How Can an Educational Technology Degree Change My Teaching Career?
Hybrid learning. Online classes. Digital literacy. Technology has been at the center of discussions about the future of education for many years now, but in many cases, those conversations were (so to speak) academic. The shock wave of the coronavirus pandemic this year forced educators and administrators around the world to take those concepts from theory into practice in a span of weeks as schools closed and instruction at all levels moved largely online.
The COVID crisis turned a harsh light onto the issues facing the education community around the use of technology. Those include inequalities in access to Wi-Fi or even computers and tablets, the need for targeted methods to meet the needs of diverse learners such as ELL students, and especially the need for expert guidance from educators who specialize in educational technology to help all teachers use their tech tools effectively.
Our School of Education here at Loyola has for years envisioned technology as a key component of 21st century learning. Loyola as a university brings these ideas into active practice across all of our schools, innovating within our programs to offer hybrid learning, online programs, and next-generation tools and services for our entire student body. Within the School of Education, we also strive to prepare our students to be leaders in the future of education with our Master's of Educational Technology program.
Take a Look at the Structure of the Educational Technology Program
There are three options for prospective students looking to enhance their careers with specialized study in educational technology: A fully-online M.Ed. program, a hybrid version of the same master’s program in our cohort model, and several micro-credential courses for continued professional learning outside of a degree program. Our master’s program is nationally recognized by the International Society for Technology in Education.
The online program is only the second one of its kind, a model where students directly experience the benefits of the same principles and tools that they’re learning to use in their own classrooms. While some of the study is self-paced, it’s primarily a structured format with a balance of due dates and schedules alongside the flexibility to accommodate the student’s work and personal life commitments. The program is part-time and is usually completed in two to five years.
The cohort model brings together a small group of 25 students working within the same school district for a two-year program that allows their in-person study to take place at or near the schools where they work. It also offers the many benefits of progressing through the curriculum with a close network of fellow student colleagues with whom they’ll continue to work after graduation. This program is offered in several Maryland counties, and there’s also an option for a fully-online cohort.
The micro-credential courses offer fully-online, asynchronous, wholly self-paced study in a variety of topic areas that include educational technology. They offer CEUs to teachers who are interested in expanding their technology and online instructional design skills without committing to a degree program.
What Sets Loyola’s Program Apart?
The M.Ed. program for Educational Technology addresses all aspects of digital learning in the classroom—from evaluating and selecting the appropriate tools and media to achieve learning objectives, to becoming fluent in the use of a variety of technologies, to the 10 skills needed to achieve transformative online teaching. We want our educators to be technically proficient and able to match learning objectives and student needs to the online methods that best meet them.
But we go beyond these core competencies as well, with a commitment to social justice, leadership, and a customized internship for every student in the program. All three are necessary to attain our goal of shaping education pioneers who will define the future of the field.
Loyola’s Jesuit values infuse every program with a passion for a better world for all. In our Educational Technology program, this means addressing the social justice issues along the path to excellent online learning. These include defining equity in educational technology, addressing the needs of diverse learners, determining how to expand access to online learning to all students, and understanding the legal and ethical standards of digital citizenship.
We strive to empower our educators to become leaders in the field, able to teach and support their colleagues and advocate for necessary change. They will leave the program prepared to take key roles in the change process in their school districts and engage in the visioning and planning processes for implementing technology district- or even state-wide.
Finally, we believe in putting learning into active practice, which is the goal of the student’s internship towards the end of their time in the program. They will work often within their own school on a completely individualized project that allows them to use their skills and knowledge to benefit the school and demonstrate leadership-- for example, creating a maker space in their school and teaching their colleagues to use it.
Creating New and Inclusive Opportunities for the Future of Education
The events of this year have shown the world that effective, accessible online learning is not an add-on amenity to education, but a crucial aspect of both equitable schooling as well as public health and safety. We’ve learned as a nation that we cannot treat access to education technology as a luxury or privilege, but as a right. In the months and years to come, there will only be greater demand for trained experts who can lead that charge.
Pandemic aside, the use of technology in the classroom has the potential to address any number of child needs. It offers a variety of options to meet different learning styles. It empowers children and young people to become responsible and ethical digital citizens. It prepares them for a working world where digital literacy is a core requirement across every industry and in some of the most critically-needed jobs. It offers shareable, scalable resources for teachers to work with neurodivergent, ELL, or other students with special needs. Teachers who can harness the potential of these tools in their work will be poised to drive positive change wherever they go.
In the Classroom and Beyond: The Career Paths Opened by an Ed Tech Degree
What can a teacher do with a Master’s in Educational Technology? The possibilities are vast and they’re growing and changing every day. Many of our graduates are able to take on department chair or lead teacher roles. Some move into professional development for other teachers, including those who become STAT (Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow) teachers in Baltimore, a professional development role that sets them up as a bridge between educators and tech experts.
Some leverage their degrees into national board certifications; others become instructional designers or go on to teach instructional technology at the university level. And sometimes, that degree can open the most unexpected doors-- one graduate of the program went on to work for the National Security Agency, while another became the transportation coordinator for Prince George’s County in Maryland.
What Are Your Next Steps?
To explore our program options and see what’s right for the future of your career, read more about the program’s learning aims, sign up for one of our virtual information sessions, or send us a request for more information. Within two years, you could be among the emerging leaders shaping 21st century education.