Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Own Definition of Instructional Technology

This week, my class required me to find out the definition of Instructional Technology. I interviewed three specialists as well as did some independent research. I discovered there are many different definitions, however there always seems to be one commonality to all definitions. Instructional Technology is meant to be a tool or resource to help acquire information or an objective. In an earlier blog, I explained what some of my colleagues thought of the subject, and they seemed to come to the same consensus. However, I, personally, thought there was more to instructional technology than just being a tool to help acquire information. This is my definition:

Instructional Technology is scientific theory to keep objectives current and relevant. It is used by myself, the educator, to facilitate cooperative learning among my students and use 21st century skills.

Being that I'm a science teacher, I naturally leaned towards the ideas of a scientific theory. In science, theories are accepted in nature, but have not been proven or disproven. Many educators may argue that Instructional Technology ruins teaching while others may disagree and believe that it helps the education world. I agree with those that believe that it helps education.

According to the AECT, Association for Educational Communications and Technology, "Instructional Technology means a discipline devoted to techniques or ways to make learning more efficient." As a teacher, I'm constantly trying to find ways to teach my students. Of course, there is always a textbook, but why use it when there is something better. By the time the textbook is published, it is already out of date with science discoveries. For example, the textbook that I was given when I a few years ago still expressed that Pluto was a planet! If I used just a textbook, then I would be teaching inaccurate facts to my students!

Instructional Technology doesn't just mean the use of electronics. As I learned from James Pershing and Michael H. Molenda, "Technology actually means a "technique" or "tool" that be applied to solve a problem." According to Pershing and Molenda, even a textbook is a type of technology. However, it might not be the most current use, so that is when other forms of technology may need to be used in the classroom. Since it has been recognized that textbooks have become outdated faster than they are published, a new technique is used: the online textbook. By designing and developing online textbooks, they become much more relevant to utilize in a classroom. Also, they can be constantly evaluated and updated when new science discoveries occur.

Instructional Technology emphasizes techniques or tools to make learning more efficient. As I expressed in my earlier blog, technology should never take the place of an educator. It should be only be used to enhance the learning experience. According to the Reflections on the 2008 AECT definitions, traditional instructional systems are de-emphasized. In this "digital era," no longer are educators teaching the standards in traditional classrooms. There are flipped classrooms, webquests, podcasts, and even online classes. Because of these, it is making life much easier. Adults are able to go back to school because they can in the comfort of their homes. However, it is a tool but not a way to replace the educator. Teachers are still needed to facilitate. I completely agree with AECT thoughts on Educational Technology.

According to the 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." As an educator, it is my job to design lessons that will enhance my students' learning experience with the use of technology, but it should never replace me as the facilitator!!

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