Educational Technology

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Educational Technology

Definition and Concept of Educational Technology

Educational technology (also called learning technology) is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources.  The term educational technology is often associated with, and encompasses, instructional theory and learning theory. While instructional technology covers the processes and systems of learning and instruction, educational technology includes other systems used in the process of developing human capability. Educational Technology includes, but is not limited to, software, hardware, as well as Internet applications and activities. Educational technology is most simply and comfortably defined as an array of tools that might prove helpful in advancing student learning. Educational Technology relies on a broad definition of the word "technology". Technology can refer to material objects of use to humanity, such as machines or hardware, but it can also encompass broader themes, including systems, methods of organization, and techniques. Some modern tools include but are not limited to overhead projectors, laptop computers, and calculators. Newer tools such as "smart phones" and games (both online and offline) are beginning to draw serious attention for their learning potential. Those who employ educational technologies to explore ideas and communicate meaning are learners or teachers. Consider the Handbook of Human Performance Technology. The word technology for the sister fields of Educational and Human Performance Technology means "applied science." In other words, any valid and reliable process or procedure that is derived from basic research using the "scientific method" is considered a "technology." Educational or Human Performance Technology may be based purely on algorithmic or heuristic processes, but neither necessarily implies physical technology. The word technology comes from the Greek "Techne" which means craft or art. Another word "technique", with the same origin, also may be used when considering the field Educational technology. So, Educational technology may be extended to include the techniques of the educator. A classic example of an Educational Psychology text is Bloom's 1956 book, Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. Bloom's taxonomy is helpful when designing learning activities to keep in mind what is expected of—and, what are the learning goals for—learners. However, Bloom's work does not explicitly deal with educational technology per se and is more concerned with pedagogical strategies.

Nature of Educational Technology

 
  1. The earliest concept of educational technology was linked with the use of audio-visual aids like charts, models, maps, specimens and concrete materials.
  2. With the advent of physical science and resulting electronic revolution there came an era of sophisticated hardware and software like projectors, tape-recorders, radio and television, educational technology was taken to mean sophisticated instruments and equipment used for presenting instructional material.
  3. Then came, the age of mass media that led to massive communications revolution for instructional purposes. Utilization of radio, television, teletext and computer assisted instruction for individualized learning thus brought more sophistication in the use of appliances and instruments for formal and informal education
  4. Then came the concept of programmed learning and programmed instruction for self-instruction and auto-instruction.
  5. Then came the application of theories of teaching and learning, micro-teaching, analysis of behaviour and systems approach. The emphasis on systems approach gave rise to other aspects of education like:
  • The educational planning or organization,
  • The psychology of learning
  • The curriculum development and course design
  • The product ion of teaching-learning material
  • Audio-visual method of presentation and dissemination of information, storage and retrieval,
  • The allocation and management of human and non-human resources
  • The cost effectiveness of medial in education
  • Innovation
  • Evaluations
Thus the nature of Educational Technology may be viewed from the entire teaching-learning processes like:
  • Specification of goals and behavioural objectives,
  • Analysis of the characteristics of the learner,
  • Selection and organization of the content or subject matter to be learned,
  • Methods and strategies of the presentation of the content,
  • Use of aid-material, software and hardware, mass media and communication techniques,
  • Effective arrangement of learning situations and learning environment,
  • Effective classroom control and management, and
  • Continuous feedback and evaluation of the results
 

Conclusion: In brief, Educational Technology is not confined to the use of audio-visual aids, software materials and hardware equipment or be limited to the use of psychological principles and instructional theories for bringing improvement and evaluation of the teaching-learning process. But a wise and judicious application of the available human and non-human resources for enhancement of the teaching-learning process and to provide appropriate solutions to the problems in education.

