“Educational Technology is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources.”
-Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT), 2008
Imagine a classroom where by the instructor is merely there as a resource help and a guide as the students engage in their own learning. Now imagine a classroom where the instructor’s role is to force lecture notes down the students throat and where students are learning what the instructor is telling them to learn and how to learn it. In each example, learning occurs. How deep and engaging the learning is depends on how the instructor perceives their role as an educator.
Out of all of the elements posed in the most recent AECT definition, facilitating is how I see technology properly integrated into the classroom.
Early understanding of instruction and learning caused people to believe that the instruction controlled the learning. For years the belief that the teacher taught and the student learned was not only entertained but a way the education field controlled its own environment.
By AECT creating a more modern theory, new learning models follow. As the shift happens, there “comes a greater recognition of the learner’s role as a constructor as opposed to a recipient of knowledge.”(Januszewski & Molenda 2008). Technology, used well, is a facilitator of new learning where new roles are defined and then refined and “deep rather than shallow learning” occurs (Januszewski & Molenda 2008).
Deep learning! Shouldn’t education be built on such a format? Allowing students to delve into a given subject using technology (and other tools) students can “take control, not the instructional program.” (Januszewski & Molenda 2008). The instructors role, therefore is to (Januszewski & Molenda 2008):
- Design the environment
- Organize the resources
- Provide the tools
The emphasis on facilitating, to me, puts all of the other elements into the hands of the students rather than the instructor. The instructor is there to scaffold and initiate thinking (by creating a problem), but how the learning occurs is up to the students to decide (by solving the problem).
Helping students find answers to their questions instead of spoon-feeding them the answers is education. This can be done effectively through the use of technology.
Januszewski, A., & Molenda, M. (2008). Chapter 1: Definition. In Educational technology: A definition with commentary (pp. 1 – 14). NY: Lawrence Erlbaum, Inc.