In recent years, educational technology (EdTech) has become increasingly popular among educators as a way to improve teaching and learning outcomes. However, there are ongoing debates about whether EdTech is an eclectic method of teaching, and how it can be most effective during classroom instruction. This article will explore these questions by drawing on two insights from several sources.
EdTech as an Eclectic Method of Teaching
One way to conceptualize EdTech is as an eclectic method of teaching. According to the article “The Rise of Educational Technology as a Sociocultural and Ideological Phenomenon,” EdTech draws from various pedagogical approaches and theories, including behaviorism, constructivism, and social constructivism. For example, EdTech platforms may use gamification to reinforce desired behaviors or use multimedia to engage students in active learning. In this sense, EdTech is an eclectic approach that integrates different teaching methods and techniques.
However, some scholars argue that EdTech should not be seen as a method of teaching in itself. According to the article “EdTech: Between Neoliberalism and Social Justice,” EdTech is often shaped by the dominant neoliberal ideology, which values individualism, competition, and efficiency. From this perspective, EdTech is not a pedagogical approach, but rather a tool that can be used to advance ideological agendas.
The Effectiveness of EdTech during Classroom Instruction
Despite ongoing debates about the nature of EdTech, there is growing evidence that it can be an effective tool for improving teaching and learning outcomes. In particular, EdTech can help educators create trauma-informed and culturally responsive classrooms.
In the article “Trauma-Informed Online Teaching: Essential for the Coming Academic Year,” the authors argue that online learning platforms can be used to create safe and supportive environments for students who have experienced trauma. For example, online learning can provide students with a sense of control over their learning environment, which can be particularly important for students who have experienced trauma. Additionally, online platforms, such as learning management systems and self-paced courses, can facilitate communication and collaboration, which can help students build positive relationships with their peers and teachers. Moreover, educators need to be aware of the potential challenges of using EdTech, particularly for students who are most vulnerable to trauma or who come from marginalized backgrounds. For example, some students may not have access to the necessary technology or resources to participate fully in online learning. Others may struggle with the increased isolation and lack of social interaction that can come with online learning. Therefore, it is important for educators to be flexible and responsive to the needs of all students, particularly those who are most vulnerable.
I would like to make a sidenote here: As a Turk, experiencing trauma due to earthquakes happening in Turkey, I believe this would be a good option for teachers to train themselves on inclusion and diversity instruction, as well as trauma- informed teaching as they start hosting kids who are the victims of the earthquakes in their classrooms.
Similarly, the article “Culturally Responsive Classrooms & Digital Content” argues that EdTech can help educators create culturally responsive classrooms. For example, digital content can be used to incorporate diverse perspectives and voices into the curriculum. Additionally, EdTech can provide students with opportunities to engage with diverse communities and cultures even remotely, which can help them develop empathy and understanding.
However, the effectiveness of EdTech during classroom instruction depends on how it is implemented. As the article “The Rise of Educational Technology as a Sociocultural and Ideological Phenomenon” notes, EdTech can reinforce existing power dynamics and inequalities if it is not used in a socially just and equitable manner. For example, if EdTech is used primarily to assess and rank students based on their performance, it can reinforce the dominant neoliberal ideology and exacerbate existing inequalities.
In conclusion, EdTech can be seen as an eclectic method of teaching that draws from various pedagogical approaches and theories. However, there is ongoing debate about whether EdTech should be seen as a pedagogical approach in itself or simply a tool that can be used to advance particular ideological agendas. Despite these debates, there is growing evidence that EdTech can be an effective tool for creating trauma-informed and culturally responsive classrooms. However, the effectiveness of EdTech during classroom instruction depends on how it is implemented and whether it is used in a socially just and equitable manner.
Boskic, N., & Ferguson, R. (2017). The rise of educational technology as a sociocultural and ideological phenomenon. EDUCAUSE Review, 52(2).
EdTechnology. (2019). EdTech: Between neoliberalism and social justice. EdTechnology. Retrieved from https://edtechnology.co.uk/features/edtech-between-neoliberalism-and-social-justice/
Getting Smart. (2017). Culturally responsive classrooms and digital content. Getting Smart. Retrieved from https://www.gettingsmart.com/2017/02/20/culturally-responsive-classrooms-digital-content/Gibbs, D. (2021). Trauma-informed online teaching essential for coming academic year. The New Social Worker. Retrieved from https://www.socialworker.com/feature-articles/education–credentials/trauma-informed-online-teaching-essential-coming-academic-year/