As schools begin integrating technology into classrooms, educational technologists help select, implement, and evaluate that learning technology. Educational technologists usually work in K-12, college, or adult education environments, but some work in the corporate world to train employees in the use of business-related technology.
Many educational technologists advance to administrative roles after earning an educational technology online master's degree, but some choose to remain in the classroom. The ideal master's degree candidate has a few years of experience in the classroom or doing corporate trainings. They should enjoy exploring new technologies and excel at communicating complex ideas simply. A vivid imagination also helps, as does enough self-discipline to keep up in a fast-paced industry that is always changing.
Educational technologists who work in postsecondary administrative positions typically earn more lucrative salaries than those employed in K-12 settings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean salary for postsecondary educational administrators is $107,670 -- about three times the average American wage. Those in populous states can earn even more, and the BLS predicts 10% job growth between 2016 and 2026.
The best educational technology online master's degrees prepare graduate students to enter diverse fields that blend software development with training and teaching. Across the board, educational technologists are creative, analytical people with an eye for detail. They love technological innovations and working with students. Most also possess strong public speaking and writing abilities. Below are a few career possibilities you can consider.
Annual Median Salary: $54,818
Projected Growth Rate: N/A
Curriculum specialists analyze the effectiveness of curricula in particular classes, schools, or districts. Usually holding at least a master's degree in education plus many years of teaching experience, these educators use data collection and analysis tools to measure the effectiveness of school programming. They can work at all levels of formal education, from preschool through university.
Annual Median Salary: $63,447
Projected Growth Rate: N/A
Education and training consultants help higher education institutions define priorities, create meaningful relationships, and construct programs that train effective employees. Consultants may also write reports and training manuals for institutions. Basic requirements include an advanced degree and teaching experience.
Annual Median Salary: $63,750
Projected Growth Rate: 11%
These professionals work with teachers and administrators to select, implement, and analyze school curricula, ensuring their effectiveness. Some instructional coordinators specialize in a single content area, like language arts or science, but many work in a more general capacity.
Annual Median Salary: $55,425
Projected Growth Rate: N/A
Most instructional technologists work in K-12 schools or colleges, where they solve educational problems by identifying and implementing technology-based solutions. Instructional technologists find, evaluate, and sometimes create learning tools for use in the classroom.
Annual Median Salary: $108,250
Projected Growth Rate: 10%
Typically working in large businesses or industries, training development directors need a bachelor's or master's degree. These professionals develop, manage, and execute on-site training programs for staff at all levels. They may also help design and implement new strategies for comprehensive training and behavior change.
Each college or university offering a master's in educational technology online develops its own unique curriculum based on program goals and resources. Most schools offer a mix of courses in pedagogy, technology, and research. Below, you will find a few common types of courses offered in educational technology programs.
Mobile technology is a staple in nearly every modern American's life, granting access to information from any place and at any time. This course helps educators explore the risks and opportunities represented by present and future mobile technologies, including augmented reality and wearables.
Students begin class by covering the foundations of gamification. Coursework moves on to the defining qualities and characteristics of education-focused games and simulations. In this practical course, students learn about game design and development, virtual worlds, and the connection between learning and playing games.
Focused on either integrating technology into existing curricula or designing new curricula around technology, this course works best if students have a fundamental knowledge of curriculum design and development beforehand. Students will learn to incorporate technology in curricula across grade levels and institutions.
Students in this course explore what educational technology is and how scholars collect data on it. By understanding research design paradigms, educational technologists can understand and evaluate new technology-related findings. This course focuses on contemporary challenges and ideas in educational technology research.
How does new media shape online and real-life identities and educational environments? Using research, theory, and data, students examine the role of new media -- such as social networking and virtual worlds -- in education, and consider what social media developments might mean for teachers and students of the future.
Educational Technology Specialist: In many states, educational technology professionals who work in public schools must hold a technology-specific license from that state's department of education in order to practice their craft. Earning an online educational technology degree can help practicing teachers gain the formal education they need to apply for licensure as a technology specialist.
Instructional Design Certification: Institutions of higher education and professional associations offer instructional design certifications to recognize specific skill sets in technology education. These certifications have different criteria and qualifications, with some focusing on technology while others emphasize the science of learning. Earning an online master's in instructional technology can help professionals secure many of these certificates.
After gaining an accredited educational technology online master's degree, joining a professional organization is the most effective step instructional technologists can take to advance their careers. These organizations provide access to the latest research, opportunities to publish or present new findings, courses for continuing education, and members-only job boards. Active participation in an association like the ones below helps members build reputations as thought leaders in the instructional technology field.
International Society for Technology in Education: Composed of educators who believe that technology can help foster innovation and education in the classroom, ISTE lets members build their skills through online courses, podcasts, and an academic journal; network with others through events and webinars; and access a members-only job board.
Association for Educational Communications and Technology: AECT publishes a variety of journals, offers professional development opportunities, and hosts annual events where members can present research and network. This professional association focuses on instructional design, and also helps members recruit for research projects.
International Society of the Learning Sciences: ISLS seeks to explore the science of learning by studying both the advantages and drawbacks of technology use in educational environments. ISLS membership benefits include access to two academic journals and two biannual conferences.
American Educational Research Association: AERA works to improve educational strategies through scholarly research. Members can take advantage of journal subscriptions, conferences, a repository of scholarly papers, and a job board.
Association for Talent Development: ATD publishes award-winning magazines and articles on talent development, hosts conferences, offers professional development programs, and maintains a free job bank. Members can also earn a number of certificates, including the certified professional in learning and performance credential.
EdTechTeacher: EdTechTeacher provides emerging technologies to teachers. Participants can also access lesson plans, student project ideas, and Google-sponsored professional certifications.
Edmodo: A K-12 learning network for students, parents, teachers, and administrators, Edmodo maintains a database of 600 million resources shared and approved by teachers. It's like a social network for the classroom.
SchoolTube: Modeled after YouTube, SchoolTube offers safe, free video sharing for schools, teachers, and students. Classrooms using project-based learning can upload and share videos safely and easily.
Glogster: Teachers and students can create their own multimedia posters through Glogster using text, graphics, audio, video, clip art, and more. Glogster is iPad-compatible, and its media library offers over 40,000 presentations and templates.
Lessoncast: Schools, districts, and consultants can use Lessoncast software to provide professional development tools for teachers, customized to each situation and learning goal. Lessoncast is most notable for its use of video technology to help teachers learn.
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