DALET Up to the Challenge
Educational technology is having quite a moment.
In March 2020, the pandemic forced an almost overnight shift from face-to-face teaching to online. The ensuing evolution of hybrid (or blended) learning continues to challenge educators and students alike.
“This is the most exciting and fraught time in educational technology,” agrees James Diamond, PhD, assistant professor and faculty lead the Johns Hopkins School of Education Digital Age Learning and Educational Technology program (DALET). “We are witnessing in real-time the necessity of practitioners designing and implementing educational tools and environments with equitable outcomes for all learners.”
Big changes bring lots of questions—and exciting opportunities for DALET to lead in shaping the needed answers. “This massive systemic shift and societal migration to a new learning modality means that we need problem solvers and systems thinkers who understand these technologies and meet the many different learning needs of children and adults,” Diamond adds.
Founded two decades ago and now part of the school’s Department of Counseling and Educational Studies, DALET went fully online eight years ago. About 65 students enroll annually in DALET’s master’s and certificate programs, including a growing number of educators serving adult learners.
To meet the moment, DALET has redesigned a core course to give educators the tools and skills needed for a quick shift to digital pedagogies. The new course, Critical Perspectives on Educational Technology, encourages students to question the agendas of educational technology creators. “Our students need to ask for whom do these technologies work, for whom do they not, and how Big Tech influences diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Diamond says.
On July 1, a national leader in anti-racist education joins DALET’s faculty. Assistant Professor Josh Schuschke’s expertise on Black identity on social media will enhance DALET’s exploration of this critical field.
This June, DALET unveils its first MOOC: Social Entrepreneurship and Educational Technology. Co-designed by Diamond, Veena Radhakrishnan, EdD, and Jeremy Zhang, PhD, the MOOC is a pipeline to DALET’s degree and certificate programs.
New post-pandemic specializations also are underway. In fall 2023, the Learning Experience Design specialty moves DALET into the cutting-edge learning engineering and learning design space. In spring 2023, specialties in K-12 Technology Integration, Social Entrepreneurship in Education Technology, and Online Teaching and Learning for Adults join its offerings.
“Good teaching is good teaching—that’s not changing, but we need to train teachers, schools, and systems for hybrid and at-home learning,” says an enthused Diamond. “It’s a great time to be in this field.”