The group that I was a part of during last week’s class discussing educational technology discussed what TECHNOLOGY really entails. We discussed that many people (me included) jump right to the electronic component being the sole determinant that something falls under the technological umbrella. This idea was quickly countered by Kirsten who made a great point. She said that technology does not need to be solely electronics based, and brought up that when the settlers began using the wagon, that wagon was considered state of the art technology for that time, a practical improvement for a job of that era.
Technology & Educational Technology
This brief breakout room discussion has made me challenge my own thoughts of what technology is and what falls underneath the umbrella. So, I did what any normal person does when they are challenging their own beliefs or needs clarification on a subject….. I headed over to Google. A simple search of “technology definition” helped provide some clarity in my thinking. Google gave me a few definitions:
- the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry
- machinery and equipment developed from the application of scientific knowledge
- The branch of knowledge dealing with engineering or applied sciences.
I wanted to get some confirmation on my newly discovered understanding of technology, so I went to the next place that any normal person would go to in search of information…..YouTube! Here I found a super simple video that validated my new definition of technology. This video goes on to further explain that technology is anything that is created by humans in search of a solution to a problem or to make our lives easier!
This quick Google search exposed my own definition of technology was flawed and needed to be revamped. This new information has also made me rethink my definition of Educational Technology. Originally, I thought of this concept simply as anything electronic that was used in the educational setting. After the breakout room discussion and Google and YouTube search epiphanies, I think a contemporary definition of Educational Technology can be as simple as any new technology that has practical educational purposes or improves (makes it easier) the educational practices.
Like Bart, I also wanted to have a discussion with my Grade 7/8 students about their thoughts on technology and further what they thought a definition of Educational Technology was. I was also pleasantly surprised with the level of engagement and what they were able to come up with throughout these discussions surrounding technology. After these discussions, I started going through the assigned articles for this week and was taken back when I got to the Postman’s article.
My students, albeit not word for word, touched on 3/5 of his ideas of EdTech outlined by Postman.. They hit idea #1 & 2 together. They were quick to mention that they feel there is always a tradeoff with technological change. One student said that whenever I get a new gadget (Play Station in this case) that their interaction in person suffers. They tend to focus solely on the new piece of tech that their friendships and social interactions become stagnant. They also understood that these new advancements affect everyone differently, specifically some see advantages and are hit with the disadvantages. That same student outlined that not everyone can afford the latest advancement which could be seen as a disadvantage.
They were also able to touch on Postman’s idea #5 surrounding the idea that technology is rhythmic. Postman outlines that this idea is centered on the notion that technology is in fact part of the natural order of life and cannot be changed. One student outlined this idea when they brought up the fact that they didn’t know a life without technology (it has always just been there for them) and as such that life would not or could not function without technology. I was not sure what to expect from the discussions with my class, but was thoroughly impressed and proud of each of them!
Personal EdTech Practices
When I think about my personal experiences and practices with EdTech, one theme or feeling comes crashing to the forefront of my mind…. That of being completely and utterly OVERWHELMED! Tony Bates, outlines that what makes the digital age stand apart from previous ages is the pace that new technologies come to fruition and are established as an integral aspect in our everyday lives. This is an accurate rendition of my experiences with EdTech. I often find it so overwhelming trying to keep up with the newest app or the latest craze that my EdTech path is extremely broken up, choppy and full of potholes.
Some days I feel excited to try a new app only to learn 5 minutes after that there is something different that does just a little bit more…. SIGH! Not only is it difficult to keep up with the releases of new technology, but it also becomes difficult to keep straight what is approved by the division for use in our classrooms – I just don’t have the brain capacity at times to keep it all straight! With that being said, I feel that I do not have many well established EdTech practices in my classroom outside of the use of EDSBY, Google Classroom and my smart projector.