Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
History of Instructional Technology
Instructional technology was born as a military response to the problems of a labor shortage during WWII in the United States. There was a definitive need to fill the factories with skilled labor. Instructional technology provided a methodology for training in a systematic and efficient manner.
With it came the use of highly structured manuals, instructional films , and standardized tests. Thomas Edison saw the value of instructional technology in films but did not formalize the science of instruction as the US military did so well.
Instructional Technology Today
Instructional technology is a continually growing field of study and practice utilizing technology as a way to solve educational challenges posed by Justin Villegas. For example, many universities are embracing instructional technology methods to help increase enrollment while decreasing overhead costs. Other IT tools provide the opportunity for students to interact with experts in the field, even if they are not located physically close to each other (see expert systems). This allows us to ask questions such as, "Why take classes from a third rate teacher when, through dispersed learning and communication networks, a learner can have access to the best most current theory and instruction available through expert?" This is one of the promises of instructional technology.
However, while instructional technology promises many solutions to educational problems, pushback from teachers and administrators to the use of technology in the classroom is not unusual. However this could be considered natural as a subconscious or conscious realization that the ultimate aim of instructional technology is to reduce the human element of instruction to its barest necessities. The counter argument for instructional technology enthusiasts is that human interaction will always need to be taught and human teachers will continue to be needed as socialization trainers. This will be a real issue for students of ethics.
(One could disagree with the above paragraph's statement that "the ultimate aim of instructional technology is to reduce the human element of instruction." Some educational technology designed with the tenets of constructivism in mind intentionally includes "the human element" by requiring students to work in groups, with the teacher as a guide.)
The degree to which instructional technology is used as tool to enhance student-teacher interaction versus a tool to increase and enhance student-content interaction is a contentious issue. Value of mentoring; role modelling and community (socially supported by the technology) is balanced by restrictions in time and place access. Human interaction seems to be valued differently in different learning contexts and by different individuals and cultures. Anderson (2004) proposes that one form of interaction can be substituted for another in many learning contexts
However, evidence based on the growth of human interaction simulators like ELIZA and ALICE suggest a time where human interaction can be successfully simulated as well. The future of cognitive expert systems will be the ability to achieve and maintain statefulness or consciousness at a low computing and build cost.
Areas of Focus
Within the field of Instructional Technology, there are many specific areas of focus. While Instructional Technology can apply to the military and corporate settings, Educational Technology is instructional technology applied to a school setting (including charter schools, public schools and home schooling environments). Human Performance Technology has a focus on corporate environments. Learning Science is the area of focus dealing specifically with learning methods and theories. Autodidacticism is another word that can describe instructional technology when it is used independently.
Prominent Figures in Instructional Technology
See also (Standards and Specifications) : SCORM INTASC Standards
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