Heading into this discussion, I felt fairly confident that i would pin down a definition of Educational Technology that i was happy with. To be honest, the second I started typing, that feeling faded away. Given the fact that digital technology evolves so rapidly, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the vast array of tools and lump them as “educational technology”. There is little doubt in my mind that tools such as the computer sitting in front of me with the various software on it and the connections to an array of learning experiences-ranging from Khan Academy to MIT Open Courseware to the multitude of blogs and web-based communities-it connects to are, in fact educational technology.
The problem for me appears when I start to expand my view to the science classroom around me (I am a Biology teacher and my class/lab is the quietest place I have to work). The interactive whiteboard behind certainly fits the bill. The digital microscopes, computer -based lab equipment and the like are obvious choices as well. Heck, I’d even make an argument for my coffee maker! I can pull back to my past and draw up images of less-than-modern technology such as overhead projectors, film projectors and cassette recorders. Educational technologies all.
To be honest, I would love to say that educational technology is the application of any human-made device towards the end of goal learning. Unfortunately, that comes up short of what I see as a decent definition. Learning is my first problem. While learning can take many forms, I see a distinction between training and learning. Technological devices that perhaps extend our senses or capacity for retaining information might be an alteration I would make to that.