Schooling Yourself on a Masters of Education

Whether you’re a senior at university or an educator revisiting the prospect of a postgraduate degree after time in the field, there are many important factors to consider when examining a Masters of Education. Knowing the right information can save you time, money, and stress because continuing your education is an investment beneficial for many but not all.

What Can You Do With a Masters of Education?
This degree qualifies you to work in multi-disciplinary fields since learning impacts almost every aspect of human livelihood. You may work in a classroom, school administration, broadcast company, mental health clinic, or research-based organization, for example. The outlook for a career utilizing a Masters of Education is very positive. The degree is customizable, which makes it difficult to define a specific earnings range. It also intrinsically prepares you for further graduate study and a doctoral degree, if desired.

What Can You Specialize In?
Within one Masters of Education program, there may be divisions and even subdivisions of fields, specializations, or focuses, for example:
• Educational Level (e.g. Early Childhood, Secondary, Adult, Higher Education)
• Assessment (e.g. Research, Evaluation, and Measurement Methodology)
• Leadership (e.g. Teachers, Administrators, Policy, Management)
• Curriculum and Instruction (e.g. Teaching, Public Service, Literacy)
• Educational Technology (e.g. Multimedia, E-learning, Resource Development)
• Educational Psychology (e.g. Learning Research, Human Development)
• School Counseling (e.g. Social Work, Behavior Intervention, Learning Theory)
• Educational Specialization (e.g. Bilingual, Gifted, and Special Education)

How Do You Apply?
For a Masters of Education program, all or most of the following must be completed and submitted by a unique deadline:
• Application form with fee (US$75-100)
• Bachelor’s degree from accredited institution
• Minimum GPA from previous degree plan (usually 3.0)
• Official transcripts
• GRE score
• Statement of Purpose
• Letters of recommendation (2-3)
• Resume/Curriculum Vita (academic and professional)
• Writing Samples
• Admission Interview
• GMAT, TOEFL, Certification, License, if applicable

What Are the Requirements to Graduate?
To graduate with your Masters of Education, most universities require a minimum of 36 credit hours of graduate coursework. Limited credit can usually be transferred in from another institution. Graduate students in certain programs, such as counseling, often earn additional credit hours through practicum or field study. A 3.0 minimum GPA is standard, as is producing a thesis and oral defense relevant to your area of study. Other requirements to complete your degree may include: final written exams, research project, portfolio, internship, special assignment, capstone class, training and/or field experience.

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Masters of Education?
Expect to spend two years as a full-time master’s student. Some universities, such as Harvard, offer an intensive one-year program, while part-time study is available at others. Required practicum, certification, or field experience may extend the duration.

How Much Does a Masters of Education Cost?
Higher Education tuition and fees prices in the U.S. have risen exponentially since the mid-1980s without increasing similarly in value, which has people from all factions grumbling for reform. Most Masters of Education in the U.S. cost US$13k-15k at a public university, US$20k-25k at a private university, and over US$40k at an elite, private university. At top Canadian universities, residents pay closer to US$8k-13K via public funding. Warning: International or non-resident students will pay two, three or even four times these rates, universally. Graduation and retention rates and school ranking systems are good gauges to put this information in context.

And that’s the scoop. It’ll be up to you to decide if a Masters of Education suits your area of professional interest, desired career path, and available resources. The ultimate value of the postgraduate degree will be determined by what you get out of it personally, be it experience, wealth, recognition, or an avenue to your doctorate.

Online Education (Teacher Education) Degree Program Options

Teaching is an essential part of society; it’s how the leaders and workers in many industries are able to step into their career. Education is utilized from grade school to college, which makes understanding how to teach others an important and needed skill. Teacher education degree programs can be completed online allowing students to step into the career of their choice.

Students that want to become a teacher have many training options to choose from. Online training offers students these main options, which include:

*Elementary Education

Degree programs prepare students to teach kindergarten through sixth grade. Although professionals only teach one grade, education encompasses the knowledge needed to teach at all levels. Most online colleges have students choose a concentration area like English or math. Students then proceed to complete their training while learning how to specifically teach in that area. Courses may include math for teachers, education technologies, and teaching techniques. The completed curriculum prepares students to become licensed in their chosen area.

*Secondary Education

Students that want to teach sixth to twelfth grade should enter a training program in this concentration. Like elementary education students choose a subject as a concentration. Online education is comprehensive and examines the theories and practices used to teach children and adolescents. Student’s work primarily through the content in their chosen field, which allows them to teach at all education levels in this category. All students take the same foundational courses and specialization courses are taken separately. Literacy, classroom management, and human development are some common foundational courses.

*Special Education

Students work through a specific curriculum that allows them to educate individuals that suffer from mental disabilities like autism. To become a special education teacher students study areas like developmental linguistics, learning procedures, course designs, and content strategies. Most programs for this category are offered online at the master’s degree level.

*Student Teaching Requirement

Students need to be aware that student teaching is required to gain licensure. For online learning this will incorporate students finding a school in their town that will allow them to student teach inside a classroom to gain experience. This is typically a semester long course, which requires students to record their teaching activities and work with the classroom’s teacher on improving their teaching abilities.

