Irene Bal, M.M.Ed., M.Ed., assistant teaching professor at Loyola University Maryland in the School of Education’s M.Ed. in Educational Technology program, was recently honored as the 2021-22 Outstanding Educator Using Technology Award Winner by the Maryland Society for Educational Technology (MSET) and Bluum. The Outstanding Educator Award is given annually to an outstanding educator that supports MSET’s mission of advancing excellence in teaching and leading with technology.
Bal was recognized during a virtual presentation among Loyola faculty.
“I am so ecstatic to have Irene as our Outstanding Educator honoree this year,” Brian Cook, MSET president, shared during the presentation. “She is the epitome of a hard worker and goes above and beyond to support high-quality instruction.”
A certified PreK-12th grade music educator, Bal has received many technology and design, development, and implementation grants for innovative learning experiences in all her educator roles.
“It is truly an honor to be awarded the Outstanding Educator Award and for being recognized for advancing excellence in teaching with technology,” Bal said. “Being awarded the Outstanding Educator Award not only acknowledges my work in educational technology, but also recognizes the amazing work of my students who integrate educational technology into their PK-12th grade classrooms every day.”
Bal not only teaches educational technology courses on multimedia design, innovation, research, and leadership in K-12 schools, but she also teaches with educational technology, modeling best practices and integrating innovative digital tools, techniques, and emerging research for her students.
“Irene Bal’s excitement for what she teaches, and her technique of exposing students to as many hands-on situations as possible, encourages even the most reluctant of learners,” said Pattie Holy-Ilenda, M.Ed. ’19, who nominated Bal for the award and now serves as an Educational Technology affiliate instructor and Educational Technology Advisory Board member. “I will always remember how Irene pushed me to do my best in all circumstances, all the while providing opportunities for me to move beyond my comfort zone and attempt new challenges.”
Bal’s students regularly receive grants, publish in local and international blogs, attend global EdTech conferences, and take on leadership opportunities in their schools, districts, and at the state and international levels.
“Irene understands purposeful technology integration and recognizes the importance of knowing learners,” said Kelly Keane, Ed.D., program director and senior lecturer of Loyola’s Master of Education in Educational Technology. “She models a creative use of technology in the classroom and knows that doing so demands a solid pedagogy that is founded in a healthy culture where each and every student is appreciated and each student’s talents are celebrated.”
Bal presents globally at local, regional, and international conferences, such as the International Society for Technology in Education, Common Ground Maryland, and the Association for Educational Communications and Technology. Her research has led to recent publications on micro-credentials, innovative technology in the classroom, and leadership roles for graduate students.
She is currently enrolled in the Instructional Design & Technology Ph.D. program at Old Dominion University.