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Hybrid Master’s Helps Educators Integrate Technology and Global Learning to Support Diverse Learners

Teachers continually have to come up with new and unique ways to keep children engaged in the classroom. NC State’s New Literacies and Global Learning (NLGL) Master’s Program, a hybrid of online and face-to-face courses, helps experienced teachers learn cutting-edge instructional dispositions and approaches to better engage their students and enhance their overall learning experience.

“Teachers are eager to learn transformative practices that serve the culturally diverse classrooms in which they teach. Our program models innovative, high-impact instructional practices that are research-based,” said Professor and Senior Research Fellow Hiller SpiresShe teaches in the College of Education’s Department of Teacher Education and Learning Sciences and coordinates the NLGL program. The program is taught by a number of world-renowned faculty

Spires said the program, which was developed in 2009, focuses on advanced learning for literacy specialists and social studies and English language arts teachers.  It supports teachers to better serve culturally, linguistically, and socio-economically diverse students as well as to develop global understandings in a constantly changing world.  “Today’s students need to have the mindsets and skills to connect internationally with people from other cultures in order to develop global competence that is vital to higher education, the workforce, and an active citizenry. Our NLGL graduates understand and embrace this challenge,” Spires said.

The program has been attracting international teachers in recent years. According to Spires, the Beijing Royal School (BRS) in China has sent more than 20 of their teachers to complete the program. Once they graduate, the educators return to China to teach in their school, which contributes to the global influence of NC State’s program.

“The NLGL program provides the learning environment for educators to go from being good teachers to great teachers,” Spires said.

Within the program, Spires teaches an online course called New Literacies and Media. She said the course helps educators understand what it means to be literate in contemporary times as a result of emerging technologies. “Teachers critically examine media in our society as well as learn to thoughtfully integrate digital tools as part of their instructional repertoire,” said Spires. Students who enroll in the NLGL master’s degree program can expect to use a variety of free web tools, including but not limited to Weebly, Animoto and Storyboard. They will then be able to adapt these tools in their K-12 classrooms to support students with inquiry-based learning.

The NLGL master’s degree program is a great avenue for teachers to become a part of a dynamic professional learning community. Spires said one of the key features of the NLGL program is that it supports and encourages experienced teachers to become leaders within education, expanding their spheres of influence.

“Many of our graduates move into leadership roles within their schools and districts, sharing and modeling the state-of-the-art teaching approaches they learned within our program,” Spires said. She also mentioned that many students who graduate from the program stay connected with former professors and peers to continue to learn from one another.

Learn more about NC State’s NLGL master’s program and how to apply for Fall 2017.