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Educational Technology: What is edtech?

Educational Technology at Columbia College

What is educational technology?

Educational technology, or edtech for short, includes a variety of tools and materials—online courses delivered through learning management systems (LMS), collaborative learning facilitated through wikis, experiential play through edutainment apps, blogging and connecting through social media, digital storytelling in the age of film-making 2.0—and the list continues to grow.

Edtech is a constantly evolving field, and it can be near impossible to keep up with buzzwords and app releases. Just because everyone is using the newest, shiniest thing doesn’t mean that every new piece of edtech belongs in every classroom. Instead, these pages are designed to offer a brief overview of commonly used tools, programs, and apps used in classrooms worldwide, giving guidance on how to evaluate which technologies are useful for you.

The digital divide can hinder learning, especially when edtech becomes the predominant means of disseminating information. Technology is prone to failure, and both technological failure as well as user error is a real concern. That said, edtech has some very real strengths, not least of which is the ability to facilitate online learning, to deliver asynchronous lessons, to turn lessons into games, and to offer non-lateral ways of approaching staid topics.

Types of edtech

Edtech word cloud

This is a word cloud created using text from Edudemic's excellent list of 50 useful edtech tools.

The tool names themselves are too small to see, but the qualities they exhibit—connection, collection, collaboration—are brought to the front.

For specific names of tools, see the guides found under the Guides tab or simply visit the link to Edudemic's list.

Keeping up with edtech news

The best way to keep up with edtech trends and discover new tools is to subscribe to edtech blogs such as EdudemicMindShiftand ProfHacker with a feed reader. A good feed reader is feedly, which allows you to search for blogs from within the site and create topic-specific feeds.

Edtech folks tend to be active on social media as well, so searching for #edtech on Pinterest or Twitter can yield useful results. You can see current tweets on Twitter with the #edtech hashtag on the Home page of this site. Scroll to the bottom for the "#edtech Twitter feed" box.

You can do additional hashtag research with tagboard. Here is a link to a tagboard search with the word "edtech."

Example tools

Here are some example edtech tools used at Columbia College: