Here is a short description of Educational Technology that I wrote a while back for my EDER 671 - Conceptualizing Educational Technology graduate course description.
Already a senior citizen in the educational research community, Educational Technology is a vibrant field of study that has undergone many changes in its 70+ year history.
While the field has worked with several definitions over the years, the current definition is: “Educational technology is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources” (Januszewski & Molenda, 2008).
This course provides an overview of educational technology in the context of research on learning that bridges theory and practice. While the popular notion of "technology" is often associated with a variety of pieces of equipment, such as computers, video cameras and networks, and product development, such as web sites and podcasts, we will conceptualize educational technology more broadly as the systematic application of knowledge to solve instructional problems. Media, hardware, software and networks are considered in the contexts of design, development and utilization of technology that supports intentional learning environments, relationships and communities.
EDER 671 serves as an introduction to educational technology for those who are new to the program, students from other specializations, and anyone who wants to broaden their understanding of facilitating learning with technology. The possible topics for this course are unlimited and diverse.
Inquiry can range from social computing, virtual reality, multimedia, hypertext, simulation and game-based learning to distributed expertise, visual communication, cultural and political impacts, knowledge management and industrial design, to the role of library and information professionals, change and adoption models, corporate and public partnerships, and all the e-this and i-that topics, if you insist (i.e., e-publishing, e-marketing, e-learning, e-business, e-bay, i-Mac, iBalls, iPods, iCulture, and i-cannot-keep-up! ;-).
Instructor selected topics provide merely a broad foundation for discourse that can echo a diverse range of student derived issues and ideas. Students are encouraged to focus their individual scholarship on particular educational technology topics, key issues in educational technology, and emerging trends about which they are passionate and curious.
The instructional methodology for this course is largely inquiry-based. Students will inquire individually and collaboratively into educational technology issues, questions and concepts that define the field. Students will actively reflect on their learning, debate ideas in a scholarly community of inquiry, and will be encouraged to apply new knowledge in the design of a learning web and opportunity for their peers via a wiki. Students will construct philosophical perspectives, investigate diverse educational technology topics and dig deep into instructional problems that they define. The course will be a success if students end up with more questions and key issues to frame ongoing inquiry in the field of educational technology and the end of semester than they started with in the beginning!
For further commentary on educational technology, I suggest you read an article by Denis Hylnka and I wrote in Spring 2009, "What is educational technology, anyway? A commentary on the new AECT definition of the field", By Denis Hlynka and Michele Jacobsen, for the Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 35(2). URL: http://www.cjlt.ca/index.php/cjlt/article/view/527/260