Technology is ever expanding. Each year brings us new tools and gadgets and formats. As technology changes, the definition of educational technology expands to accommodate new options.
The current definition of “educational technology” by the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) is shown below.
Educational technology is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources.
When I consider educational technology tools to use in the classroom, what I want to know first is if the tool improves student learning. I have seen time and money wasted chasing after the latest technological advancement only to discover that student learning was not effected, or worse, student learning declined.
As our society has become more technologically advanced, we have expanded student learning goals. For example, skills I did not learn until college are now introduced in basic algebra classes. In order to meet this demand, our teaching must become more efficient. Technology is one means we can capitalize on to increase efficiency.
The AECT has written a more thorough explanation for each of the key words in their definition of educational technology. Taking their commentary for how “improving” is key in educational technology, I created the Wordle image to the right. This image graphically shows the top 50 words used. The larger the word, the more often it appeared. Notice what stands out. “Goals” and “learning” are most obvious. The next levels down include “efficiency,” “efficient,” “claim,” and “time.”
From this image and my reading, I take away the following. For educational technology to improve learning, the technological tool must help students meet learning goals efficiently. This increase in efficiency should decrease the time needed to master a skill or objective. And before a tool is used in the classroom, claims related to learning improvement must be backed by better results and better student application of a skill or objective in the real world.
Januszewski , A. (2007). Educational technology: a definition with commentary. New York, NY: Routledge.
Wordle image created at Wordle.net.
Technology graphic made by dougbelshaw on Flickr.
- How Technology Must Change Education – Edudemic (sharingtree.wordpress.com)
- The Future of Computer and Internet Use in Schools (education.com)
- In Classroom of Future, Stagnant Scores (nytimes.com)