Educational technology is best defined as technological tools and software to which are integrated into learning environments. As someone who has studied and worked within this area, I can attest that the definition varies per environment. Within the field of education, educational technology is used for classroom instruction and planning by educators, administrators and designers. Educational technology consists of online software such as Kahoot, Wikipedia, Screen-Cast-O-Matic, Google Classroom, and Scratch. Each of the mentioned platforms can be integrated into curriculum for educational and facilitation purposes of the instructor. Over the years, the number of online software and web based platforms steadily sees increase, due to the world wide web steadily increasing.
Instructional technology refers to the scientific based practice of course design. Foundationally, instructional technology is similar to educational technology, with the relevance of integrating technology into learning content. However, the platforms vary due to the need for content creation, learner assessments, collaboration and platforms needing cater to these demands of the field. Some of the common platforms used within the instructional technology field include Google Classroom, Moodle, and TalentLMS.
There are some similarities in the two terms as both rely on student learning styles for direction with technological integrations and curriculum planning. These learning styles often include the well known terms such as audio, spatial, visual, auditory, and physical. In terms of students with disabilities, both terms seek to differentiate instruction using content models and technological tools (physical and web based) for instruction. “Teachers that utilize digital technologies and acquire a higher perception of learning effectiveness of digital distance learning are significantly more likely to use web-based teaching technologies” (Dincher and Wagner, 2021). Instructional technologists also seek to utilize additional models into the instruction including Merrill’s Principles and the ADDIE Model. The Addie Model consists of Analysis, Development, Design, Implement, and Evaluate. Merrill’s Principles seeks to engage learners into real world problems through activation of prior knowledge, demonstration and activation of new knowledge and integration into the learner’s real world. “Empathetic design is the ability for the designer to predict the cognitive and emotional experience of learners as they engage with the design product and process. It aims to center sensitivity toward learners, and the design process as a whole, which suggests potential application in educational settings” (Mehta & Gleason, 2021). One caveat to instructional technology is that educational technology can be integrated into instructional technology platforms to increase learner engagement and meet different learning styles.
I have only been in the field of educational technology for about 4 years and I have witnessed new platforms rolling out on a consistent basis. As long as the internet continues to serve as an open platform welcoming collaborative efforts of its users, educational and instructional technology tools, software, and web based platforms will continue to evolve. “This change is facilitated by advancements in educational technology, such as vodcasting, screen-casting, and e-learning portals. Instructors are now able to deliver lectures before class meetings via instructional videos” (Chung, 2018).
Dincher, M., & Wagner, V. (2021). Teaching in times of COVID-19: Determinants of teachers’ educational technology use. Education Economics, 29(5), 461-470. https://doi.org/10.1080/09645292.2021.1920000
Chung, K. L. (2018). Grounding the flipped classroom approach in the foundations of educational technology. Educational Technology, Research and Development, 66(3), 793-811. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11423-018-9578-x
Mehta, R., & Gleason, B. (2021). Against empathy: Moving beyond colonizing practices in educational technology. Educational Technology Research and Development, 69(1), 87-90. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-020-09901-2