Ed Tech 504 Reflection #1
“Our new understanding of the very nature of learning has affected the definition, design, and delivery of education.” (Harasim, 2000)
- Where are you now, in terms of your own teaching and professional practice and the inclusion of educational technology in that process?
For the past twenty years I have been a math teacher. My first ten years of teaching I was a middle school and high school teacher in a brick and mortar building. Then ten years ago, after the birth of my son, I left the traditional classroom and became a private tutor. I had connected with so many students and families over the years, that when families became dissatisfied with the local schools, they came to me, looking for alternatives. I began by working with a few students helping them with correspondence courses. They told their friends and almost overnight my business was born. The correspondence courses have been replaced with online classes. I currently have 55 students, in small groups of 5 to 6 students per “class.” The program is supported by the local and state government. Instead of taking math “at school” students are able to come to me and earn their high school credits for math.
Modern technology is central to what I do each and every day. My students arrive and sit down at one of 6 computers that I have set up in a small classroom located in my home. They log in to their course: algebra 2, geometry, pre-calculus, statistics, or calculus. I act as their tutor, their mentor, and their learning coach. I help them navigate through the online course, I am here to clarify or explain any math concept. I make sure they are on task and on pace and, most importantly, I make sure the students understand the material. The entire curriculum exists on the computer, there is no text book. In addition to the computers, every day we utilize graphing calculators and web searches, usually Khan Academy You-tube videos. I literally could not do my job without modern technology.
My experience with online learning has been so positive and successful with my students that I decided to pursue it personally, so I enrolled in the M.Ed Tech program to enhance what I am currently doing and to create additional personal and professional opportunities. Given my incredibly busy schedule, professionally and personally, I could only enroll in a program that was completely online.
- What kind of change do you hope to see as a result of this class?
Prior to taking this course I thought I had a good grasp of what Educational Technology was and how it could benefit students and teachers and the general direction it was heading. After reflecting upon the last two weeks of readings, videos, and discussions, I have found that my definition was extremely narrow and focused only on the current moment in time.
I have experienced firsthand the importance of integrating technology into the classroom. I am excited to see the future. I believe that the definition of the classroom will change as a result of the current and future technology. I think a classroom can be anywhere at any time. I believe that online learning will explode in the future and become a major part of traditional education. The “change” I hope to see, as a result of this course, is to not only examine the past and to see what the current and future technology is – but how to safely, smartly, and responsibly implement it for the benefit of all – both students, teachers and society. In the readings I found Luppicini’s and Januszweski’s articles insightful. I hope to explore how best to utilize these changes.
- How might your knowledge and experiences influence the actions of those around you?
I have been supporting online learning and courses for nearly ten years now and have been a teacher for over twenty years. I believe that the knowledge I gain from this course and the EdTech program will help me understand more than just the math that I teach but also the technology and philosophy behind it. I have been in the EdTech program for three semesters now and have worked very hard. I have learned more than I ever thought possible. I have learned practical tools, technology integration strategies, theories and instructional design principles, and technology planning skills.
I hope to gain a deeper and more complete understanding of technology and be able to better explain to others what educational technology is – and is not. I’m hopeful that I will be able to make many connections from our coursework to our everyday experience.
I had difficulty explaining educational technology and it appears I’m in good company. It has taken many people many years to come up with a working definition and it’s still a “moving target,” as our course module calls it. This week’s readings explored why it is a difficult field to define and how published definitions have evolved. I particularly liked Luppicini’s (2005) perspective. Even defining technology itself is not as easy as I thought, and involves much more than state of the art tools. Januszewski’s (2001) definition resonated with me more than any other that states, “… educational technology emphasizes applying scientific techniques to solving educational problems in efficient and effective ways. (p. 118)
- My “current” definition of Education Technology.
