Elements of Educational Technology
In education, technology is playing a more and more crucial role in lesson planning and curriculum development. The Committee of the Association For Educational Communication and Technology define Educational Technology as:
“The study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance, by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources.”
Teachers have both a tool and a challenge when it comes to using technology in the classroom. One of those challenges is trying to decide what is appropriate to bring into the classroom and the lesson, and what is not.
The word “appropriateness” in classroom technology automatically brings to mind websites or videos that are not age appropriate for the students. Or bringing something in that is offensive to a certain race, religion, or gender. This sort of inappropriateness is easy to spot. Many schools now have firewalls that keep out bad sites, but in doing so sacrifice some educational sites as well. This problem usually comes up if the teacher did not view what they were assigning beforehand and something slipped through that was offensive. Sometimes honest mistakes happen, but mostly if this happens, the teacher did not take the time to research the assignment.
The other use of the word for technological “appropriateness” has to do with how effective it is in tandem with a certain lesson. This is a bit harder to discern. There is an element of trial and error that goes with this. Somethings are really easy to look at and know that it will add to the class. Things such as virtual field trips over a region that has been talked about in class, or a web scavenger hunt over minerals and how they create fireworks colors to make it relevant to students. These help students understand and give them hands on opportunities to learn.
Then there are other technological tools that may seem like a good idea at the time but fall short of expectations. A video about a topic that seems on point that last 40 minutes, but only talks in depth about the topic your studying for three minutes. Or it may be drills on the smart-board that works well with one class, but does nothing for another. I have created Power Points that I thought were genius and full of information, but I did not know my audience as well as I thought. It was too much for my students, they were bored to distraction and learned nothing. It was, however, a lesson learned and I tried never to repeat.
Appropriateness takes time to figure out and sometimes it is the hardest to discern. For instance, a teacher may have an excellent video clip they would like to show about an intense topic in History like the Holocaust or Hiroshima. However, the teacher must take the time to question if it is really suitable to the age group they are teaching. A high school student may be able to take it in better than a middle school student no matter how informative it may be, it has to be appropriate. It is trial and error, but the good thing is that when a teacher finds something that really works, they can put it in their arsenal of technology with complete confidence in knowing that they are helping their students think at higher levels at the same time love learning.
American Federation of Teachers, afl-cio, . (n.d.). Appropriate uses of modern technology. Retrieved from http:// http://www.aft.org/pdfs/tools4teachers/CT-Technology0409.pdf
Richmond, R. (n.d.). Integration of technology in the classroom: an instructional perspective . Date from http://www.saskschoolboards.ca/research/technology/ 97-02.htm
In what is known as the “information age” it is crucial for technology to be implemented in today’s classroom. Whether on a social or gaming level, students are exposed to technology on a daily basis. By incorporating these technological tools into classroom instruction, teachers find that students become more interested in classroom activities and are more eager to learn.
Technology is not the answer to better education, but I believe that it is a necessary tool to facilitate better learning.
Technology cannot be solely relied on to solve all of the shortcomings in any given classroom. However, when teachers are given tools and taught how to utilize them in a way that enhances their methods, the ultimate learning environment can be achieved. Technology cannot make a subpar teacher good, but it also cannot replace the teacher. Teachers must use technology to enhance and not replace the way they teach.
One of the most challenging issues for teachers today is creating and teaching a lesson that meets the needs of a diverse classroom filled with various types of learners. Using different types of technology can aid teachers by giving students information in a more sensory manner. For those who are visual or kinesthetic, technology helps through pictures and interactive activities. Integrate lectures and books into the mix, and it is possible to connect with each type of learning style. Through technology there can be immediate feedback which is crucial to the learning process. This can be a precarious balance that takes time and knowledge to perfect, but the opportunity is there.
Students respond positively to technology in the classroom.
When I taught middle school History, I found that PowerPoint presentations and SmartBoard interactions enticed the students and learning was no longer seen as a chore. I found that the classroom was becoming less formal, there was more interaction between students, and discussion was more prevalent. Technology helped instill the feeling of community in the classroom between not only the students, but between me as the instructor and the students. Within this classroom community students were contributing, communicating and learning.
As educators, our most important job is not to teach standards, but to instill a lifelong love of learning.
Klopher, E. (no date). The Education Arcade. In study guides and strategies. Retrieved January 24, 2011, from http://education.mit.edu/papers/GamesSimsSocnet
McKenzie, J. (March 1998). From Now On, The Eduational Technology Journal. In undefined. Retrieved January 24, 2011, from http://fno.org/mar98/flotilla2.html.
Toyama, K. (January 2011). Educational Technology Debate. In journal. Retrieved January 24, 2011,from http://edutechdebate.org/ict-in-schools/there-are-
My name is Melodee Sweeney and I am currently a graduate student in Boise State’s Educational Technology program. My hopes are that after completing the program, I will be able to better integrate technology into the classroom. This way I can create a better learning environment. I ultimately hope to become a full time online teacher. I plan on doing this by getting certificates in technology integration and online teaching.