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Educational Technology

What Is Technology?

Before we can dive into educational technology, I feel that it is important to discuss what technology itself entails. According to Dictionary.com, technology actually has 5 different definitions:

What Is Educational Technology & How Has It Evolved?

Educational Technology is the field of study that investigates the process of analyzing, designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating the instructional environment, learning materials, learners, and the learning process in order to improve teaching and learning.

Like technology, educational technology is much more than computers and networks. In fact, a quick look at its etymology shows us that it refers to three concepts at once: the Latin educare, meaning to rear or train; the Greek techne, meaning art, skill, craft, or the way, manner, or means by which a thing is gained; and logos, Greek for word, or expression by words. While technology translates as “words or discourse about the way things are gained,” educational technology adds a specification: “things” as skills or information, acquired through training.

  • Hieroglyphics
  • Abacus (ancient counting mechanisms)
  • Oral Communication
  • Quill Pen
  • Printing Press
  • Pencil
  • Chalboards/Whiteboards (as discussed in class)

As always, technology evolves. This leads us to also add many more recent things to the list of educational technologies such as projectors, videos, assistive technologies, printers, photocopiers, the internet, social media etc. Obviously, as time goes on some technologies fall “out of style” or are replaced by something that has made the task easier. However, many of these older technologies were stepping stones for the educational technologies that are now popular in the 21st century.

Educational Technology in My Classroom

I also believe that not only do we need to be using technology in the classroom to help benefit our students’ learning, but we also need to be using it in order to prepare them for life as technology is not going anywhere. As Scott Widman points out in his video (below), “utilizing technology in the classroom is less of a choice and more of a responsibility… it is our obligation to prepare students for the challenges of being digital [residents].” We would not be doing our jobs as educators if we are not using these technologies that we have available to not only help educate our students on the curriculum, but also to prepare them for success & safety outside of school.

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9 thoughts on “Educational Technology

  1. I am so glad to see that someone else also went Type A and started off with actual dictionary definitions; I started my blog post in the same manner. I am happy to hear that you have extended this understanding beyond the classroom. I think providing our students with a foundation to understanding how various tools can be used for not only entertainment but also for education can assist them in developing as life-long learners.

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  2. Hi Brittney,
    Yes, like Kirsten, I also appreciate the official definition(s)! And I was also reminded of the EC&I 830 debate; pretty sure I voted that technology DOES enhance learning. As you say (or cite from Widman) technology use – digital citizenship and all it entails – is a responsibility. After reading Watter’s 100 ed-tech debacles (while laughing and shaking my head), I was reminded of what happens when we don’t consider the potential and pitfalls of the ed-tech currently available to us. As relics like hieroglyphics and quill pens show, technology is constantly evolving, but we must continually strive to understand its purpose to best serve our students.
    Thanks for the great read 🙂

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  3. Thanks for the post Brittney. I appreciate that you examined the etymology of the term “educational technology” as I hadn’t considered investigation and scrutiny as part of my personal definition. It reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend of mine who is a family doctor. She always refers to “her practice”, or “the practice of medicine”, as she feels that her field has never been mastered (there are far too many new discoveries, developments, and unknowns). I believe this could be extended to our understanding of educational technology – no one can ever truly become an expert as the goal posts are always moving. Instead I think we are all trying to understand it better (which is comforting, as I usually find myself overwhelmed by the deluge of new tech).

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  4. Thanks for your post, Brittney! It always helps me as a reader to first start with the definition and then branch out from there, so I really appreciate that. To further support this, I enjoyed watching the TED talk that you posted. I think this is very beneficial, as we understand the pros and cons to technology and it vital we are aware of these. Well I agree that technology should be used, would you ever put a limit on its use? How so? Is technology overpowering our world/education system today? Why or why not? I am curious to hear your thoughts!

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    1. Hi Raegyn, that is definitely not the easiest question to answer ! haha. I think there still needs to be a balance and all tech all the time is not good (in my opinion). I work at a school where we don’t allow students to use their personal devices during the day to tech is more limited. I do think that it is super important that students are being educated on how to use tech tools safely and in a positive way.

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  5. Thank you for the post! And thank you for some reflections on the need to teach responsibility as it pertains to technology. Although I often come across the word “digital native”, the term itself is met with resistance (the term native being problematic), but I like the use of the word digital “resident”. Either way, I think it highlights the importance of understanding that children are born into an era of technology that we as educators need to embrace. As you said, it’s not going anywhere, so what are we doing to teach students about being responsible, digital citizens? I fought this for a long time early in my career, thinking that students had enough time on technology that they didn’t need more at school, but what they actually DO need, is in fact, education on how to navigate the tech.

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  6. Thanks Brittney! I enjoyed your recap of technology found in schools. It gets so easy to get lost in the idea that EdTech has to be something digital. I, for one, am thankful that technology moved forward from the mimeograph (the Blue Bomber as I knew it), to photocopier/printers that I can utilize from home! I actually had a great conversation with a colleague today about technology in schools, starting with the industrial strength ventilation in the staff room to get rid of cigarette smoke, and ending on the fact that it is difficult to keep up with the pace of change in technology. As you referred to in your post, it isn’t going anywhere. It is best to give opportunities to students to learn about technology and to use it appropriately down the road.

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  7. Thank you for this, Brittney. When we look at technology, I know that my mind goes right to the physical hardware. It always seems like there is a different flavour when it comes to hardware initiatives, but with less money being spent on school owned devices, it is software that is becoming the challenge. I was curious if you have found that your own skills around the rollout of ed. software has had an impact on your own teaching?

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    1. Hi Brian, I would say that since I am fairly skilled with technology I am usually more comfortable trying out new tech and programs. I find that it is often not too difficult to catch onto so there are many options of tech I can use for educational purposes.

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