Teaching Tuesday: New Landscapes of Educational Environments

By Dr. Stacy Vaught, faculty

African-American female teacher laughs on young female student's laptop screen

The landscape of educational environments has recently taken on new shape. Teaching best practices, strategies for learning, and the modalities in which students are learning have all been changed. Educators face new challenges including using virtual platforms for teaching and learning new technological tools to aid in instructional presentation.

Technology has always been encouraged as a part of teaching best practices but the transition to virtual or blended learning environments created challenges for current educators. As a result, educators are seeking additional professional development to be more prepared to successfully teach students of all ages, learning abilities and needs.

Instructional Technology

The shift to a virtual learning platform has required the integration of online resources and tools to support individualized student learning. To be better equipped to teach in these forever changed learning environments, many educators are looking to extend their own learning through graduate programs.

The Master of Science in Instructional Technology program provides a solid foundation of theory applicable to integrate technology within education. This program exposes educators to standards, theories and models supporting technology within instruction, as well as ethical practices when using technology within the educational environment. Students learn about digital tools and new media that support educators in using technology for learning and teaching purposes. Educators are exposed to digital assessments and multimedia instructional strategies. A course exploring distance education that encourages experts to consider effectively using technology for educational development is also included.

Instructional Design

Educators need to be equipped with virtual tools to engage learners through the online platform. There are many external factors that can interfere with learning in a virtual platform including home environment, executive functioning skills and the lack of one-on-one support when needed. The online engagement, multimedia instructional strategies and methods, and real-world field experiences educators gain from the Master of Science in Instructional Design can lead the charge in shaping the landscape moving forward in the field of education. The end result is improving the experience for all learners.

Distance Learning

Another recent offering to support the change of landscape in the field of education is the Graduate Certification of Completion in Distance Learning. This certificate offers exposure to theories, models, virtual tools, assessments with technology, as well as distance learning methods for the practicing teacher. It provides the skills educators are seeking to be more equipped as a classroom teacher in the current educational environment.

The skills and strategies needed to be successful in the field of education are constantly changing. Educators continually need to adapt their practice to these changes in the field. Recent challenges with teaching in a new modality were unfamiliar to most certified teachers. It may not have been an easy transition for teachers, but they rose to the challenge and served the needs of students above their own. Both the master program and the graduate certificate are designed to encourage change, support change and prepare future educators to be successful — regardless of the learning environments of tomorrow.

Educators have accepting a calling to give to others. They work hard to provide the most productive learning experience for all students. Recent changes in the educational landscape are not viewed as obstacles, but rather as hurdles that we can grow from and to find ways to fight harder for the future of our students.

Want more? Check out all of the articles from Teaching Tuesday and return each week for a new post. Learn more about Grand Canyon University’s College of Education and our degree programs and join in our efforts to elevate the education profession.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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