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Elements of Educational Technology

June 20, 2011

Elements of Educational Technology

According to the AECT, Association for Educational Communication and Technology, the present definition of educational technology is the following:

“Educational Technology is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources” (Januszewski & Molenda, 2008).

This assignment asks us to choose and describe one element listed in this definition, and to reflect on the relationship it has with educational technology.  Specifically, discussing how the element relates to or enables better understanding of the definition of educational technology.  Of the thirteen possible elements, I feel “facilitating” is the most related and descriptive term for educational technology.  However, I believe facilitating includes other elements found within this definition.

The term facilitate is one of diversity–that can be used in many different ways.  In this assignment, I personally relate facilitating to the role of a teacher.  I can recall defining the role of an educator in most of my education classes and, more often than not, facilitator was used to describe a teacher.  According to Websters dictionary, a facilitator is defined as, “one that helps to bring about an outcome (as learning, productivity, or communication) by providing indirect or unobtrusive assistance, guidance, or supervision” (Merriam-Webster, 2011).  I believe facilitator is an element that relates strongly to educational technology, and relates specifically to the role we can play in using educational technology.  I look at educational technology through the eyes of a teacher, I believe this field can best be defined by the term facilitator   Educational technology helps learners take control of how, what and where they learn. It facilitates the act of using technology for a specific purpose.  It’s a field that allows us to get the information needed in a variety of ways.  Students have access to technology that facilitates “knowledge exploration” which allows them to create, build, and share (Jonassen, Peck, & Wilson, 1999).

Facilitating educational technology refers to giving the learner control not the material (Januszewski & Molenda, 2008).  Januszewski & Molenda state, “Facilitating includes design of the environment, the organizing of resources, and the providing of tools.  The learning events can take place in face-to-face settings or in virtual environments, as in microworlds or distance learning” (Januszewski & Molenda, 2008).

While reading this chapter, I related educational technology to facilitator first, but I feel that it includes other elements such as creating, using, and learning.  I don’t think you can facilitate without incorporating those three elements as well.  Learners must be active, must generate materials, and apply that knowledge–these can all be done with the help , or facilitation, of educational technology.  Each of these elements includes some form of facilitation.

The field of educational technology uses technology to facilitate the process of educating people.  It allows us to use a variety of interactive software to reach a diversity of learners.  It has various capabilities beyond the paper pencil history of education such as tools for audio, visual, games, text, and simulations.  For me this program is about developing the skills and knowledge to become a better educator and facilitator.  The element of “facilitating” best enables understanding of the field of educational technology.  This is a field that helps learners, or facilitates learners, attain knowledge and skills in the easiest, most efficient way that reaches their goals.

For example, the Internet can be used to allow students to construct complex knowledge bases. The Internet facilitates knowledge exploration by students. Students can find information on the Internet, create and build information through designing web sites, and communicate and share knowledge through the Internet. All five attributes of meaningful learning are employed in the activities described for using the tools of the Internet. Empowering learners to construct knowledge through active learning and the creation of learning communities can be achieved through the use of the Internet as a learning tool.

References:

Facilitator. (2011). In Merriam-Websters Online Dictionary. (11th ed.)  Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/facilitator

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

Jonassen, D. H., Peck, K. L., & Wilson, B. G. (1999). Learning with technology: A constructivist perspective. (, Eds.)Special Education Technology (Vol. 16, p. 0). Prentice Hall. Retrieved from http://www.mendeley.com/research/learning-with-technology-a-constructivist-perspective/

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