Beginning this semester, I was somewhat apprehensive about taking EdTech 504. Yet, within my feelings of apprehension, I was eager to begin the course. Though I have been teaching EFL in Korea for nine years, I have only on the job teacher training. I had never taken a formal education course before starting my degree at Boise State. Therefore, the idea of diving into theories of learning was a welcome undertaking.
At the outset of this course, we were asked to give our definition of educational technology. At the time I wrote, “Educational technology may be defined as systematically applying tools, processes, and evaluation that provide effective opportunities for learning.” In this original post, I had concluded that technology, as it stands today, goes beyond pre-digital-aged tools. Educational technology focuses on current tools and the processes of their implementation. Roblyer and Doering, in Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching agree and state, “Educational technology is a combination of the processes and tools involved in addressing educational needs and problems, with an emphasis on applying the most current tools: computers and other electronic technologies” (2010, P.8). This evolving definition, I feel, best captures educational technology today.
The learning undertaken in this course has been invaluable. As the course progressed, we explored the primary learning theories of behaviorism, cognitivism and constructivism. The evolution of these theories from one to the next was fascinating to observe but each one seemed to spin off into a countless number of complex sub-theories. We were also asked to consider how technology fits within these theories. I read deeply on the idea of connectivism. Connectivism addresses learning in a digital age, yet I felt only certain aspects of it were relevant to my current teaching environment. The more I read, the more I began to see that situativity theory fit well within my teaching practice. I think that combining aspects of connectivism and practice fields will result in excellent opportunities for my students.
This course has allowed me to better define how I want my students to learn. As an EFL instructor, seeing students make the same mistakes again and again even after directly addressing the mistakes is frustrating. The educational environment in Korea is still very much behaviorist. Students are empty vessels ready to be filled. Sadly, students themselves believe that their only role in education is to receive the answers and prepare to display them on tests. As I proceed in my career, I will attempt to change this perspective by providing my students authentic opportunities to situate their learning.
As my students will one day become elementary school teacher in Korea, it is my hope that the examples I provide my students will translate into my students using similar methods in their teaching.
Roblyer, M.D., Doering, A.H. (2010) Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.