Evolution of Educational Technology Definition

Evolution of Educational Technology Definition from EDTECH 501 Course Boise State University

When you try to explain what you are studying, do you get a blank stare? I know that when people ask me, and I tell them I teach educational technology, they invariably ask me, “What is that?” Then, I have to explain it to them in a way they might understand. And then they still give me that blank stare!

Following is AECT’s current definition of educational technology:

“Educational technology is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources.”

This definition has evolved over the many years of using technology in education. The following comparison of evolving definitions outlines this progression and is quite interesting:
1963

Audiovisual communications is that branch of educational theory and practice primarily concerned with the design and use of messages which control the learning process. (Ely, 1963, pp. 18-19).
1970

A systematic way of designing, carrying out, and evaluating the total process of learning and teaching in terms of specific objectives, based on research in human learning and communication and employing a combination of human and nonhuman resources to bring about more effective instruction (Commission on Instructional Technology, 1970, p. 21).
1972

Educational technology is a field involved in the facilitation of human learning through the systematic identification, development, organization and utilization of a full range of learning resources and through the management of these processes (AECT, 1972, p. 36).
1977

Educational technology is a complex, integrated process involving people, procedures, ideas, devices, and organization for analyzing problems and devising, implementing, evaluating and managing solutions to those problems involved in all aspects of human learning (AECT, 1977, p. 1).
1994

Instructional technology is the theory and practice of the design, development, utilization, management, and evaluation of processes and resources for learning (Seels & Richey, 1994, p. 1).
2008

Educational technology is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources (Januszewski & Molenda, 2008, p. 1).
Resources

Association for Educational Communications and Technology. (1977). The definition of educational technology. Washington, DC: AECT.

Commission on Instructional Technology. (1970). To improve learning: A report to the President and the Congress of the United States. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Ely, D. P. (1963). The changing role of the audio-visual process: A definition and glossary of related terms. Audiovisual Communication Review, 11(1), Supplement 6.

Januszewski, A., & Molenda, M. (2008). Chapter 1: Definition. In Educational technology: A definition with commentary (pp. 1 – 14). NY: Lawrence Erlbaum, Inc.

Reiser, R. A. (2001). A history of instructional design and technology: Part I: A history of instructional media. Educational Technology Research and Development, 49(1), 53-64. doi: 10.1007/BF02504506

Seels, B. & Richey, R. (1994). Instructional technology: The definition and domains of the field. Washington DC: Association for Educational Communications and Technology.

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