The 5 Keys to Educational Technology — THE Journal

The 5 Keys to Educational Technology — THE Journal

Ed Tech | Viewpoint

The 5 keys to educational technology

What is educational technology? What are its purposes and objectives, and how can it be better implemented? Hap Aziz, director of Rasmussen College’s School of Technology and Design, explores what he calls the “five key components” to approaching educational technology.

Educational technology is the implementation considered of appropriate tools, techniques or processes that facilitate the application of the senses, memory and cognition a promote teaching practices i improve learning outcomes.

Educational technology has a multifaceted nature that includes a cyclical process, an arsenal of tools (both physical and conceptual) and a multi-node relationship between learners and facilitators of instruction, as well as between learners themselves. This nature makes it a bit difficult to provide a specific definition based on particular technologies (even though “technology” is embedded in the term) at a given time. Attempting to apply meaning to the term in this way was a major flaw in previous field definitions. Therefore, I have chosen to develop a broader definition that does not depend on any particular interpretation of technology: past, present, or future. The breadth of my definition allows the idea of ​​“technology” to encompass processes as well as objects and artifacts, and this is essential to ensure the longevity (and ultimately the meaning) of the definition.

There are five key components to my own definition of educational technology that are intended to link the many facets of the concept. The key parts of the definition are implicit in the terms chosen, and I have intentionally chosen this somewhat “in-line” approach in order to allow for future developments within the field (as well as serving my own preference for the statement economy). ). when anything of significant value is defined). The components of my definition are listed below along with a brief discussion of each component.

1. Implementation considered. Any technology, whether physical or conceptual, has value, beyond the purely philosophical, when it is implemented and subsequently used by a population. Implementation is essential, especially when it is understood that educational technology affects specific outcomes. The idea that implementation should be “considered” also means that there is an evaluation loop built into the process; as the results are measured, the actual use of the technology is repeated, while the ineffective use is improved or abandoned. Indiscriminate implementation is a frivolous use of intellectual, capital and temporal resources, and all too often it is found to be the methodology in educational settings. Finally, the implementation considered speaks of the need for effective leadership. What methodologies will be adopted? What tools will be acquired? The strong leader in education will provide the guidance needed to ensure the best use of resources.

2. Appropriate tools, techniques or processes. When I think of educational technology, this segment of my definition is probably the piece that first comes to mind. Almost thoughtfully, the general public, as well as the experienced educator, seeks the silver bullet to address the shortcomings of our education system, and the physical pitfalls of technology are especially seductive. Certainly, these objects have a demonstrable value; however, teaching and learning techniques and processes are at least as important. As educators and, more generally, as members of a society, we have developed methodologies for performing tasks and achieving the desired results. These methodologies have been perfected and continue to be perfected over time, just as the latest advances in computer technology continue to unfold non-stop and on a regular basis. It is quite important to include the “appropriate” modifier in this component, otherwise we see an increasing use of technology that does not add value to education but demands a high price, again in several categories of resources. Using the right tools, techniques, or processes is much more likely to lead to the results that educators want.

3. Facilitate the application of the senses, memory and cognition. It is in this component of my definition that I have moved further away from most existing definitions in the field. My intention here was to generalize the concept of learning both as a process of internalization and as a demonstration of ability. This formulation could serve as a summary of the Bloom taxonomy superimposed on the student, where the learning outcomes in the form of knowing, doing, and valuing are summarized by combining the human mind and body. But human capabilities are not entirely up to the demands of the modern teaching and learning enterprise, and this is where technology as a facilitator plays a role. The use of video to bring the depths of the universe closer to the student’s eyes; the use of the Internet to give the student instant access to the thoughts and observations of the greatest thinkers of mankind; these are examples of technology that facilitates the application of our own senses, memories, and cognitive skills.

4. Promote teaching practices. Learning in our formalized education context does not exist in a vacuum; that is, we not only offer learners access to information and resources with the expectation that they will learn through discovery. In fact, our educational infrastructure is largely based on the idea that the student will progress much faster under the tutelage of a qualified instructor, both knowledgeable in the subject and proficient in instructional methodologies. In the discussion of the previous component I presented my argument in favor of technology as a facilitator of learner education; technology must also provide assistance and support to instructors during the teaching and learning process. Demonstrations, illustrations, instruction through learning styles: all of these areas where technology can provide more influence to those who teach about students ’knowledge and understanding gaps.

5. Improve learning outcomes. Finally, everything else could turn out to be just pointless exercises if we are not able to improve learning outcomes. If no improvements are made with the adoption of new technologies, then it makes no sense to use any technology except the most basic one needed to achieve this immutable level of learning. Therefore, to justify the continuous experimentation and exploration of new technologies: smart classrooms, the use of podcasts, Internet access, laptops for all children, etc., we must evaluate our results, make incremental changes in our methodologies for addressing shortcomings, then re-evaluating, closing the loop to evaluate the effectiveness of our work. We are successful when we are able to show improved learning outcomes, and as long as our metrics accurately represent the entire cross-section of the student experience, we have a legitimate case for the continued use of technology in the teaching and learning effort.

There is a broad base of discussion and debate in the field about the multiple possible definitions of educational technology. It is recommended to read the following sources on the subject.

Januszewski, A. (2001). Educational technology: development of a concept. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited Inc.

Reiser, RA and Ely, DP (1997). The field of educational technology as reflected through its definitions. Research and development of educational technologies. Flight. 45, núm. 3, 63-72.

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