EdTech 504: Developing a Definition for Educational Technology

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In this assignment I have been asked to create my own definition of educational technology based around reading assignments that focused on the historical and social implications and the systematic approach.  I particularly liked how my professor, Dr. Freed, phrased it, by calling this definition a “moving target”, meaning that there are many shifting factors that comprise a definition.

Definition: Educational Technology

The continual adaptation of human creativity and knowledge base to systematically apply modern technological resources to meet the changing educational and social needs of both the local and global communities.

Metaphor: Defining Educational Technology is …

playing tennis with faded lines on one side; on the other side they haven’t finished painting the lines.

Hi-res-150692090_crop_exact

Photo by Mike Stobe from Getty Images

From a historical perspective, educational technology has been effective in delivering content for nearly a century, especially in specialized education for adults.  In the last decade, the rising social demand for more flexibility in education has caused many educational institutes to provide more technology based learning (Koller, Harvey, Magnotta).  However, it has struggled at times to have proponents for technology application, especially in K-12 environments.  In more recent years, an array of free web based resources have driven a desire and increased necessity for the use of technology in the learning process, whether it be a direct teaching approach or a student centered constructive knowledge approach.

Developments in technology seem to forge ahead with powerful commercial and industry forces backing it.  Education, despite its difficulty to unite it aims and objectives, has been able to take advantage of some resources provided by technology, but it has not be distributed equally.  Applying a uniform system to utilize resources is just one way that the systematic implementation of technology promotes teaching and learning.  However, the biggest challenge of applying a systematic approach is the constant developments of new resources and the changing needs of society.

I suppose since I have not been in the position of a policy maker, it is difficult for me to imagine the profound task of systematically applying educational technology.  Therefore, my definition reflects more of my personal experience with understanding educational technology, which is the constant adaptation of my perspective for applying technology tools to my teaching strategies.  In my vision of the future of education, I made a conscious decision to prepare myself with a better knowledge base of technology, and my perspective and creativity have broadened for applying that knowledge.

Koller, V., Harvey, S., & Magnotta, M. (n.d.). Stephen R. Smoot Computer Science Division University of California at Berkeley Berkeley, CA 94720 smoot@ plateau. cs. berkeley. edu;(510) 643-7106, 27–33.

 

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Game, Set, and Match: Technology Intergration in Education

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Education is just one facet of society that must take a look at how it will adapt to the uses of technology so as to prepare teachers and students for the challenges that lie ahead.    Follow this metaphor of technology in tennis to get a sense of the effect that technology has had on education, as well as future implications.

How has technology affected tennis?

Great tennis players of the past are often compared to great tennis players of today, and many commentators try to discuss which player is the greatest.  However, anyone who has followed the evolution of sports technologies, especially in tennis racquets, realizes that the players of today play at such a higher level in terms of control, power, and speed.  Great players of the past are still held in high regard, but due to advances in technology and training, today’s players certainly have the advantage.  Even though a good player, with a wooden racquet, can beat a novice player, who is playing with a modern racquet, any player should choose more modern equipment in order to compete at the highest personal level.

So how is technology in education similar?  Students and teachers are players, looking for an advantage to compete in modern societies.  Although education can be seen as the training for the game, the players must practice with the equipment that they are going to use in the competition.  So many trends in the global society call for an increased knowledge and application of technologies for organization, communication, and administration of resources.  Technology is at the forefront of discussions regarding world markets.  “The infrastructure required to facilitate online and mobile commerce are becoming a reality as high-speed broadband and mobile technologies become more and more integrated into society.” (2010 World Digital Economy – E-Commerce and M-Commerce Trends).  In order to compete for these roles, education must provide the foundation for the application of technology tools so they can adapt to or even develop advancements in these markets.

Comparing the need for technology in education with tennis technology only demonstrates part of the need.  This metaphor falls short because even though tennis technology has changed, the dimensions on the court have not, however, this has not been the case with education.  Philosophies and theories of education struggle to find coherence; while new lines are being drawn, the old lines are still in play.  Despite the talents of both teachers and students, the policies and standards can create a lot of confusion or frustration with the game.  However, technology also provides a solution for the complex nature of education.  According to the Horizon Report 2012, learning analytics is a strong emerging trend in education. “The goal of learning analytics is to enable teachers and schools to tailor educational opportunities to each student’s level of need and ability in close-to-real time.”  The use of technology helps bring together the data and the resources, forming an individualized education plan.

