Saturday, September 11, 2010

What is Educational Technology?

The definition of "educational technology" is ever evolving. There are currently 4 perspectives that help define educational technology. Technology as 1)media and audio visual communications 2)instructional systems and designs 3)vocational training and 4)computer systems. Educational technology combines all of these and can be seen as the process and tools involved in addressing educational needs and problems.

Ongoing training needs to given to educators at all levels since technology tools are constantly emerging and changing. Other factors that influence education and technology use are -

Societal- Economics, the downturn in the economy has hit all levels including education, but the question remains will education receive those funds back as the economy improves. We must move ahead with the expectation that it will not. Anti-technology positions, some say there are too many risks associated with technology such as privacy, internet cyberporns and predators as well as competing dollars for other programs such as music and the arts. NCLB, has also impacted this as educational funding has dwindled but the expectations for educators to meet the needs of all students has risen. How to allocate funds is based on priorities that have research to back it up. This makes it ever more challenging to justify technology expenses along with potential risks to student users. Continued research results and best practices will help in this endeavor.

Educational- Standards movement, having to meet high stakes tests may allow technology use to help students and teachers reach this goal. Internet and Distance education, allows access to courses and degrees that might not otherwise be attainable. Directed vs. Inquiry-based instruction, long used and well validated is directed instruction. Inquiry-based is more modern but is still gathering data to prove effectiveness and how it meets the standards.

Cultural- Digital divide, the discrepancy in access to technology affected by economic status, race, gender and special needs.

Legal and Ethical- Viruses and Hacking, the ability to safeguard against these have sometimes restricted use. Plagiarism, greater online access makes easier for students to plagiarize but sites have also emerged to help teachers"catch" this and hopefully quell it. Privacy/safety, making sure to instruct all about guarding personal information. Copyright, online availability to publications sets up the need to make sure that teachers and students are aware of copyright laws for published works, even if found on the internet.

With all this information, it is easy to see what educators that want technology included in education are up against. Arming ourselves with this information and then building upon it, we hope to inform the communities we are in (starting within our school -with teachers, administrators and parents to reaching out to local businesses in the community that have a vested interest in the success of our schools) that technology is not supplemental to the education process but needs to be an integral part of education. Getting the community to understand the growing needs of society and to see that technology has reached into every realm of work. By introducing and allowing students experience with many forms of technology will equip them for an ever changing future.


  1. I enjoyed your emphasis on community involvement and awareness. I feel that society has an unspoken assumption that students exit the public education system fully prepared for college and/or the work force. It goes without saying that advanced computer skills are required for both of those paths, so it is ironic to me that technology is such a hot-button issue. You are right that the key to success is technology integration rather than technology alone. Perhaps there is fear from the community because students who have appropriate technology training in the k-12 setting may be more prepared for adult life. Isn't it typical for the old generation to fear the progress of the youth?

  2. I agree with Brittany. I liked your emphasis on keeping the community involved and aware of what is going on with technology as an integral part of their students educational curriculum. The more people that we have collaborating towards meeting the needs of our students, the better. And, I also agree, that it doesn't matter that their is no money coming into education right now, we need to continue moving forward, even if it's in small increments of technology improvements and additions.

  3. Great Post! I also wonder if we will get funds back for technology when the economy comes back. Currently at my school it seems that PTA is picking up the slack for budget short falls, not just in technology.

    How can we keep students safe from everything? Its so hard and as a teacher a huge responsibility. I try to put together approved website for students when taking them to do research. It helps them stay focused and safe. More work for me but in the long run I believe it is worth it.

    Technology is coming at our students from so many directions and it changes so fast. I don't ever want to be the old lady teacher that doesn't know how to use the technology in her classroom.