Elementary and secondary education teaching positions require students to have at least a bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree prepares students to increase their teaching ability and knowledge on their subject. Students can also complete a master’s degree program to enter leadership roles in schools. Doctoral study is typically the route taken by students that want to become college professors. Students can complete associate degree programs in teaching, which prepare them to become teacher assistants.

Education online is a convenient way for students to enter a career as a teacher. Students should research the schooling options for their chosen subject and begin training today. Enrollment in an accredited online school or college will give students the quality educational training they deserve. Agencies like the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education ( http://www.ncate.org/ ) are approved to fully accredit qualifying education training programs online.

DISCLAIMER: Above is a GENERIC OUTLINE and may or may not depict precise methods, courses and/or focuses related to ANY ONE specific school(s) that may or may not be advertised at PETAP.org.

Copyright 2010 – All rights reserved by PETAP.org.

Educational Versus Edutainment Toys

Today’s parents feel pressured to use technology to begin their child’s education in utero. For example, the BabyPlus Prenatal Education System promises to “give your baby a headstart” by playing rhythmic patterns to help stimulate early learning. It is time, therefore, to step back and evaluate the true value of toys that incorporate technology to teach.

Toys that are formed from high-tech electronics embedded with semiconductor chips are generally known as edutainment toys. The quality and substance of their play may be limited by the number of buttons a child can push. Some promise to challenge a child by allowing him or her to interact with the educational content to learn it. For example, V.Smile offers a Baby Infant Development System aimed at introducing interactive learning to kids 9 months to 3 years. They can watch educational videos with this system or push buttons on a tray to influence what is happening on a television screen.

Some older toys are also adding electronic bells and whistles to appeal to the current technologically sophisticated generation of children. Dolls now interact with the Internet. Wooden Brio trains make electronic sounds and can be controlled by infrared remotes. The classic Fisher-Price Rock-A-Stack now also comes in a Dance Baby Dance version whose center rod lights up and plays songs when the rings are stacked on it.

Open vs. Closed-ended Toys

An open-ended toy encourages free play with an unlimited number of outcomes. For example, a building set can be used to construct a variety of different structures. A closed-ended toy, on the other hand, has a limited and often soon exhausted number of outcomes.

Not all closed-ended toys are bad. After all, a stacker is a classic closed-ended educational toy: it can only be put together correctly in one way. However, to solve a stacker, a child must develop and use logic and fine motor skills. The child benefits from the repetition of playing with the pieces of a stacker, manipulating them with his or her fingers over and over and thinking about how they fit together until the solution is mastered and then repeated for pleasure.

A closed-ended edutainment toy, on the other hand, may only require a child to press a few buttons. Eventually, it leads to a dead end and the child grows bored and tosses the toy aside. As Martha B. Bronson notes in The Right Stuff for Children Birth to Eight, although a child can have a rich play experience with any toy, basic, open-ended toys encourage this type of experience more than rigidly programmed toys with only one or two functions do. This sort of edutainment toy is not timeless. It is meant to be replaced sooner rather than later by the next big product in edutainment that uses the latest in technological innovations.

Often people assume that toys that use new technology are more innovative and educational than non-technological educational toys. In fact, childhood specialists such as Jane Roberts (president of Young Media Australia, a consumer advocacy group), question how educational and interactive high-tech edutainment toys really are, noting that “[p]ressing buttons and having items do things for you is fairly limiting in terms of how children learn.” Furthermore, many traditional toys are themselves becoming more innovative about stimulating a child’s imagination and creativity without having electronics in them. For example, the blocks in FoxMind’s Cliko game can be used for a variety of games that are challenging to children and adults alike.

Negative Impacts of Edutainment Toys

Overall, parents might not want to encourage children, especially younger ones, to use too often edutainment toys that involve televisions and computer screens. The authors of “Effects of Preschool Television Watching on First-Grade Children,” found that preschoolers who watched more television than their peers did worse in school and were not as well socialized when they entered first grade. Researchers Frederick Zimmerman and Dr. Dimitri Christakis found that babies watching Baby Einstein DVDs and videos scored lower on language skills than babies who had never watched them at all.

In addition, Allison Sloan notes in Shopper’s Guide to Healthier, Greener Toys that computers and television sets emit EMFs, “invisible forcefields whose possible health effects, from headaches to sleep disruption to cancer, are the subject of heated debate.” Children’s developing brains are in the greatest danger from such outside influences.

A final caution about edutainment toys is that they can foster in children an acceptance of a disposable consumer culture. A timeless toy such as a set of wooden unit blocks will hold up under heavy use for generations and can be played with at the same time by children (and adults!) of a variety of ages. Edutainment toys, on the other hand, are usually played with by only one child at a time, and they generally have a shorter playtime and life span. Children quickly master and get bored of them, or their high-tech components break, rendering the toy useless, and then they are discarded, releasing toxic chemicals and metals into the environment.

What Parents Can Do

As technology and the Internet permeate society and people’s lives more and more, it does make sense to introduce children to computers and other inventions that they will need to use as they grow older. A toy is not necessarily bad or useless because it incorporates technology. That said, smart parents should examine the stated purpose of an edutainment toy, evaluate how and what it teaches, and determine if their children could receive equal or greater value from a simpler, classic toy. Roberts warns against the dangers of a parent using high-tech toys as babysitters, substituting interaction with a machine such as a single-player computer game for what should be “the best learning for young children-real-life experience when they model, create, explore, and develop their own initiatives through play.”