Module 01: The Field of Educational Technology

Here's the situation

It's the first night of class. You're excited starting a new class, maybe even a new field, but as you peruse the syllabus, your mind jumps forward to completing the course and enjoying next summer's break. You begin to imagine your awaited homecoming after a long and bumpy flight ... Your mom, dad, and grandmother greet you at the airport and immediately begin interrogating you about your first semester in the Educational Technology program. Perplexed, your grandmother asks, "Educational WHAT? When did you decide to teach computers?" You realize that there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding the field of Educational Technology which may cause your family to doubt your career choice. You're in the hot seat, your family is waiting for you to tell them exactly what it is that you will be doing as an Educational Technologist, and who in the heck will hire one?

The Task

Working with the other members of your team, divide up the task of investigating Educational Technology. Each person may pursue different resources, then combine results and teach each other what you have learned. You'll also create a web page with your group's answers to the questions.


Here are the questions for your team...

  1. How might you define Educational Technology?
  2. What is the relationship among educational, instructional and performance technologies? How are they similar? How do they differ?
  3. What does the "Technology" refer to in Educational Technology and Performance Technology?  Can you be an educational technologist and not work with computers or electronics?
  4. Educational Technology is used in a variety of sectors in our society: K-12 schools, universities, government, public service organizations, corporations. Name some specific examples of Educational Technology in action within these various sectors.
  5. What are some basic job skills common to the variety of careers in which educational technologists may find themselves?
  6. What kinds of products and services do educational technologists produce in their various jobs?
  7. Based on your team's experiences, what are the different careers paths you bring to the educational technology field?
  8. Describe emergent career opportunities for educational technologists.
  9. What are the personal and professional attributes or character traits that contribute to success in this field? (For instance, what qualities would it take to produce an entire instructional product from start to finish?)
  10. What are some of the current trends that may affect the study and/or practice of educational technology?


Each team will be responsible for completing a web page that answers the previous questions. Although we encourage you to use the Internet to find your own material, here are some links to get you started. These links will open a new browser window that then needs to be closed to return to this page.

To find short reviews relating to performance technology visit the Performance Technology page.

San Diego State has their own on-line Encyclopedia of Educational Technology developed by our students.

The Yahoo search engine has a page dedicated to Instructional Technology.

InTRO (Instructional Technology Research On-line) includes a terrific list of organizations, associations, universities and newsgroups related to the field.

ISPI (International Society for Performance Improvement) is an organization dedicated to solving business performance problems. You may want to find the local chapter in your area and attend one of their monthly meetings.

Our Online Courses page details information about many of the Educational Technology courses offered at SDSU.

Audio discussions by Professor Allison Rossett on "Why my mother doesn't understand what I do."

Your Report

To allow your report to be shared widely, we'll be posting your results on the Web during Session 03.

The team captain should facilitate the team in creating a file titled "TeamXApply01" (with your team's number in place of the X), and send it to the graduate assistant by the end of Week 2 (as an html file or text based).  An alternative would be to post the file on your own server and simply send the assistant the URL.

The results from the fall semester in 2000 will be posted here after completion.

Page authors: Bob Hoffman & Donn Ritchie
Last updated: August 10, 2000
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