Technical skills are in extremely high demand in the workforce and many colleges are launching or expanding new STEM programs in response.
But offering these courses require schools to have the proper resources, Wylie Wong writes for EdTech Magazine. He profiles successful programs that made investments in:
- Creating curricula;
- Hiring qualified faculty;
- Physical space ; and
- State-of-the-art technology.
At Indiana University (IU)'s media school, for instance, teaching students the "science of video game design" requires 25-inch LED monitors, 65-inch HDTV's, PC's, tablets, and the many different models of game stations on the market.
Without the cutting-edge hardware and software, Edward Castronova, the director of the game design program, says the school's game design program would be unable to equip students with what they really need to land jobs: a strong portfolio of work.
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Using the materials, students are able to experiment and design their own games—and ultimately offer these projects to employers as evidence of their expertise.
Chabane Maidi, the manager of IU's gaming lab, adds that keeping these technologies truly up-to-date is vital, which is why the program has to be ready to adapt to change as technologies advance.
Other institutions are empowering instructors from across campus to incorporate new technology into their teaching.
For example, Georgetown University plans to establish a graduate program called "Learning and Design," which will prepare educators for careers in education technology.
Eddie Maloney, the executive director of Georgetown's Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship, adds that preparing instructors to teach these skills isn't just a matter of equipping them to use the tools themselves. It's also a matter of preparing them to think about new ways to use it.
And the education goes both ways—Maloney explains that "our students can not only help with the adoption of cutting-edge technology, but also help faculty understand it" (Wong, Ed Tech Magazine, 4/25).
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