Week 1: Getting Started—Introduction to Educational Technology (Fall 2021 Webster)


Welcome to the world of educational technology (often abbreviated as just EdTech). The aim of this course is to “get your feet wet” with both established and emerging technologies that are used to enhance teaching and learning—whether it be in blended or distributed learning scenarios. We’ll be exploring the history of educational technology, and how technology can be used to find, create, and share information and resources. We’ll be discussing effective technology integration strategies, and issues related to the ethics and pragmatics of technology use. And we’ll be exploring how to plan, create, and evaluate technology-enhanced learning experiences.

In this course, we’re going to learn by getting “hands-on.” Your central project for this course will be to plan, design, and create a technology-enhanced learning experience using an online platform. Most of the course assignments actually constitute sequential steps in the process of creating this resource. We’ll also be engaging with ourselves, and with larger audiences of educators interested in the use of educational technology, by creating and sharing our own course portfolios.

Your task this week is to become familiar with the course objectives, resources, and activities, and to get yourself set up and running for a busy but exciting term. We’ll also be spending some time this week exploring and discussing a brief history of educational technology, from oral communication (yes—language is a technology) up to modern distributed learning platforms.


Week 1 is divided into three topics:

  • Topic 1: Technology Integration
    • The History of Online Learning
  • Topic 2: Technology Exploration
  • Topic 3: Community Engagement

Learning Outcomes

When you have completed this week’s activities, you should be able to:

  • Discuss the history of educational technology.
  • List current technologies commonly used in education.
  • Describe common modes of technology-enhanced teaching and learning, included blended and distributed learning.
  • Use digital technologies to connect and communicate with your instructor, classmates, and larger audiences, as part of a community of inquiry.


Bates, A. W. (2015). A short history of educational technology. In Teaching in a digital age: Guidelines for designing teaching and learning. Vancouver, BC: Tony Bates Associates Ltd. Retrieved from https://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/chapter/section-8-1-a-short-history-of-educational-technology/

Bates, A. W. (2015). Fundamental change in education. In Teaching in a digital age: Guidelines for designing teaching and learning. Vancouver, BC: Tony Bates Associates Ltd. Retrieved from https://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/part/chapter-1-fundamental-change-in-education/

Bates, A. W. (2015). Modes of delivery. In Teaching in a digital age: Guidelines for designing teaching and learning. Vancouver, BC: Tony Bates Associates Ltd. Retrieved from https://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/part/chapter-10-modes-of-delivery/

Flynn, P. (2016, October 7). How to write the perfect blog post [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/lgdY6_y12ts

Johnson, M., Riel, R., & Froese-Germain, B. (2016). Connected to learn: Teachers’ experiences with networked technologies in the classroom. Retrieved from MediaSmarts: http://mediasmarts.ca/sites/mediasmarts/files/publication-report/full/ycwwiii_connected_to_learn.pdf

Microsoft. (2019). Flipgrid. Retrieved from https://flipgrid.com/

Nora Kramer Designs. (2016, June 3). How to write a blog post for beginners (and even experienced bloggers) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/go4wo4WenQQ

SMARTEduEMEA. (2011, October 3). The history of technology in education [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/UFwWWsz_X9s

Thompson Rivers University. (n.d.). WordPress for EDDL. Retrieved from https://kumu.tru.ca/WordPress_for_EDDL

Watters, A. (2014). The hidden history of ed-tech. In The monsters of educational technology (pp. 7-31). Retrieved from https://s3.amazonaws.com/audreywatters/the-monsters-of-education-technology.pdf#page=7 (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Topic 1: Technology Integration

Technology is a tool—a means to an end. Unless the topic of your course is learning to use technology, any tools that you use should be chosen to enhance the learning experience. It is becoming increasingly common to see digital literacies and technology skills integrated as “soft skills” in addition to the core curricula of a course. Some jurisdictions, such as the Province of British Columbia, have now included digital literacies as fundamental components of the core curriculum. However, it is crucial to remember that they should not be the sole focus of the learning itself. In essence, digital technologies should not be integrated for their own sake; they should be in the service of your intended outcome.

The History of Online Learning

Teaching and learning would not be possible without the use of technology. The earliest, and still the most commonly used, educational technology tools were speaking and writing. The range of tools used to communicate, collaborate, and create learning artifacts evolved from oral communication and cuneiform tablets through to slate-and-chalk, ink-and-paper, audio-visual, and
digital multimedia.


