Theoretical Foundations of Educational Technology
Learning theories such as Behaviorism and Constructivism have always come across to me as something I needed to learn to become a teacher, as opposed to something I had a strong desire to learn. This class has changed my perspective. I found that learning about the different theories, and about the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) theoretical framework, will have profound influence on my teaching.
I work with middle school students, junior high students, and adults. In each situation I can see the need to apply a variety of different learning theories in order to reach each and every student most efficiently. Educational technologies fit into that picture very well, but only when used appropriately and efficiently. That is where TPACK comes in. Technology will only enhance learning if it is part of the educational process from beginning to end, from design to evaluation. Equally as important as technology is the content and pedagogy used in that design to evaluation process. When I prepare my lessons I will keep TPACK at the forefront of my thinking. One of my duties is to provide professional development for our teaching staff. Another is to consult with and advise my administration on what professional development needs to take place each year. I have already put the theories I’ve learned in this class to work in consultating with my principal. She is excited about the new way of approaching professional development and can see how learning theories will trickle down to the individual classrooms.
Standard 1 – Assignment 1: Accessing and evaluating content
When we were first asked to define educational technology (assignment 1), I was not sure what to expect. It was easy to see within a few days that part of the goal of the exercise was to access and evaluate the different definitions presented by peers. Once I evaluated their posts, it was evident that the definition for educational technology is variable, usually depending on the context of the term. This turned out to be an enlightening exercise.
Standard 5 – Assignment 2: Accessing and evaluating research/theoretical foundations
This formed the basis for my learning in this class. The research that I was able to complete helped me to pick a topic for my final synthesis paper. Accessing the information was a lesson in itself as I had not used Google Scholar or the Albertson’s Library very often. Evaluating the research proved to be a lengthy and fruitful exercise in discernment, which will be very useful in continuing in my teaching career.
Standards 1 and 5 – Assignment 7: Using, accessing and evaluating content, research, and theoretical foundations
Completing the final synthesis paper required a comprehensive application of the AECT standards. Using, accessing, and evaluating the research taught me how much I need to be careful with what I read and apply. I also learned the importance of proper formatting (APA standards) when presenting research data. Without the proper citations and the proper format, the finished product will lack credibility when others evaluate its worth. In the same way, presenting a topic without providing the research to support it will devalue the material for the reader/listener. This can hinder learning to the point of inefficiency or even lead to a lack of learning, neither of which is desirable.