Constructing a definition of instructional technology allows education professionals to find a common ground, propose tomorrow’s horizons, and assists the creation of a variety of patterns for individuals to follow within various institutions (Januszewski & Persichitte, 2008).
Three major conceptual shifts contributed to the formulation of the definitions of educational technology as a theory in and of itself. The first shift involved the use of a process concept rather than a product concept. The second shift replaced the terms materials and machines with messages and media instrumentation. The third shift introduces elements of learning and communication theory (Januszewski & Persichitte, 2008). Forces that compelled a new definition included disapproving the relegation of the process-based definition to a futuristic role, the definition itself being considered only temporary, flaws in the reasoning and the conceptual interpretation used in the theoretical framework, and a dissatisfaction with a seemingly two-headed orientation that might confuse client groups (Januszewski & Persichitte, 2008).
Today, defining education technology remains a difficult task due to the diversity of the professional practice that is attempted to be included under the general organizational umbrella (Persichitte, 2008). Defining educational technology must include a breadth of philosophy, practice, and research that embraces an environment of continuous change and challenge on some level (Persichitte, 2008). Considering the history of the definition, and the recognition of challenges to come, I admit I was not prepared for such an evolutional story and experience. Previous to the readings, I think I perceived education technology simply as the tools to make learning happen. I’m very surprised at the complexity of the issue, have a renewed appreciation for the field, and recognize how dangerous I was in my own naiveté while working within the profession.
Januszewski, A., & Molenda, M. (2008). Definition. In Januszewski, A., & Molenda, M. (Eds). Educational technology: A definition with commentary (1-14). New York, NY: Routledge.
Januszewski, A , & Persichitte, K.A. (2008). A history of AECT’s definitions of educational technology. In Januszewski, A., & Molenda, M. (Eds). Educational technology: A definition with commentary (259-282). New York, NY: Routledge.