Educational technology


Educational technology
Educational Research
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Disciplines
Educational evaluation
Educational organization
Educational psychology
Educational technology
History of education
International education
Philosophy of education
School counseling
School psychology
Special education
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Curricular Domains
Arts education
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Methods
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Factor analysis
Factorial experiment
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Meta-analysis
Multivariate statistics
Participant observation

Educational technology is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources."[1] The term educational technology is often associated with, and encompasses, instructional theory and learning theory. While instructional technology is "the theory and practice of design, development, utilization, management, and evaluation of processes and resources for learning," according to the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) Definitions and Terminology Committee,[2] 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, such as wiki's and blogs, and activities. But there is still debate on what these terms mean.[3]

Technology of education is most simply and comfortably defined as an array of tools that might prove helpful in advancing student learning and may be measured in how and why individuals behave. 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 "smartphones" and games (both online and offline) are beginning to draw serious attention for their learning potential. Media psychology is the field of study that applies theories in human behavior to educational technology.

Consider the Handbook of Human Performance Technology.[4] 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.[citation needed]

A classic example of an Educational Psychology text is Bloom's 1956 book, Taxonomy of Educational Objectives.[5] 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.

According to some, an Educational Technologist is someone who transforms basic educational and psychological research into an evidence-based applied science (or a technology) of learning or instruction. Educational Technologists typically have a graduate degree (Master's, Doctorate, Ph.D., or D.Phil.) in a field related to educational psychology, educational media, experimental psychology, cognitive psychology or, more purely, in the fields of Educational, Instructional or Human Performance Technology or Instructional Systems Design. But few of those listed below as theorists would ever use the term "educational technologist" as a term to describe themselves, preferring terms such as "educator."[citation needed] The transformation of educational technology from a cottage industry to a profession is discussed by Shurville, Browne, and Whitaker.

Contents

History

Educational technology in a way could be traced back to the emergence of very early tools, e.g., paintings on cave walls. But usually its history starts with educational film (1900s) or Sidney Pressey's mechanical teaching machines in the 1920s.

The first large scale usage of new technologies can be traced to US WWII training of soldiers through training films and other mediated materials. Today, presentation-based technology, based on the idea that people can learn through aural and visual reception, exists in many forms, e.g., streaming audio and video, or PowerPoint presentations with voice-over. Another interesting invention of the 1940s was hypertext, i.e., V. Bush's memex.

The 1950s led to two major, still popular designs. Skinners work led to "programmed instruction" focusing on the formulation of behavioral objectives, breaking instructional content into small units and rewarding correct responses early and often. Advocating a mastery approach to learning based on his taxonomy of intellectual behaviors, Bloom endorsed instructional techniques that varied both instruction and time according to learner requirements. Models based on these designs were usually referred to as computer-based training" (CBT), Computer-aided instruction or computer-assisted instruction (CAI) in the 1970s through the 1990s. In a more simplified form they correspond to today's "e-contents" that often form the core of "e-learning" set-ups, sometimes also referred to as web-based training (WBT) or e-instruction. The course designer divides learning contents into smaller chunks of text augmented with graphics and multimedia presentation. Frequent Multiple Choice questions with immediate feedback are added for self-assessment and guidance. Such e-contents can rely on standards defined by IMS, ADL/SCORM and IEEE.

The 1980s and 1990s produced a variety of schools that can be put under the umbrella of the label Computer-based learning (CBL). Frequently based on constructivist and cognitivist learning theories, these environments focused on teaching both abstract and domain-specific problem solving. Preferred technologies were micro-worlds (computer environments where learners could explore and build), simulations (computer environments where learner can play with parameters of dynamic systems) and hypertext.

