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Module A ButtonTopic A7: Identifying and Assessing Available Technologies

Identifying and assessing available instructional technologies can be approached from many different perspectives.

 In this topic, we will start with a definition of instructional technology so we can, in turn, identify some of the available technologies. We will then assess the use of the technology by reviewing questions you need to ask from three perspectives before committing to the use of that technology. Assessment of a technology in a specific instructional objective is beyond the scope of this module.

Learning Objectives
Upon completion of Topic A7, you will be able to:

  • Define instructional technology.
  • Identify 3 ways of grouping instructional technologies such that they relate to teaching and course management.
  • List at least 3 synchronous and 3 asynchronous technologies currently in use today.
  • Ask pertinent questions that would help assess whether a technology should or could be used.

Content – Instructional Technology Defined
Before we get started with looking at specific technologies, let's look at a definition of instructional technology. The Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) recognizes the following definition: "Instructional technology is the theory and practice of design, utilization, management and evaluation of processes and resources for learning" (Seels & Richey, 1994, p.1). If this is the accepted definition of instructional technology, then instructional technology isn't about the technology. So why are we here?

We are here because after you consider the instructional design, theory, management, etc., you will utilize some form of media and delivery approach. When you do, you need to know a little bit about some of your choices. As the introduction indicated, we will look at technology by providing and exploring some of the answers to why, what, and when.

Seels, B. B., & Richey, R. C. (1994). Instructional technology: The definition and domains of the field. Washington, DC: Association for Educational Communications and Technology.


Learning Activity I - Instructional Technology Defined
Before you can identify or assess instructional technology, you first need to know what it is. We have seen the statement the AECT accepts as the definition, and you will see how it is described it in the next section. However, how would you define instructional technology? Write your definition in a discussion on this Available Technologies forum, then ask for others to provide theirs.


Now, let's see how your definition compares to the research and exploration of the AECT definition.

Check the Research
Instructional Technology and Personnel Preparation
In the article, "Instructional Technology and Personnel Preparation," the authors provide an interesting perspective on instructional technology that expands and supports the definition accepted by the AECT. Read the article written by Hains, Ann Higgins; Belland, John; Conceicao-Runlee, Simone; Santos, Rosa Milagros; and Rothenberg, Dianne. It can be found online by going to the Resources Site and entering the title of this article in the search field on the left.


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