Educational technology is the study and/or practice of the use of technology to facilitate learning. Educational technology can refer to the use of various techniques to reach students such as “application of senses, memory, and cognition” (Garrison & Anderson, 2003). These techniques may be administered through a variety of mediums. Educators study the theory behind educational technology in order to “ethic[ally]” apply these teaching techniques and achieve effective results in the classroom (Garrison & Anderson, 2003).
As a math teacher, I appreciate quantifying a definition. According to an article by Djordje Kadigevich and the ISTE (International Educational Technology Standards for Teachers and Students) there are 23 standards for teachers, divided into six broad categories. The teaching standards are: technology operations and concepts; planning and designing learning environments and experiences; teaching, learning, and curriculum; assessment and evaluation; productivity and professional practice; and social, ethical, legal, and human issues . The standards for students must also be linked to any definition of Educational Technology, these standards have 14 indicators, which are organized into the following six categories: basic operations and concepts; social, ethical, and human issues; technology productivity tools; technology communications tools; technology research tools; and technology problem-solving and decision-making tools. (Kadijevich, 2005)
Technology is more than the internet and computers. I think it’s critical that we expand our definition to include the history of technology: pencils, white boards, calculators, etc.. Any definition needs to be fluid.
I agree with the writings of Luppincini “… goal oriented problem-solving systems approach utilizing tools, techniques, theories, and methods from multiple knowledge domains …” (Luppicini, 2005 p. 107). Januszewski’s (2001) definition also resonated with me “As a worldview of education, educational technology emphasizes applying scientific techniques to solving educational problems in efficient and effective ways. This emphasis results in an attitude of action. This attitude values technique over philosophy.” (p. 118) I feel that attitude of teachers, students, parents, and administrators is a critical component to the success of any technology program, and thus it’s definition.
Another important aspect to any definition of education technology … “The systematic approaches to educational technology is student centered learning.” (Kisner) Student-centered learning environments allow for the implication and implementation of technology. In an article by Hannafin and Land they assert that “Student-centered learning environments represent significant potential for optimizing the capabilities of both technology and learners.” (Hannafin, Land 1997 p.172) To completely represent or define education technology we need to address and analyze our, as educators, approaches to education. In a traditional classroom where the teacher lectures, the ability to fully utilize technology is limited, often to what the students do on their own. But in a student-centered environment the opportunities to utilize technology are optimized, if not maximized.
Educational technology is the tools and accessories utilized to enhance and deepen a student and teacher’s understanding and comprehension of any subject matter. Without technology a subject matter becomes stagnant and one-dimensional. With technology knowledge becomes more than just numbers on a page. Technology helps us answer the age old question … “when will I ever use this?”
D. Randy Garrison and Terry Anderson (2003). E-Learning in the 21st Century: A Framework for Research and Practice E-Learning in the 21st Century: A Framework for Research and Practice. New York, NY: Routledge.
Hannafin, M., Land, S.M. (1997) The Foundations and Assumptions of Technology-Enhanced Student-Centered Learning Environments, 1997 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands. Retrieved from Boise State Library http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/65/art%253A10.1023%252FA%253A1002997414652.pdf?auth66=1361161836_5b151fbc086ad72c0f13a768aee54498&ext=.pdf
Harasim, L. (2000) Shift Happens: Online Education as a New Paradigm in Learning The Internet and Higher Education, Volume 3, Issues 1–2, 1st Quarter–2nd Quarter 2000, Pages 41–61 retrieved from http://dx.doi.org.libproxy.boisestate.edu/10.1016/S1096-7516(00)00032-4
Januszewski, A. (2001). Educational Technology: The Development of a Concept. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited, Inc.
Kadijevich, Djordje (2005). Four Critical Issues of Applying Educational Technology Standards to Professional Development of Mathematics Teachers. Retrieved from http://www.math.uoc.gr/~ictm2/Proceedings/pap196.pdf
Luppicini, R. (2005). A Systems Definition of Educational Technology in Society. Educational Technology & Society, 8 (3), 103-109 retrieved from http://www.ifets.info/journals/8_3/10.pdf