By UNH TODAY
The state’s first Sixth-Year Diploma in Instructional Technologies and Digital Media Literacy will be offered at the University of New Haven beginning in September.
The diploma, one academic level above a master’s degree, is designed for elementary and secondary school teachers who want advanced education but are not looking to leave classroom teaching, said professor Nancy Niemi, chair of education.
“A significant number of sixth-year diploma holders do not want to leave active teaching but do want to continue their professional development,” she said. “The goal of this program is to provide schools with teachers who have the expertise to take full advantage of new literacies and instructional technologies that are becoming increasingly common.”
Literacy has shifted from page to screen, she says. The digital world – textbooks on iPads, distance learning, Internet learning modules and other advances in instructional technologies, for example – has moved so quickly that even teachers under 30 who grew up with exposure to web technologies and computer networks do not have enough training, Niemi said.
“The vast majority of teachers today have had very limited exposure to such tools in any capacity.”
The program is especially relevant, Niemi said, because electronic technologies permit teachers to adapt programs for people with disabilities and to provide much-needed critical analytic ability on the high school level.
One-sixth of the world’s population, 1.34 billion people, now use the Internet in some capacity to read, write, communicate, learn and solve problems.
“Studies by the Pew Research Center say that if this rate continues to grow, more than half of the world’s population will be using the Internet in several years and nearly the entire world will be using it 10 to 15 years from now.” Niemi said. “Teachers must be ready to cope meaningfully with these changes.”
The 36-credit program can be completed in one year and will be offered in a hybrid format with traditional classroom and online courses at UNH’s Sawmill Campus in West Haven.