EDTECH 501: Elements of Educational Technology

The definition of Educational Technology has been changing and evolving just as technology continues to advance. There are now 13 elements of educational technology: study, ethical practice, facilitating, learning, improving, performance, creating, using, managing, appropriate, technological, processes, and resources. Of these 13 elements, I feel that there are two elements that stand out as the most important for today’s students - learning and creating.

Many of our most effective schools now operate in a Professional Learning Community model, where the focus is on student learning. Two of the four questions that a PLC operates around include: “What is it that we want students to learn?”, and “How will we know when they have learned it?” It is clear that the focus is on not only what students are learning, but also how students demonstrate they have learned it. This no longer means that teachers present information and students remember it long enough to pass a written test. It means that students construct their own knowledge, develop a deep understanding of the content, and have the support needed to reach their learning goals and expectations. Technology can assist in these things through simulations, virtual field trips, video conferencing, networking with students from around the world, and it can also be used to efficiently assess and monitor student progress.

Going hand in hand with learning, the second element of educational technology that I think is most important is creating. With the adoption of the Common Core State Standards and a focus on preparing students to be college or career ready upon high school graduation, a focus on creating is becoming more and more important. Creating is the highest level of Bloom’s Taxonomy, and is the highest level of demonstrating learning. Not only does the creation of an end product require a high level of thinking, but it also demonstrates a high level of proficiency. Students can use technology to create written products that they can share with a worldwide audience, audio or visual presentations to demonstrate knowledge and understanding, or learning tools or resources that can help others in their learning process.

In thinking about all of these elements of educational technology, all play an important role in student growth. While I feel that learning and creating are two of the most important, all elements help to develop students who can be engaged in their learning process, work at their own level, and feel successful throughout their learning journey.