Educational technologies are technologies that are used in education. Not to be confounded with educational technology - the field.
Families of technologies
There exist several taxonomies that attempt to classify educational technologies and their uses.
Basque and Lundgren-Cayrol (2003) found and analyzed 24 different typologies of ICT usage in schools and proposed a "meta-typology" with three categories:
- Typologies centered on the teaching/learning act and that use classification criteria like the (1) computer's role in a pedagogical relation, (2) learner/computer control, (3) pedagogic strategy, (3) association of ICT to a specific stage in a instructional design.
- Typologies centered on the school and educational actors, i.e. (1) typologies that associate ICT with school activities and (2) those focus on ICT use by the actors
- Typologies centered on the learner, i.e. (1) typologies that categorize ICT usage according to learner preferences for cognitive strategies, (2) those who categorize ICT according to cognitive functions they support and (3) those that classify ICT according to their support for learning stages or cognitive processing stages.
The Media Cube
Repenning et al. (1998) define media with three dimensions: media richness, interactivity and accessibility.
This picture argues that different kinds of media have different kinds of affordances for the design of learning environments. See also the media debate which is about the question whether media "can even be the message", i.e. whether a medium could incomporporate a instructional functionality that can not be had with an other medium.
Longstaffe defines categories that in similar form also can be found with other authors. Within a pedagogical design these categories are not exclusive of course, although there is some clustering, e.g. Presentation in CBT is always associated with some form of interaction but not necessarily with extra information or communication. Modern Web-based CBT (e-learning) since the mid-90's adds these dimensions to some extent.
- (1) Presentation
- Presentation of contents (texts, pictures, diagrams, animations) on various technical supports.
- (2) Information
- The computer as a library
- (3) Interaction.
- Various kinds of interaction that include quizzing software, CBT, Simulations, microworlds etc.
- (4) Communication.
- Various CMC tools such as email, forums, audio/video conferences, virtual environments, etc.
- (5) Professional software tools
E.g. word processors, CAD systems, simulation software, laboratory software, etc.
Since Longstaffe publishes his taxonomy, interaction and communication tools did evolve.
- (6) cognitive tools
- Cognitive tools are a combination of professional software tools, information, interaction and communication tools that support learning by doing something.
- (7) Interactive things
- Recent trends in ubiquitous computing, microworlds, social software etc.) also include "smart & networked" objects that can be manipulated. That trend has been identified as early as mid-90's by practitioners of educational technology (e.g. Meryn, 1998).
In addition, many applications that are used in education did become "social", e.g. allow individuals to profit from each other in one or another form. Typical examples are the yet vastly underused social software tools like collaborative citation indexes.
Bruce and Levin
Bruce and Levin (1997)  “describe a new way of classifying uses of educational technologies, based on a four-part division suggested years ago by John Dewey: inquiry, communication, construction, and expression. This taxonomy is compared to previous taxonomies of educational technologies, and is found to cover a wider range of uses, including many of the cutting-edge uses of educational technologies.”. The authors suggestion using the term of media to emphasize the mediative aspect of technologies. “"Media" suggests the mediational function of technologies, which link the student to other learners, teachers, other technologies, ideas, and the physical world. Moreover, as technologies become embedded in social practices, they tend to become invisible; we focus less on the fact that they may be consciously employed as a tool to do a task, and come to see the task itself as central, with the technology as substrate.” (Bruce and Levin, 1997)
A. Media for Inquiry
- Theory building--technology as media for thinking, Model exploration and simulation toolkits Visualization software, Virtual reality environments, Data modeling--defining categories, relations, representations Procedural models, Mathematical models, Knowledge representation: semantic network, outline tools, etc. Knowledge integration
- Data access--connecting to the world of texts, video, data, Hypertext and hypermedia environments Library access and ordering, Digital libraries Databases, Music, voice, images, graphics, video, data tables, graphs, text
- Data collection--using technology to extend the senses, Remote scientific instruments accessible via networks, Microcomputer-based laboratories, with sensors for temperature, motion, heart rate, etc. Survey makers for student-run surveys and interviews, Video and sound recording
- Data analysis, Exploratory data analysis Statistical analysis Environments for inquiry Image processing Spreadsheets, Programs to make tables and graphs Problem-solving programs
B. Media for Communication
- Document preparation, Word processing Outlining Graphics, Spelling, grammar, usage, and style aids Symbolic expressions, Desktop publishing Presentation graphics
- Communication--with other students, teachers, experts in various fields, and people around the world: Electronic mail, Asynchronous computer conferencing, Synchronous computer conferencing (text, audio, video, etc.) Distributed information servers like the World-wide Web Student-created hypertext environments
- Collaborative Media: Collaborative data environments, Group decision support systems, Shared document preparation, Social spreadsheets
- Teaching Media: Tutoring systems, Instructional simulations, Drill and practice systems, Telementoring.
C. Media for Construction
- Control systems--using technology to affect the physical world Robotics
- Control of equipment Computer-aided design
- Construction of graphs and charts
D. Media for Expression
- Drawing and painting programs
- Music making and accompaniment
- Music composing and editing
- Interactive video and hypermedia
- Animation software
- Multimedia composition
We believe this to be an interesting taxonomy since it is based on what learners and teachers can do with a technology. However, the "construction" category may not be developed enough. More precisely, there is an overlap with "Media for inquiry", in particular the "theory building section" which can be a constructive activity using some kind of constructionist environment.
A flat typology of major educational sofware categories
School and student administration
- no entries so far here
Resource management, databases, libraries
- See cognitive tools
- See social software (Some social software has a huge potentiel to enrich blended project-oriented learning designs).