Characteristics of Educational Technology

  1. Meaning is social constructed and contextually reinvented
  2. Technology is everywhere(digital universe).
  3. Teaching is done teacher-to-student, student-to-student, and people-technology-people(co-constructivism)
  4. Schools are located everywhere (fully infused in society)
  5. Parents view schools as a place for them to learn, too
  6. Teachers are everybody, everywhere
  7. Hardware and software in schools are available at low cost and are used (strategically)
  8. Industry views graduates as co-workers or entrepreneurs
  Technology is changing the landscape of teaching and learning. Textbooks are being phased out, makerspaces are becoming increasingly common, and communication between teachers and students has never been easier or more abundant. Technology is unavoidable, and while some teachers may still feel hesitant about the changes that are coming fast and furiously in the wake of these advancements, most teachers want to embrace the potential. Teachers that are successfully integrating educational technology in their classrooms are beacons for their peers – and there is much they can teach us. Teachers who are successfully using edtech to grow their students share these ten important traits:
  1. They Are Flexible

Technology can be wonderful, enriching, and game-changing for students. It can help bridge the gap for struggling learners, it can bring distance learners together, and it can be an indomitable research tool. But technology can be unreliable. Technical glitches, unsteady internet connection, or a steep learning curve can throw a wrench in even the best-laid plans.  Teachers who are successfully using technology are flexible; they have a backup plan for when things go awry, they are patient as students learn new procedures and apps, and they are willing to adjust lessons if something isn’t working.
  1. They Have a Growth Mindset

Having a growth mindset means that you are capable of learning and growing and that things can – and will – get better with effort and practice. This is essential when integrating technology.  Like anything worthwhile, integrating edtech into your classroom can be difficult. It means having new routines, teaching new skills and strategies, and being patient while students adjust. But it also means there is great potential for growth and more meaningful learning. Teachers who are getting the most out of technology are willing to work, and occasionally be uncomfortable and uncertain, to grow themselves and their students.
  1. They Listen to the Students

Listening to student feedback helps teachers figure out what technology is working and what is not. Using technology can make learning much more student-centered as the students learn to seek out information for themselves. As a teacher’s role becomes more facilitative and less authoritative, good teachers will learn to listen to the students’ feedback so that they can adapt the classroom and the technology to meet the kids’ needs.
  1. They Embrace Change

Technology is fluid and constantly changing and improving. This means that teachers who successfully implement technology must also change and improve. Teachers who are bringing edtech into their classrooms are malleable and adaptive and see change not as a  hindrance, but as an opportunity.
  1. They Plan Ahead

Successfully incorporating technology into a classroom is not something that happens on the fly. Incorporating edtech requires careful research into what will work best for a particular lesson (and why). It requires a knowledge of what opportunities are available, and what is needed to bring them successfully to live in various environments. It also requires a lot of research into classroom management to avoid misuse of technology. This is tied closely to growth mindset: creating a technological classroom requires teachers who are willing to learn!
  1. They Collaborate

Technology is breaking down distance barriers. Teachers who use technology are more likely to collaborate, not only with their district coworkers (hello, cross-curricular opportunities!) but also with classes and schools across the country, and even across the globe. Building bridges between classes and schools makes learning more impactful for students, who can begin to apply the concepts they learn in real-world situations.
  1. They Read, Read, Read

Blogs, research studies, newsletters, journals: all of these are great resources on current trends in edtech. Teachers who are successfully implementing technology are staying current with the research and the latest trends in technology so that they can integrate those strategies in their classrooms.
  1. They Have a Backup Plan

If something does go wrong, teachers who use technology don’t give up! They have a backup plan, and a backup plan for that plan, too. They are ready for every situation – internet outages, network glitches, students who forget their technology at home, students who don’t know how to use the technology: all of these roadblocks are foreseen and planned for by expert teachers using edtech.
  1. They Are Student-Centered

Technology means that students are in the driver’s seat in the classroom. They are deciding what information they need to find and how, and what to do with that information. Teachers who are successfully implementing technology are willing to take a backseat to the students’ direction, and support students in whatever ways they can. It’s a shift in thinking, for sure, but it’s just one of many for dedicated educators helping students learn valuable 21st-century skills.
  1. They Care

Any good teacher – especially those successfully integrating edtech into their classrooms – cares for their students. They want what’s best for them, and they’re willing to use any strategy or resource in order to help their students reach their true potential. Technology changes the way students learn – and the way teachers teach. Change isn’t always easy, but it’s vital for teachers to emulate these characteristics so that students can be competitive and prepared for an ever-changing, technologically-driven world.

