What is #EdTech?
I’ve asked this before. I went into a spiel about how technology isn’t easy to define asking, “do we sometimes mistakenly assume it has to be an object”? After pursuing learning related to EdTech in this past year, I think it is fair to view it simply that way. A modern definition of educational technology to me strictly addresses: the objects, apps, and tools created in order to aid in learning. EdTech is just learning, past and present.
When one thinks of EdTech, one thinks of <insert device here>. SMART Boards, iPads, BYOD classrooms, take your pick. Mainstream EdTech is devoid of the history or philosophy, it is simply a “thing”.
And shout out to Holly, she nailed it with this definition:
“it is a set of tools that aim to enrich and enhance the teaching and learning experience. “
To continue with completely overgeneralizing, education technologists (EdTech users) know the historical influence and implications of what goes into education technology anyway (the ideas and processes), so while an official designation of what EdTech is may contain the thoughts of its foundation, the majority view it simply. The critics and opposition to EdTech as a may point to the tech trade-off as a Faustian bargain, but that argument can be said of any step for progress/change and to me has all the symptoms of pessimism (the “p” word). “This new energy source will create new jobs”, “yes but it will ruin or make old jobs obsolete”, cut it out.
It’s awful to displace people who may have worked at something for a long time, yes, but it illustrates our need to be able to adapt. Potentially, some companies are imposing values and beliefs on our youth with what tech they create, but it some cases, believe it or not, these things are created with the genuine intent to make life better (some capitalize on this, unfortunately). Haters might come at me with: “these technologies aren’t distributed evenly though, this increases the wealth gap as the haves get the best gear”. True, it does, but it also helps teach digital literacy to those with minimal exposure to it at home, assuming your educational institution can facilitate it.
Resistance is futile.
But worth it.
From oral to written to computer to social media, learning and EdTech has taken on different shapes throughout history. Fact. However, doubt is an integral part to each innovations’ growth and consequently seeks to further learning. The game is constantly changing for humanity. It doesn’t make us all-powerful when we are the architects of these paradigm shifts, but agents of change. These agents may hold and manipulate power and the very flow of human socialization, but it is negligent to not acknowledge what works (and what doesn’t).
Why do I think about it this way? It stems back to worldviews and a growth mindset. Approaching problems, be it with self or with others with a solution in mind; positivity in making the most of what’s available is not only better for me, but better for my students. So I continue to embrace change in education as a whole, not simply limited to the scope of EdTech, whether or not all of its depth is actually taken into consideration by the masses.
By the way, how great are gifs? And how fitting is this to the theme of my ramblings today?
Agree? Is this all there is to EdTech and life?
Disagree? I’m too optimistic and need to be more realistic of the perils?
– Logan Petlak