What is Educational Technology?

Gone are the days when a classroom consisted of desks and a chalkboard, and students did all their learning from books. The field of educational technology is redefining education, changing the role of teachers, and helping students access information. Its impact is wide-ranging, including video game-based lesson plans, standardized testing setups, virtual classrooms, and more.

Emerging fields can be hard to define, and educational technology is no different. It’s a broad field comprised of two basic sub-categories, education technology and technology in education.

Education technology is the incorporation of instructional technology (IT) into the classroom environment, and technology in education involves the technological tools that help people learn.

Technology in Education

Major corporations and small startups alike are working to create technological tools to facilitate learning. People working on technology in education participate in this process, developing a variety of education tools that can be as simple as a group conversation platform, and as intricate as a virtual classroom.

Gamification, the use of games to encourage students to learn specific subjects, is one current way technology can be integrated into the classroom environment. Another type of technology integration is blended learning, which combines both online and face-to- face classroom communication. Additionally, technology can be used for assessment, as well as instruction, with new standardized testing platforms being tailored specifically to the school environment.

Virtual classrooms move the entire learning environment online, with both synchronous and asynchronous instruction, discussions, real-time collaboration and other online versions of in-person classroom features. Virtual classrooms are used for distance learning, tutorials, and “clinics,” which are short courses on specific topics.

Educational Technology

IT integration will be integral to the development of the 21st century classroom. This technology can include computers, smartphones, tablets, social media, and even digital cameras. The goal of integration is to create a seamless transition between technological experiences and classroom interactions, which in turn facilitates learning that works for each individual student.

Leaders in educational technology work to help integrate classroom IT options to achieve this goal. They help teachers identify and integrate tools to meet their students’ needs. Educational technology specialists can help facilitate the process by training teachers to use technology, and helping them create an environment which maximizes interactions between teachers and students and students with technology.

Educational technology leadership can create a learning environment that promotes innovative student-student collaboration, a variety of methods for students to express themselves, use and synthesis of relevant information, authentic assessment, and teaching styles and strategies that can address diverse learner needs.

The George Washington University’s Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Educational Technology Leadership and graduate certificates can prepare you to take a leading role in this exciting and growing field. To learn more, request information or call 844-386- 7323.