What Is Educational Technology?

Before this week’s class, I never really thought about technology being anything but digital. I thought technology had to be an innovation that needed electricity or a battery to work. When the invention of the chalkboard came up as technological advancement in our class, I was a bit surprised. Nowadays, we are simply used to these inventions that help make our life a little bit easier. Back in the day, a technological advancement that we take for granted now was probably a pretty big deal, even something as simple as printing. Here’s my take on how educational technology has changed throughout history.

What Is Educational Technology?

Now that I know that the chalkboard is considered a technological advancement, I would define educational technology as an approach that is used to facilitate learning. Back in the day, we could have called the invention of photocopiers, overhead projectors, and whiteboards a type of educational technological advancement. Now, computers and wireless projectors are commonly used in our classroom and help students learn and teachers teach. These would all be considered educational technology.

How Has Educational Technology Changed Throughout History?

100 years ago, a classroom looked much different than it does today. Does educational technology shape and change? Of course, it does! With history and how we use technology, I wouId say that technology shapes who we are, but we also shape and decide where technology will go. For example, we wanted to go to space, so we made sure we got there. I recommend checking out this article to see what classrooms looked like the year you were born.

Here are a few examples of how educational technology was shaped while the world changed around us:

  1. Different skills are taught- Before computers, cursive writing was pretty much mandatory. My students don’t know how to read or write in cursive. Now, it’s common for students to learn how to type.
  2. Assistive technology is more common- This means more education can happen for people who need assistive devices( braille, hearing aids,). 100 years ago, many students with disabilities weren’t even allowed to be in the same classroom as others.
  3. The classroom is more interactive- Let go of the traditional teaching method- Teachers aren’t simply teaching in front of the classroom now that they have other ways to teach. Students are now more involved in their own learning with videos, and projects which help them stay engaged.
  4. Communication is easier- Teachers, parents, and students are able to communicate using phones, and emails which can have its advantages. Parents have access to grades and teachers can handle conflicts and problems faster.
  5. More people can get an education– Back in the day, many people couldn’t go to school ( gender, thinking school wasn’t useful, poverty, or not being close enough to a school) With the way the world has changed, more people are able to receive an education due to the evolution of educational technology.
Photo by Eren Li on Pexels.com

Change Can Be Difficult

It’s interesting to hear stories from my grandparents about their first colour tv and how they were fascinated by having a tiny screen in their homes. They didn’t have much to watch, but just having access to a few channels was crazy to them. 70 years later, they have a pretty big tv, phones, and tablets, and can even use Snapchat ( I know they’re pretty cool). I do know that at times, they aren’t so happy about all of these changes and still accomplish daily tasks “old school”. This made me think of the article by Postman and how technological change can have a big impact on our lives, and not always in a good way.

Postman explained 5 reasons why we need to be careful with ever-evolving technology.

  1. Technology gives, but it will take– Cars are great, but…. pollution isn’t.
  2. There are always winners and losers in technology- Those who have access to technology will move forward. Those without will fall farther behind. Think of the digital gap.
  3. Technology can take away from other things- In this digital age, some skills may not be seen as necessary or valuable as they once were.
  4. Technology is powerful- Technological changes are big and can have immense consequences that are sometimes irreversible.
  5. Technology is mythic- It’s easy for technology to change our beliefs.

What Do I Think About Educational Technology in My Classroom?

I have always taught with technology so I don’t have much to say that is bad about using it in my classroom. I understand some teachers who are not tech savvy and would rather stick to other methods. If something works, don’t change it, right? But… I think it’s good to have an open mind when it comes to trying new things in the classroom. With anything, it takes practice and risks. Like educational technology, we must adapt and change with the world. You never know what you’re missing out on! As teachers, it’s important to keep up with our ever-evolving technology.

  • Do you have any other examples of drastic educational technology changes that you went through as a child or as a teacher? Or perhaps you hear of from older family members?
  • What is one educational technology you cannot live without in your classroom?

Thanks for reading!

One thought on “What Is Educational Technology?

  1. Great post Megan. I especially like the section you included on how educational technologies have evolved as our world has changed. It really supports the idea that there are so many technologies that can be considered educational technologies and that they will continue to evolve as society’s need and goals change.

    As for your question, I would say my favourite educational technology in my classroom is my projector. I love being able to use it to show videos, project pages to help students follow along better, create media presentations, and simply project mini lessons/questions so I don’t have to copy it on the board or print everything. Although, I would say the printer is definitely the educational technology that I consider the most important. I think it would be difficult to do my job the same way without it.

    Like

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