Elements of Educational Technology
The use of the word “creating” in the definition of educational technology is essential in understanding not only the definition of educational technology, but also the requirements of both the student and instructor in the educational process. The Definition and Terminology Committee of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology defines educational technology as, “The study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources” (p.1). In reading the chapter and considering how each of the words enables a better understanding of the definition, I picked the word “creating” to focus on. From a teachers perspective, an understanding of what it means to create meaningful and informative lessons for students is an essential element in creating a successful classroom that incorporates educational technology. From a students perspective, creating is also a key word because in today’s learning environment, it is essential to be open, willing, and able to create one’s own learning.
“Creation refers to the research, theory, and practice involved in the generation of instructional materials, learning environments, and large teaching learning systems in many different settings, formal and nonformal” (p.7). The paradigm shift in learning theories has changed the role of the teacher to one of a guide and puts the student front and center as constructivist, rather than receiver of knowledge. With this shift, it then falls on the shoulders of the instructor to create and design curriculum that is not focused on simply delivering the information to the student, but rather creating a platform in which the student is allowed to do his or her own learning and discovering. This requires more creativity than the old way of recitation and regurgitation of facts. The teacher must think of the “whole” students and help guide students with different learning styles to meet the standards that have been established. Deeper, more authentic learning is the result, and with this, both the instructor and the student must be more creative in designing the lessons and in learning from them. As the committee says, “In these environments, the key role of technology is not so much to present information and provide drill and practice (to control learning) but to provide the problem space and the tools to explore it (to support learning)” (p. 4). Learning must go beyond the simple retention regurgitation of information and dig deeper to the use and application of the information. Again, this requires real, thoughtful, and creative lessons that incorporate a hierarchy of though processes and learning style. Lessons that incorporate the learner-focused, constructivist method of instruction are creative and thought provoking.
When considering the definition of educational technology, the concept of creativity in lesson and curriculum design stood out to me as a key factor in the success of this definition. From my point of view as a teacher and a student, it is easy for me to see how “creating” is such an essential element of a classroom that successfully incorporates educational technology.