Elements of Education Technology
The definition of Education Technology written by the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT), in 2004, included thirteen elements. Those elements: study, ethical practice, facilitating, learning, improving, performance, creating, using, managing, appropriate, technological, processes, and resources are each integral to education technology. Not one element is more important than the other in relation to the definition: “Education Technology is the study and ethical practice for facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources."(2004, p. 1) I am going to discuss two elements that I have a personal affinity towards, study and facilitating.
The first element -study- was described in the AECT paper as “requiring continual knowledge construction and refinement through research and reflective practice.”(2004, p.1) Research is important to verify that technology being used is accomplishing the goal it set out to do. If it is found that it does not, then changes can be made or the parameters can be adjusted. If the technology is found to meet its goal then it is also a way to continually improve the technology to better serve that purpose. Reflective practice in teaching - creating a lesson, performing the lesson, reviewing if the lesson met its goals, making appropriate changes to the lesson as needed, and starting the process over again are signs of good teaching. Continual education in technology helps the teacher have tools that can be used in these lessons. As education progresses into (hopefully) a more authentic, student learning centered field, reflective practice is essential. Here are some questions that teachers can ask themselves:
Am I using the best technological tool for the goal/lesson? Did the lesson go as planned? Who did not understand the lesson? How can I adjust the technology or lesson to help them? Was this learner driven?
Facilitating is another element not only of technology education but of many professional fields. I am an Ortho-Bionomy practitioner, a type of bodywork that works with the parasympathetic nervous system to promote relaxation and comfort in the body. One of Ortho-Bionomy’s parameters is how we, the practitioner, view what we do. Practitioners do not “fix” or “heal” people. We facilitate healing and comfort. Facilitate in this sense means to pay attention to the client’s body while working and follow the body’s pattern of moving and holding. This allows the client’s body to recognize the holding patterns and then reset itself to a place that is more balanced and comfortable. This type of bodywork is very gentle when performed however it is effective for deep aches and pain. The effects of Ortho-bionomy are longer lasting than traditional massage since your body will continue to shift into more comfortable space for a couple of days after a session.
Facilitating in education technology is similar to Ortho-bionomy. Teaching is not lecturing to a class and the knowledge pours into the students brain; it is understanding that each student has a favored learning modality (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) and using that knowledge to create learner-directed lessons. Using technology in the classroom is creating learning environments that are more immersive, authentic, and student-centered. (2004, p.3) Students are more engaged when they are interested in what is being presented to them and are allowed to explore that interest. Creating lessons that are designed to help students learn through problem-solving then giving the assistance and tools needed to figure out the answers create a situation that allows for deep, lasting, and authentic learning. The facilitating of student-centered lessons brings us back to the study element of educational technology. Reflective practice is used to double-check that the lessons and units we teach are really student-centered.
Gaining a better understanding of each element will make lesson and unit planning more fruitful. Creating interesting, learner-driven, technology based lessons that are authentic, ethical, thought-provoking, and allow students to develop deeper understanding of the subject then reflecting if that worked, is essential in our school systems today. The educational technology definition written by AECT is a foundation tool to help achieve these types of lessons and teaching skills.
J. Januszewski & M. Molenda (Eds.) (2004). The definition of educational technology. Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT): Definition and Terminology Committee.