For our first assignment in EDTECH 504, I had to write a definition of Educational Technology. My definition and reasoning are pasted below.
Before I started taking classes at BSU, I thought of Educational Technology as the hardware and software that was used in class. I viewed the tools that we had available as being what technology is. Learning about educational technology, then, meant learning about what tools were available, and learning how to use the tools I had more efficiently.
My definition of Educational Technology has grown over the last couple of months, though. Now, my working definition needs to include how a teacher can set up the learning environment to be most beneficial. The tools of educational technology are still there, but the focus has shifted to the whole learning environment instead of just the use of tools. Creating and managing the learning environment in new and different ways is something that educational technology allows us to do. As Hlynka and Jacobsen (2009) pointed out, these different jobs have historically been done by different people. Textbook writers created content, teachers managed the classroom, and students did the work. Now, teachers can curate their own content, or students can find their own content, and so on. The roles can blend together through the use of educational technology..
My working definition of Educational Technology will also need to include something about the goal of the technology being to improve learner experiences and outcomes. As Luppicini (2005) says, Educational Technology can be viewed as a “goal oriented problem-solving systems approach” (p. 107). The goal isn’t just to use the best, shiniest new toys. The goal is to to improve the current state of affairs in education. This can only be done by having a plan for how the technology will be used at all levels, from the classroom, to the district, to the state and national levels.
To put it all together in a succinct definition, I would say that Educational Technology is the systematic use of all available tools to create, manage and use a learning environment where students are able to have authentic experiences and improve their educational outcomes.
Luppicini, R. (2005). A Systems Definition of Educational Technology in Society. Educational Technology & Society, 8(3), 103–109.
Dorbolo, J. (2003). Alan Januszewski, educational technology: The development of a concept [Review of the book Educational technology: The development of a concept by Alan Januszewski ]. Ethics and Information Technology, 2003, 5(1), 68-70.
Hlynka, D., & Jacobsen, M. (2009). What is educational technology, anyway?: A commentary on the new AECT definition of the field. Canadian Journal of Learning & Technology, 35(2), 9.