I am officially writing my first blog!! EC&I is my first grade class towards my journey to get a “Master certificate in Educational Technology”. Dr. Couros asked us to write our definition of Educational Technology and what does it mean to us.
What is Educational Technology?
Photo Credit: spwam1 Flickr via Compfight cc
Educational technologies often change how we access educational content– making it easier, cheaper, or faster to get our hands on information. But it can also change the procedure of learning, often enabling us to do things we couldn’t otherwise, or changing the way we practice and learn new skills. This very much gets along with Wikipedia definition of Educational technology is “ facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources“.
Historically, there are three stages that shaped Educational Technology in my understanding.
Stage 1: before computers
What was the educational technology looks like before Computers? It was depending on “Paper”.
Papers were one of the first education technologies. In fact, it really changed the way we teach and learn. It allowed people to group their ideas in books. Books were easily duplicated into a few copies which allowed ideas to spread.
In the 1700 ’s photocopying machines were invented. It was a huge educational technology advancement. Before it came along, classes often involved one person reading a book aloud, and everyone else writing it down. Educational Technology back then did not allow for much group collaboration in learning.
Stage 2: Computer age
When computers were introduced, educational and other programs such as MS Office made number crunching and educational writing and other things easier. As we moved into the late ’90s, processing power and graphics made more sophisticated games. During this time, there were also a lot of educational CD-ROMs.
Then, in the mid 90s- 2000, smaller computers became more affordable. Wi-Fi started spreading, and everything got shaken up all over again. The idea of one laptop per child started to spread, with some school districts providing laptops to all their students.
Stage 3: Internet
The Internet is one of the most used forms of educational technology used todays. It provided access to very large amounts of educational content very easily. Being able to search such vast information was a game changer.
Bringing technology into education has always been a bit controversial because it does change the way we learn in two big ways. Content and procedure.
I grew up in Egypt. In the 1980s a company produced an Arabic-language version of MSX computers and that was the first computer I ever used. First time I saw a real computer in my life was in 1990, very late I know. This is the time computer labs started to find its way to schools in Egypt. Computers were only intended to teach students a certain content area, they were an object of study nothing more. We didn’t see the full benefits of computers until the birth of the Internet. In the 1990’s, Microsoft was kind enough to give free licenses to using their Office product for free all across Egypt schools. As soon as yesterday, the government has theoretically approved the introduction of iPads and tablets for high school education. However, Believe it or not, blackboards are still the main educational technology being used in Egypt’s public school classroom today. Books are relatively very expensive and not widespread; let along access to personal computers and a good-quality Internet Connection.