What is Instructional Technology?

Visit any school system today and you will see your traditional looking classroom with desks, whiteboards,  computers or mobile devices, and some form of projection. What you see is the technology but what you don’t see are the tools used for instruction.

So what are the components that actually make up Instructional Technology?  Let’s look at our Student Information System (SIS). Teachers use this for attendance and recording grades however students are not engaged in any type of learning. This is simply an informational systemSchoology and Google Classroom are examples of Learning Management Systems that deliver content to students. While they are researching topics and completing assignments, are they doing anything instructional? That would depend on the assignment given.  If students are writing research papers, creating presentations, designing architecture or landscapes, engineering a model, and/or collaborating with others, then they are fully engaged in the learning process.  Some would argue that an LMS is only a method of delivery but if a student delivers a product they take sole ownership to and interacts with others through a means they are expected to know how to use, then how could you not think students are learning and engaged?

Formative assessment tools can be either displayed in whole group or given individually. Tools like Kahoot!, Quizizz, and Nearpod prompt students to interact while data is collected on each student’s response.  Whether intended as a lesson using Nearpod or a reinforcement activity with Kahoot! or Quizizz, these applications, and usage of technology engage students through real-time interaction.  Are they only interacting and having a little fun to boot or is there any learning going on as well? Make any of these a competition and you’ve really upped the anti.

Software, apps, and web resources are tools used to generate end products created, designed, or engineered from an instructional standpoint that fully engages a student in the learning process.  Of course, this is only my take on how to define Instructional Technology.  Anything software-wise for the creation of a product that is delivered via a technology device melds the two together.