According to Reiser (2001), the field of Education Technology (Edtech) is comprised of five broad components. These components are: Design, development, utilization, management and evaluation. There is argument about these components and their importance in this field, but Reiser (2001) make a compelling argument for why edtech is primarily composed of these categories.
It is felt that edtech is a means to an end and is not a top down approach. This is to say that the use of edtech is to help a learner attain knowledge and display this attainment. With the advent of edtech, the aim is for learners to be able to develop a deeper understanding of the curriculum. Edtech is part of what takes learning from rote memorization to deeper understanding and applications of knowledge.
In sum, edtech is “the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological resources (Januszewski & Molenda, 2008, p. 1). With this in mind we can then see why some have presented the following areas as important to edtech: (1) Study (2) Ethical practice (3) Facilitating (4) Learning (5) Improving (6) Performance (7) Creating (8) Using (9) Managing (10) Appropriate (11) Technological (12) Processes (13) Resources. With these areas in mind, educators can develop greater learning environments.
While all of these previous 13 components are important to take into consideration while utilizing edtech, there is one area which is of particular interest to me, this is the area of performance. As a special educator (spedukator) it is imperative that I employ all types of technology, scaffolding, etc. to help the students in their performance, for without this assistance, they do not often perform well. The idea of performance, as it relates to edtech is that you can use edtech to help a student learn better. This is to say, by the introduction of a given technology, a student will be more inclined to access a given curriculum.
One basic idea that corresponds to this is something that was presented in a documentary about TedTalks that I previewed recently. In this movie, they mention that certain computer programs can be used to help students learn the basics so teachers can take them to higher-level thinking and learning. That is how you can improve performance using edtech. You can use technology to shore up deficits, which leads to more time to use further technologies to teacher higher-level skills.
As a spedukator I have used or thought about using programs like Textaloud that read what’s on a computer page, Alphasmarts, summarizing software, and a few other things in order to help facilitate the learning process for the students I work with. For a vast majority of students, they can be relatively successful with poor teaching, lack of modalities, lack of technological resources and so on. However, for students in special education, many cannot even begin to learn without assistance. Even the simple use of a document reader to model how things should look or where they are at is an exceptional tool for me in my day to day professional life. The performance of students is greatly enhanced with the use of edtech.
Januszewski, A., & Molenda, M. (2008). Chapter 1: Definition. In Educational technology: A definition with commentary (pp. 1 – 14). NY: Lawrence Erlbaum, Inc.
Reiser, R. A. (2001). A history of instructional design and technology: Part I: A history of instructional media. Educational Technology Research and Development, 49(1), 53-64. doi: 10.1007/BF02504506