Types of Educational Technology

  Educational technology is the effective use of technological tools in learning. As a Concept, it concerns an array of tools, such as media, machines and networking hardware, as well as considering underlying theoretical perspectives for their effective application. Educational technology includes numerous types of media that deliver text, audio, images, animation, and streaming video, and includes technology applications and processes such as audio or video tape, satellite TV, CD-ROM, and computer-based learning, as ewll as local intranet/extranet and web-based learning. Information and communication systems, whether free-standing or based on either local networks оr the Internet in networked learning, underlie many e-learning processes. Educational technology is the effective use of technological tools in learning. As a Concept, іt concerns an arrayof tools, such as media, machines and networking hardware, as well as considering underlying theoretical perspectives for their effective application. Educational technology includes numerous types of media that deliver text, audio, images, animation, and streaming video, and includes technology applications and processes such as audio or video tape, satellite TV, CD-ROM, and computer-based learning, as ewll as local intranet/extranet and web-based learning. Information and communication systems, whether free-standing or based on either local networks оr the Internet in networked learning, underlie many e-learning processes.

1- Synchronous and Asynchronous

Learning can оccur in or out of the classroom. It can be self-paced, asynchronous learning оr may be instructor-led, synchronous learning. It is suited to distance learning and in conjunction with face-to-face teaching, which is termed blended learning. Virtual Classroom can be used by learners and educators in homes, schools (both K-12 and higher education), businesses, and other settings for effective online collaboration. Educational tools may eіther be synchrnonous or asynchronous. Synchronous learning pccurs in real-time, wіth all participants interacting at the same tіme, whіle asynchronous learning is self-paced and allows participants to engage in the exchange of ideas or information without the dependency of other participants′ involvement at the same time. Synchronous learning refers to the exchange of ideas and information with one оr more participants during the same period. Examples are face-to-face discussion, online real-time live teacher instruction and feedback, Skype conversations, and chat rooms or Virtual Classrooms where everyone is online and working collaboratively at the same time. Since students are working collaboratively, synchronized learning helps students create an open mind because they have to listen and learn from their peers. Synchronized learning fosters online awareness and improves many students writing skills.  Asynchronous learning may use technologies such as email, blogs, wіkis, and discussion boards, as well as web-supported textbooks, hypertext documents, audio, video courses, and social networking using web. In asynchronous online courses, students proceed at their own pace. If they need to listen to a lecture a second time, or think about a question for a while, they may do so without fearing that they will hold back the rest of the class. Through online courses, students can earn their diplomas more quickly, or repeat failed courses without the embarrassment of being in a class with younger students. Students have access to an incredible variety of enrichment courses in online learning, and can participate in college courses, internships, sports, or work and still graduate with their class.

2- Linear Learning

Computer-based training (CBT) refers to self-paced learning activities delivered on a computer or handheld device such as a tablet or smartphone. CBT initially delivered content via CD-ROM, and typically presented content linearly, much like reading an online book or manual. For this reason, CBT is often used to teach static processes, such as using software or completing mathematical equations. Computer-based training is conceptually similar to web-based training (WBT) which are delivered via Internet using a web browser.  Assessing learning in a CBT is often by assessments that can be easily scored by a computer such as multiple choice questions, drag-and-drop, radio button, simulation or other interactive means. Assessments are easily scored and recorded via online software, providing immediate end-user feedback and completion status. Users are often able to print completion records in the form of certificates.  CBTs provide learning stimulus beyond traditional learning methodology from textbook, manual, or classroom-based instruction. CBTs can be a good alternative to printed learning materials since rich media, including videos or animations, can be embedded to enhance the learning. 

3- Collaborative Learning

Computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) uses instructional methods designed to encourage or require students to work together on learning tasks. CSCL is similar in concept to the terminology, "e-learning 2.0" and "networked collaborative learning" (NCL). With technological Web 2.0 advances, sharing information between multiple people in a network has become much easier and use has increased. One of the main reasons for its usage states that it is "a breeding ground for creative and engaging educational endeavors. Using Web 2.0 social tools in the classroom allows for students and teachers to work collaboratively, discuss ideas, and promote information. The collaborative tools prepare students with technology skills necessary in today's workforce.   

