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A Teacher With a Love of Learning Wants to Extend Her Career Using Her LDT Degree

A Teacher With a Love of Learning Wants to Extend Her Career Using Her LDT Degree

Beth Littlejon has been a lifelong teacher. She’s been teaching since the 1970’s when she graduated with her undergraduate degree, and has taught middle school for most of her teaching career. She has also been an avid learner for much of her life, achieving her master’s degree in 1997, and her specialists degree in 2001, but also many add-ons and certifications along the way. She became addicted to learning when she graduated with her undergrad degree, seeing everyone with their “funny little hats getting into it” and she thought “I want a funny little hat and a hood.”

When Beth found out about UGA’s online M. Ed in Learning, Design and Technology program, she decided she wanted this to be the next step in her learning journey. She’s been teaching online since she got tech-certified in the early 2000s, and when she found an online certificate program, she thought, “How sweet.” At her age, teaching all day and driving around gets really tiring. So, she spoke to Michael Orey, a professor of the Learning, Design and Technology program, and got approved as the first part-time doctoral student of the LDT program. “I realized I have a thing for this online learning,” says Beth. “And when I switched to Learning Design and Technology, I thought…This could extend my career and I could be retired from public school and be adjunct at a couple of different schools, extend my finances.”

Her first experience with online classes with Walden University wasn’t her favorite, since the classes were mostly asynchronous, and she needed a certain level of collegiality. She’s enjoyed the synchronous component of her classes at UGA, which include class meetings or projects which provide interaction between professors and students. A big thing she’s noticed with her interactions with her online professors versus professors she’s had in a brick and mortar setting is the realness. Her online professors are very understanding of the situations going on in Beth’s life. “They keep up with things like my mother dying last year…They’re very understanding that sometimes life can get away, and that if assignments had a due date of today, it’ll be okay for them to be turned in tomorrow.”

A really interesting part of Beth’s experience with online learning and learning design is her interest in gamification. Nearing the age of 60, some would think it unusual for her to be so involved in the gaming world, but it’s one of her biggest passions. She enjoys 2-D games the most, like Age of Empires, AlphaBetty, and even some classics such as Zelda on Super Nintendo and Sonic the Hedgehog on Sega. This past year, since she’s gone back to the elementary school environment, she’s gearing up to do research on the use of games in the elementary school environment and their effect on motivation. “I am old, but I am not dodgy,” Beth states jovially. “Dodgy, older teachers think the classroom needs to be quiet and calm. My classroom is not generally very quiet.”

Overall, her experience with the Learning, Design and Technology program at UGA has been positive and has made Beth very optimistic about the future of her career. Even though she’s older than the traditional student, she still has a lot of learning–and teaching–left to do. “It’s just really, really exciting,” says Beth. “The things that I’m learning to teach with are going to make such a difference, and thankfully I have supportive administrators and that’s always a good thing.”