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Sharpen Your Tech Skills With an Instructional Design Degree

In the United States, spending on education technology in 2015 exceeded $13 billion. As technology in the classroom becomes more ubiquitous, teachers are expected to keep up and be effective, digitally savvy experts. The truth is, having personal tech skills does not necessarily translate to being successful in employing technology in instruction.

Educational consultant and EdWeek blogger Matthew Lynch is a former K-12 social studies and special education teacher. He wrote about technology in the classroom: "If you're differentiating instruction, you're meeting kids where they are in the curriculum and moving them from that point forward. Teachers are well aware that every student begins at a different point and learns at a different rate. Technology can make differentiated instruction in a classroom reality with learning apps and artificial intelligence that are like having a team of instructional assistants working side by side with the teacher."

Simply incorporating a computer with internet access into the classroom will not improve students' academic outcomes. Learning the most effective ways to incorporate technology into the classroom and how to help students develop digital literacy skills is what can have a big impact on student learning.

Gaining Technology Skills to Use in the Classroom

As a teacher, how do you acquire the skills necessary to effectively use technology to facilitate learning in the classroom? One way, as Courtney Hyland learned, is to pursue a master's degree in instructional design and technology. Although she was already using blogs and other tools in her classroom, she didn't really know what instructional design and technology entailed.

Hyland enrolled in the University of West Florida's online M.Ed. in Instructional Design and Technology program and says she found the course on web-based instructional tools for educators to be particularly useful. "I have always considered myself to be pretty tech savvy, but it taught me a lot of things I didn't know, including screencasts and building videos for instructional content," she said. "I never really played around with that before, and I saw the value in it — not just in education, but I've used screencasts in my job."

Hyland is not alone in reporting that the M.Ed. in Instructional Design and Technology online program from UWF helped enhance her technology skills. Program graduate Dean Allerheiligen has seen the auto industry use emerging and innovative technology for training and teaching. "The more you can immerse learners in an environment that's real, the more likely they're going to be able to retain and use what you give them," he said. "BMW is already using augmented reality to train its technicians. Ford already uses video in the shop manual to teach people."

The Online M.Ed. in Instructional Design and Technology Program from UWF

UWF's program consists of 36 credit hours which can be completed in as few as 24 months. Students can choose to add a concentration in Human Performance Technology (HPT) or Distance Learning (DL). The core courses in this program focus on instructional design and instructional technology. Electives and HPT and DL concentration courses focus on web-based instructional tools, digital video for instruction, integrated technology learning environments, emerging and innovative technology systems and more, designed to prepare educators to effectively use technology to facilitate learning.

Learn more about the UWF online M.Ed. in Instructional Design and Technology program.


Sources:

UWF: Dean Allerheiligen Embraces Second Career With Second Master's Degree

UWF: Courtney Hyland Finds Niche in Instructional Design and Technology

Education Week: How Teachers Can and Should Use Technology in the Classroom

Technology for Education Consortium: How School Districts Can Save Billions on Edtech

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