Defining the undefined: Ed Tech

 

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CC0 Public Domain via Pixabay


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!

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image created by @asingh2 via Fotor

 

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6 thoughts on “Defining the undefined: Ed Tech

  1. Fantastic post, Amy. Your tweet about needing to practice technology is so well said! As I read the Postman article, I had a similar thought to yours regarding tech lovers “unabashedly and relentlessly” praising the virtues of computers. This is changing! There are more people like you (and, maybe me?) who see the good things, but also readily acknowledge the bad. I think there will be more and more of you (us) in the coming decade.

    1. It’s great to have allies working towards similar goals!

      Another thing Sylvia said at the conference that really resonated with me had to do with educators still learning to teach 21st century skills when we are well on our way to the 22nd century. We don’t have time to keep thinking about it, we need to put it in to practice or we’re doing our students a disservice.

      I think that connects to postmans example of tech being ecological- we need to understand this stuff and do a thorough job of working with it and teaching it- because tech is affecting everyone regardless of how they use it!!

      Looking forward to learning and working with you!

  2. Hey Amy! I totally agreed with seeing the good and the bad. Students need to be responsible users of technology and I worry that its moving so fast that the digital citizen piece is trailing behind.

    1. Thanks for that Benita- the students need to learn to be responsible indeed, however there are still many adults who need to learn and model these skills as well.

  3. Yes, yes, yes! Digital citizenship is key and oh so vital from an early age with our learners. Looking forward to learning from you again this semester, Amy!

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