Have you heard of a process of integrating technology into education in a positive manner that promotes a more diverse learning environment and a way for students to learn how to use technology as well as their common assignments? No, right?
Also, have you heard of the theory and practice of educational approaches to learning using technology? Still no, right. This is what educational technology is all about.
Educational technology is that field of study that examines the process of analyzing, designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating the instructional setting and learning tools to improve pedagogy and learning.
It is significant to keep in mind that the goal and objective of educational technology (also referred to as instructional technology) are to enhance and improve education at all levels. We must define the goals and needs of education first and then we use all our knowledge and available materials, including technology, to design the most effective and proficient learning atmosphere for students at all corners.
Educational technology can also be seen as a process of solving educational challenges, problems and concerns, which might include poor performance, motivation, discipline, the drop-out rate, school violence, basic skills, critical thinking, and the whole list of educational concerns.
First, the challenge/problem is identified, an analysis of the characteristics of the challenge/problem is made, and possible solutions to the problem are presented holistically. Then, the student community and the curriculum are analyzed.
The next step is to select the most applicable and appropriate instructional strategies for the particular circumstance. Next, instructional materials and resources are selected that are adequate and suitable for the curriculum and the mode of instruction chosen.
Finally, the program is implemented, evaluated, and revised as needed in order to meet the stated goals for school improvement. With this, learning is scaled amongst students.
In today’s clime, learning materials and resources have greatly broadened and expanded because of the various technological advances. Instructional materials include more conventional materials, such as the blackboard, overhead projectors, televisions, VCRs, overhead projectors, slide projectors, and opaque projectors, as well as newer materials, such as the computer, various software applications, LCD projectors, camcorders, digital cameras, scanners, the Internet, satellite, interactive TV, audio and torrenting, artificial intelligence, and so on.
Teachers in public schools especially in Nigeria need to understand what types of materials are available, how to use them, why they should be used, when they should be used, and how to integrate them into the teaching/learning environment in order to meet the ultimate goal of improving education within the student’s community. Teachers also need to seriously consider how these newer materials can affect what and how we learn and teach. Hence its impacts.
The issue of what these materials are and how to use them is a first step. But we must quickly begin to discuss how these materials should be used and how they affect the curriculum and instruction in our schools.
Technology can be used to eternalize a teacher-led, knowledge-based learning approach or it can be used to help us enforce and implement a student-centred, constructivist, and progressive approach. We need to help teachers to understand the bigger picture of how technology can revolutionize education. Just teaching teachers how to use the technology will lead to enhancing a knowledge-level educational system. Teaching them the real potentials of technology will lead to promoting higher-level thinking, independent learning, and life-long learning like the Lagos State government is doing through EkoExcel.
The skills and issues that need to be addressed by hers are vast. To help in understanding what these skills and issues are, the Nigerian Ministry of Education should at least create a list of items regarding educational technology. These are items that Public schools teachers need to understand so that they can incorporate them into their own teaching and thus help preservice teachers understand them so that they can more effectively utilize technology in their own teaching as well.
Remember, in all of these areas of educational technology that the goal of improving a specific aspect of teaching and learning comes first. The technology is selected to help us meet these goals.