I began my journey into the field of Learning Technologies with a desire to empower teachers who work with underserved and underprivileged students to effectively incorporate new and emerging technologies into their pedagogy. As I wrote then, I have spent much of my teaching career working in large urban school districts, and have experienced the disconnect between the vision of educational technology integration and the challenges of serving this population of students. So, I wanted to help those teachers to maximize student interest and commitment to their learning through the tools and application of educational technology. Truth be told, however, I wasn’t entirely sure how I was going to do that; in spite of my personal teaching experience, I came in to the degree program with an incomplete understanding of learning technologies as primarily concerning the integration of audiovisual devices and multimedia tools into instruction. As Reiser (1987) reports, “most of those outside the field, as well as some of those who consider themselves to be part of it, still think of instructional technology as audiovisual devices” (p.12). Indeed, Eraut (1994) identifies early educational technologists, particularly those entering the field from audiovisual education, as ascribing to the belief that “the more audiovisual devices used, the better” (p. 1883).
However, I now have a more complete definition of the field of learning technologies as a synthesis of concepts and artifacts from the areas of audiovisual media, systems based instructional design, and individualized instruction (Resier, 1987; Eraut, 1994). Over the progression of my coursework, I have had the opportunity to learn about and gain experience working with new and emerging technologies and multimedia tools, but more importantly, I have learned how to use those tools to best achieve my career objectives. For example, central to my revised understanding of the “how-to” of learning technologies is the role of learning theory, and specifically how learning theories such as Behaviorism, Cognitivism, and Constructivism are applied to impact learner motivation and achieve instructional goals. Additionally, I have learned and explored an instructional design model to create learning that is effective, relevant, authentic, and learner-centered. Furthermore, I have had multiple opportunities to apply this model to the creation of learning tools for both students and teachers. Finally, I have had the opportunity to research issues impacting technology integration in the classroom, and have been able to design both research studies and professional development learning based upon my findings. In short, coursework in the MS-LT AOP has helped me to refine and develop a solid foundation of instructional skills and understandings upon which my career objectives can be achieved.
Eraut, M. (1994). Educational technology: conceptual frameworks and historical development. Retrieved from http://courseweb.lt.unt.edu/AOP_collaborative/readings/5030/Week1/Eraut_m_1994.pdf
Reiser, R. (1987). Educational technology: A history. Retrieved from http://courseweb.lt.unt.edu/AOP_collaborative/readings/5030/Week1/reiser_r_1987.pdf