Unwinding the definition.
When I first began this course, I defined educational technology as “using technology to enhance education.”  A simple definition, but I have learned that this field encompasses so much more.

The concept of educational technology is defined as: the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources.  This definition dives into all of the parts within educational technology.

The study and ethical practice are essential to the formation of the field of educational technology.  As the technology in our world continues to evolve, it is important to study its growth. Continuous research and reflection are essential in the field of educational technology.  While working in the field, it is important to consider the AECT Code of Ethics.  The act as a guide and a means for evaluation and reflection.

I found the most influential part of this definition to be the idea of “facilitating learning.”  What does it mean to facilitate?  Well, it means to make a process easier or to bring together the resources and oversee the process.  To facilitate learning, is to provide students with the tools, resources, and materials, and allow them to discover, create, and innovate.  Having this as one of the main points within the definition shows the emphasis on how educational technology is enhancing the learning process.  It promotes the idea of instructors taking a step back, and allowing the students to construct knowledge on their own.  As the definition continues , it emphasizes “improving performance.”  This promotes the usability of resources, while motivating learners to become digital citizens and gain 21st century skills.  It guides instructors to creating real world situations for their learners, and creating effective and reachable learning goals.  These two parts of the definition are integral to the concept and practice of educational technology.

In order to successfully fulfill your duty as an educational technologist, you must be able to create, use and manage technological processes and resources. Creating is an extensive process.  It means create learning environments, both digitally and physically, such as computer labs.  It means creating instructional tools, like ThingLink or Socrative for the purpose of promoting learning.  Additionally, it means creating educational systems for teachers to use and follow.  The use of these processes and resources can be complex as well.  It covers the integration of technology to schools, the encouragement of teachers, the selection of best practices, and ensuring effectiveness.  Finally, the management skills of an educational technologist are equally as important.   There is a need to direct operations, manage projects, collaborate, delegate, and implement.

Educational technology is a complex field, that is continuously growing.  While the definition is “jam-packed” is leads to a larger understanding of the field and its purpose.

Creating my graphic.
To create my graphic I used Google Drawing.  I collected images of technological tools for the classroom through a Google Image search.  I used the search tools to find images that were “labeled for reuse with modification” and all of the images I used were from Wikimedia Commons.  In Google Drawing, I created a black background to represent a blackboard with a “callout” shape to symbolize a crack or break in the board.  I then placed all of the technology tool images within the break to symbolize how technology allows us to breakthrough the classroom walls and dive deeper into learning.  I then placed the key terms of the educational technology definition around the chalkboard to emphasize their importance.  Finally, I used ThingLink to add descriptions to each of the terms to help viewers understand how each term works within the definition, as well as how it leads to improved learning environments.

I have used Google Drawing to create images before, and find it a very useful tool when making infographs for students.  ThingLink is also a great resource to add information to infographs.  I have used ThingLink to create interactive maps for my students with links to articles and videos.  I have also used it as an inquiry tool, providing my students with basic information which leads them to question a concept and inquire deeper through research.  While I was looking for a way to create my graphic, I discovered Piktochart, which is a great tool to create infographs as well.  It is definitely a tool I will use in the future to provide information to my students, and I even plan to have my students use it to create their own infographs.

Click here to view a larger version of my EdTech Graphic.

References:
Januszewski, A., & Molenda, M. (2008). Professional Ethics and Educational Technology. In Educational Technology: A Definition with Commentary (pp. 283-326). New York: Routledge.

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