A wide variety of career opportunities are available to graduates who can integrate research and theory into application. Graduates might serve as teacher leaders supporting teaching and learning environments in the school setting, work with students and teachers to integrate IT into classrooms through instruction and assessment, or focus on how student performance can be improved.
Using a strong foundation in educational systems and curriculum, graduates could serve as technology coordinators, curriculum coordinators or as supervising curricular coordinators for a district. Outside of the traditional K–12 environment, graduates can work in publishing or software development companies or distance/virtual learning organizations, designers or developers, trainers or instructors or administrators.
As agents of change, graduates of the UWF Ed.D. program are working with Creative Learning Academy (CLA) led by Dr. Karen Rasmussen, Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies and Dr. Nancy Hastings, IT faculty member, to facilitate the integration of technology at their school site.
The first project was to design a technology–rich, “Smart Classroom” environment and to concurrently provide a series of professional development activities to the instructional staff at CLA. Topics covered are diverse, targeted at introducing free or low cost technologies and demonstrating applicability to the classroom. As a result of several professional development sessions, teachers are using Brain Pop, Glogster, Edmodo, Prezi and numerous other tools to present content and engage students in the learning process.
A learning portal was also developed to document training and share resources. Current students, faculty and recent graduates will participate in future sessions, sharing the expertise developed throughout their academic programs by showcasing specific projects of relevance.
In addition to providing professional development, a technology needs assessment was completed to identify numerous technology integration opportunities. In the past year the school has developed nine “Smart Classrooms”, consisting of a Smart Board®, projector, and document camera, purchased a classroom response system, and initiated a project to transition from textbooks to ebooks delivered via Nook®.
Another exciting project our faculty and graduates are working on is the development and implementation of a fully immersive environment at the National Flight Academy’s (nationalflightacademy.com) 102,000 sq. ft. facility designed to look, feel and sound like a functioning aircraft carrier.
Middle and high school students participate in weeklong events living aboard the aircraft carrier Ambition in a completely simulated environment working as Ambition Experimental Pilots to solve complex problems, plan missions and fly in state–of–the–art simulators, all aligned to the new Common Core Standards.
Doctoral IT graduates have been deeply involved in solving complex problems, using inquiry to make decisions and engaging deeply in how instruction is designed, developed and assessed in these fully functioning immersive environments.
Dr. Pam Northrup leads this effort along with an Ed.D. IT graduate, Dr. Dave Dawson. Ed.D. students will learn about fully immersive environments in their program of study and how to put in context what we know about the internal process of learning with all of the external events and stimuli of a fully functioning instructional environment.
Both partnerships are excellent examples of the value of the UWF IT program. UWF graduates, like the teachers at CLA and leaders at NFA, are well prepared to identify, evaluate and integrate technology in the classroom.
The field is exciting, the opportunity to be a change agent for the future of teaching in learning can be found through a doctoral degree in Instructional Technology. With a fully online program at your fingertips, it is time to build your future!