My (non) definition of "educational technology"
Jan 21, 2010
Commentary by Stephen Downes
I like D'Arcy Norman's definition of "educational technology" a lot more than Januszewski and Molenda's. Their definition, that "educational technology is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological process and resources," defines an academic discipline, rather than the object of study, and for good measure throws in normative elements ("ethical", "appropriate") inappropriate in a definition. It is also essentialist, trying to define something in terms of inherent properties of that thing (as opposed to external factors, such as use). Norman's more colloquial definition, "educational technology is whatever stuff you need to use to support the practice of effective teaching and learning," is also more accurate. It identifies a set of entities as defined by how they are used. And it allows for unethical and inappropriate uses of stuff (still a good idea in a world of SCORM and page-turners).
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