Elements of Educational Technology

The Association for Educational Communications and Technology currently defines educational technology as,

“… the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources.”

The multiple elements contained within this definition work together to characterize a term that if not properly defined is very vague and open to interpretation. Even though all the elements contained within the AECT definition are equally important I have chosen to reflect on one in particular because I see it as the major linkage between all the elements. The element that I have chosen to reflect upon in this post is that of creating.

As defined in the first chapter of “Educational Technology: A Definition with Commentary”, “creation refers to the research, theory, and practice involved in the generation of instructional materials, learning environments, and large teaching learning systems in many different settings, formal and nonformal.” When reflecting on this definition of creation, it becomes evident that creating stems from, and in turn facilitates every other element within the educational technology definition. The elements preceding creating are what actually guide the creation process itself. Conversely, only once the creation process itself is complete can the use and management of a technological process or resource even begin.

Figure 1. Retrieved January 30, 2011 at http://www.aect.org/standards/knowledgebase.html

Within chapter one of “Educational Technology: A Definition with Commentary”, it is explained that the approach one takes with their creation is going to differ depending on that persons mindset. As a result the creation process will be approached from a multitude of positions such as aesthetic, scientific, psychological and so on. Yet regardless of the approach the designer takes, the creation process must always be rooted in study, remain ethical, while having the goal of facilitating learning and performance as its primary focus.

In short, no matter the type of educational technology or the person developing it, the creation process will always be the glue that ties all elements of educational technology together. Even though the conceptions of educational technology continue to evolve, the element of creating will continue to be a thread that runs through every future conception.


Januszewski, A. & Molenda, M. (2008). Educational technology: A definition with commentary. New York, NY: Lawrence Erlbaum, Inc.

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