What is Educational Technology?
This is an expansive question, and really, I’m not sure I can cover it all in a reflective style blog post. That being said, to me, Educational Technology is formed by any tools and technologies that assist in the Education of our students. The range is not easily measured, and it can include things like Smart Boards and personal devices as well as applications such as E-portfolios and blogs. Educational technology is fluid and ever-changing, and it involves teaching proficiencies with devices and while utilizing devices, it involves the WHAT, WHY, and HOW.
Educational Technology is immersive, and as such, it is something that needs to be carefully considered and evaluated. To borrow an example from Neil Postman:
Technological change is not additive; it is ecological. I can explain this best by an analogy. What happens if we place a drop of red dye into a beaker of clear water? Do we have clear water plus a spot of red dye? Obviously not. We have a new coloration to every molecule of water.
Important to note, that I am not against technology – far from it. I am someone who loves tech, and advocates for the use of it within our schools, and with our children. As educators, we have a responsibility to our students. As Sylvia Tolisano (@langwitches) shared at the #ITSummitSK this spring:
That being said, I can love technology but unlike Postman suggests, I can still see two sides of the coin.
Ask anyone who knows something about computers to talk about them, and you will find that they will, unabashedly and relentlessly, extol the wonders of computers. You will also find that in most cases they will completely neglect to mention any of the liabilities of computers. This is a dangerous imbalance, since the greater the wonders of a technology, the greater will be its negative consequences.
In my definition, I will have to include the negative potential that exists (and not just because Postman said I wouldn’t). When we are using Educational Technology, and teaching students about it – we need to avoid just teaching all of the shiny bells and whistles, and we need to remember to teach about the consequences. There should always be discussion about digital citizenship, over use, over sharing, and safety along with these tools and devices. After all, Educational Technology of today is no longer simply a device that outputs information – it is interactive, connected and involves input and output (potentially) on a global scale!