Teachers get a lesson in technology from York College
Starting this fall, more teachers might be going back to school themselves.
York College will begin offering a new master's degree in education technology as a result of many schools switching to a one-to-one environment, in which all students have a tablet device or laptop in the classroom.
There is a greater emphasis on using technology in the classroom through computers and tablets, but many teachers are unsure of how to successfully incorporate the technology into their lessons, according to Josh DeSantis, the new director of the master of education technology program.
The program: According to DeSantis, the new program is the result of a York College survey of more than 1,000 local teachers that found there was a lot of demand for information on instructional technologies.
"We identified a rapid transition to technology in the schools that we work with," he said. "We wanted to build a program to help teachers to build their capacity of teaching with technology."
The program will offer courses in teaching techniques, how to teach at a distance, professional development and a capstone course in which students will engage in a research project. Those who graduate from the program will hopefully go on to be technology leaders at their districts, DeSantis said.
The college has worked to make its program affordable for teachers who are interested in participating.
"People think of York College as a private school, so they think it's more expensive," DeSantis said.
To combat this, the school has adjusted the fee structure. Because school districts typically only reimburse for tuition, York College rolled fees into the tuition so working teachers in the program will have more of the cost reimbursed, DeSantis said. York College has lowered the overall rate to $625 per credit so that it can more closely compete with other programs.
The program is designed to be flexible for busy teaching schedules, as well. The approach is blended, so some classes will require students to come to campus, while others will be online using the same technologies that they'll eventually use in their own classrooms.
Local schools: Because the program was built with local school teachers in mind, many administrators are excited for the upcoming program. Scott Krauser, the principal at York Suburban Middle School, said the program was introduced to his staff a few weeks ago, and there was interest.
"The college is responding to what we need and what our teachers need with relevant programs," he said. "It's designed to keep up with the rate change of technology. I think that's one step in the right direction."
Central York Superintendent Michael Snell said it was too soon to gauge interest levels, but the district will be encouraging teachers to take advantage of the opportunity.
Snell said there are a number of course requests from teachers that have focused heavily on technology and technology in the classroom.
"I think whether you're a recent graduate or teaching for 10 years, anything we can do to continue our teachers' development is important," he said.
With so many schools switching to a formula that has one tablet for every student, DeSantis agreed.
"There's a transformative effect that technology is having in schools," he said. "It's changing the relationship from teachers to students and students to content. It's a game changer. We want to ready the teachers in our community so that they can capitalize on what technology is making possible."