Components of Educational Technology

  Looking through the lens of technology, education has become a kaleidoscope of emerging options.  Like Ben and Jerry in their creative approach to a chocolate and vanilla world, educators today have moved beyond black/white boards to a world of possibility.  Educational technology is a vast and open field of study.  According to AECT, it focuses on facilitating learning and improvement by “creating, using, and managing appropriate technology.”  Looking closely at current technology resources and how they impact or affect the process of learning, I will discuss the use and management of specific technology for the purpose of education.  In writing, I seek to answer questions surrounding; (1) How technology can improve teaching (2) How technology can improve learning, and finally; (3) How to improve educational technology to impact future learners. As an educator, I have always been interested in finding ways to teach more effectively through the use of technology.  Whether on the slopes teaching skiing or in a physical classroom, technology like a camcorder revealing one’s form or information on snow/steepness readily available on the internet, helped relay information that improved my feedback and instruction to those under my tutelage. Today, teaching via technology takes place in many more ways. Communicating with a student or parent in a virtual medium such as Skype or e-mail can be effective when traditional “face to face” methods of conferencing are not possible.   Using Skype to correspond with a student due to extraneous circumstances, I was able to give the feedback necessary to allow future improvement.  Without leaving our homes, we were able to connect via the internet and communicate effectively.  Technology allowed my teaching to go virtual, imparting education outside the four walls of the classroom.  Utilizing this technology,  one can open doors to connect with students or parents whose schedules do not allow a traditional classroom conference. Technology can greatly impact teaching, but teachers need proper training for maximum results.  Within a constant state of flux, educational technology can only be harnessed with an emphasis on training.  New technology inevitably brings new options along with altercations that must be worked through.  “Research seeks to resolve problems by investigating solutions and those attempts lead to new practice and therefore new problems and questions.”   Teachers and problem solving go hand in hand, but in revising lessons and processes, teaching subsequently improves. Like Henry Ford and his Model T, the original classic and impressive technology of the first car has been continually tweaked and updated to now include many features only present in the minds of former science fiction writers!  Likewise, educational technology originates and evolves.  From black boards to dry erase boards, we now have smart boards.  Improved technology enhances teaching through the systematic process of making lessons more clear, interesting, and interactive. As educational technology continues to improve teaching, learning has also been impacted. No longer do students merely sit and soak in a lesson via lecture. Educational technology allows all learners today the ability to grow—especially those kinesthetic learners who thrive in a more hands on interactive environment.  Using visual technology in the classroom such as short YouTube clips or PowerPoint presentations can be highly engaging.  In addition, having students plug into a computer language or math program that has one hearing, seeing and interacting can give teachers the ability to expedite learner results. Technology in short bursts appears more effective today: “Effectiveness often implies efficiency, that is, the results are accomplished with the least wasted time, effort and expense.”   Another key to improving learning with technology is a more collaborative approach between teacher and student. “With the recent paradigm shift in learning theories has come a greater recognition of the learner’s role as a constructor as opposed to a recipient of knowledge. With this recognition of learner responsibility has come a role for technology that is more facilitative then controlling.   Learners are being immersed into learning communities where technology becomes the format for success.  The traditional teacher takes on a role of facilitator, serving as a guide or encouraging coach. In this educational environment, the facilitator needs to create a place that is learner centered and meets the needs of the individual student.  Using innovation to create a safe and effective learning environment has become a vital aspect of the facilitator’s job and directly ties into the improvement of learners. Strategic use of and training in educational technology is vital for today’s classroom. Building an innovative environment within the classroom is no longer an option, but necessary.  In order to effectively use technology video clips or virtual conferencing, I must be knowledgeable and able to implement these into my lessons or classroom.  Learners today use technology daily outside the classroom and are ready to utilize more within their educational environments.  By creating lessons that implement technology, I will improve their desire and ability to learn.  Using multi-media approaches to learning, I can enhance learning through interesting displays and interactive formats.  As a facilitator, I can get my students excited about education through the use of technology.   Being an effective teacher today requires an understanding not only of learners’ needs and lesson plans, but of how to channel the tools of technology for educational benefit.  The AECT believes that “for a field to have any claim on public support it must be able to make a credible case for offering some public benefit.  It must provide a superior way to accomplish some worthy goal” . I believe that educational technology is a field today that warrants public support.  It has become a pervasive component not only of our society, but also a necessary one in imparting knowledge within our children’s classrooms.
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