My Philosophy of Instructional Technology. University of Alabama. School of Education AIL 601. Dr. A. Benson. November 23, 2011

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1 Running head: My Philosophy of Instructional Technology 1 My Philosophy of Instructional Technology University of Alabama School of Education AIL 601 Dr. A. Benson November 23, 2011

2 Running head: My Philosophy of Instructional Technology 2 My Philosophy of Instructional Technology The dictionary definition of instructional technology is the design, development, use, management and evaluation of [the] process and resources for learning (Dictionary.com, 2011). The Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AETC) extends this definition by stating that Instructional Technology is the theory and practice of design, development, utilization, management, and evaluation of processes and resources for learning (Seels & Richey, 1994, pp 1-9). They continue by summing up that the purpose of instructional technology is to affect and effect learning (Seels & Richey, 1994, pp 1-9). These definitions are important in that they both establish the focus of instructional technology is not on technology in the general sense. For me, the focus is spread equally over the areas of theory, design, and resources. During my teaching career, I have always said it s not about the stuff. This was normally in response to questions related to how I presented material in the classroom. Too many colleagues were caught up in the stuff I was using. During that time, I found it difficult to articulate how they were looking at the use of technology wrong. Over the past couple of months, my understanding of instructional technology has changed, but even more importantly, I have been formulating a philosophy that I can explain to others. Much of this clarity came to me after being introduced to a framework for technology integration. As I read Matthew Koehler and Punya Mishra s introductory chapter in Handbook of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK) for Educators, I was struck by how closely this framework, of which I was not previously familiar, matched my own teaching style, and yes, my own philosophy of instructional technology. The technological pedagogical content knowledge framework was developed by Koehler and Mishra in 2006 by building on Lee Shulman s 1986 work that developed the concept of

3 Running head: My Philosophy of Instructional Technology 3 pedagogical content knowledge. The technological pedagogical content knowledge framework, or TPACK, outlines the need for teachers to master three types of knowledge in order to be successful. They must be masters of the pedagogy; they must be master teachers. Additionally, they must also be experts in the field in which they are teaching; they must be masters of the content. Finally, as we speed into the next century, today s teachers must be master of the technology as it applies in the classroom. While TPACK is a framework designed to help teachers go beyond seeing these three knowledge bases in isolation (Koehler) I have found that it clearly articulates my philosophy of instructional technology. Instructional technology includes the processes of learning and TPACK puts technology in its proper place, equal in importance with pedagogy and content knowledge. As shown in Figure 1, the TPACK framework establishes that the three knowledge areas overlap and that TPACK is fully implemented only at the congruence of the three. Figure 1. Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge Framework

4 Running head: My Philosophy of Instructional Technology 4 The TPACK framework provides an excellent analogy to my instructional technology philosophy because I see technology as an important cog in the wheel of learning, but no more important that the pedagogy and content knowledge that must accompany it. Just as vital is the idea that technology should not be used just for the sake of using technology. Randell Davies description of technology literate people could be used as a description of a great teacher. In his 2011 article, Davies states Technology literate people know what the technology is capable of, they are able to use the technology proficiently, and they make intelligent decisions about which technology to use and when to use it (Davies, 2011, p. 47). In other words, when planning the instructional technology of a lesson, it is not only important to know what to use, but also if a particular technology tool should be used at all. In the area of instructional strategies, I continue to hesitate to limit myself to one general area, although I have come to believe that constructivism is the closest to describing me. The idea that knowledge is constructed by learners as they attempt to make sense of their experiences (Driscoll, 2005, p. 387) provides a basis for my teaching. It also forces me to create appropriate experiences for my learners so that, while they are making sense of the experiences, the experiences have been designed to lead them towards the goals I have in mind. One particular method that I feel is vitally important with today s learners is problem-based learning (PBL). The collaborative nature of PBL along with the focus on authentic learning works very well with the learners of today. These learners want to see relevance in what they are doing in the classroom and how it will apply to real life,

5 Running head: My Philosophy of Instructional Technology 5 whether that is college for young learners or the workplace for adult learners. Designing authentic activities, allowing learners to solve problems collaboratively with appropriate guidance from the instructor when necessary and providing time for them to reflect and process what has been learned provides, in my opinion, the best overall plan for instruction. Inside each of these broad areas, there is room for a wider variety of strategies from many other theories which, when carefully selected, will provide the differentiation necessary to reach every learner. Between the technological pedagogical content knowledge framework and the constructivist-centered conglomeration of learning theories, I feel that I must be a jack of all trades comfortable with a variety of philosophies. It all boils down to doing what is best for every learner in every lesson in every classroom. Many times, this requires the instructor to react and be flexible in their delivery. But most of all, it requires the instructor to have the multiple skill sets that allow them this flexibility.

6 Running head: My Philosophy of Instructional Technology 6 References Davies, R. (2011). Understanding Technology Literacy: A framework for evaluating educational technology integration. Tech Trends, 55(5) (September/October), pp Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction. (3rd ed.). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc. instructional technology. (n.d.). The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing. Retrieved November 23, 2011, from Dictionary.com website: /browse/instructional technology Koehler, M. J. (n.d.). What is tpack? Retrieved from Seels, B. B., & Richey, R. C. (1994). Instructional technology: The definition and domains of the field. Washington DC: Association for Educational Communications and Technology. Shulman, L. S. (1986). Paradigms and research programs in the study of teaching. In M.C. Wittrock (Ed.), Handbook of research on teaching. New York: MacMillan.

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