Communication and collaboration
- Overview: Computer-mediated communication
- Instant messaging and other forms of Chat
- (some) LMS modules
- Overview: Social computing
ICT as a subject
Microworlds, Simulation, Experimentation, Games
- Computer-based learning software.
- Serious game, gamification, Simulation and gaming
E.g. Word processors, HTML editors, Mathematical and simulation software
Teaching tools and assessment
Tutoring and exercising
- computer-based training software, also called courseware sometimes.
- web-based training software, e.g. the e-instruction core of e-learning systems like learning management systems
Environments for project-oriented learning
- Portals such as C3MS
- Various groupware
- Collaborative hypertexts such as Wikis
- Learning environments like WISE, BGuILE, Knowledge Forum
However be aware that they nor neutral, nor can they do everything !!
- Learning management systems
- Personal learning environments, i.e. systems based on the integration of web services, in particular social software.
Hardware used in education
- Special purpose PCs like OLPC (one laptop per child).
- PDAs, mobile phones, etc. (see mobile learning and [[ubiquitous computing]
- e-book hardware
- Classroom technology such as embedded PCs, overhead projects, smartboards, voting devices (see Technology-enhanced classroom and Computer-integrated classroom)
- Immersive virtual reality systems such as caves
- Digital design and fabrication
Evaluation and choice of technologies
- educational technology
- Teaching and learning toolkit, an interactive website that relates cost/evidence and months impact for a number of components, including digital technology
In the 1990's and 2000' David Squires and collaborators published a number of texts on usability and learning of educational software, e.g.   . In An heuristic approach to the evaluation of educational multimedia software, Squires. defined a set of evaluation heuristics.
There exist many directories that list educational technologies. Unfortunately, most of these only last a few years before they are taken off-line or fall in disrepair.
- Directory of Learning Tools by the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies. An interesting mix, although I'd make some different choices. Anyhow, such lists express reality (things that are being done for real) quite well we think.
- Interactive Teaching and Learning, “Exploration of engaging learning spaces and technologies that support them”, Curated by Anne Whaits
Cited with footnotes
- Bruce, B. C., & Levin, J. A. (1997). Educational Technology: Media for Inquiry, Communication, Construction, and Expression. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 17(1), 79–102. https://doi.org/10.2190/7HPQ-4F3X-8M8Y-TVCA
- Squires, D., & Preece, J. (1996). Usability and learning: evaluating the potential of educational software. Computers and Education, 27(1), 15-22.
- Squires, D., & Preece, J. (1999). Predicting quality in educational software. Interacting with computers, 11(5), 467-483.
- Squires, D. (1999, January). Educational software and learning: Subversive use and volatile design. In Systems Sciences, 1999. HICSS-32. Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Hawaii International Conference on (pp. 7-pp). IEEE.
- Squires, D. (1999). An heuristic approach to the evaluation of educational multimedia software.
- Basque, Josianne & Sylvie Doré (1998) Le concept d'environnement d'apprentissage informatisé, Journal of Distance Education/Revue de l'enseignement à distance, 13(1), ISSN 0830-0445, HTML
- Basque, J, & K. Lundgren-Cayrol, K. (2003). Une typologie des usages des TIC en éducation. Document pédagogique du cours TEC 6200 "Technologie de l'information et développement cognitif", Montréal: Télé-université. PDF
- Robert Bibeau (2004), Taxonomie des ressources numériques normalisées: vers un patrimoine éducatif, VIe Journées de l'Innovation Foix (France) HTML (see also his homepage)
- Denis, Brigitte (2002), Quels usages des logiciels mettre en oeuvre en contexte éducatif ? Centre de Recherche sur l'Instrumentation, la Formation et l'Apprentissage (CRIFA) du Service de Technologie de l'Education de l'Université de Liège (STE-Ulg) PDF. (retrieved 18:36, 26 June 2006 (MEST)).
- Locatis,Craig, Al-Nuaim,Hana (1999), Interactive technology and authoring tools: A historical review and analysis, Educational Technology Research and Development, 47, 3, 9/18/1999, Pages 63-75, DOI 10.1007/BF02299634 (Access restricted)
- Meryn, Siegfried (1998), Multimedia communication: quo vadis ?, Medical Teacher, Volume 20, Issue 2, Mar 1998, Pages 87 - 90, [DOI 10.1080/01421599881156 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01421599881156] (Access restricted)
- Repenning, A., Ioannidou, A. and Ambach, J. (1998). Learn to Communicate and Communicate to Learn. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 98 (7). HTML Hypertext - HTML
- Spector, J. M. (2016). Foundations of educational technology : integrative approaches and interdisciplinary perspectives. Routledge.
- Page 52 includes a table that matches technologies with various instructional activities
- University of California at Berkeley, Field Guide to Design Experiments in Education, Chapter "Design Experiment Technologies" HTML in
- Using Technology to Support Education Reform - September 1993, Chapter II: Educational Technologies, HTML
- Longstaffe J.A., Using computer technology in support of teaching and learning. J. Audiov. Media Med., 1996, 19, 33-36
- Marshall, J. Granville (2000), Understanding the Peril & Promise, Nouns & Verbs, of Educational Technologies, Technos: Quarterly for Education and Technology. HTML - HTML Print
- The Becta review 2007, Emerging technologies for learning, Overview in HTML / download PDF
- Zuckerman, O. (2006, in preparation). Historical Overview and Classification of Traditional and Digital Learning Objects, MIT Media Lab. PDF .