Educational Technology Definition

Educational technology is the use of technology in educational settings by administrators, teachers, and students to support teaching and increase learning in measurable ways. The first part of this definition, the use of technology brings to mind what qualifies as technology. Lever-Duffy, McDonald and Mezell in their text define technology as “any media that can be used in instruction” (2011). They provide examples in their text, giving a wide range of items. In addition to technical items, such as computers, there are also more nontechnical items, such as bulletin boards, posters, and print materials. I feel personally that these are not technology in and of itself but outcomes of technology use. Luppicini (2005) explains that engineers, technologists and technicians tend to limit technology to “machines or physical systems of some sort” while social sciences use the term to refer to “material construction uses as well as the intellectual and social contexts” and accept “art, craft, and science [having] roles to play in technology application”(2005). This second definition seems too abstract and I tend to agree with the engineers more narrow view. I view technology as concrete objects with a technical or digital aspect. I acknowledge that my scope of what qualifies as technology is narrow and may expand as I learn more.

The next part of my definition mentions “educational settings.” These can include classrooms, schools, meeting rooms, and any place where the ultimate goal is to educate. This ties in with the next part of whom: administrators, teachers, and students. Educational technology used by students is often what first comes to mind, but to be effective, teachers and administrators must incorporate it into their own training, learning, planning and teaching. Effective technology use by students must be led and modeled by effective technology use by teachers and administrators. The next part of my definition, “to support teaching and increase learning”, refers both to the teachers and administrators use as well as student use.

This brings me to the last part of my definition: “in measurable ways”, which ties into Hap Aziz, the director of the School of Technology and Design at Rasmussen College, who states that educational technology is “about affecting particular outcomes” (2010) or as the Association for Educational Communications and Technology ( phrases it “improving performance” (2004). Aziz clarifies that “effective use of technology is repeated while ineffective use is either improved or abandoned.” Davies builds on this by describing the importance of being able to “critically analyze technology literacy and how we evaluate successful integration of technology into instructional situations” (2011). It is important to not fall into “indiscriminate implementation” (Aziz, 2010) believing that any technology implementation is better than no, or limited, implementation. Using technology in this way will thoughtful planning for how outcomes will be measured.

Overall, educational technology is the use of technologies by administrators, teachers, and students in educational settings to promote and increase learning in quantifiable ways.

 References:

Association for Educational Communications and Technology (2004). The Meanings of Educational Technology. AECT Definition and Terminology Committee. Retrieved from http://ocw.metu.edu.tr/file.php/118/molenda_definition.pdf

Aziz, H. (2010). The 5 Keys to Educational Technology. The Journal. Retrieved from http://thejournal.com/articles/2010/09/16/the-5-keys-to-educational-technology.aspx

Davies, R.S. (2011). Understanding Technology Literacy: A Framework for Evaluating Educational Technology Integration. TechTrends, 55 (5), 43-52.

Lever-Duffy, J., & McDonald, J.B. (2011) 4th ed. Teaching and learning with technology. Boston, MA : Allyn & Bacon.

Luppicini, R. (2005). A Systems Definition of Educational Technology in Society. Educational Technology & Society, 8 (3), 103-109.

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