Lei Li with her students

Lei Li with her students

“I have a strong belief in dual-language education, and my goal is to be a language program leader in the world, to influence more people in this adventure,” says Lei Li, who holds a B.A. in Foreign Languages from the University of Science and Technology of China, and an M.A. in TESOL [Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages] from CSU–San Bernardino. For the past decade, she has been teaching Mandarin in public schools.

Her goal is what led Li to San Diego State University’s M.A. in Educational Leadership online program. Ranked #1 in California and #11 in best Online M.A. programs in the U.S., it’s designed for educators who seek to lead the revolution in training students to use technology in tandem with critical thinking.

“I have several colleagues that have been through this wonderful program, and they all recommended it to me,” says Li, who felt the online component was critical to her success.

“My schedule is very busy, I work full time and have two kids,” she says. “Having it online enabled me to use every little bit of my spare time to read and work. I don’t need to waste my precious time in traffic and can work according to my schedule. It worked very well. I completed this program while I was in China.”

After earning her master’s through the 15-month program, Li was chosen to lead several school programs in the Lakeside Union School District, including the science coaching program. “We model how we use new technology in our science units to influence students,” says Li. “There were only several teachers chosen to lead this program. I have learned a lot and my students benefited from this program as well.”

One science-unit example of how Li uses technology with her grade-school students is to have them access select YouTube videos on their IPADs by way of QR codes. The videos feature different pets, and students write and draw their observations on their IPADs about each pet’s appearance, where it lives, what it eats, and the care required.

“After the unit of introducing the pets, students vote for their class pet, make a habitat for the one they chose and, lastly, the teacher could buy that pet and the real habitat for them,” says Li. “After the whole unit, they use Seesaw [a digital portfolio] to record their work and send it to their parents so they can watch it and give them comments.”

The M.A. program is a cohort model, with all students taking courses in a set sequence as a group. The 10 courses are taught by renowned university professors and leading educational practitioners. Classes begin mid-August and conclude the following year.

Learn more about SDSU’s MA in Educational Leadership online program. The application deadline for the Spring 2019 cohort is Nov. 1.