Best Online Degrees in: Educational Technology
Explore a Bachelor’s Degree in Educational Technology
Online educational technology degrees are designed to teach students how to effectively implement technology in K-12 classrooms to enhance the learning process. These degree programs may also be called instructional technology degrees or technology education degrees. Students learn how to teach with technology and how to promote technological literacy in the classroom, drawing from the most successful models and up-to-date research in educational technology. At the bachelor’s degree level, educational technology is often a concentration students pursue in a broader education degree program; however, educational technology has also emerged as a stand-alone bachelor’s degree program at a few institutions.
Most bachelor’s degree programs in educational technology can be completed in four years if the program follows a standard semester format. However, accelerated programs that use terms or modules may allow students to complete a program more quickly. Program length is also affected by the number of transfer credits a student brings in from outside institutions and whether the student attends the program full-time or part-time.
Curriculum in an educational technology degree program includes general education courses in the arts and sciences, with essential courses in writing, mathematics, communication, computer science, the social and behavioral sciences, the physical and biological sciences, and the fine arts and humanities. Students then begin their major courses that emphasize curriculum design, technology and learning, distance education, and multimedia tools that can be put to use in the classroom. Major courses might include:
- Technology and Society. In this course, students learn how technology impacts everyday life, including our careers, health, economy, and environment. Students also look at the relationship between technological development and social development, as well as the social issues that arise from the use of technology.
- Managing Classroom Technologies. This course explores the different types of classroom software that are used in educational environments. Emphasis is on how to integrate these technologies into the classroom.
- Design and Production of Media for Instruction. In this course, students are exposed to the wide range of tools available to help instructors use interactive multimedia in the classroom. Students learn how to employ effective methods for graphic production, video, and sound, as well as how to select appropriate media for various instructional purposes.
Many of the major courses in an educational technology degree program will require students to complete projects that demonstrate their skills. Students may be asked to design an interactive online course, put together a training lecture using multimedia tools, or put together a graphic design project. Depending on the program, students may be required to complete a semester of student teaching (for those seeking teacher certification), or a capstone project in educational technology that requires students to work with a real-world client or examine a case study and write a thorough solution, drawing on what the student has learned from his or her courses.
Building a Career
A sampling of careers in educational technology include instructional coordinators/designers, training and development specialists, curriculum designers, course editors, and multimedia specialists. Numerous industries seek training and development specialists who can design effective learning experiences and training programs for their personnel. Of course, many graduates of these programs go on to implement educational technology in K-12 classrooms as teachers, or even specialize as technology teachers. With appropriate experience, education, and licensure, individuals with a background in educational technology may also qualify for certain administrative careers at school districts, such as director of technology, a position that entails development and oversight of district-wide technology plans.
Training and development specialists earned an estimated median yearly salary of $55,150 as of May 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). With experience, training and development specialists may advance to positions in training and development management, where median salaries were $89,170 as of May 2010, the BLS noted.
In all states, teachers in public K-12 schools must be certified, and technology teachers may require a special endorsement. The median yearly salary for teachers was $48,800 for kindergarten teachers, $51,660 for elementary school teachers, $51,960 for middle school teachers, and $53,230 for high school teachers, as of May 2010, the BLS notes. Salaries may vary greatly based on your level of experience, where you live, the size of your employer, and other factors.