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What Is Educational Technology?

ducational Technology is a field of study of human learning and deals with complex, integrated process involving people, procedures, ideas, devices and strategies for analyzing problems and devising solutions to those problems. It is technology because it is concerned with a "systematic application of scientific and other knowledge to practical tasks"; it is qualified as educational because the practical tasks are within the context of all levels of education.The terminology as used by the practitioners is very diverse, and the official definition of the field contains the word "instructional" instead of "educational". With that correction, the field is defined as... the theory and practice of design, development, utilization, management, and evaluation of processes and resources for learning.

As a field, educational technology embraces the sub-areas of communications skills and approaches the process of instruction and learning through the judicious use of various communications channels (media). Like all forms of applied technology, it assumes that theoretical knowledge and scientific principles can be applied to problems that arise in a social context.Educational technology has a total commitment to search systematically for new and effective ways of organizing the teaching and learning process; it is not a "bag of mechanical tricks" and must not be thought of as being synonymous with technological devices. It attempts to find ways of organizing, designing, implementing and evaluating learning systems. The field is fundamentally concerned with the best possible application of technological developments to educational practices, and involves a continuing reconsideration of all elements in the teaching-learning process.

As an academic discipline, it prepares individuals to be knowledgeable about learning resources (messages, people, materials, devices, techniques and settings), about the processes for analyzing and devising solutions to those problems through research, theory, design, production, evaluation, utilization, and about the processes involved in organization and personnel management. The training prepares an individual for an activity which is basically intellectual and which carries a great personal responsibility. This professional activity is based upon a body of knowledge rather than on routine tasks. Such routines should not be confused with communications and instructional techniques which form the basis of professional education in the discipline.

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©Copyright 2002 Dept. of Educational Technology, College of Education, University of Hawaii
A PT3 grant-funded production of the LEI Aloha Digital Media Group
- - Last Updated on March 6th, 2002