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Studying technology/games in education


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I'd like to study what often seems to be called "educational technology." Specifically, I'm interested in serious games and other interactive technologies for classroom use. My ultimate goal is to work for a game developer or a tech company as an education consultant, so I'm not planning to be a classroom teacher in the long-term or go to the PhD level in academia. I would, however, like to build up my credentials in the field of education, and study the science of learning.

I'm looking for guidance on programs as the Masters level and would love any suggestions of schools that would fit the bill.

A couple hitches:

1. I am one of those guilt-ridden people who dropped out of TFA after one year. In my case, it wasn't because of my teaching experience. I was a great teacher, the principal loved me, I got amazing evaluations. But I had to leave the city for personal reasons, and (luckily) another member of my TFA cohort was in need of a job and took my place. So, I took a few credits toward an M.A. while I was part of the program, but that's it. I'm not sure how to explain this in my applications.

2. I've been working in the non-profit world for my entire adult life while living in NYC. My savings are small and my partner has been unemployed for almost a year. I can't spend 30K+ on a masters degree from Harvard, Stanford, etc. If cost weren't a factor, I'd be looking at Harvard's Technology, Innovation, and Education program or Stanford's Learning Design and Technology program. Other programs I am considering are Oregon's Educational Technology and Virtual Schools program, or UT-Austin's Instructional Technology program.

I have roughly 8 years work experience in media and education:

1 year kindergarten classroom teaching (TFA)

2 years as a museum educator at a film museum, 1 year at a history museum

2 years as the education manager at an arts/media non-profit

4 years producing public programs at a television/radio/media museum

I got my B.A. in film in 2003 (yep, I'm old!) from a well-respected liberal arts school (GPA 3.5ish?) and I took the GRE a few years ago, got something like 740 V 700 Q, if I remember correctly.

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Indiana University has an excellent Learning Sciences program with a lot of researchers doing educational technology-related work. They have both Masters and PhD programs. Worth checking out, plus their department is top-notch.

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My two copper pieces:

Apply to Harvard's TIE program. I, too, was income-restricted, and found that Harvard offers fairly substantial need-based aid. It sounds like your background and past academic performance might also qualify you for other grants, scholarships, and/or fellowships.

In addition, you can always apply as a part-time student (a rare, but not unheard-of option) and work full time in the Boston area, which would allow you to basically "pay as you go" while you work for two years and complete the program.

Prioritize finding a program that is the best fit, then find ways to make it work. I "lived like a student" for the 9 months it took to complete the EdM full time (lots of Ramen noodles!), which, along with need and merit-based aid, helped to cut costs drastically.

Good luck!

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Thanks, cogscipixie -- I don't think I could get my SO to agree to Indiana, but I know they have a very good department.

Tut - I was definitely interested in that program, but I've read on other boards that people had a lot of difficulty getting financial aid. Complicating factor is that my SO has been unemployed for nearly a year, so we need to be especially wary about finances. On the other hand, if most other programs take 2 years, maybe getting it done in 1 would be cheaper in the long run?

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