Chapter 1: Introduction to Educational Technology

The current definition of Educational Technology, as defined by the Definition and Terminology Committee of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) 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, p. 1).

Januszewski & Molenda (2008) further describe each of the major terms in the above definition as follows:

  • Study – research and reflective practice in order to “examine the appropriate applications of processes and technologies to the improvement of learning” (p. 2).
  • Ethical practice – ethics are not merely rules to follow, but the basis for our practice as educational technologists. We should question our assumptions and seek to serve the benefit of learners and of society.
  • Facilitating – the focus in the field has shifted from its early focus on transferring knowledge from teacher to learner to a focus on facilitating activities and environments that engage the learner and lead to deep learning.
  • Learning – the current conception of learning goes beyond mere retention of information to encompass “the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and attitudes used beyond the classroom walls” (p. 4).
  • Improving – educational technology should provide efficient and cost-effective ways to bring about the desired learning benefits.
  • Performance – the “ability to use and apply the new capabilities gained” (p. 7).
  • Creating – “the research, theory, and practice involved in the generation of instructional materials, learning environments, and large teaching learning systems in many different settings” (p. 7).
  • Using – includes the selection of an appropriate resource as well as its implementation.
  • Managing – can include project management and management of large-scale systems.
  • Appropriate – suitable for the defined purpose, based on information and sound professional judgement
  • Technological – processes and resources
  • Process – “ a series of activities directed towards a specific result”
    (p. 11)
  • Resources – “people, tools, technologies, and materials designed to help learners” (p. 12).

While this definition of terms may seem abstract, you can see that it encompasses much more than simply the use of the latest digital gadgets.  Educational technology involves a thoughtful effort to employ the right technologies in the right way to meet learning goals.


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Foundations of Educational Technology Copyright © 2017 by Penny Thompson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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