Strategy also plays a very important role in tennis as well as in education.  Coaches and trainers try to develop specific knowledge and skills in the players so when they are in action they can execute the play.  Such is the case with two of the primary educational strategies.  The directed, or objectivists approach and the constructivists approach often seem contrary to one another.  Each strategy has distinct priorities to the process of learning.  Nonetheless, technology offers solutions for both philosophies.  Regardless of the approach to education, integrating technology provides motivation for the learners, optimizes scarce resources, makes educational opportunities more readily available, and develops informational and visual literacy. (Roblyer and Doering, 2012).  Even though objectivists and constructivists promote a different process, the desired outcome is very similar, just as the case of the given metaphor.  With versatility, a tennis player can be prepared for any circumstance he or she encounters, but once again the equipment is what enhances the ability.

Technolgoy: Tennis and Education, Google Presentation

References:

2010 World Digital Economy – E-Commerce and M-Commerce Trends – BuddeComm – BuddeComm. (n.d.). Retrieved September 5, 2012, from https://www.budde.com.au/Research/2010-World-Digital-Economy-E-Commerce-and-M-Commerce-Trends.html?r=51
 
New Media Consortium. (n.d.). Horizon Report 2012. 2012 Higher Education Edition (pp. 1–4).
 
Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2012). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (6th ed.). Allyn & Bacon.

Intercultural Analysis of Supply, Demand, and Trade

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Intercultural Analysis of Supply, Demand, and Trade

 

This project started with the notion that students will be more engaged in the learning process, if they are required to collaborate online with students on another continent.  Follow the following link above, to review the cross-cultural challenge that we have created for our students.

This project satisfies the following AECT standards
 
  • 1.1.a Utilize and implement design principles which specify optimal conditions for learning.

    1.1.1.a Write appropriate objectives for specific content and outcome levels.

    1.1.1.d Compare and contrast curriculum objectives for their area(s) of preparation with federal, state, and/or professional content standards.

    1.1.2.a Create a plan for a topic of a content area (e.g., a thematic unit, a text chapter, an interdisciplinary unit) to demonstrate application of the principles of macro-level design.

    1.1.2.c* Integrate information literacy skills into classroom and media center instruction.

    1.1.2.d Incorporate contemporary instructional technology processes in the development of interactive lessons that promote student learning.

    1.1.3.b Demonstrate personal skill development with at least one: computer authoring application, video tool, or electronic communication application.

    1.1.4.a Use instructional plans and materials which they have produced in contextualized instructional settings (e.g., practica, field experiences, training) that address the needs of all learners, including appropriate accommodations for learners with special needs.

    1.1.5.b Demonstrate the use of formative and summative evaluation within practice and contextualized field experiences.