Digitized communication and networking in education started in the mid 80s and became popular by the mid-90's, in particular through the World-Wide Web (WWW), eMail and Forums. There is a difference between two major forms of online learning. The earlier type, based on either Computer Based Training (CBT) or Computer-based learning (CBL), focused on the interaction between the student and computer drills plus tutorials on one hand or micro-worlds and simulations on the other. Both can be delivered today over the WWW. Today, the prevailing paradigm in the regular school system is Computer-mediated communication (CMC), where the primary form of interaction is between students and instructors, mediated by the computer. CBT/CBL usually means individualized (self-study) learning, while CMC involves teacher/tutor facilitation and requires scenarization of flexible learning activities. In addition, modern ICT provides education with tools for sustaining learning communities and associated knowledge management tasks. It also provides tools for student and curriculum management.

In addition to classroom enhancement, learning technologies also play a major role in full-time distance teaching. While most quality offers still rely on paper, videos and occasional CBT/CBL materials, there is increased use of e-tutoring through forums, instant messaging, video-conferencing etc. Courses addressed to smaller groups frequently use blended or hybrid designs that mix presence courses (usually in the beginning and at the end of a module) with distance activities and use various pedagogical styles (e.g., drill & practise, exercises, projects, etc.).

The 2000s emergence of multiple mobile and ubiquitous technologies gave a new impulse to situated learning theories favoring learning-in-context scenarios. Some literature uses the concept of integrated learning to describe blended learning scenarios that integrate both school and authentic (e.g., workplace) settings.

Theories and practices

Three main theoretical schools or philosophical frameworks have been present in the educational technology literature. These are Behaviorism, Cognitivism and Constructivism. Each of these schools of thought are still present in today's literature but have evolved as the Psychology literature has evolved.

Behaviorism

This theoretical framework was developed in the early 20th century with the animal learning experiments of Ivan Pavlov, Edward Thorndike, Edward C. Tolman, Clark L. Hull, B.F. Skinner and many others. Many psychologists used these theories to describe and experiment with human learning. While still very useful this philosophy of learning has lost favor with many educators.

Skinner's contributions

B.F. Skinner wrote extensively on improvements of teaching based on his functional analysis of Verbal Behavior[6] and wrote "The Technology of Teaching",[7] an attempt to dispel the myths underlying contemporary education as well as promote his system he called programmed instruction. Ogden Lindsley also developed the Celeration learning system similarly based on behavior analysis but quite different from Keller's and Skinner's models.

Cognitivism

Cognitive science has changed how educators view learning. Since the very early beginning of the Cognitive Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, learning theory has undergone a great deal of change. Much of the empirical framework of Behaviorism was retained even though a new paradigm had begun. Cognitive theories look beyond behavior to explain brain-based learning. Cognitivists consider how human memory works to promote learning.

After memory theories like the Atkinson-Shiffrin memory model and Baddeley's Working memory model were established as a theoretical framework in Cognitive Psychology, new cognitive frameworks of learning began to emerge during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. It is important to note that Computer Science and Information Technology have had a major influence on Cognitive Science theory. The Cognitive concepts of working memory (formerly known as short term memory) and long term memory have been facilitated by research and technology from the field of Computer Science. Another major influence on the field of Cognitive Science is Noam Chomsky. Today researchers are concentrating on topics like Cognitive load and Information Processing Theory. In addition, psychology as applied to media is easily measured in studying behavior. The area of media psychology is both cognative and affective and is central to understanding educational technology.

Constructivism

Constructivism is a learning theory or educational philosophy that many educators began to consider in the 1990s. One of the primary tenets of this philosophy is that learners construct their own meaning from new information, as they interact with reality or others with different perspectives.

Constructivist learning environments require students to utilize their prior knowledge and experiences to formulate new, related, and/or adaptive concepts in learning. Under this framework the role of the teacher becomes that of a facilitator, providing guidance so that learners can construct their own knowledge. Constructivist educators must make sure that the prior learning experiences are appropriate and related to the concepts being taught. Jonassen (1997) suggests "well-structured" learning environments are useful for novice learners and that "ill-structured" environments are only useful for more advanced learners. Educators utilizing technology when teaching with a constructivist perspective should choose technologies that reinforce prior learning perhaps in a problem-solving environment.

