Emerging Technologies, Learning Theories and Theories of Educational Technology – 504

This week’s videos and readings, combined with some of the readings for the Annotated Bibliography and the Synthesis Paper, have proven to be some of the most valuable yet. As a future Technology Integration Specialist, I will be incorporating all the tools I have learned to help my school truly integrate what they do with technology and maximize the potential of human, software and hardware to achieve educational goals. The historical background is certainly important. I feel the newer theories reflect a digital infusion that many called for years ago.

John See (1993) stressed the need to incorporate an annual analysis, mentioning the speed of change in technology. Twenty years removed and his words are still accurate.  Thirteen years ago, David Hawkridge addressed three critical areas affecting all facets of education, professional training and educational technology integration: “cost, access and quality” (1999, p. 301). I have seen schools that did not listen to either of the above authors and their cautions. The computers sit idle because of poor choices, plans and knowledgeable integration. The deal to get X computer was important because XY district said everyone would use them. No one seemed to challenge why they needed X in the first place. What were the students in XY district doing that would be made better by that device? Eleven years ago, De Castell, Bryson, & Jensen urged educators to challenge each and every use of hardware and software thereby creating an “educational theory of technology” (2002, para 13).

George Siemens created a new theory of learning – Connectivism. Unlike previous theories that stress the teacher demonstrates or articulates a concept, Connectivism stresses that the teacher knows where to find the answer (Siemens, 2004). Connectivism relates directly to how the learners are connected through devices to various learning communities. They get their information through these various connections. The knowledge comes as the learner recognizes patterns in the information. Web 2.0 tools make this situation even more interesting as information may or may not be vetted by an expert in a given field. Gone is the old Encyclopedia Britannica and hello Wikipedia.

These changes in the information landscape have impacted the ways that students search for and synthesize information from various sources, and they are of particular importance to academic librarians who seek to connect students’ learning networks and to improve students’ information skills (Dunaway, 2011, p. 675).

Educators help teach how to research and how to filter good information from bad.

Many researchers in the first decade of the new millennium seemed to take this one step further as they explored theories of PCT or Pedagogical Content Knowledge  (Shulman, 1986) and (Shulman, 1987) and attempted to interweave technology to create Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (Angeli, & Valanides, 2009). This finally began to fill the void in teacher preparation. Teachers began training to teach their content incorporating, planning and executing through technology. I reminded myself as I read this particular journal article that our program here integrates as we learn.

The podcast/videos see the future when teachers can no longer teach the test because the test evolves and changes to measure what they know rather than how to fill in a bubble sheet. The expectations will change to teach 21st Century Skills and prepare students to learn in the same way they will be expected to work as an adult. They will need to collaborate and then seek knowledge, return and collaborate more and then make a plan to follow. Then they will do it. I am fortunate to attend BSU and their Master of EDTECH program. I am glad we integrate technology and incorporate our given content area as we work and learn. This way the learning is not just rote, separate training; but rooted in theories of educational technology as we explore our given content areas. It is this way we will prepare for the challenges of the future as technology and educational technology continue to evolve and mesh.

References:

Angeli, C., & Valanides, N. (2009). Epistemological and methodological issues for the conceptualization, development, and assessment of ICT TPCK: Advances in technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK). Computers and Education (0360-1315), 52 (1),154-168. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2008.07.006

De Castell, S., Bryson, M., & Jenson, J. (2002). Object lessons: towards an educational theory of technology. First Monday, 7(1), 1-11. Retrieved from http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/923/845

Hawkridge, D. (1999). Thirty years on, BJET! and educational technology comes of age. British Journal Of Educational Technology, 30(4), 293-304.

See, J. (1993). How to develop technology plans. Education Digest, 58(5), 28-30.

Shulman, L. S. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15, 4-14.

Shulman, L. S. (1986). Knowledge and teaching: Foundations of the new reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57, 1-22.

Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: a theory for the digital age. 1-6. Retrieved from http://www.ingedewaard.net/papers/connectivism/2005_siemens_ALearningTheoryForTheDigitalAge.pdf

 

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Learning about learning – Week 2 – 504

I resisted this week’s readings and project because most of the times I have studied or been asked to study theories, I work to learn the information but when it comes to teacher in-service, there seems to be no execution on the part of leadership. It seemed when teachers teach other teachers they fail to address all the issues they would consider or be asked to consider were they teaching students. The concepts of teach, know and do resonate with me.

