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Concordia University Blends Education With Technology for New Masters Program

The landscape of education is changing drastically -- where chalkboards and textbooks were once considered all you need, new technology has given way to innovations in the teaching method. One school, Concordia University's Chicago campus, is harnessing that landscape with an instructional technology degree that is appealing to teachers at every level of instruction.

Concordia University launched this new teaching degree last March, to help meet a growing demand among K-12 teachers in the Chicago area, and already it has grown beyond their wildest expectations. Drawing 11 enrollees in its first year, school officials hoped to raise that number up to 60 for this year. So far, 225 have enrolled already.

Of course, those enrollment numbers should come as little surprise: a class describing new uses for technology in the classroom is in extremely hot demand these days. "Teachers are looking for ways to use technology in the classroom," says Michael Sukowski, assistant professor at Concordia-Chicago and executive director of instructional design and technology. "The goal is to be a critical technology user: to know the technology available, know when to use it and know when it's best to use the chalkboard instead." With training in SMART boards, web conferencing, podcasts, blogs, and social media constructs such as Twitter and Facebook, this program definitely has the technology side of instruction covered.

Finding the time for a teaching course can be difficult when you have the busy schedule that comes with being a teacher yourself, which is why Concordia-Chicago designed this particular program as a "blended degree." Though some instruction will be taught in a physical classroom, online education is a major component as well. With those kinds of accommodations, one can assume that those enrollment numbers won't be declining anytime soon.

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