What is Instructional Technology?
Instructional Technology, or IT, as some refer to it, can be described as "the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources" (Reiser & Dempsey, 2017, p. 4). In other words, the Association for Educational Communication and Technology (AECT), facilitators of this definition from 2008, are attempting to point out two common standards for the field of instructional technology: that the field is a presence meant to help increase the workplace productivity and efficiency of employees, and to accomplish this by the means of using available technological tools in the right manner.
Upon studying this "official" definition, as well as this history of how the instructional technology field has changed throughout the course of the 20th century to the present day, I have developed my own text for how I would best describe the field of IT. In my opinion, IT is the science of utilizing technological resources to develop, facilitate, and maintain all aspects of instructional practices. For what reason would I describe IT in this light? For one, I see IT as a science; by needing to keep up with the rapid advancements of technology for use in this field, members of IT must approach their work from a scientific perspective (Reiser & Dempsey, 2017). In addition, this personal definition keeps the AECT's theme of realizing practitioners of instructional design and technology help facilitate learning in multiple environments through the proper use of tech tools (Reiser & Dempsey, 2017).
In the school setting, instructional technology can be a valuable asset to helping teachers develop meaningful lessons that will both meet the instructional goals, as well as the needs of our students. We can identify a prior lack of knowledge before implementing lessons, and we can improve our lessons to be more engaging and relevant to the students. In turn, we can use the framework of IT to also see improved performance and behavior from students. Using IT principles, which include instructional design models and theories for prepping and creating relevant lessons, we can improve the educational experience for students, parents, teachers, and administrators.
IT Definition (Seels & Richey, 1994)