As much as I enjoyed reading and learning all that Ertmer and Newby had to offer, their article was written in 1993. Less than two percent of the courses in university curricula in the general area of educational technology emphasize “theory” as one of their key concepts (Ertmer & Newby, 1993, p. 52). There were many other bullet points that fell short of their target because of the date of the information presented. So much has occurred in my own life and in the way I learn and educate others. I would like to see data that is reflective of current trends before I get over-excited.

Surprise of all surprises, the readings and opinions of many I have read support my own beliefs that any and all means should be used to educate. If drill and practice works with the student, then I will be a behaviorist. If PBL works better, then I am a constructivist.

I must admit, I am not a fan of drill and practice software. I will use it with students and they will not know I dislike that part of our day; but I would prefer other means to educate. Working at a boarding school for students who learn differently makes one really aware of HOW you go about educating others, including those who do not have a learning difference. You educate that student by the learning plan in his or her folder. You use the methodologies all the teachers in this student’s world agreed would give that student the best chance for success.

It is not enough to just include technology in the modern classroom. Educational technologists are considered change agents and the focus of Educational Technology includes the possibility of effecting major changes in society by transforming educational systems and practices (Luppicini, 2005, p. 106). We should master all we can to insure learning is integrated, relevant and valuable to our learners.

I believe that is what will motivate me in this class. Now I have an opportunity to learn a variety of theories and history and meaning behind them. This can only offer me more tools in my teacher/administrator toolbox.

 

References:

Ertmer, P.A., & Newby, T.J. (1993). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6(4), 50-72.

Luppicini, R. (2005). A systems definition of educational technology in society. Educational Technology & Society, 8 (3), 103-109.

Definition of Educational Technology – 504

Educational Technology is the field responsible for the integration of ever-changing processes and electronic resources to all facets (including but not limited to: training, planning, preparing, researching, organizing, communicating, collaborating, documenting, student acquisition of information, implementation, networking of both/between faculty and students) of education to improve and enhance the performance of learners, teachers and administrators as they work toward their purpose and learning goals.

If you asked my 99-year-old father what laptop was when he was my age, he would have pointed to the tops of his thighs. Technology is changing and morphing as I type. I fear I might be outdated when I finish this program in December of 2014. I read recently that my iPhone’s processor is faster and more capable than a 2005 desktop machine. With this rapid evolution, the challenge for public schools is to educate the public on Educational Technology.

My struggle with the definition process? It is altitude-based. Are you viewing from within the field or from a different elevation? Much like James Finn’s viewpoint that we view technology as a process over objects (Dorbolo, p. 69, 2003), the public has not caught on. The general public spells technology, c-o-m-p-u-t-e-r-s (Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, 2013). States cannot agree on Science and History curriculum. Even the National Education Technology Plan of 2010 does not attempt to define Educational Technology (2010).

The Harkness Table, where students and teacher sit at an oval table and all have an equal voice, positively changed classrooms at boarding schools starting at Philips Exeter in 1931. Teachers had to retrain the way they do business to make that change effective, as it was not just a tool but a concept and process. You may have the best computer, the most sophisticated curriculum software, and the fastest Internet connection…but if that teacher does not know how to use any of that, its not going to improve education (Rivero, 1999, p. 54). Training teachers to plan, teach, utilize and incorporate technology creates potential to impact all schools in a similar fashion as device-bearing students in every classroom then have the ability to hold the chalk.

References:

Dorbolo, J. (January 01, 2003). Alan Januszewski, Educational Technology: The Development of a Concept. Ethics and information technology, 5, 1, 68-70.

Executive Summary | U.S. Department of Education. (2010). Retrieved June 13, 2013 from http://www.ed.gov/technology/netp-2010/executive-summary

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. (2013). Technology Education. Retrieved from http://www.famu.edu/index.cfm?TechEd&DefinitionofTechnologyEducation

Rivero, V. (April, 1999). Top state edtech leaders talk about data-driven decision making. Coverage, 52-54.