Thursday, May 31, 2007

Clarifying the Discussion on Educational Technology

In thinking about the dialog taking place at Classroom 2.0 on U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings four questions about educational technology, it occurred to me that we need to remember that the computer is a tool that can be used in many different ways for very different and valuable outcomes.

Using this as a starting point, here are my first thoughts at categorizing those uses--which might then lead to better dialog about each one. (I'm sure this is not new ground, and I am *NOT* an expert, so refinement is welcome.) I do think that once there is good categorization, dialog based on the categories might make a lot of sense, as there are likely to be different opinions about technology depending on the intended outcome. Maybe then we can start the wiki that Andy Carvin has asked for...

Categorizing beneficial uses of technology in education (take one):
  • Administrative (traditional: accounting, attendance, scheduling, etc.)
  • Administrative (progressive: "data mining," student trends, early problem detection, etc.)
  • Teacher Use
    • Preparation
    • In-class (projector, whiteboard, etc.)
    • Professional Development
  • Student Productivity
    • Writing Tool (descendant of pencil and typewriter, keyboarding)
    • Business Analysis Tool (spreadsheets, databases, presentation programs)
  • Instructional
    • Computer-aided Instruction (software to aid in teaching existing material)
    • Programming (Logo, logic training)
  • Professional Training
    • Programming
    • Computer administration
    • Design and manufacture (PC)
    • Specialty program (CAD, animation, etc.)
  • Learning Enhancement (probably the main focus of this Classroom 2.0 network)
    • Writing (blogging)
    • Communication (email, video-conferencing, internal and external communication)
    • Self-study
    • Distance education
    • Collaboration (messaging, wikis, web 2.0)
    • Customized Learning Platform
  • Future / Unknown / Transformational (uses of the computer that we cannot predict, but which will come just from having the technology available)