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Inventing pathways to new careers in education

by Sharita Forrest / Nov 16, 2015

Pathways to new careers via Education at Illinois

With the affordances of technology, education can happen everywhere, all the time. To prepare students to harness this new paradigm, Education at Illinois is offering new degree programs centered on the research and design of digital tools and methods across a range of disciplines.

The new offerings, all within the Department of Curriculum & Instruction, include master’s degree and doctoral programs, and the addition of a fourth optional concentration for undergraduate students in the learning and education studies major. The College also will offer a certificate of advanced study for practicing teachers and other professionals interested in new learning and instructional technologies.

Assistant Professor Emma Mercier will teach several of the new courses within the College’s new Digital Environments for Learning, Teaching and Agency (DELTA) program, which focuses on the creation and research of digital environments, such as technology-enhanced classrooms, mobile devices, and immersive simulations.

“We’re really just beginning to see education majors for people who don’t want to teach emerge in colleges of education, so Illinois certainly is one of the few universities in the country doing this right now,” said Mercier, who taught in a similar program in the United Kingdom prior to joining the Illinois faculty in 2013.

Among the new courses Mercier will teach in spring 2016 is Child Development and Technology, which will explore young children’s use of educational toys, games and applications and these technologies’ impact on development and learning.

Although many of the DELTA courses are 400-level courses, they are open to enrollment by undergraduates as well as graduate students, Mercier said. 

Students in all of the programs will have opportunities to learn and conduct research in the college’s state-of-the-art Illinois Digital Ecologies and Learning Laboratory (IDEALL). The lab, which opened this fall, is part of an effort by the college to increase technology-based learning research and provides novel tools, such as immersive environments and multitouch surface tables.

Read the full Illinois News Bureau article.