Dorbolo (2003) writes, “Education is the most human of processes”. He also writes that “education is the transmission of a culture through time” and continues “one of the defining features of culture is education is practiced within it” (Dorbolo, p. 68). Culture is always changing and advancing and in today’s classrooms technology is part of this evolution. Technology is everywhere. It is literally in our pockets and on our wrists. It dings, beeps, and vibrates the happenings of the world around us. Furthermore, the development and evolution is happening so rapidly that it seems almost impossible to define technology let alone educational technology.
As a current educator who loves technology integration, it was fascinating to see the evolving definitions of Education Technology. According to Durbolo (pg. 68) the definition in 1963 was “audiovisual communications is that branch of educational theory and practice concerned with the design and use of messages which control the learning process…Its practical goal is the efficient utilization of every method and medium of communication which can contribute to the development of the learner’s potential”. While it is was clear that this was written is a different time, I appreciated that the definition ended by stating that the goal was the learner’s potential to be maximized by the use of technology.
The definition evolved in the seventies. The 1972 revision of the definition reads:
Educational technology is a field involved in the facilitation of human learning through the systematic identification, development, organization and utilization of a full range of learning resources and through management of the processes. (Durbolo, pg. 69).
It is clear that technology was evolving because the words “systematic” and “manage” make their first appearances really pushing the educational field to find ways to integrate the new technologies in beneficial and uniform ways.
The definition broadens with the 1977 and 1994 definitions. The 1977 definition is:
Educational technology is a complex, integrated process, involving people and procedures, ideas, devices and organization, for analyzing problems and devising, implementing, evaluating and managing solutions to those problems, involved in all aspects of human learning. (Durbolo, pg. 70)
I actually like the change because the word integrated makes its first appearance. The writer’s of this definition started to realize that technology needed to be integrated in beneficial and powerful ways.
The 1994 definition states:
Instructional technology is the theory and practice of design, development, utilization, management, and evaluation of processes and resources for learning. (Durbolo, pg 70.)
What I appreciate about this definition is the change from “educational technology” to “instructional technology” because it is clear that educational technology is more impactful when it is integrated in a way that boosts and enhances classroom instruction.
With my historical tour of the technology integration definitions complete, how would I define educational technology? I really connect with the 1994 definition but I want to include something about access and accessibility. I have seen the power of technology integration with our youngest learners but hope to see instructional technologies more accessible to children with learning difficulties as well as children from low socieo-economic areas. Here is my attempt and adding to the 1994 definition:
Instructional technology is the practice of design, development, utilization, management and evaluation of processes that are accessible and provide resources to learners with a wide range of abilities and backgrounds.
I know this definition will change as I learn more and I look forward to the evolutionary process. I finish this reflection with the most powerful thing I read this week. The opening statement of the 1977 AECT Definition of Educational Technology publication states, “I firmly believe that the future of Educational Technology is now in the hands of the thinkers. What is needed is a handful of experienced people who have thought widely and deeply, and who are literally obsessed by the problems posed” (AECT, 1977).
I look forward to working with other “thinkers” to develop and discuss the meaning of technology integration today’s classrooms.
Dorbolo, Jon (2003). Alan Januszewski, educational technology: The development of a concept. Ethics and Information Technology, 5 (1), 68-70.
AECT (1977) The Definition of Educational Technology, Wahington: AECT.