Photo by Jeremy Wilburn
Welcome to our Master in Arts of Teaching Guide series. Check back for additional information on getting your MAT.
When choosing a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree program, you need to consider which program is going to best prepare you as a teacher in your chosen subject area. More schools today are utilizing technology as a valuable teaching and communication tool, so you want to ensure that your program will prepare you to integrate technology into your instruction and curriculum.
The following is a guide on how technology is being used in schools today, what you should look for in an MAT program to ensure you gain the necessary skills, a few courses that you should consider taking, ways that you can individually prepare yourself and how to stay connected as an educator.
Technology in Schools
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has proposed that all schools ditch paper textbooks and switch to digital textbooks by the year 2017. While this proposal may seem lofty to some, students interact with media constantly outside of schools and educators are recognizing that the use of technology in classrooms not only appeals to students, it helps prepare them for a technology-rich workplace. Many classrooms are now equipped with interactive whiteboards, laptops and other digital devices. Some students are taking exams and classes online, and teacher trainings can even be delivered in this format. Since technology is an essential part of the Common Core Standards, teacher education institutions are rising up to the task of preparing future teachers to be adept at using technology in the classroom.
Finding the Right MAT Program
You need to choose a program that is going to prepare you for a technology-rich classroom. As you look at different programs, peruse the course descriptions and look for classes that focus on media literacy and integrating technology into instruction. Look for phrases like “21st century” and “infusing” or “integrating technology.”
Courses Teachers Should Take
You should take several courses on teaching students 21st-century skills and how to use technology in the classroom. Rossier Online, which offers online MAT programs, has multiple course descriptions on its website, which reads like a wishlist. While technology is discussed in all of their courses, they offer specific classes like Multimedia Literacy and New Media Literacies in High-Need Schools. It is not enough to be “good” with technology; teachers need to learn specific strategies on how to infuse technology into the curriculum to increase student participation and engagement.
Preparing to Teach 21st-Century Skills
There are things that you can do independently to prepare yourself as a teacher. Use the Internet to your advantage and take online training courses, follow educational blogs and attend Twitter chats for new teachers, like the new teacher chat offered by Lisa Dabbs @tachingwthsoul. A good person to follow is Eric Sheninger, an award-winning principal and technology enthusiast. He recommends using blogging, videos and game-based learning in the classroom to increase student participation.
If you haven’t already, start building your Personal Learning Network online. Get involved in teacher discussions, chat on Twitter and start a blog. This will enable you to connect with teachers and administrators seven days a week, at any time of the day. Not only will you establish useful connections and relationships, you will gain valuable skills necessary to become a better teacher.