Home > Uncategorized > EdIT (Education Information Technology) Part 2

EdIT (Education Information Technology) Part 2

First I want to state that I have no degree in educational technology. However, I have a bachelors in electrical engineering, and have spent seven years working in the information technology industry. Moreover, I have been in teaching (Masters in Education) for five years and have been director of educational technology for three. My experiences in both education and technology has brought me to the conclusion that we need a new hybrid degree for the next generation EdTech specialist.

As schools become more integrated with tablets, interactive whiteboards, and smartphones, building a school infrastructure that supports this environment will be key to success. Furthermore, as schools become more dependent on web applications and cloud computing, network demands will be pushing for more security, collaboration and accessibility.

The new EdTech specialist will not only need to have their basic understanding of technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK), but will also need to have a fundamental understanding of information technologies. And within information technology studies, their needs to be a fundamental understanding of the engineering design process. According to wikipedia, the engineering design process is:

“the process of servicing a system, component or process to meet desired deeds. It is a decision-making process (often iterative), in which the basic sciences,mathematics, and engineering sciences are applied to convert resources optimally to meet a stated objective. Among the fundamental elements of the design process are the establishment of objectives and criteria, synthesis, analysis, construction, testing, and evaluation.”

By studying the engineering design process, our next generation EdTech specialist will have fundamental understanding of system design. If the end goal is transform schools by having a fully integrated educational technology solution, how can an EdTech specialist not be included in the design process of technology infrastructures. I often find that IT departments do not include EdTech in decisions regarding infrastructure because of the perceived lack of technical expertise. But if the end goal is to service teachers and students, it is absolutely critical that the EdTech specialist be part of the design process.

The common argument I frequently here is that EdTech specialists are not technical enough, while IT specialists have no clue what teachers need. My hopes is to eliminate this issue by creating a new hybrid degree in EdTech/IT. I call it EdIT (Education Information Technology). This program would enhance the already strong EdTech community by giving EdTech specialists an opportunity to study engineering and IT fundamentals. It will prove beneficial if this new specialist will have understanding of security, programming, and network design systems. Armed with this knowledge, who wouldn’t want this new EdIT specialist to lead our future school technology infrastructures.

  1. January 9, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Howard, I think an EdIT degree makes a great deal of sense. I am an instructional technology specialist who has experience teaching in the classroom, and now that I work in a district technology department I do my best to understand the network and infrastructure side of things, and our tech guys and gals are wonderful with explaining things to me, but I often wish I had a more solid understanding of infrastructure based on study/experience/background of my own so I would have an even better grasp of the big picture even when I’m planning instructional initiatives.

    Do you envision the EdIT degree to be undergraduate or graduate? Do you think a person pursuing such a degree should come primarily from the education field, where he or she would have classroom teaching experience, or could they come from a non-educationl technology background? If they didn’t have teaching experience in their background, would it be a requirement of the degree to attain that somehow?

    Some of the most difficult conversations I have with technical people sometimes revolve around, “Well why can’t the teachers just do this and this and this?”, and it’s difficult to get accross the expeirence of having not just the computer or technology to deal with, but the 20+ bodies in the classroom that you are responsible for at the same time.

    I see some definite potential here! Keep advocating for this!!!

    • January 10, 2010 at 6:07 am

      EdTechSandyK, I would be happy just to see it as elective courses in the any EdTech program. I still agree that the people taking such a degree should come form the education field. A teaching foundation is critical in understanding how to integrate technology. I always reference TPACK on that one. Thank you again for your support on this. One day…I hope some University will bite on this idea.

  2. January 9, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    Yeah I like the idea too I’m just not sure how far away it is to achieve. Actually creating a certification or degree would require a little more organization, I’m not sure if ISTE or EDUCAUSE (IT higher education) or what would be a good organization to partner with. Perhaps we can think more about this for next year’s ISTE conference.

    Also, it’s a bit far off from where we are now. Right now in most education schools, undergraduate teachers only get one technology class, where they learn how to use iMovie or start a blog perhaps.
    And even our graduate preparation in educational technology (and edtech as a whole) is still too consumer oriented (rather than focused on designing and engineering like you mentioned).

    My only little part so far is teaching our instructional designers how to create online courses in moodle (which many education schools still don’t teach), and in my web development course we learn how to create more interactive sites using content management systems like drupal.

    Well anyway, keep thinking about it, what skills are most important, etc.

    • January 10, 2010 at 6:12 am

      Thanks Doug for your support on this grand idea. You have probably better knowledge on how such a degree could exist in a University. I think your point on edtech programs being consumer oriented is right on point. I completely agree with you.

      If ever at one point you want to collaborate on pushing for such a degree, I would be 100% in. I would be interested to get more opinions from other edtech faculty on what they feel needs to be included in edtech programs. Thanks again!

  1. March 1, 2010 at 1:49 am
  2. May 19, 2010 at 4:22 am

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