Instructional technique and technologies

Problem Based Learning, Project-based Learning, and Inquiry-based learning are active learning educational technologies used to facilitate learning. Technology which includes physical and process applied science can be incorporated into project, problem, inquiry-based learning as they all have a similar educational philosophy. All three are student centered, ideally involving real-world scenarios in which students are actively engaged in critical thinking activities. The process that students are encouraged to employ (as long as it is based on empirical research) is considered to be a technology. Classic examples of technologies used by teachers and Educational Technologists include Bloom's Taxonomy and Instructional Design.

Theorists

This is an area where new thinkers are coming to the forefront everyday. Many of the ideas spread from theorists, researchers, and experts through their blogs. Extensive lists of educational bloggers by area of interest are available at Steve Hargadon's "SupportBloggers" site or at the "movingforward" wiki started by Scott McLeod.[8] Many of these blogs are recognized by their peers each year through the edublogger awards.[9] Web 2.0 technologies have led to a huge increase in the amount of information available on this topic and the number of educators formally and informally discussing it. Most listed below have been around for more than a decade, however, and few new thinkers mentioned above are listed here.

Benefits

Educational technology is intended to improve education over what it would be without technology. Some of the claimed benefits are listed below:

  • Easy-to-access course materials. Instructors can post the course material or important information on a course website, which means students can study at a time and location they prefer and can obtain the study material very quickly[11]
  • Student motivation. Computer-based instruction can give instant feedback to students and explain correct answers. Moreover, a computer is patient and non-judgmental, which can give the student motivation to continue learning. According to James Kulik, who studies the effectiveness of computers used for instruction, students usually learn more in less time when receiving computer-based instruction and they like classes more and develop more positive attitudes toward computers in computer-based classes.[12] The American educator, Cassandra B. Whyte, researched and reported about the importance of locus of control and successful academic performance and by the late 1980s, she wrote of how important computer usage and information technology would become in the higher education experience of the future.[13][14]
  • Wide participation. Learning material can be used for long distance learning and are accessible to a wider audience[15]
  • Improved student writing. It is convenient for students to edit their written work on word processors, which can, in turn, improve the quality of their writing. According to some studies, the students are better at critiquing and editing written work that is exchanged over a computer network with students they know[11]
  • Subjects made easier to learn. Many different types of educational software are designed and developed to help children or teenagers to learn specific subjects. Examples include pre-school software, computer simulators, and graphics software[12]
  • A structure that is more amenable to measurement and improvement of outcomes. With proper structuring it can become easier to monitor and maintain student work while also quickly gauging modifications to the instruction necessary to enhance student learning.
  • Differentiated Instruction. Educational technology provides the means to focus on active student participation and to present differentiated questioning strategies. It broadens individualized instruction and promotes the development of personalized learning plans. Students are encouraged to use multimedia components and to incorporate the knowledge they gained in creative ways.[16]

Criticism

Although technology in the classroom does have many benefits, there are clear drawbacks as well. Lack of proper training, limited access to sufficient quantities of a technology, and the extra time required for many implementations of technology are just a few of the reasons that technology is often not used extensively in the classroom. To understand educational technology one must also understand theories in human behavior as behavior is affected by technology. Media Psychology is the study of media, technology and how and why individuals, groups and societies behave the way they do. The first Ph.D program with a concentration in media psychology was started in 2002 at Fielding Graduate University by Bernard Luskin. The Media Psychology division of APA, division 46 has a focus on media psychology. Media and the family is another emerging area affected by rapidly changing educational technology.

Similar to learning a new task or trade, special training is vital to ensuring the effective integration of classroom technology. Since technology is not the end goal of education, but rather a means by which it can be accomplished, educators must have a good grasp of the technology being used and its advantages over more traditional methods. If there is a lack in either of these areas, technology will be seen as a hindrance and not a benefit to the goals of teaching.

