When I was a first-year doctoral student three years ago I recall a moment when a lady I approached for directions to an office I was looking for at Oklahoma State University – Stillwater campus asked if I could fix the formatting on her graduate students’ thesis. I was caught off guard, and I said I could not help out with that because that’s not what I do. The lady thought I was knowledgeable in IT and could fix anything related to technology because I told her I was a doctoral student in educational technology. I had to correct her, and now I am letting you all know what the heck is educational technology.
What is educational technology?
If you type in “definition of educational technology” on the google search engine, you will get 226,000,000 results. I am not going to siphon through all of the results nor will I use Wikipedia as the definition of educational technology.
The first definition I will use for this post comes from the Association for Educational Communications & Technology (AECT) 2012 standards, which is a leading association for educational technology:
"Educational technology is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources."
The second source for defining educational technology comes from The Encyclopedia of Educational Technology:
"Educational technology is a systematic, iterative process for designing instruction or training used to improve performance."
To keep it simple educational technology is a systematic process for facilitating learning and improving performance with appropriate technology.
Is educational technology all about technology?
One of the main components of educational technology comes from assessing the need and cost factor. Last year a client I was working with that helped adult educators bring technology in the classroom had a significant setback that the educators faced, the cost and buy-in from their institution.
Educational technology is not about selecting the latest technology in the classroom that will change the way students learn. There is a lot that goes into using technology in the classroom. For example, does the institution have enough financial resources to purchase and maintain the technology for the long term? Does technology integrate into the curriculum? How will educators be trained in the use of technology?
Educational Technology fade
Educational technology has been around for over a century with the start of motion pictures and the radio. Thomas Edison once declared that videos would do away with textbooks. That was at the beginning of the 20th century, and we are still using books in the classroom in the 21st century.
Educational technology is not responsible for the latest technology fade that comes into education (e.g., MOOC, Smartboard). What educational technology does is that it facilitates technology and certainly does not do the teaching. Educational technology is not responsible for technology fades in the classroom just as pizza is not the sole responsibility for people’s obesity.
Educators need to their homework first before falling for the latest educational technology fade.
Educational technology is a systematic process for facilitating learning and improving performance with appropriate technology. When using technology in the classroom educate yourself on the technology and see who it will improve performance in your class.
Dr. J Real Talk
Discussing business, ed tech, and life. Follow me on social media @DrJRealTalk