Elements of Educational Technology

Instructions: You will explore and provide your perspective/reflection on one of the following elements, specifically how the word relates to or enables a better understanding of the definition of educational technology: (1) Study (2) Ethical practice (3) Facilitating (4) Learning (5) Improving (6) Performance (7) Creating (8) Using (9) Managing (10) Appropriate (11) Technological (12) Processes (13) Resources.

Definition of Educational Technology (2004):

According to the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT), Educational technology is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources.

My Response:

The one I pick is number 3, facilitating. Even though it may seem like I picked facilitating because it was near the beginning of the chapter, that is merely a coincidence.  When I read the description that goes with facilitating, it proved to be different than what I expected.  I expected to read about how as education has become influenced more by the invasiveness of technology, the teacher’s role has been replaced by that of a passive facilitator who merely monitors the students.  I thought that in this facilitator scenario, teachers do not have the responsibility of determining what gets taught or how to teach it because when the technology comes in to play, the teaching is exuded through whatever media the students are using.  Turns out I was wrong!  It has been known to happen.

As I read the passage about facilitating, I felt like I was reading my ideal job description.  The way the authors described the teachers’ actions is more like the teacher being a coach who has made it possible for students to have open ended opportunities to interact with content such that they gathered the important parts and built them into their psyche. The teacher still scaffolds the lesson, but it is done in such a way that the students take ownership of the direction of the learning and therefore they have mastery of the subject and not just a spectator’s point of view.  The concept of constructivism comes into play because the students are constructing meaning.  Fortunately when I was taught how to be a teacher, I was taught methods that follow the constructivist approach.  It is something that I’ve tried to embody in all of the classes I’ve taught, however the factoid based tests tended to interfere with the slower methods used in constructivism. That soapbox is one I shall stand upon at a later time.

Another aspect of the facilitating philosophy is that the teachers are not seen as the oracle of knowledge. Being in a classroom is not for students to sit and listen to a teacher talk at them. Even if the teacher is using “technology” via PowerPoint slides, the point of the technology is not to make lecturing easier on the teacher. The point of the technology may be to use the PowerPoint slides to engage the students by having them take roles in explaining concepts shown on slides. Technology is used to facilitate getting the information in the students’ hands so they can determine how to use it and to make sense of it.  Page 4 has a statement that sums this up perfectly, “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).”  There are so many teachers I’ve taught with who really need to think about that statement. Too many times they act like they are doing the right thing because they are using the technology, but in reality they are merely fooling themselves because they’ve transformed the technology to be yet another way for them to control student behavior.

I hope that I will be able to become a facilitator of student learning by using technology to help students acquire and utilize information. I still want them to guide the direction and flow, but I hope to have the opportunity to build their scaffolding.  The TECH museum in San Jose, CA has done just that by creating curriculum that empowers students to find solutions to what may seem like common everyday problems. With these projects, students construct solutions to the design challenges.  Most of the challenges are low-tech, meaning the students don’t have to use anything that involves electricity to do their project, however if they found a technology that helps them build their solution, it certainly would not be discouraged.  The point of many of the design challenges is for students to collaborate and come up with something that exists in three dimensions.  They often create a prototype, test it, and then make changes as they see the flaws that remain. This is not dissimilar to what happens in educational technology where instructional designers use technology in a ethical manner as a way to foster student projects that reflect what they learned and the means by which they learned it.

Video of someone at the TECH museum in San Jose explaining how their Design Challenge activities work.  This is one way constructivist ideas can be brought into the classroom:


Association for Educational Communications and Technology. (1977). The definition of educational technology. Washington, DC: AECT.

Januszewski, A., & Molenda, M. (2008). Chapter 1: Definition. In Educational technology: A definition with commentary (pp. 1 – 14). NY: Lawrence Erlbaum, Inc.

Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT). (2004)The Definition of Educational Technology.
Washington DC: AECT, Definition and Terminology Committee

found at: http://www.indiana.edu/~molpage/Definition%20of%20ET_classS05.pdf

About Melissa

I am a former high school science teacher and recently completed a MET degree at Boise State

Posted on June 19, 2011, in 1.1 Instructional Systems Design, 1.1.4 Implementing what was created, 1.3 Instructional Strategies, 1.4 Learner characteristics, 2.2 Audiovisual Technologies, 2.3 Computer-Based Technologies, 3.1 Media Utilization, 3.3 Implementation and Institutionalization, 4.2 Resource Management, 4.3 Delivery System Management, 4.4 Information Management, 5.1 Problem Analysis, 5.3 Formative and Summative Evaluation, 5.4 Long-Range Planning, AECT Standards, ED TECH 501 assignments, Standard 1: DESIGN, Standard 2: DEVELOPMENT, Standard 3: UTILIZATION, Standard 4: MANAGEMENT, Standard 5: Evaluation and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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