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