Educational Technology: Defining the Field
This is an assignment from my Masters course with TAMU commerce.
Q1: How do the definitions in the first chapter (Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology- Riser and Dempsey) compare to your own definition of instructional or educational technology? The current way I define educational technology is described by the authors as Instructional Media. To be more specific, the 1970 definition provided by the Commission on Instructional Technology “media…which can be used for instructional purposes alongside the teacher, textbook, and blackboard…” sums up how I would have defined the field before reading the chapter. For the past 14 years I have been a Kindergarten teacher and have always enjoyed using technology in the my classroom. I have grown in my uses of technology over the years by focusing more on producing rather than consuming as well as putting an emphasis on collaboration. The authors refer to our field as Instructional Design and Technology and include design, development, implementation, evaluation and management in their definition. As I look at our field from this perspective I know I need to grow more in understanding the complete systematic process involved in Instructional Design. In my classroom I have always been good at focusing on the learning when deciding when and how to use technology but I have not been as thoughtful in the entire process as I should be. This chapter has helped me look more at the big picture of instructional design.
Q2: Think of a lesson or unit of instruction that you have developed. How does that lesson adhere or fail to adhere to the six characteristics of instructional design? How would you redesign it to better adhere to the six characteristics.
According the book Instructional Design: (1) is student centered, (2) is goal oriented, (3) focuses on meaningful performance, (4) is measurable in a reliable and valid way, (5) is empirical, iterative and self-correcting, and (6) is typically a team effort. In a lesson I developed, my kids used iPads and the Educreations app to record decomposing numbers. In this activity, the kids were asked to roll three dice, work together to find the sum and then use the iPad to record their results. This activity is something my kids have done several times as a whole group, but this was the first time they used the app to record their answers independently. I feel I succeeded in making the activity adhere to characteristics 1, 2, 4 and 6. If I was to redesign this lesson, I would focus on the traits I feel I did not incorporate, numbers 3 and 5. The meaningful aspect is difficult for my Kindergarten class in this lesson because of their basic understanding of the concepts and inability to read. What I think I could do is use some of their answers in problems during large group to help them connect the math to the real world to make the learning more authentic. I feel number 5 (empirical, iterative and correcting) is something that I struggle with in all my lessons that incorporate educational technology. The authors state that “data are at the Instructional Design process” and I did not collect any data in this activity. If I was to revise this lesson I would collect data showing on the strategies the kids used in their math as well as their success or failure. I would then use this data to compare what they know to what they need to know. I know I need to be more purposeful in regards to collecting data as well as using that data to rethink my process.
Q3: In the 3rd chapter, Reiser distinguishes instructional media from instructional design, excluding teachers, chalkboards, and textbooks from the definition of instructional media. Why? Would you consider teachers, chalkboard, and textbooks instructional media? Is the purpose of instructional design to incorporate media into instruction?The first three chapters of your book define the IDT (Instructional Design and Technology) field and provide a history of how it has evolved over time. In your blog post for this week, reflect on the following image (top of post): Reiser excludes teachers, chalkboard and textbooks from the definition of instructional media to help us better understand the history of instructional media. The three aspects excluded were all in place in education prior to the onset of instructional media. By removing them from the definition, it allows us to focus on the new aspects this media brought to teaching and learning. I believe that the teacher, chalkboard or textbook could be classified as instructional media depending on how they are incorporated in the lesson. However, it is important that we look beyond these three basic elements when deciding when and how to incorporate instructional media in the classroom. After reading the first three chapters I don’t think the “purpose” of Instructional Design is to incorporate media into instruction. I agree with the authors in their conclusion that there is an overlap between design and media; and those that are influenced by the history of both will be in the best position to succeed in the field. Instructional Design is much more than simply the media used in a lesson. These chapters have helped me step back and look at the complete process. I found it very interesting that with every new type of instructional media, the expectation was that the new media would revolutionize teaching. In every example this has not happened and often teacher resistance to change was given as one of the main reasons. My experiences presenting and working with teachers mirrors this concern. Change is difficult regardless if it is resisted due to time constraints, fear, or the lack of knowledge of the new tool or concept. The image (ADDIE) at the top of this post is important for Instructional Design and Technology because it highlights that we must use a systematic process when deciding about technology in the classroom. The key aspect of this diagram is that the process is not linear. At every stage we need to rethink and revise what we our doing so that we can best enhance the learning that is happening in the classroom. As I reflect on what I have seen and heard from teachers, I know that more can be done in supporting them in their use of technology. I believe that Instructional Design and Technology is as much about helping the teacher understand the process as it is about designing instruction for the students. Good Instructional Design and Technology is thoughtful during every aspect of the process and I intend to be intentional and reflective in this systematic process.