  • 1.2.b Apply principles of educational psychology, communications theory, and visual literacy to the development of instructional messages specific to the learning task.
  • 1.2.c Understand, recognize and apply basic principles of message design in the development of a variety of communications with their learners.
  • 1.3.a Select instructional strategies appropriate for a variety of learner characteristics and learning situations.
  • 1.3.c Analyze their selection of instructional strategies and/or models as influenced by the learning situation, nature of the specific content, and type of learner objective.
  • 1.3.d Select motivational strategies appropriate for the target learners, task, and learning situation.
  • 1.4.a Identify a broad range of observed and hypothetical learner characteristics for their particular area(s) of preparation.
  • 1.4.b Describe and/or document specific learner characteristics which influence the selection of instructional strategies.
  • 1.4.d* Describe and/or document specific learner characteristics which influence the selection of instructional strategies and resources within the media center.
  • 1.4.e* Describe and/or document specific learner characteristics which influence the implementation of instructional strategies and resources within the media center.
  • 2.0.1 Select appropriate media to produce effective learning environments using technology resources.
  • 2.0.3 Apply instructional design principles to select appropriate technological tools for the development of instructional and professional products.
  • 2.0.4 Apply appropriate learning and psychological theories to the selection of appropriate technological tools and to the development of instructional and professional products.
  • 2.0.5 Apply appropriate evaluation strategies and techniques for assessing effectiveness of instructional and professional products.
  • 2.0.7 Contribute to a professional portfolio by developing and selecting a variety of productions for inclusion in the portfolio.
  • 2.1.1 Develop instructional and professional products using a variety of technological tools to produce text for communicating information.
  • 2.1.3 Use presentation application software to produce presentations and supplementary materials for instructional and professional purposes.
  • 2.1.4 Produce instructional and professional products using various aspects of integrated application programs.
  • 2.2.1 Apply principles of visual and media literacy for the development and production of instructional and professional materials and products.
  • 2.2.3 Use appropriate video equipment (e.g., camcorders, video editing) to prepare effective instructional and professional products.
  • 2.3.1 Design and produce audio/video instructional materials which use computer-based technologies.
  • 2.3.2 Design, produce, and use digital information with computer-based technologies.
  • 2.3.3 Use imaging devices (e.g., digital cameras, video cameras, scanners) to produce computer-based instructional materials.
  • 2.4.1 Use authoring tools to create effective hypermedia/multimedia instructional materials or products.
  • 2.4.2 Develop and prepare instructional materials and products for various distance education delivery technologies.
  • 2.4.4 Use telecommunications tools such as electronic mail and browsing tools for the World Wide Web to develop instructional and professional products.
  • 3.0.2* Use automated processes and technologies related to school media center operations.
  • 3.1.1 Identify key factors in selecting and using technologies appropriate for learning situations specified in the instructional design process.
  • 3.1.3* Provide services and resources to all users in all formats that support curriculum needs and recreational reading interests of the students and teachers that are consistent with the mission, goals, and objectives of the local school community.
  • 3.2.2* Publicize the value of school media programs within the school, community, and local school district.
  • 3.3.1 Use appropriate instructional materials and strategies in various learning contexts.
  • 3.3.5* Use automated processes and technologies related to design, production and implementation of instructional materials and information systems in the operations of the school media program.
  • 3.4.1 Identify and apply standards for the use of instructional technology.
  • 3.4.2 Identify and apply policies which incorporate professional ethics within practice.
  • 4.0.1 Demonstrate leadership attributes with individuals and groups (e.g., interpersonal skills, group dynamics, team building).
  • 4.0.3* Develop a collaborative working relationship with school administration and staff which results in a strong understanding and widespread use of the school media program.
  • 4.3.1 Apply delivery system management techniques in various learning and training contexts.
  • 4.4.2* Apply a planning process for the development of school media programs using tools such as flowcharts and timelines.
 

Mobile Learning

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The purpose of this assignment is to create a multi-display web page so that it is visually appealing on a home computer as well as functional for a mobile.  This is also an assignment that requires students to use their mobile for finding content and sharing it online.

Mobile Learning Web Page

This assignment meets the following AECT standards
  • 2.4.5 Develop effective Web pages with appropriate links using various technological tools (e.g., print technologies, imaging technologies, and video).
  • 2.4.8* Prepare instructional materials, bibliographies, resource lists for instructional units, and other materials as appropriate to support students and teachers.
  • 3.1.1 Identify key factors in selecting and using technologies appropriate for learning situations specified in the instructional design process.
  • 3.2.1 Identify strategies for the diffusion, adoption, and dissemination of innovations in learning communities.
  • 3.3.1 Use appropriate instructional materials and strategies in various learning contexts.

Concept Map Web Page

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This assignment introduced me to Fireworks imaging software, where I was able to create hotlinks on an image and have it inserted into the web page.  There were many challenges to make the styles work, but the content of the web page was the most difficult.  Now, I have a web page that can be presented to students to help them learn more about poetry.

Concept Map Web Page

This assignment fulfills the following AECT standards
  • 2.0.3 Apply instructional design principles to select appropriate technological tools for the development of instructional and professional products.
  • 2.3.2 Design, produce, and use digital information with computer-based technologies.
  • 2.4.5 Develop effective Web pages with appropriate links using various technological tools (e.g., print technologies, imaging technologies, and video).
  • 2.4.8* Prepare instructional materials, bibliographies, resource lists for instructional units, and other materials as appropriate to support students and teachers.
  • 3.2.1 Identify strategies for the diffusion, adoption, and dissemination of innovations in learning communities.

Technology Use Planning Overview

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“Bob, I’ve called you in this morning because our company is falling behind in efficiency.”  Bob feels a cold shrill down his spine and suddenly sits a little more straight in the chair across from his boss.  He quickly gives an awkward response, “Well sir……, I believe if you give me a chance, I can show you that I can be more efficient in my work.”  Slowly a smile appears on the face of the boss.  “Relax Bob!  The problem is not with you or any other employees, it’s the company equipment and resources.  They are outdated and we need to revamp in order to compete.”  Bob shows a sigh of relief and leans back a little more in his chair.  “How can I help sir?”   The boss gives him a print out.  “I need you to put together a proposal for what new technology we can implement in our processes and production.”  He points to a number and continues, “This is your one time budget but I want you to also give me an idea what will be needed for long term maintenance.  Get the department heads together to get input from them.  Meet me back here next week, same time, so we can discuss your proposal.”

