What is Technology?
According to Galbraith (1967) The New Industrial State, Boston: Houghton Mifflin; technology is "the systematic application of scientific or other organised knowledge to practical tasks".
What is Educational / Instructional Technology?
It is the application of what we know about human cognition and various types of technology in the design, development and management of instruction.
The Changing Conceptions of Educational Technology
Excerpts from: David M. Tow & John Arul Phillips, (1982). Educational Technology and the Social Sciences in the University of Malaya. Higher Education. 11, pp.657-668.
Tracing the connception of educational technology Ivor Davies (1978) Prologue: Educational technology: archetypes, paradigms and models" in Hartley, J. & Davies, I. (eds). Contributions to an Educational Technology, vol. 2. London: Kogan Page, identified 3 archetypes, each based on different assumptions and perspectives:
Educational Technology 1: (ET1) The Audio-Visual Archetype emphasises the use of machines, equipment and other aids in instruction. It is in essence a hardware approach to education. The focus of the approach is directed towards the teacher and his/her teaching. "Technology is seen as a means of mechanising or automating the process of teaching with devices that transmit, amplify, distribute, record and reproduce stimuli materials, and thus increase the teacher's impact as well as widen the potential audience (Davies, 1978, p. 13). Davies call the archetype associated with ET1 the 'audio-visual archetype' which was originally developed in the media field in the 1930s and became more prominent after World War II. It looks on audio-vidual hardware as performing such functions as aiding classroom presentations, improving demonstrations by giving access to reality or simulations of reality which the teacher alone is not able to provide readily, or solving logistical problems. eg. the use of CCTV as an answer to the problem of large student numbers. The ET1 approach has frequently been applied in piecemeal and uncoordinated fashion and consequently often did not match, in practice, the words "systematic application" in the broad definition of educational technology given earlier.
Educational Technology 2: (ET2) The Engineering Archetype is concerned with the application of behavioral science principles to improve learning. Although hardware may be used, the focus is on the learner and his/her learning and so it may be termed a software approach. "Technology is seen as a means of providing the necessary knowhow for designing new, or renewing current, worthwhile learning experiences. Machines and mechanisation are viewed merely as instruments of presentation or transmissions" (Davies, 1978, p.13). The approach initially developed in the area of programmed learning in the early 1969s as a result of the work of Skinner on operant conditioning. It was first applied to the design of materials containing content sequences to be learnt one sall setp at a time. Later its application was broadened to cover curriculum and course development. Based on an engineering approach, it takes the form of a series of steps to be followed which begins with a statement of input and definition of objectives, intermediate steps which examine and select instructional strategoes and resources and a terminal step of evaluation and output. Feedback is almost always a part of the process as well. Although historically, ET1 arose after ET2 it cannot be considered as a phase which succeeded ET1. Both developed independently and continue to exist to the present day.
Educational Technology 3: (ET3) The Problem Solving Archetype combined ET1 and ET2 approaches but without retaining rigid adherence to a fixed sequence of procedures characteristic of ET2. "It rejects systematic development (i.e. step-by-step, rigidly mechanical or mechanistic procedures) as the only way of proceeding, in favour of a systemic (i.e. organic rather than mechanistic) set of procedures focusing rather more deeply on the processes as well as on the produc6ts ot teaching and learning, it applies system analysis concepts to education, and its bias is somewhat less towards the individual per se and rather more towards the group or team within which an individual plays a role" (Davies, 1978, p.14). Thus, ET3 is essentially a systemic approach to education. Whether at the level of planning an instructional sequence or developing a curriculum or even designing an institution-wide programme, the approach will attempt to define the boundaries fo the system being considered and take account of all the factors involved. Theses factors may cover many diverse apsects such as ethical considerations of values which are deemed important to inculcate, policies and societal needs. The approach is therefore said to be total, integrated and human in character. While ET3 may employ hardware and software associated with ET1 and ET2, its approach is clealry more flexible and comprehensive than the other two technologies. Hence, it does represent a further development in the conception of educational technology (although in particular situations the distinction between ET2 and ET3 may not always be clearcut).
The review of the three technologies suggested by Davies reveals a progressive growth in understanding of what educational technology is from ET1 to ET2 to ET3. As they develop in comprehensiveness of approach, the 3 conceptions of educational technology provide a useful framework of reference for examining the part played by educational technology in Malaysian schools, universities, colleges and training centres or institutions.