ERIC Identifier: ED308858
Publication Date: 1989-09-00
Author: Ely, Donald P.
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Information Resources Syracuse NY.
Trends in Educational Technology: 1989. ERIC Digest.
In order to identify and document the pervasive trends in the field of
educational technology, an elaborate content review of the professional
literature was performed. Literature examined included journals, conference
proceedings, ERIC RIE documents, annuals and yearbooks, and dissertations. The
purpose of this digest is to highlight the significant trends observed in this
content review process.
DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT, AND EVALUATION OF INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS AND PROCEDURES IS A PRIMARY CONCERN AMONG PRACTITIONERS IN THE FIELD OF EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY.
A large portion of the
educational technology literature is about the design, development, and
evaluation of instructional materials. Issues in design include the application
of cognitive psychology, such as in helping learners to conceptualize unfamiliar
content; semiotics and the effects of message configuration characteristics,
such as text design, text density, visual design, and use of symbol systems; and
the effects of media use on motivation, including learner interest, achievement,
and attitude development. Development includes such activities as needs
assessment, course development, and product development. Finally, evaluation is
concerned with measures and procedures for determining program effectiveness.
Related to this is a call for better procedures for evaluating computer-assisted
instruction software and software evaluation databases that are accessible to
PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION FOR TEACHERS IN THE USE OF EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES IS SEEN AS A BASIC NEED FOR PRESENT AND FUTURE PROFESSIONAL SERVICE.
Literature in this area
is directed both at professional specialists within the field of educational
technology and at individuals who teach. Currently, the emphasis appears to be
on the teacher/instructor. The basic question is, "What competencies do
teachers/instructors need to use technology effectively with their learners?" The assumption is that all classroom presenters should be using media and
technology but are not, or that they are using it in less than optimal ways.
Much of the literature discusses the use of computers and microcomputers by
classroom teachers, and it emphasizes the need for teacher training in the area
of information technology rather than educational technology or library
instruction. This subtle difference is indicative of the gradual blending of
educational media and technology with library and information science in the
elementary and secondary schools.
DISTANCE EDUCATION IS BECOMING A SIGNIFICANT INSTRUCTIONAL DELIVERY SYSTEM THAT USES TECHNOLOGICAL MEANS TO REACH ITS
Interest in distance education is stimulated in part by concerns over
equity of access in the face of shortages of qualified elementary and secondary
school teachers. Distance learning protocols have developed in direct response
to real teaching/learning problems. Distance education offers practicable
solutions to shortages of resources and teaching personnel. To prepare material
for delivery requires a systematic approach to instructional design and a
concern for the individual student rather than for group teaching. Much of the
literature about distance education refers to the use of various
telecommunications systems to provide optimum participation by the learners
(National Governors' Association, 1988).
THE COMPUTER IS THE DOMINANT MEDIUM IN THE FIELD OF EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY.
Statistics show tremendous growth in school use of computers
in recent years (Quality Education Data, 1988). It is no longer just the
computer-established secondary schools that lead the field; now more than half
of U.S. elementary schools have enough computers to provide at least one for
every two classrooms. Elementary schools use their micros primarily to
supplement lessons with basic skills exercises and opportunities for drill and
practice. In secondary schools, the micros are used primarily for teaching
formal computer literacy (Talmis, 1988). Teachers express interest in having
publishers develop software that teaches problem-solving skills and higher order
thinking skills. While the literature reflects the growing enthusiasm for school
computer use, it also shows continuing criticism of software quality.
AFTER COMPUTERS, TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND VIDEO ARE EMERGING AS MAJOR MEDIA DELIVERY SYSTEMS.
The apparent preoccupation of educators
with computers often overshadows the increasing interest in telecommunications
and video. While schools continue to use the traditional audiovisual equipment
such as films, filmstrips, slides, audiotape recordings, and overhead
transparencies in a more-or-less routine fashion, new development seems to be
with video in the classroom for large group instruction, and telecommunications
for individuals and small groups within the school and in distance education
programs. The Quality Education Data study (1988) notes that over 90% of the
schools in the U.S. are using videocassette recorders, while in 1983 only 30% of
the schools used VCRs.
THE ROLE OF THE EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGIST IS UNCLEAR AND VARIES FROM LOCATION TO LOCATION.
There are very few professionals who actually
hold the title of "educational technologist." They are usually represented by
such titles as: media specialist, media coordinator, or library media
specialist; sometimes they are the director, supervisor, or coordinator of
educational media, instructional media, or communications. Newer and more
specific titles are emerging, including microcomputer coordinator, instructional
computer teacher, or specialist in educational computing. Although it is now
likely that most large schools and school districts have one or more persons who
are responsible for the administrative, logistic, and instructional aspects of
instructional media (or, in some cases, just computers), these professionals are
assuming such roles from a variety of previous positions and with varying types
of education and experience. The question that seems to underlie all of the
ambiguity is, "What competencies are required of individuals who are designated
to be the educational technologists?"