Another difficulty is introduced when access to a sufficient quantity of a resource is limited. This is often seen when the quantity of computers or digital cameras for classroom use is not enough to meet the needs of an entire classroom. It also occurs in less noticed forms such as limited access for technology exploration because of the high cost of technology and the fear of damages. In other cases, the inconvenience of resource placement is a hindrance, such as having to transport a classroom to a computer lab instead of having in-classroom computer access by means of technology such as laptop carts.

Technology implementation can also be time consuming. There may be an initial setup or training time cost inherent in the use of certain technologies. Even with these tasks accomplished, technology failure may occur during the activity and as a result teachers must have an alternative lesson ready. Another major issue arises because of the evolving nature of technology. New resources have to be designed and distributed whenever the technological platform has been changed. Finding quality materials to support classroom objectives after such changes is often difficult even after they exist in sufficient quantity and teachers must design these resources on their own.

Experimental evidence suggests that these criticisms may have limited basis. See, for example, the work done by Sugata Mitra.[17] A recent presentation summarizes the research and Dr. Mitra's current research initiative.[18][19]

Educational technology and the humanities

Research from the Alberta Initiative for School Improvement (AISI)[20] indicates that inquiry and project-based approaches, combined with a focus on curriculum, effectively supports the infusion of educational technologies into the learning and teaching process.

Technology in the classroom

There are various types of technologies currently used in traditional classrooms. Among these are:

  • Computer in the classroom: Having a computer in the classroom is an asset to any teacher. With a computer in the classroom, teachers are able to demonstrate a new lesson, present new material, illustrate how to use new programs, and show new websites.[21]
  • Class website: An easy way to display your student's work is to create a web page designed for your class. Once a web page is designed, teachers can post homework assignments, student work, famous quotes, trivia games, and so much more. In today's society, children know how to use the computer and navigate their way through a website, so why not give them one where they can be a published author. Just be careful as most districts maintain strong policies to manage official websites for a school or classroom. Also, most school districts provide teacher webpages that can easily be viewed through the school district's website.
  • Class blogs and wikis: There are a variety of Web 2.0 tools that are currently being implemented in the classroom. Blogs allow for students to maintain a running dialogue, such as a journal,thoughts, ideas, and assignments that also provide for student comment and reflection. Wikis are more group focused to allow multiple members of the group to edit a single document and create a truly collaborative and carefully edited finished product.
  • Wireless classroom microphones: Noisy classrooms are a daily occurrence, and with the help of microphones, students are able to hear their teachers more clearly. Children learn better when they hear the teacher clearly. The benefit for teachers is that they no longer lose their voices at the end of the day.
  • Mobile devices: Mobile devices such as clickers or smartphone can be used to enhance the experience in the classroom by providing the possibility for professors to get feedback.[22] See also MLearning.
  • Interactive Whiteboards: An interactive whiteboard that provides touch control of computer applications. These enhance the experience in the classroom by showing anything that can be on a computer screen. This not only aids in visual learning, but it is interactive so the students can draw, write, or manipulate images on the interactive whiteboard.
  • Online media: Streamed video websites can be utilized to enhance a classroom lesson (e.g. United Streaming, Teacher Tube, etc.)
  • Digital Games: The field of educational games and serious games has been growing significantly over the last few years. The digital games are being provided as tools for the classroom and have a lot of positive feedback including higher motivation for students.[23]

There are many other tools being utilized depending on the local school board and funds available. These may include: digital cameras, video cameras, interactive whiteboard tools, document cameras, or LCD projectors.

  • Podcasts: Podcasting is a relatively new invention that allows anybody to publish files to the Internet where individuals can subscribe and receive new files from people by a subscription. The primary benefit of podcasting for educators is quite simple. It enables teachers to reach students through a medium that is both "cool" and a part of their daily lives. For a technology that only requires a computer, microphone and internet connection, podcasting has the capacity of advancing a student’s education beyond the classroom. When students listen to the podcasts of other students as well as their own, they can quickly demonstrate their capacities to identify and define "quality." This can be a great tool for learning and developing literacy inside and outside the classroom. Podcasting can help sharpen students’ vocabulary, writing, editing, public speaking, and presentation skills. Students will also learn skills that will be valuable in the working world, such as communication, time management, and problem-solving.

