Educational technology is an ever-changing topic. As the technology grows, the definition of educational technology must change. The Association for Educational Communications and Technology defines educational technology as “the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources” (AECT). This definition is broad and contains many elements to consider, research, and debate. I will be focusing my attention on the element of educational technology resources.
A public school teacher cannot complete their job without resources. When I attended my undergraduate program in education I met a very knowledgeable and charismatic professor who passed on a piece of information that I still hold in high regard today: the best teachers steal. I knew not to take this literally. What I did learn from this is that we need to branch out and communicate with others in our field. Ten years ago (my undergraduate days), this meant talking to local teachers, reading books, and asking for advice from professors. Now, I realize there is much more out there.
Today, I have several resources that keep me enthusiastic about my career in education. I have spent the last three months searching through blogs and wikis to find ideas to integrate into my classroom goals. The amount of valuable information I have found has pushed me into furthering my professional learning network.
I registered for a graduate program in technology integration in search of resources. The technology in which I am being introduced is broadening my knowledge base. I will also have the opportunity to exchange information with others via technology. This collaboration helps me to be a better educator by given me current information on technology integration, valid resources, and feedback on my own practices.
When a professional is searching for resources, it can becoming an overwhelming experience. Georgia State University conducted a study in 2003 in which several educators with varying experience in technology integration were given extensive training. Although most of their experiences were positive and worthwhile, participants were overwhelmed at times. One participant of this training stated, “I was overwhelmed because the computer has so many capabilities and we had such a small amount of time” (2003). I know as an educator trying to integrate technology in a meaningful and logical way, I can too feel overwhelmed. I try to break technology integration into projects and take it one step at a time. It can be difficult to know when and where to start. I also look towards other professionals for guidance in this area.
When an educator tries to fill their curriculum with technology resources, things can become broken or fragmented. Students who are given spurts of various forms of technology without integration, exploration, and purpose may not learn as much or value technology. From Now On, an Educational Technology Journal, states that, “While it is tempting to make frequent usage the goal of this technology professional development, schools should focus efforts on promoting usage that is curriculum rich and likely to make a discernible difference in student achievement” (2001). Just as a curriculum needs to be integrated with various curricular areas, forms of technology need to be integrated within the curriculum to promote student understanding and retention.
When you break it all down, the most valuable part of educational technology resources is the people who share what they know. I have found people in my school district, undergraduate program, graduate programs, and my own community who are excellent resources. I am thankful to all those who have helped me and look forward to broadening my educational technology practices in the future.
Association for Educational Communications and Technology. 2001. AECT Standards. Retrieved from http://www.aect.org/standards/knowledgebase.html
From Now On, The Educational Technology Journal. 2001. How Teachers Learn Technology Best. Retrieved from http://fno.org/mar01/howlearn.html
Electronic Journal for the Integration of Technology in Education. Georgia State University. 2003. Can Teacher Technology Integration Training Alone Lead to High Levels of Technology Integration. http://ejite.isu.edu/Volume5/Zhao.pdf