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Union launches iPad component, new concentrations to Master of Education degree

Union is offering two new concentrations in its Master of Education degree program, and all students in the program will be provided with an iPad.
Union is offering two new concentrations in its Master of Education degree program, and all students in the program will be provided with an iPad.

JACKSON, Tenn.March 12, 2012 – Union University’s School of Education will offer two new concentrations for its Master of Education degree starting in June, both of which will integrate the newest iPad technology.

“We are on the cutting edge of some wonderful innovations in teacher education,” said Tom Rosebrough, executive dean of Union’s College of Education and Human Studies. Beginning in June, all M.Ed. students will be provided with the new iPad, which will function as a “driving component of the new curriculum,” according to Carren Gallaher, director of the M.Ed. program in Hendersonville. Students in the degree program will now be able to choose between an “Instructional Leadership” concentration for the licensure of principals and supervisors, and a “Teaching and Learning” concentration for experienced classroom teachers.

As part of the revamped degree program, the School of Education has created a series of instructional videos that will be posted on iTunes U. The videos will provide instruction on the basics of iPad operation, as well as how teachers can effectively use iPads to improve learning in the classroom. Rosebrough comments,

“Graduate students can access an entire course in one app, reading books and viewing presentations, including their own,” Rosebrough said. “It is amazing technology wedded to quality professional development.”

“In public schools in particular, we have a bad track record of having new technology – we spend a lot of money, we put it in the classrooms, we train the teachers how to use the actual piece of equipment, but no one really trains the teacher how to use it in an instructional way,” said Ben Phillips, associate professor of educational leadership at Union. “That’s one thing we’re trying to be sure we do.”

Stephen Marvin, assistant professor of education and director of the Master of Education program in Germantown, said one of the ways students can use the iPad is to create reflective teaching lessons.

“We want our students to be able to have a clinical teaching experience and then reflect on that,” Marvin said. “So they’ll video themselves teaching, go back and watch that video and then create either a video or audio reflection, rather than just writing that out.”

Eric Marvin, associate professor of education in Germantown, said many large universities are increasingly turning to iPad technology in classroom instruction. He cited a study from the University of Notre Dame in which students indicated that iPads encourage exploration of additional course topics, help manage time, provide new functions and tools, increase learning and make courses more interesting.

In addition to the iPad, the Master of Education program in June will offer an increased number of interactive online class periods as an integral part of class scheduling.

The Master of Education degree is available at all Union University locations – Jackson, Germantown and Hendersonville. Union is accepting applications for the program’s cohorts starting in June. More information is available at www.uu.edu/med.

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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