CASE STUDIES SERVE AS MODELS TO FOLLOW IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY APPLICATIONS.
People who study
the adoption of educational innovations know that one of the most powerful
factors affecting adoption is evidence that an innovation has worked in a
situation similar to the one where it is being considered. Although they do not
carry much information in the way of theory, research, or development, case
studies serve as "lighthouses" or "pilots" for other institutions or
organizations. The value of case studies in the organization and management of
educational technology is demonstrated in the Office of Technology Assessment
report, POWER ON! (1988). Spread throughout this document are 29 comprehensive
case studies of technology use in schools. Such reports as NEW YORK STATE
TEACHER RESOURCE CENTERS AND ELECTRONIC NETWORKING, WRITING BY HAND/WRITING WITH A WORDPROCESSOR, and SOFTWARE EVALUATION IN CALIFORNIA help
educational practitioners see how others have successfully used technology to
solve specific problems of teaching and learning.
THE FIELD OF EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY IS CONCERNED ABOUT ITS
STATUS AS A PROFESSION.
Much of the journal literature is about educational
technology as a profession, discussing such issues as status, ethics, legal
aspects, history, and future developments of the field. It is obvious that
practitioners of educational technology are concerned about their professional
development and identity. They are attempting to understand who they are, what
they should be doing, and how others view them. Such concerns are typical among
individuals who feel that they are in an emerging profession without the
tradition of an established discipline. It is a generally healthy trend which
will probably be evident for many years to come.
EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY PRINCIPLES, PRODUCTS, AND PRACTICES ARE JUST BEGINNING TO BE INTEGRATED INTO COURSES AND CURRICULA.
of media in education is one of enrichment or enhancement. Not surprisingly,
some of the literature examines the ways in which educational technology and
media specialists provide support to teachers/instructors to improve their
effectiveness. There is, however, increasing interest in media specialists as
curriculum consultants. Komoski (1987) argues that schools must take the
initiative and begin designing curricula that will provide teachers and students
with a variety of options and strategies for achieving curriculum goals. To this
end, he describes the Integrated Instructional Information Resource, a group of
broadly accessible, electronically searchable, and interrelatable databases that
are designed to assist educators in developing "opened-out" curricula.
INFORMATION POWER (AASL & AECT, 1988) states that the library media
specialist must develop a new, multi-faceted role as information specialist,
teacher, and instructional consultant, and offers guidance for assuming these
American Association of School
Librarians and Association for Educational Communications and Technology.
(1988). INFORMATION POWER: GUIDELINES FOR SCHOOL LIBRARY MEDIA PROGRAMS.
Chicago: American Library Association; Washington, DC: AECT.
Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. (1988). THE CONDITION OF
TEACHING. A STATE-BY-STATE ANALYSIS, 1988. New York: Author. (Available from
Princeton University Press.)
Clark, Richard E. & Sugrue, Brenda M. (1988). Research and instructional
media, 1978-1988. In Donald P. Ely, (Ed.), EDUCATIONAL MEDIA TECHNOLOGY YEARBOOK
1988 (pp. 19-36). Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited.
Ely, Donald P. (1988). TRENDS AND ISSUES IN EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY 1988.
Syracuse, NY: ERIC Clearinghouse on Information Resources, ED Number pending.
Komoski, P. Kenneth. (1987). EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY: THE CLOSING-IN OR THE
OPENING-OUT OF CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION. Syracuse, NY: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Information Resources. ED 295 676.
National Governors' Association. (1988). RESULTS IN EDUCATION: 1988. THE
GOVERNORS' 1991 REPORT ON EDUCATION. Washington, DC: Author. ED 279 603.
Roybler, M. D., Castine, W. H., & King, F. J. (1988). Assessing the
impact of computer-based instruction. COMPUTERS IN THE SCHOOLS, 5(3-4): ix-149.
Quality Education Data. (1988) MICROCOMPUTER AND VCR USAGE IN SCHOOLS
1982-1988 (2nd edition). Denver, CO: Author.
Talmis. (1988). THE K-12 MARKET FOR TECHNOLOGY AND ELECTRONIC MEDIA. New
York: Author. Cited in Goodspeed, Jonathan. (1988, May-June). Two million
microcomputers now used in U.S. schools. ELECTRONIC LEARNING, 7(8), 16.
U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment. (1988). POWER ON! NEW TOOLS
FOR TEACHING AND LEARNING. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. ED