all, he knew that one day he would need to complete his master’s degree in Educational Technology. Mike is most excited about all the time he will finally be able to spend with his wife and two daughters.

It is an honor to receive this award. I want to thank all my professors and fellow students who helped me along the way. Ironically, Dr. Burniske’s class was my first graduate class in over eight years, and it was one of the most challenging and interesting classes I have ever taken. Dr. B. was an excellent teacher who taught me more about myself, telecollaboration, and how to be a better teacher. I miss him very much. – Mike Travis, 05/09/07

Mike is currently a high school technology and math teacher at ASSETS School in Honolulu, Hawaii. ASSETS School is dedicated to helping gifted and/or dyslexic students. This was where Mike got his inspiration to build an instructional module about assistive technology. Mike is hoping to bring his new master’s degree skills back to ASSETS to continue to grow the high school technology department.