Foundations of Ed Tech

What is Education Technology…

To be completely honest, there is no real answer. Many people have tried to determine (in scientific studies) how to evaluate and quantify the effect of technology on Education. As many Ed.Tech. specialists know, it can be the key to learning or an amazing way to destroy a classroom. How educators integrate is the largest factor in determining if any classroom technology will succeed. There have been many proposed solutions to the Ed.Tech. debate, but few of them work in isolation. One of the most promising ideas – in my opinion – was devised by Michael Fullan (author of Change Based Leadership).

Michael Fullan has used his experience researching leadership directed change in conjunction with Andy Hargreaves and Robert Dufour to create the “Stratosphere” (I know… I know… I have been rambling on about the Stratosphere for a while… it is just such great work!). Fullan focuses on several critical issues in his 80 page book, most notably (and so that you do not have to read the entire thing), Fullan says that the purpose of the book is about

“…how the ideas embedded in the new technology, the new pedagogy, and the new change knowledge are converging to transform education for all…Technology has had its own pace, wildly outstripped the other two in sheer quantity and in aimless quality. It is now time to reconcile how technology can join the fray in a more purposeful way in order to transform learning for educators and learners in the 21st century.”

Think back on your first foray into the internet. If you are my age or older, you probably remember the clunky first Personal Computers. In just 50 years, computers have changed the face of the modern world. If we can use that acceleration and that innovation to fuel our education system, the sky is the limit. Fullan does caution that our current political landscape should,

“…do less of spending money on assessment detached from designing learning and more of creating learning experiences that are irresistibly engaging.”

By truly engaging our staff and our students (new studies show that by 9th grade, only 37% of students are engaged in their own learning on top of record setting declines in teacher satisfaction) we can empower them to use technology effectively. We should be cautious and remember that,

“The integration of technology and pedagogy to maximize learning must meet four criteria. It must be irresistibly engaging; elegantly efficient (challenging but easy to use); technologically ubiquitous; and steeped in real-life problem solving.” “Learning, surely the most important human resource in the world, is not benefiting from the greatest technical resource on the planet. It is time that gadget goes to school and schools go to gadget 24/7.”

Welcome to the front line!

In order to really understand how we got to this point, we will be walking backwards (taking some material from the courses I teach at Colorado College) to examine how education technology began.

Just like a course, you need to do some reading:

I will highly recommend the following four resources for you to get your feet under you.

If you want to engage in some activities, I suggest the TPACK Game (

Lesson Introduction (From CC518):

For this lesson, students will be asked to read articles and materials by prominent founders of education technology. Through reading William James (1925) students can begin to examine the reason for embedding technology into a standard curriculum. The fundamental principal outlined in Chapter Ten is the idea that,

“Any object not interesting in itself may become interesting through becoming associated with an object in which an interest already exists. The two associated objects grow, as it were, together; the interesting portion sheds its quality over the whole; and thus things not interesting in their own right borrow an interest which becomes as real and as strong as that of any natively interesting thing” (p. 74).

Through all of the faults and follies of technology, and tablets in particular, even skeptics agree that the devices themselves are inherently interesting to students. The beauty of Mobile Learning, as James expounds, is that the interest that students have in the device will transfer to the subject material being taught with the device. Using this postulate, we can make students more engaged simply by allowing them to use tools that they find interesting.

Dr. Koehler in his work with TPACK identifies how teachers should create lessons and content to best prepare students for the 21st Century – by blending Technology, Pedagogy and Content. This reading provides a foundation in the three modes of teacher knowledge and how that knowledge translates into increased student success.

Our final reading for this lesson is from Daniel C Edelson and is an extensive work detailing the trials and tribulations with integrating technology based inquiry into the teaching of science. Although focused directly on science education, Edelson brings up valid points of concern when integrating technology in all curricular areas. Focusing on five distinct areas of student struggles with technology inquiry (motivation, investigation techniques, background knowledge, management, and practical constraints) Edelson expounds upon the idea that technology offers many struggles for teachers and educators, but by following simple guidelines effective instruction can become the norm.

This lesson will be based upon the readings outlined above and will be focused on several methods of small/whole-group discussion. The guiding PowerPoint prepared by the instructor is available below. A podcast of the entire lecture will also be added following the physical meeting.

Lesson Podcast:

Click the navigation buttons below to hear an audio recording of the in-person discussion.


Lesson Introduction Video: