Educational technology: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Educational technology (also called learning technology) is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources."[1] The term educational technology is often associated with, and encompasses, instructional theory and learning theory. While instructional technology covers the processes and systems of learning and instruction, educational technology includes other systems used in the process of developing human capability. Educational Technology includes, but is not limited to, software, hardware, as well as Internet applications and activities.


Explanation and meaning

Educational technology is most simply and comfortably defined as an array of tools that might prove helpful in advancing student learning. Educational Technology relies on a broad definition of the word "technology". Technology can refer to material objects of use to humanity, such as machines or hardware, but it can also encompass broader themes, including systems, methods of organization, and techniques. Some modern tools include but are not limited to overhead projectors, laptop computers, and calculators. Newer tools such as "smartphones" and games (both online and offline) are beginning to draw serious attention for their learning potential.

Those who employ educational technologies to explore ideas and communicate meaning are learners or teachers.

Consider the Handbook of Human Performance Technology.[2] The word technology for the sister fields of Educational and Human Performance Technology means "applied science." In other words, any valid and reliable process or procedure that is derived from basic research using the "scientific method" is considered a "technology." Educational or Human Performance Technology may be based purely on algorithmic or heuristic processes, but neither necessarily implies physical technology. The word technology, comes from the Greek "Techne" which means craft or art. Another word "technique", with the same origin, also may be used when considering the field Educational technology. So Educational technology may be extended to include the techniques of the educator.[citation needed]

A classic example of an Educational Psychology text is Bloom's 1956 book, Taxonomy of Educational Objectives.[3] Bloom's taxonomy is helpful when designing learning activities to keep in mind what is expected of—and what are the learning goals for—learners. However, Bloom's work does not explicitly deal with educational technology per se and is more concerned with pedagogical strategies.

According to some, an Educational Technologist is someone who transforms basic educational and psychological research into an evidence-based applied science (or a technology) of learning or instruction. Educational Technologists typically have a graduate degree (Master's, Doctorate, Ph.D., or D.Phil.) in a field related to educational psychology, educational media, experimental psychology, cognitive psychology or, more purely, in the fields of Educational, Instructional or Human Performance Technology or Instructional (Systems) Design. But few of those listed below as theorists would ever use the term "educational technologist" as a term to describe themselves, preferring terms like "educator".[citation needed] The transformation of educational technology from a cottage industry to a profession is discussed by Shurville, Browne, and Whitaker.[4]


Theories and practices

Three main theoretical schools or philosophical frameworks have been present in the educational technology literature. These are Behaviorism, Cognitivism and Constructivism. Each of these schools of thought are still present in today's literature but have evolved as the Psychology literature has evolved.



This theoretical framework was developed in the early 20th century with the animal learning experiments of Ivan Pavlov, Edward Thorndike, Edward C. Tolman, Clark L. Hull, B.F. Skinner and many others. Many psychologists used these theories to describe and experiment with human learning. While still very useful this philosophy of learning has lost favor with many educators.

Skinner's Contributions

B.F. Skinner wrote extensively on improvements of teaching based on his functional analysis of Verbal Behavior,[5] and wrote "The Technology of Teaching",[6] an attempt to dispel the myths underlying contemporary education, as well as promote his system he called programmed instruction. Ogden Lindsley also developed the Celeration learning system similarly based on behavior analysis but quite different from Keller's and Skinner's models.


Cognitive science has changed how educators view learning. Since the very early beginning of the Cognitive Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, learning theory has undergone a great deal of change. Much of the empirical framework of Behaviorism was retained even though a new paradigm had begun. Cognitive theories look beyond behavior to explain brain-based learning. Cognitivists consider how human memory works to promote learning.

After memory theories like the Atkinson-Shiffrin memory model and Baddeley's Working memory model were established as a theoretical framework in Cognitive Psychology, new cognitive frameworks of learning began to emerge during the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. It is important to note that Computer Science and Information Technology have had a major influence on Cognitive Science theory. The Cognitive concepts of working memory (formerly known as short term memory) and long term memory have been facilitated by research and technology from the field of Computer Science. Another major influence on the field of Cognitive Science is Noam Chomsky. Today researchers are concentrating on topics like Cognitive load and Information Processing Theory.


Constructivism is a learning theory or educational philosophy that many educators began to consider in the 1990s. One of the primary tenets of this philosophy is that learners construct their own meaning from new information, as they interact with reality or others with different perspectives.

Constructivist learning environments require students to utilize their prior knowledge and experiences to formulate new, related, and/or adaptive concepts in learning. Under this framework the role of the teacher becomes that of a facilitator, providing guidance so that learners can construct their own knowledge. Constructivist educators must make sure that the prior learning experiences are appropriate and related to the concepts being taught. Jonassen (1997) suggests "well-structured" learning environments are useful for novice learners and that "ill-structured" environments are only useful for more advanced learners. Educators utilizing technology when teaching with a constructivist perspective should choose technologies that reinforce prior learning perhaps in a problem-solving environment.


Connectivism is "a learning theory for the digital age," and has been developed by George Siemens and Stephen Downes based on their analysis of the limitations of behaviourism, cognitivism and constructivism to explain the effect technology has had on how we live, how we communicate, and how we learn. Donald G. Perrin, Executive Editor of the International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning says the theory "combines relevant elements of many learning theories, social structures, and technology to create a powerful theoretical construct for learning in the digital age."

Instructional technique and technologies

Problem Based Learning and Inquiry-based learning are active learning educational technologies used to facilitate learning. Technology which includes physical and process applied science can be incorporated into project, problem, inquiry-based learning as they all have a similar educational philosophy. All three are student centered, ideally involving real-world scenarios in which students are actively engaged in critical thinking activities. The process that students are encouraged to employ (as long as it is based on empirical research) is considered to be a technology. Classic examples of technologies used by teachers and Educational Technologists include Bloom's Taxonomy and Instructional Design.


This is an area where new thinkers are coming to the forefront everyday. Many of the ideas spread from theorists, researchers, and experts through their blogs. Extensive lists of educational bloggers by area of interest are available at Steve Hargadon's "SupportBloggers" site or at the "movingforward" wiki started by Scott McLeod.[7] Many of these blogs are recognized by their peers each year through the edublogger awards.[8] Web 2.0 technologies have led to a huge increase in the amount of information available on this topic and the number of educators formally and informally discussing it. Most listed below have been around for more than a decade, however, and few new thinkers mentioned above are listed here.


Educational technology is intended to improve education over what it would be without technology. Some of the claimed benefits are listed below:

  • Easy-to-access course materials. Instructors can post the course material or important information on a course website, which means students can study at a time and location they prefer and can obtain the study material very quickly[10]
  • Student motivation. Computer-based instruction can give instant feedback to students and explain correct answers. Moreover, a computer is patient and non-judgmental, which can give the student motivation to continue learning. According to James Kulik, who studies the effectiveness of computers used for instruction, students usually learn more in less time when receiving computer-based instruction and they like classes more and develop more positive attitudes toward computers in computer-based classes[11]
  • Wide participation. Learning material can be used for long distance learning and are accessible to a wider audience[12]
  • Improved student writing. It is convenient for students to edit their written work on word processors, which can, in turn, improve the quality of their writing. According to some studies, the students are better at critiquing and editing written work that is exchanged over a computer network with students they know[10]
  • Subjects made easier to learn. Many different types of educational software are designed and developed to help children or teenagers to learn specific subjects. Examples include pre-school software, computer simulators, and graphics software[11]
  • A structure that is more amenable to measurement and improvement of outcomes. With proper structuring it can become easier to monitor and maintain student work while also quickly gauging modifications to the instruction necessary to enhance student learning.


Although technology in the classroom does have many benefits, there are clear drawbacks as well. Lack of proper training, limited access to sufficient quantities of a technology, and the extra time required for many implementations of technology are just a few of the reasons that technology is often not used extensively in the classroom.

Similar to learning a new task or trade, special training is vital to ensuring the effective integration of classroom technology. Since technology is not the end goal of education, but rather a means by which it can be accomplished, educators must have a good grasp of the technology being used and its adavantages over more traditional methods. If there is a lack in either of these areas, technology will be seen as a hindrance and not a benefit to the goals of teaching.

Another difficulty is introduced when access to a sufficient quantity of a resource is limited. This is often seen when the quantity of computers or digital cameras for classroom use is not enough to meet the needs of an entire classroom. It also occurs in less noticed forms such as limited access for technology exploration because of the high cost of technology and the fear of damages. In other cases, the inconvenience of resource placement is a hindrance, such as having to transport a classroom to a computer lab instead of having in-classroom computer access by means of technology such as laptop carts.

Technology implementation can also be time consuming. There may be an initial setup or training time cost inherent in the use of certain technologies. Even with these tasks accomplished, technology failure may occur during the activity and as a result teachers must have an alternative lesson ready. Another major issue arises because of the evolving nature of technology. New resources have to be designed and distributed whenever the technological platform has been changed. Finding quality materials to support classroom objectives after such changes is often difficult even after they exist is sufficient quanitity and teachers must design these resources on their own.

see also: [13]

Educational technology and the humanities

Research from the Alberta Initiative for School Improvement (AISI) [14] indicates that inquiry and project-based approaches, combined with a focus on curriculum, effectively supports the infusion of educational technologies into the learning and teaching process.

Technology in the Classroom

There are many kinds of computer and non-computer technologies currently in use in traditional classrooms. Among these are:

  • Computer in the Classroom: Having a computer in the classroom is an asset to any teacher. With a computer in the classroom, teachers are able to demonstrate a new lesson, present new material, illustrate how to use new programs, and show new websites.[15]
  • Class Website: What better way to display your student's work, than to create a web page designed just for your class. Once a web page is designed, teachers can post homework assignments, student work, famous quotes, trivia games, and so much more. In current day society, children know how to use the computer and navigate their way through a website, so why not give them one where they can be a published author. Just be careful as most districts maintain strong policies to manage official websites for a school or classroom.
  • Class Blogs and Wikis: These are some of a variety of Web 2.0 tools that are currently being implemented in the classroom. Blogs allow for students to maintain a running dialogue, like a journal, of thoughts, ideas, and assignments that also provide for student comment and reiterative reflection. Wikis are more group focused to allow multiple members of the group to edit a single document and create a truly collaborative and carefully edited finished product.
  • Wireless Classroom Microphones: Noisy classrooms are a daily occurrence, and with the help of microphones, students are able to hear their teachers clearer. Children learn better when they hear the teacher clearly. The benefit for teachers is that they no longer lose their voices at the end of the day.
  • Mobile devices: Mobile devices such as clickers or smartphone can be used to enhance the experience in the classroom by providing the possibility for professors to get feedback. (read more in the article MLearning).
  • SmartBoards: An interactive whiteboard that provides touch control of computer applications.

There are many other tools being utilized depending on the local school board and fund availability. These may include: digital cameras, video cameras, interactive whiteboard tools, document cameras, or LCD projectors.


Learned societies concerned with educational technology include:

See also



  1. ^ Richey, R.C. (2008). Reflections on the 2008 AECT Definitions of the Field. TechTrends. 52(1) 24-25
  2. ^ Handbook of Human Performance Technology (Eds. Harold Stolovich, Erica Keeps, James Pershing) (3rd ed, 2006)
  3. ^ Bloom B. S. (1956). Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Handbook I: The Cognitive Domain. New York: David McKay Co Inc.
  4. ^ Shurville, S.; Browne, T., & Whitaker, M. (2008). "Employing the new educational technologists: A call for evidenced change" (PDF). Proceedings ascilite Melbourne 2008. 
  5. ^ Skinner, B.F. The science of learning and the art of teaching. Harvard Educational Review, 1954, 24, 86-97., Teaching machines. Science, 1958, 128, 969-77. and others see
  6. ^ Skinner BF (1965). "The technology of teaching". Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 162 (989): 427–43. doi:10.1098/rspb.1965.0048. PMID 4378497. 
  7. ^ See and
  8. ^ » Welcome to the Eddies! The Edublog Awards
  9. ^ Professor Seymour Papert
  10. ^ a b Technology Impact on Learning
  11. ^ a b Technology's Impact
  12. ^ Technology Uses in Education
  13. ^ Cordes, Colleen & Miller, Edward. (1999),"Fool's Gold: A Critical Look at Computers in Childhood"
  14. ^ AISI Technology Projects Research Review
  15. ^ Using Technology to Enhance the Classroom Environment. THE Journal, 01 January 2002


Further reading

Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiversity

Educational Technologies


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Web Conferencing


Dimdim is a web conferencing service that enables communication using rich media in real time. Images, PowerPoints, PDFs, and video can be used in conversations, and unlike other web conferencing services, software installation is not required.


YuuGuu is a web conferencing application with an "instant messenger" type interface that allows users to have fast, secure screen sharing sessions and real time collaboration. With it, people can work together in real time, see each other's computer screen as if they're sitting next to one another, and share control of the keyboard and mouse. Yuuguu also has a widget that you can embed on your website that directs participants to join your online meetings.

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Ning is an easy to use networking service that enables people to create networks so that they can come together to meet and connect with new people.


skoogO is a free information networking service that allows college students (as well as teachers) to communicate with each other. Its service allows you to ask any academic questions and receive reliable answers from qualified students.


Facebook is a popular social networking service that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them. People use Facebook to keep up with friends, upload and share photos, post links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet. It allows you to make new connections and maintain connections as well.

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YouTube is the leader in online videos, and it is one of the top destinations online to watch and share videos through the internet. It allows people to easy uploading and sharing of videos through websites, mobile devices, blogs, e-mail, etc.


HandBrake is a versatile open-source video transcoder. It can "rip" or convert DVD video and other similar multimedia files into other file formats.


iMovie is a dynamic video editing software program for Mac users. It allows you to import videos, organize them like photos, edit them with ease, browse and view them, add details to them, like titles, transitions, and effects, and share them online or burn them onto a DVD.


MemoryMiner is a "digital storytelling" software for Mac and Windows. With it, through photos you can discover what connects peoples' lives across time and place and allows you to link the stories depicted in your photos based on people, places, ad time. Simply by dragging and dropping, you can specify who is in the photo and when and where the photo was taken. Additionally, you can drag and drop audio, video, documents, or URLs onto your photos and add text to them as well and can easily publish your digital story to the web.


Go!Animate is, in a few words, animations made easy. It is a website that allows its users to easily create computer animations and slideshows that can be shared online. The service has features that range from simple to more advanced, providing users with a multitude of possibilities to customize their animations. .

Windows Movie Maker

Windows Movie Maker is a user-friendly video creating/editing software by Microsoft. With it, you can "slice" your video clips and add features to your videos, like titles and credits, transitions, effects.

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Online Collaboration

Google Wave

Google Wave is an online tool for real-time communication and collaboration. A wave can be both a conversation 
as well as a document where people can discuss and work together using rich formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.

Show Document

Show Document is an online platform for instantaneous and spontaneous online meetings that makes it easier for people people to share and work together on the same document at the same time.


YuuGuu is a web conferencing application with an "instant messenger" type interface that allows users to have fast, secure screen sharing sessions and real time collaboration. With it, people can work together in real time, see each other's computer screen as if they're sitting next to one another, and share control of the keyboard and mouse. Yuuguu also has a widget that you can embed on your website that directs participants to join your online meetings.


MindMeister is an online "mind mapping" software that makes brainstorming with friends and colleagues easy. With it, you can participate in real-time brainstorming sessions that allow you to simultaneously work on maps and instantly see what changes are made to them.

Google Docs

Google Docs is a free service from Google that allows you to store as well as create and edit web-based documents online and access them from any computer. It supports most file formats for word processors, spreadsheets, and presentations.

Google Groups

Google Groups is a free mailing list service by Google that provides a method for its users to communicate and collaborate with their group members. It offers huge storage and customizable pages.

