Instructional technology is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources. It encompasses several domains including learning theory, computer-based training, online learning, and where mobile technologies are used, m-learning.
According to the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT), instructional technology is “the theory and practice of design, development, utilization, management, and evaluation of processes and resources for learning”. The term is commonly used as a synonym for educational technology. However, instructional technology is concerned with the use of technological tools and instructional resources in learning, as opposed to educational technology, which focuses on the design and development of technological tools and resources.
The Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) defined instructional technology as “the theory and practice of design, development, utilization, management, and evaluation of processes and resources for learning”. The term instructional technology was used as a synonym for educational technology until the 1970s, when the term instructional technology was reintroduced by AECT to refer to the use of technological tools and instructional resources in learning. Since then, instructional technology has been used to refer to a wide range of technological tools and resources used in learning.
Instructional technology includes a wide range of technological tools and resources used in learning. These include:
- Online learning platforms include, among others, Blackboard, Canvas, and Moodle. These platforms provide educators with a way to create and deliver content, track student progress, and communicate with students.
- Mobile learning apps can be used as a supplement to traditional instruction. For example, a teacher might use a mobile learning app to provide extra practice for students who are struggling with a particular concept. The app might provide a different way of presenting the material or might offer a different level of difficulty. Another way that mobile learning apps can be used is to provide entirely new instructional experiences. For example, an app might be used to teach a foreign language. The app might provide a series of lessons that progressively introduce new vocabulary and grammar concepts. Finally, mobile learning apps can also be used to support flipped classrooms. In a flipped classroom, students watch video lectures at home and then come to class to work on problems and ask questions. Mobile learning apps can be used to provide the video lectures. The apps can also be used to provide review material or practice problems.
- E-books and e-textbooks can be used as instructional technology in a number of ways. They can be used to supplement traditional textbooks, providing additional resources for students to use in their studies. They can also be used as the primary resource for a course, providing all of the course material in an electronic format. Additionally, e-books and e-textbooks can be used to create interactive learning experiences, incorporating multimedia content and allowing students to actively engage with the material.
- Learning management systems (LMS) are instructional technology tools designed to help educators manage and deliver content and courses. LMS platforms vary in their features and capabilities, but most allow educators to create and deliver content, track student progress, and assess student learning.
- Virtual classrooms are instructional technology that allow educators to teach and interact with their students in a online environment. These classrooms can be used for synchronous or asynchronous learning, which means that they can be used for live, real-time instruction or for recorded instruction that can be accessed at any time. Virtual classrooms can be a great way to engage students in learning, as they can be used to create interactive and engaging lesson plans.
- Webinars and webcasts can be used as instructional technology in a number of ways. They can be used to provide information to learners in a variety of subjects, or they can be used to provide instruction in a particular subject. Additionally, webinars and webcasts can be used to engage learners in discussion and debate, or to provide opportunities for learners to interact with each other.
- Online simulations can be first used to provide students with a virtual environment in which to learn and practice new skills. This can be especially beneficial for students who may not have access to the real-world equivalent of the task they are trying to learn. For example, students learning to operate a crane could use a crane simulator to get a feel for the controls and learn the basic movements required to operate the crane. Second, simulations can be used to create an immersive learning experience. This can be especially useful for complex topics or tasks that are difficult to understand without experiencing them firsthand. For example, students learning about the inner workings of the human body could use a simulation to see how different organs and systems interact with one another. Finally, simulations can be used as a assessment tool. This can help instructors gauge whether or not students are understanding the material and retaining the information. It can also provide students with immediate feedback so they can correct any mistakes they may be making.
- Gamification can be an instructional technology because it can be used to teach new information and skills to learners. Additionally, gamification can motivate learners to engage with content and practice new skills. When used effectively, gamification can help learners to better understand and retain new information.
- Social media can be used as an instructional technology in a number of ways. For example, educators can use social media to share instructional materials and resources with their students. Additionally, social media can be used to facilitate student-to-student and student-to-instructor communication and collaboration.
- Web 2.0 tools include social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, video sharing sites such as YouTube, and blogs. These tools can be used to create online courses, to connect with students and instructors, and to share instructional materials.
- Mobile devices can be used to deliver content, such as lectures or readings, to students. They can be used to provide interactive experiences, such as simulations or games. And they can be used to support assessment and feedback, such as through quizzes or surveys.
- Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are both instructional technologies that have been used to create immersive learning experiences. VR can create a completely simulated environment for learners to explore, while AR can overlay digital information onto the real world. AR and VR can be used to create simulations of real-world scenarios, such as medical procedures or historical events. These technologies can also be used to create more fantastical experiences, such as exploring other planets or going on adventures with imaginary creatures.
- Wearable technology can be used as an instructional technology because it can provide information and feedback to the user in real-time. For example, a wearable device can be used to monitor the user’s heart rate and provide feedback to help the user maintain a healthy heart rate. Additionally, wearable technology can be used to track the user’s progress in a learning task and provide feedback to help the user improve their performance.
- Smartboards are a type of instructional technology that can be used in a variety of ways in order to support and enhance teaching and learning. For example, smartboards can be used to display multimedia content, including images, videos, and text. Additionally, smartboards can be used to create interactive activities and games, as well as to provide access to online resources. In addition to being used in classrooms, smartboards can also be used in other educational settings, such as libraries and museums.
- Digital projectors can be used to display PowerPoint presentations, lecture notes, or images. Additionally, they can be used to show video clips or movies. Projectors can also be used to display real-time data, such as from a scientific experiment.
- Document cameras are a great instructional technology tool because they allow you to display documents, pictures, and other materials on a screen for everyone to see. This can be really helpful when you are teaching a lesson or doing a presentation.
- Audio and video conferencing can be used as instructional technology in several ways. For example, instructors can use audio and video conferencing to deliver lectures or presentations to students in remote locations. Additionally, audio and video conferencing can be used to facilitate discussion and collaboration among students who are working on group projects.
- Podcasts can be used as a powerful instructional technology tool in the classroom. By providing students with engaging audio content, podcasts can help students learn new information and concepts. Additionally, podcasts can be used to supplement other instructional materials, such as textbooks or lectures.
- Digital storytelling can be used to introduce a new topic, illustrate a concept, or provide a real-world example of a particular principle. Additionally, digital stories can be used to assess student learning, engage learners in active reflection, or promote higher-order thinking skills.
- Flipped classrooms are a type of instructional technology in which students are given educational materials to study at home, and then class time is used for activities such as discussion, problem solving, and hands-on learning. This type of instructional technology has been found to be effective in increasing student engagement and achievement.
Each of these technological tools and resources can be used in a variety of ways to support and enhance learning. For example, computer-based instructional materials and resources can be used to support and enhance classroom teaching, as well as to provide learners with a wide range of self-paced learning materials and resources. Web-based instructional materials and resources can be used to support and enhance online learning, as well as to provide learners with a wide range of self-paced learning materials and resources.