To ed-tech or not to ed-tech in the classroom? That is the question ?.

Hi again everyone!


As we have been diving more into our course content this week and I have started my research for my group presentation, I have come to reflect on my understanding of educational technology a lot lately. I always find it nerve-wracking to come up with my ideas and definitions relating to a topic. There is still a grade school student deep inside of me who desperately wants to find “the right answer” (and maybe get a sticker for a job well done ?). However, when we look at a concept as diverse and intricate such as educational technology, we realize that there is no “right answer” when describing this concept that seems to morph with everyone’s opinions and personal understandings.


My understanding of educational technology is deeply rooted in whether I believe this tool has a place in my classroom or whether I think it does not. Some teachers are resistant to employing educational technology as a teaching tool in the classroom, while other teachers jump at the chance to try out any new type of educational technology that comes their way. If you are open to using educational technology in the classroom you will most likely focus on the positives linked to this educational tool and overlook the disadvantages because you feel the pros outweigh the cons. Whereas, if you do not think educational technology belongs in your classroom, you will most likely highlight the cons over any pros and be more hesitant to find a place in your teaching for ed-tech. Ever since I started my education journey as a student, I have been all for ed-tech in the classroom! I see the value this educational tool can bring to my student’s learning (when used correctly) and I recognize that it is relevant to teach my kiddos about something that is such a constant in their daily life. Since starting my career in education, I have seen that educational technology is ever evolving and it is always changing with new trinkets continually coming out. I have also realized that educational technology encompasses a plethora of tools; we can throw in the internet, computers, programs, software, applications, websites, AV technologies, presentation tools, etc. – the list seems endless. When I look at my classroom and think about my teaching methods, educational technology is at the forefront of our classroom life. I must emphasize that ed-tech is an AMAZING tool we can use in our teaching that certainly engages students, but we need to remember that is just that – a tool that helps us teach and supports pedagogy in the classroom ( I believe ed-tech is a valuable tool for educators when used purposefully and meaningfully that can help our students retain information and further their knowledge.


Searching for a modern definition of educational technology, I came across some interesting reads. Diana Bajraktari explains that in the pre-technological era teachers had very few tools to enhance their instruction and that we have moved from teacher-centered classrooms to student-centered classrooms where our students are becoming independent learners who are responsible for their learning. She further shares with us that “technology has made education more accessible and that we have an abundance of technological tools made available to us that make the learning process FUN, INTERACTIVE, and INFORMATIONAL for our students” ( ). Qiaojuan Lei argues that modern educational technology theory refers to the practice of OPTIMIZING teaching with modern educational theory and information technology. She believes the role of modern educational technology theory allows teachers to move on from the outdated role of being an instructor and become more of a guide to their students (meaning they have to stay current with new technology and know how to use it). Additionally, Lei reiterates the same as Bajraktari that students again are given control of their learning in a student-centered approach and that modern educational technology theory allows for the curriculum to be enhanced ( ). What I can see both articles highlighting when it comes to modern educational technology theory is the importance of emphasizing a student-centered approach, having the potential to enhance the curriculum, and allowing our students to become more independent when it comes to their learning.


As I was reading through “A short history of educational technology – Teaching in a Digital Age”, I stopped and thought about how the history/progression of educational technology – from the time I was a student up until I started teaching myself – has impacted my own beliefs and how much I use technology in the classroom. If we look at page 8, computer networking was brought up and right there in the middle of this concept was the launching of The World Wide Web back in 1991. I was 7 years old when we launched this application – a grade 2 student who was beginning her education journey – and that moment I think was pivotal to education. With the introduction of “The World Wide Web” came the use of the Internet and the ability to connect computer networks. The internet impacted the material/information we had at our fingertips and changed the accessibility of resources. The internet has of course continued to evolve with time and has improved over the last decades. Once we brought Google to the playing field back in 1999, the accessibility of information and my research methods evolved once again. Personally, I can not remember a time when I was not using computers or the internet, or search engines to enhance my learning. Perhaps, when I was in primary school, but even then we had computer labs set up in my school and were incorporating technology as part of the learning process at school. Now as an educator, I continue to evolve with technology and have referred to incorporating “Social Media” (page 9) into my teaching program. I use YouTube to access a variety of videos, songs, and teaching resources for my kiddos. I also love using our classroom iPads and love researching new applications that can support and enhance what we are learning in class. I also recognize the relevance of teaching my kiddos how to act responsibly when using technology and teaching them how to use it properly. However, one aspect linked to educational technology I had never considered was the idea of “surveillance” and “how too often in education and in ed-tech, we confuse surveillance for care” ( Watters mentioned that we feel we need to watch our students closely to ensure they are doing well, they are being safe and they are being productive (page 4). But, are we really worried about them making the right choices when using technology, or are we more preoccupied with monitoring behaviors and character (page 2)? I agree with Watters that we need to be able to trust our students to act accordingly when using technology in the classroom (page 4). If we teach them proper digital citizenship and show them we care about them and trust them to make the right choices, we hope they will want to use technology in the classroom to enhance their knowledge and make responsible choices.


For me, it is not a question of whether to use educational technology in the classroom. That for me is a no-brainer and personally, it just makes sense to incorporate it into my teaching. The trick is to remember that ed-tech is an invaluable learning tool that needs to be applied in our teaching program with purpose and meaning.

One Comment

  • Casey

    Good Day Valeska,
    I completely agree and appreciate your dive into intentionality with Educational Technology. We do not get to decide if students use technology because they are doing so no matter what. Our responsibility is to provide them with experience and skills for critical thinking and decision-making, so they can deal with the challenges that accompany technologies.
    As for trusting students rather than monitoring, I am struggling with this in one of my classes this year. I have gone digital for a large portion of my classes and I am stuck in a space of trusting students to be responsible and accountable for their learning, but at some point, as the teacher, it is my responsibility to ensure that I am trying everything in my control to present the curriculum. So where does managing and monitoring cross the line from keeping students on task, to simply controlling and surveilling?

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