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Definition of Educational Technology

February 7th, 2014

When I was in High school, we had a computer lab full of old (even for the time) Macs that were used to teach typing most of the time.  I didn’t have a computer until just before I graduated and even that one was about four generations older than the most updated system.  College was just beginning to get on the computer bandwagon.  I had access to computers but only if I paid a fee every semester.  Needless to say, my most immersive experience with technology in high school was an old TI-81 graphing calculator and an overhead transparency projector.  I was still fascinated by it.  I learned how to use computers on an old IBM PC running Microsoft DOS.  I loved it and as my PC knowledge progressed, so did my passion for technology.

I am a strong proponent for technology in the classroom.  Students are different today.  They are used to readily available information from multiple channels simultaneously and they have to ability to switch those channels quickly.  It’s not that they have shorter attention spans; it’s that they have such a large quantity of information available to them, that they have learned to ignore what is important to them.

With this in mind, we, as educators, need to build technology tools into the curriculum that can take advantage of  all that is out there, but we need some guidelines.  So, to start we need a definition of educational technology.

Educational technology is not simply technology that is in a classroom or used for classroom purposes.  The technological tool needs to have purpose, be useful, and advance the learning objectives.  It cannot simply be  technology for the sake of technology.

I also think that technology needs to be defined as well.

Here are the definitions that I propose.

Technology is any piece of hardware, software or process that uses hardware or software.

Educational technology is any of the following.

1.)    Technology that enhances an educational experience.

2.)    Technology that adds something to the learning that is unique and purposeful.

3.)    Technology that adds something that could not otherwise be included in the instruction

4.)    Technology that aids in the facilitation and distribution of instruction to students who could not otherwise participate in the instruction (i.e. Distance or online education).

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