Although podcasts are a new phenomenon in classrooms, especially on college campuses, studies have shown the differences in effectiveness between a live lecture versus podcast are minor in terms of the education of the student. [24]

Societies

Learned societies concerned with educational technology include:

See also

References

  1. ^ Richey, R.C. (2008). Reflections on the 2008 AECT Definitions of the Field. TechTrends. 52(1) 24-25
  2. ^ D. Randy Garrison and Terry Anderson (2003). E-Learning in the 21st Century: A Framework for Research and Practice. Routledge. ISBN 0415263468. http://books.google.com/books?id=UZOG5KEoiCQC&pg=PA33&dq=define-instructional-technology&lr=&as_brr=0&ei=ClahR5qoMY_-sQPyx-2bCg&sig=P3kU_P8ZfHHGAvedqg3rF2UG7gc. 
  3. ^ Lowenthal, P. R., & Wilson, B. G. (2010). Labels do matter! A critique of AECT’s redefinition of the field. TechTrends, 54(1), 38-46. DOI: 10.1007/s11528-009-0362-y
  4. ^ Handbook of Human Performance Technology (Eds. Harold Stolovich, Erica Keeps, James Pershing) (3rd ed, 2006)
  5. ^ Bloom B. S. (1956). Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Handbook I: The Cognitive Domain. New York: David McKay Co Inc.
  6. ^ Skinner, B.F. The science of learning and the art of teaching. Harvard Educational Review, 1954, 24, 86-97., Teaching machines. Science, 1958, 128, 969-77. and others see http://www.bfskinner.org/f/EpsteinBibliography.pdf
  7. ^ Skinner BF (1965). "The technology of teaching". Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 162 (989): 427–43. doi:10.1098/rspb.1965.0048. PMID 4378497. 
  8. ^ See http://supportblogging.com/Links+to+School+Bloggers and http://movingforward.wikispaces.com/Blogs
  9. ^ » Welcome to the Eddies! The Edublog Awards
  10. ^ Professor Seymour Papert
  11. ^ a b Technology Impact on Learning
  12. ^ a b Technology's Impact
  13. ^ Whyte,Cassandra Bolyard. (1980). "An Integrated Counseling and Learning Assistance Center." New Directions Sourcebook. Jossey-Bass, Inc. San Francisco, California.
  14. ^ Whyte, Cassandra B. (1989). Student Affairs - The Future", Journal of College Student Development, 10, (1), 86-89.
  15. ^ Technology Uses in Education
  16. ^ Smith, Grace and Stephanie Throne. Differentiating Instruction with Technology in the K-5 Classroom. International Society for Technology in Education. 2004
  17. ^ http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet21/mitra.html
  18. ^ http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_the_child_driven_education.html#
  19. ^ Cordes, Colleen & Miller, Edward. (1999),"Fool's Gold: A Critical Look at Computers in Childhood"
  20. ^ AISI Technology Projects Research Review
  21. ^ Using Technology to Enhance the Classroom Environment. THE Journal, 01 January 2002
  22. ^ Tremblay, Eric. "Educating the Mobile Generation – using personal cell phones as audience response systems in post-secondary science teaching. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 2010, 29(2), 217-227. Chesapeake, VA: AACE.". http://editlib.org/p/32314. Retrieved 2010-11-05. 
  23. ^ Biocchi, Michael. "Games in the Classroom". Gaming in the Classroom. http://educationtech.ca/2011/03/24/games-in-the-classroom/. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  24. ^ Reeves, Thomas C. (February 12, 1998). The Impact of Media and Technology in Schools. 

Further reading