Educational technology: what it is and how it works

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This theoretical paper elucidates the nature of educational technology and, in the process, sheds light on a number of phenomena in educational systems, from the no-significant-difference phenomenon to the singular lack of replication in studies of educational technologies. Its central thesis is that we are not just users of technologies but coparticipants in them. Our participant roles may range from pressing power switches to designing digital learning systems to performing calculations in our heads. Some technologies may demand our participation only to enact fixed, predesigned orchestrations correctly. Other technologies leave gaps that we can or must fill with novel orchestrations, which we may perform more or less well. Most are a mix of the two, and the mix varies according to context, participant, and use. This participative orchestration is highly distributed: in educational systems, coparticipants include the learner, the teacher, and many others, from textbook authors to LMS programmers, as well as the tools and methods they use and create. From this perspective, all learners and teachers are educational technologists. The technologies of education are seen to be deeply, fundamentally, and irreducibly human, complex, situated and social in their constitution, their form, and their purpose, and as ungeneralizable in their effects as the choice of paintbrush is to the production of great art.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)155-166
    Number of pages12
    JournalAI and Society
    Volume37
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Mar. 2022

    Keywords

    • Coparticipation
    • Design
    • Distributed cognition
    • Educational technology
    • Participation
    • Technology

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