When I think about educational technology, I find it has changed a lot over the past year due to the circumstances we are currently in. Some teachers may have already been doing this but others were forced to move our classrooms online. Now that we have returned to school and things are still different. The push is for more use of technology in the classroom and no longer using paper and pens to complete assignments. However, this push been around long before Covid-19. It has always been a heavily debated topic as some people have different views on if the use of technology is always a positive thing. Not only that, but everyone has their own opinion on what tools are the most appropriate and have the largest influence regarding our students learning. Educational technology uses various types of media, technological processes and educational resources to help improve users academic performance.
The way educational technology has evolved over the years is crazy to think about. I have been teaching for ten years already (that seems crazy, I still feel like a newbie) and the amount of change in our classrooms is drastic. We now have class sets of chromebooks, Ipads and laptop carts for all of our classrooms. Our computer labs are no longer filled with students but instead they are filled with dated computers that are broken or not updated. This is a lot different than the classrooms I grew up in many years ago. We thought it was pretty darn cool when that TV came rolling into the classroom. You just hoped that the VHS had been rewinded so the teacher did not have to do that. If you sat at the back of the classroom you had to dodge from side to side to see around those shifting in their seats in front of you.
Now we project a movie on the board that is streamed and you can easily see it from anywhere in the classroom. If it is a short clip, you can access the link on Google Classroom and watch it on your own with your own computer and headset. This got me thinking about the article, “Five Things We Need to Know about Technological Change” and how the point about technological change is an ecological change because, “A new medium does not add something; it changes everything” (p.4). The way we teach, the things we have access to and the way we are able to help our students engage and learn is forever changed. So many of the new technologies are forced on us and this new tool becomes our normal.
With the ecological change of new technologies, it also brings challenges. This is why we need to be aware of what innovations we are bringing forward. Another point that was brought up about technological change, was that “every new technology benefits some and harms others” (Postman P. 2). With the integration of more technology we can further the digital divide and leave some students struggling to meet outcomes when they do not have access to the same media and tools that others do. Every learner is able to learn in different ways, technology can help with that, but it can also make things more challenging for some. This ties in “The Media Debate”. In this debate, Richard Clark and Robert Kozma argue over the use of technology and its affects on our learning. Clark feels that “It cannot be argued that any given medium or attribute must be present in order for learning to occur, only that certain media and attributes are more efficient for certain learners, learning goals and task.” (Clark 1994:22). To further his point, Clark insists on the replicability test: and “Whenever you have found a medium or set of media attributes which you believe will cause learning for some learners on a given task, ask yourself if another (similar) set of attributes would lead to the same learning result. Therefore, is the use of technology helping us learn more or is it just a tool we use to express what knowledge we have?
On the other hand, Kozma feels that “learning with media is a complementary process within which a learner and a medium interact to expand or refine the learner’s mental model of a particular phenomenon”. Therefore Kozma (1994) concludes “If we move from “Does media influence learning?” to “In what ways can we use the capabilities of media to influence learning for particular students, tasks, and situations?” we will both advance the development of our field and contribute to the improvement of teaching and learning.”
I used to think that I was pretty good at integrating technology in my classroom. However, after taking my last class with Alec, I realized I had a lot to learn and I was not using the technology to its full capacity. There is so much out there that we do not even realize and I think that is part of the problem. Teachers are not aware of what educational technology they have access to. On top of that, if they do know what they can use, they do not know how to use it to its full potential. We are often provided with new sources of technology in our schools but there is little to no training on how to use them. We hear about google slides, Kahoot, coding, virtual reality options and so much more but yet we rarely get the proper training on what we can do to integrate them properly into our classroom. I think that is why I enjoy these classes so much. I learn about so many new high-tech interactive and collaborative tools that can be used effectively in our classrooms. I cannot wait to see what new things I can incorporate into my teaching after taking this class!