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Interactive Learning


Aplia provides an interactive learning solution for educators that improves students' learning by increasing their effort and engagement in a variety of courses.


Blogger is a free blog publishing service from Google that enables people to easily share their thoughts with the world. Blogger makes it simple to post text, photos, and video. Some unique aspects about blogger is that with it you can develop a blog community by adding "followers" to your layout, getting feedback from your readers, and easily create a "team blog" that allows group blogging, or intoner words, allow multiple bloggers to contribute to a single blog.

Make Beliefs Comix!

Created by author/journalist Bill Zimmerman, Make Beliefs Comix is an online educational comic generator for kids. It helps to stimulate creativity and make learning enjoyable, providing a safe place where young children (and people of all ages) can come up with new ideas and communicate through art and writing. With it, creating your own comic strip is easy and fun.


Glogster is a portal that allows you to "poster yourself" by making an interactive digital poster (called a "glog") that you can share with others online. You can use it to express your mood, feelings, and ideas, using text, photos, graphics, videos, and music.


aniBOOM is is a virtual animation studio that enables creation and distribution of animations using the internet. The website has a library containing a plethora of animations, a competition platform that lets independent animators can submit their original content in online competitions, and a collaborative aspect that enables multiple animators to create a single animation together.


ToonDoo is an online cartoon strip creator where you can create, publish, share, and discuss your cartoon strips with group members in a secure online environment.


Vernier produces software and probeware for hand-on data collection in science courses.


Picture Exchange Communication System (PEC) is a unique augmentative and alternative communication intervention package for indivduals with autism and related developmental disabilities.


GoTalk is an augmentative communication aid device that uses non-verbal communication. It is an assistive technology used by educators of students with special needs.


Tech/Speak is a multi-level augmentative and alternative comunication device designed to aid communication through direct selecting using "real-voice" technology fo speech playback at high audio quality.


DynaVox/Mayer-Johnson is a company that provides individuals alternatives to gain, or regain, the power of speech through use of their augmentative and alternative communication products.


Is a product that povides a full-featured communication solution for individuals who have difficulty speaking. One unique feature about it is that it can be used on the iPhone and iPod touch.


Dipity is an online service that allows its users to create and share interactive timelines about any subject. Users can embed YouTube videos, Twitter, RSS feeds, Blogger, flickr, Picasa, Last FM, and more into their timelines. Dipity is the perfect tool for creating a timeline for any subject in the classroom, making learning both interactive and fun.

Open Knowledge Foundation

The OFK, or Open Knowledge Foundation, is an organization dedicated to promoting “open knowledge,” which is any content, information or data that people are free to use, re-use and redistribute—without any legal, technological or social restrictions.

Google Earth

Google Earth is a service provided by Google that lets you view Earth in a unique way. With it, you can view satellite imagery, maps, terrain, buildings in 3-D. It allows you to explore rich geographical content, saved the places you tour, and share it with others.

Masses and Spring Lab Simulation

A realistic mass and spring laboratory. Hang masses from springs and adjust the spring stiffness and damping. You can even slow time. Transport the lab to different planets. A chart shows the kinetic, potential, and thermal energy for each spring.


This is an easy online graph and chart generator. Here, you can create five different graphs and charts: bar graph, line graph, area chart, XY chart/graph, and a pie graph.

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Website Development


Weebly provides a free service for people to easily create professional websites and blogs for classrooms, businesses, and more. No real technical skills are required because it has an easy "drag and drop" interface.


PikiWiki is a web service that enables its users to easily create and share webpages. With it, those who aren't as computer savvy can create unique, expressive webpages using PikiWiki's drag and drop interface. You can use pictures, videos, or other media, and you can even record audio and video directly onto your webpage. Users are free to arrange everything the way they want, and friends and family can contribute to the page as well. What sets PikiWiki apart from the concept of "Wiki" is that it combines multiple forms of media and it doesn't require any special markup language yet still allows for quick and easy collaboration.


Wikispaces is a "WYSIWYG" ("what you see is what you get' webpage developer. It's much like a word processor that lets you format text, insert images, and links using a simple toolbar and file uploader.

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