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OHIO Lancaster Professor Presenting at MAZZA Conference with Students

July 9, 2021

Dr. Kevin Cordi, Assistant Professor of Education and Literacy at Ohio University Lancaster and two students that enrolled in his middle childhood literature class were selected to present at the Summer MAZZA Conference this July.  Education students Rob Kanet and Nicolette Secrest will not only showcase the work that they did in class but will create new work specifically designed and focused on children’s literature with a concentration on visual literacy.

Dr. Cordi coordinated with Dr. Jacqueline Yahn at Ohio University Eastern on a concerted effort to revisit and increase how students respond to reading. Together they concentrated on a new direction. Dr. Cordi did an informal reading and found that students can tune out to reading when it is detached from learning. Students read to get the work done and too many in his class gave reports of losing interest in reading.

Yahn and Cordi decided that they would concentrate on the act of creating and producing meaningful experiences to reading.

“We wanted students to remember the work they read and five years from now talk about it as a positive experience," said Cordi. "They can’t do this with a Venn Diagram. It has to connect more.”

Rob Kanet of OHIO Lancaster created a newscast podcast from his reading and with a group and alone used Green Screen technology. He spent the entire semester re-focusing how he could create to make an impact.

“Honestly, I learned a great deal about creating and producing, and what we ask of our students by having to do it ourselves," said Kanet. "By creating and producing ourselves as educators I think it truly shows us the students that students may have. It also gives the knowledge to help our students when they are struggling.”

Rob shared with Cordi that he almost gave up on his Green Screen work, but with guidance, not only completed it but is still doing Green Screen work.

Nicolette Secrest of Ohio University Eastern created using video software which included using Green Screens. She produced a riveting and funny visual account of Paul Bunyan with a Shel Silverstein poem. 

She stated, “Creating and producing calls for us to engross ourselves in the material, but also allows for individuality and uniqueness…He continues, “we all learn in different ways, but when you create something visual, I think it gives it a little more power. Like the quote from the novelist Phillip Roth states, 'Seeing is believing and believing is knowing and knowing beats unknowing and the unknown.'"

The MAZZA Summer Conference expressed interest in having Dr. Cordi present and he immediately thought of his students.   They will share work they have completed, but also will design work specifically for this work. Dr. Cordi states, “I took this as another opportunity to have them create and produce work, but this time they could do for an external audience of teachers, illustrators, librarians from all over the country and the world.”

Rob states about the opportunity, “I was able to experience the MAZZA Conference last Spring and I was blown away with the experience that I had listening to the different authors share their hearts and their stories.  I honestly can’t believe that this time here I am sharing something that I have done from another artist creations”

"I hope to learn about the process of writing and illustrating books for publication. It is an honor to be part of MAZZA conference,” Nicolette shared with excitement.

Cordi states it is an honor to present with these bright students and looked forward to the experience. 


Nicolette Secrest
Nicolette Secrest