This scenario is imaginary, but it is a reality for many and one day, most likely, I will be given a similar task.  However, since I work in the field of education,  would my situation be very different?  Do school administrators tend to measure with efficiency, or are they more focused on results?  If students are the product and the education is the process, then who or what would be our market?  How far do we want to take this metaphoric comparison?  According to the National Educational Technology Plan 2010, in terms of technological advancement, the education sector is encourage to learn from the business and entertainment sectors of American society.  Therefore, my purpose with this entry is to begin to explore the considerations when the education sector wants to make a technology plan.

Which way to we go?

This week’s assignment focuses on a written response to reading assignments that relate to education forming a technology plan.  The readings range from objectives at the national level to putting a plan in place at the district or school level.  Two of the readings that we were asked to give more attention are: “Developing Effective Technology Plans” by John See and the before mentioned U.S. Government document “The National Educational Technology Plan 2010” (NETP 2010).  My professor, Dr. Schroeder, asked us to consider the following questions in our response.

  1. Start with defining technology use planning–how would you describe it?
  2. How might the new National Educational Technology Plan 2010 be an effective and powerful resource for technology use planning?
  3. Do you agree with See about tech use plans needing to be short, not long term?
  4. What do you think about his comment that “effective technology plans focus on applications, not technology?”
  5. Do you agree/disagree?
  6. What experiences have you had with technology use planning and what have you seen for outcomes (both good and bad?)

After reading several resources regarding technology use planning,  I believe that I have been exposed enough to understand it, but at the same time I have discovered that it is a daunting task.  In my own words I would describe technology use planning as a research and information sifting approach to purchasing and implementing technologies to the education process.  At the heart of the matter is the money.  Districts and schools are given budgets for purchasing the necessary products to help create a learning environment.  Of course the goal of education has remained the same for the most part, preparing students to be able to contribute to society.  Therefore, since much of our society has taken to many technological trends, it is only logical that the schools should apply these trends.  However, many people believe that the schools have struggled to keep up with the rest of society.

The NETP 2010 is a broad document which sets goals for many levels of the education system.  Because it is a national document, some of the goals are beyond what one district can do.  As school administrators begin to look at their own need to implement technology as a tool in the curriculum, they could use bits and pieces of this document to guide them to a specific goal.  Some of the goals mentioned in the NETP 2010 are so radical to the current approach to education, that implementing them would likely require authorization higher than a school administrator.  Suggestions such as changing how the schools see student seat time and 24/7 access to education are hard to fathom for many, because it goes against a long established structure.  So as progressive teachers and administrators face resistance to change, they can use this government document as a means of information for the leery or a stronghold against the resistance.

John See, Technology Integration Specialist for the Minnesota Department of Education, wrote “Developing Effective Technology Plans” which was a journal entry published in 1992 in “The Computing Teacher”.  Ironically, despite being almost 20 years old, this writing has brought much attention to time sensitivity for making technology plans.  The principal basis for his statement, “Technology plans are short-term not long-term” is that technology is changing at such a fast pace that any district should be careful not commit to something on a long-term basis, considering that it could be an inferior product in a relatively short amount of time.  Even though it is a good point and in many ways is still relevant today, I don’t agree completely with what See wrote back then.  One reason is that in the last 20 years, technology products have been careful to develop timeless standards in their products that are either compatible with later versions or they can be updated to perform with newer technologies.  Another logical reason administrators should consider in making plans longer, is you will get more bang for the buck.  Companies would be more willing to offer deeper discounts for longer term contracts as well as they are more likely to negotiate maintenance services in the contract.  However, I do agree with See on the matter of reviewing, at least once year, the technology plan.  However, If a technology is found to be outdated, there is a strong likelihood that the company is already aware of it and may have developed a software base upgrade.  Schools can also negotiate with the company regarding on going developments and upgrades.  Most companies would welcome this if it means a prolonged business relationship with the school.  One study done at the Round Rock School District in Texas, shows these benefits as well as others, taken from their exclusive and long-term relationship with Dell Computers.

