Educational/Instructional Technology  Program Description


Insider Info

dotStudents of educational technology continuously explore new thinking about how people learn. Educational technology (also known as instructional technology) is a lot more than bringing computers into classrooms. Programs aim to create a different type of teacher.

Graduates of these programs can use new developments in psychology, information and communication, and technology to solve educational problems.

Students learn how to design courses, lessons and games, evaluate training programs, and create teaching materials such as textbooks. They learn how to bring podcasts, blogs, wikis, videos and other multimedia into their teaching. They design websites to deliver information to their students.

Grads bring these solutions to schools and to corporate and government workplaces. Remember -- people never stop learning, and education continues long after the school bell rings.

"Our students are diverse professionals and bring new ideas and technologies from their different workplaces to share. Each course is revised yearly to take account of emerging technologies and the ideas of the students from the previous year," says Jim Gaskell. He is an associate dean of educational technology at a university.

Most programs contain an eclectic group of students -- teachers aren't the only people who study in educational technology.

Marcie J. Bober is a professor in and chair of the department of educational technology at San Diego State University. She says that only about 30 percent of the students in her program are K-12 teachers. In Gaskell's program, about 60 percent are K-12 teachers.

Educational technology is often a master's degree, generally two years long. You'll need an undergraduate degree first. You can study any major for your undergrad.

Some schools also offer educational technology as a PhD program. Others offer shorter certificate programs and continuing education programs that can be completed while you are working. Online courses are available. But you'll still need a bachelor's degree first.

Those who do not teach are finding new ways to apply the degree. Many grads launch their own business as performance consultants. Others take jobs building educational products for students and teachers. There are more jobs as support technicians in colleges, instructional designers, web developers and other IT positions.

"What makes this program really interesting is that as students are trying out their new skills they are able to feed back their experiences and discoveries directly into the course discussions -- helping each other to learn and incorporate practical skills as they study," says Gaskell.

When you are shopping around for a program, make sure that the courses are always evolving. Technology changes all the time -- so should the courses.

"If you are interested in a future in educational technology, you should spend time learning to use media tools such as web design, multimedia production, social software, and take IT courses," says Gaskell.

Textbooks are expensive. The costs associated with equipment and software will be an important part of your budget. Try to find a school that offers cheap or free access to high-end technologies for its students.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to Educational Technology Degrees, see: Instructional Coordinators

Center for Children and Technology
Find out more about how technology can improve teaching and learning

Technology Activities for Kids
Just for fun

Just the Facts

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