John See makes another good point when he says “effective technology plans focus on applications, not technology.”  It is hard to say if technology has become more or less standardized in the time since See wrote this article.  It seems just as true today as back then when he suggests that different brands offer different features.  However, market demands have required the companies to innovate in order to keep up with the competition, or to make switch over components so that one product works on another system.  Regardless, I don’t want to loose sight of See’s most important point.  What do you want the students to accomplish with the technology plan?  Many administrators and teacher feel the pressure to provide technology to the students based on what they see in society and even in other schools, yet it does not mean that they necessarily understand how students will apply the use of technology.  I agree with See that it is important to identify the output goal in a technology plan, but in most cases it ultimately comes down to each individual teacher feeling comfortable enough using the technology in order to gauge the students on the application and use of it.  According to a study done by Research in Higher Education, teacher attitude can affect the implementation of teaching with technology.  One indicator is that teachers are less likely to engage in online interaction if they have not had a chance to test it out first.

At this point in time, I have not yet been asked to participate directly in the formation of a technology plan for a school.  However, I have had the interesting perspective of working in both private international schools and public schools within the USA.  In all the cases of international private schools, I have been told that I can make requests for resources but I have not been offered a budget to purchase them on my own.  Also, in the private schools I found that students already had access to important technologies that they could use to engage in the lessons.  However, one school discouraged the use of technology in the core subject classrooms because they were concerned with cheating.  In the other school, where I am currently, so far school policy has not stopped me from encouraging students to use computers and mobiles as part of the learning process.  On the other hand, when I worked with the public school in the USA, I was given a meager budget and I was encouraged to spend it as I chose.  Unfortunately, the amount was not substantial enough to purchase technology to put in the hands of the students.  Even when I bought software, the district limited and discouraged downloading it. In addition, I worked with a demographic of students that were most affected by digital divide and digital inequality.

Based on my experience, I do agree with the NETP 2010, when it says that the education sector can learn from the business and entertainment sectors in terms of technology use, but especially with resource spending.  When I first came into the public education sector, I had been working in the business sector.  One of the first things that caught my eye was the lack of control on the use of resources, especially print resources.  I had the task of sifting through resources that were purchased in recent years but now were unused.  I don’t doubt that the teachers had good uses for these resources, but I also knew that the costs for mass use of these resources was astronomical and in my heart I believed that there were more efficient alternatives.  Eventually I assimilated to the system and found myself doing the same thing.  When I was given a budget I often was caught up in purchasing whims, usually to satisfy a short-term goal.  Now that I am not there, I am sure that some of those resources are in the darkest part of a teacher’s storage cabinet.   I believe it is a dilemma that is not easily solved.  I know teachers need to have input in what is purchased because they are going to measure the students on how well they use it, but perhaps they need more guidance or training in resources that come from the administration.  At the same time it can lead to wasteful spending if teachers are given items that later are hardly used.  Worse yet, as a teacher, I have purchased items because it looks useful, but it gets little use because administrative goals or school policy limits its use.  Now, more than before, it is imperative that schools look at efficient use of their budgets and practical long-term uses of their purchases, like most businesses do.   John See, gave support as well to the idea that schools can learn from the entertainment sector.  He mostly encouraged teachers to consider using technology for students to create a final product, however the learning will take place during the process.  When we see entertainment’s final product, we don’t always understand all the work that went into it.  By using the approach that See recommends, students will understand that there is much to be done in order to reach a final product, and in most cases, learning will take place in the process.

Resources
  • National Education Technology Plan 2010 | U.S. Department of Education. (n.d.). Retrieved November 5, 2011, from http://www.ed.gov/technology/netp-2010
  • National Center for Technology Planning. (n.d.). Retrieved November 5, 2011, from http://www.nctp.com/html/john_see.cfm
  • McLester, S. (2011). TCO and technology standardization. District Administration, 47(1), 18.
  • Tabata, L., & Johnsrud, L. (2008). The impact of faculty attitudes toward technology, distance education, and innovation. Research In Higher Education, 49(7), 625-646. doi:10.1007/s11162-008-9094-7

This entry meets the following AECT standards:

2.0.6 Use the results of evaluation methods and techniques to revise and update instructional and professional products.

3.0.1* Assess, analyze and design a media facility for optimal use and functionality to support contemporary educational goals of the school media program.

3.1.1 Identify key factors in selecting and using technologies appropriate for learning situations specified in the instructional design process.

3.2.1 Identify strategies for the diffusion, adoption, and dissemination of innovations in learning communities.

4.0.2* Establish mission, goals and objectives of the school media program that align with and support those of the local school district and community.

4.1.2* Use knowledge of school, district, state, regional, and national organizations to support efficient and effective operations in contemporary school media programs.

4.2.3* Prepare and justify a budget that supports standards-based curricula and that provides necessary resources to ensure the success of the school media program.

5.4.2* Develop and update a long-range strategic school media program plan.

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