Explore the following resources on the history of educational technology. Make note of how the types of technology that have been used for teaching and learning have evolved—and how the purposes for which those technologies have been used have changed, or stayed the same. Think about how the evolution of educational technology impacts what we do as teachers and students. Use these notes to help craft your first portfolio post for the course as part of this week’s Community Engagement activities.


Watch SMARTEduEMEA’s (2011) The History of Technology in Education.

Source: Youtube, SMARTEduEMEA


Now read “A Short History of Educational Technology”  from Bates’ (2015) Teaching in a Digital Age. Bates provides a good brief overview of the history of educational technology, with a uniquely Canadian perspective.

Bates (2015) also provides a good overview of the most common modes of delivery of education using technology. Skim through the key points in “Chapter 9: Modes of Delivery

Optional Reading—Extend Your Understanding

Read Watters’ (2014) “The Hidden History of Ed-Tech” (CC BY-SA 4.0) in The Monsters of Educational Technology(pp. 7–31).

We have briefly explored how educational technology has evolved over the years. But experiences with educational technology vary from country to country. So how has that experience looked in Canada? If you are interested in the K–12 perspective on the history of educational technology in Canada, skim through the sections that interest you in the MediaSmarts/Canadian Teachers
Federation’s Connected to Learn: Teachers’ Experiences with Networked Technologies in the Classroom. For greater focus on post-secondary education perspective, read “Chapter 1: Fundamental Change in Education” from Bates’ (2015) Teaching in a Digital Age.

Topic 2: Technology Exploration

Technology is a tool for more than just receiving topic-related information in a course. Technology is a tool for communicating, sharing, and collaborating. To that end, Assignment 1 for this course is called “Community Engagement.” We’ll be engaging in discussions of weekly topics with each other, and sharing our thoughts, experience, and growing expertise with wider audiences
of educators who are also interested in educational technology use. But, to begin this sharing and collaborating, you will need a digital platform.

Your first Technology Exploration task in this course is to create your own portfolio site to host some of your ongoing Community Engagement artifacts. Setting up your portfolio site now will not only give you a platform for your Community Engagements—it will also help you practise some digital authoring skills that will come in handy in the Final Project as you build your Technology Integration Activity!

Activity 1: Set Up Your Portfolio

Your first activity this week is to set up and configure your portfolio site. You should already have received information about your personal portfolio site and how to log into it. If not, please contact the instructor. If you’ve taken a course in this program before, you will carry on using the site you’ve already created. By the end of this week you should be able
to write and publish a post, add a category to a post, comment on another learner’s post, and approve comments on your own site.

See the following tutorials on setting up your WordPress blog.

Once you have set up your portfolio site, share the link by adding it to the “Sharing Portfolios” page on the course site.

Learning How to Blog

If you have never created a blog (portfolio) post before, it may feel a little daunting. Like all writing, it takes practice to get better. Watch Pat Flynn’s (2016) How to Write the Perfect Blog Post. It’s a longer video (about 14 minutes), but it has good tips on how to get started with blogging to reach your intended audience.

Flynn, P. (2016, October 7). How to write the perfect blog post [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/lgdY6_y12ts

For another (and slightly shorter) perspective, watch Nora Kramer Designs’ (2016) How to Write a Blog Post for Beginners (And Even Experienced Bloggers).

Source: Youtube, Nora Kramer Designs

Topic 3: Community Engagement


Your Community Engagement contributions each week will contribute to your grade for Assignment 1: Community Engagement. You have explored the history of educational technology, and the common modes of educational delivery using technology. You have created your own portfolio site for sharing your thoughts, experiences, expertise, and resources as you develop them throughout this course. Now it’s time to connect with each other, and start collaborating.

Many online courses use discussion boards integrated within a learning management system to host text-based communications between classmates, and with the instructor. Some courses are more frequently using social media platforms, such as Facebook or Twitter, for quicker, less formal course-related conversations and collaborations. One of the more recent tools being leveraged
by a growing number of educators is Flipgrid.

Activity 2: Discussion Questions

Questions posted in the course discussion forum relate to each week’s topics.

Respond to these questions, then read (and reply to) some of the responses posted by your classmates. Feel free to use the course forum to post any thoughts or questions you may have related to this week’s readings and activities.

Please review the rubric for Assignment 1: Community Engagement so that you are familiar with the expectations for contributions throughout the course.

Activity 3: Record a Personal Introduction Video in Padlet

Let’s see how we can use video and Padlet to connect with each other, and to establish a rapport that goes beyond what traditional text-based discussion boards typically foster. Your instructor will provide you with a link to access an EDDL 5101 Introductions “Padlet,” where you can record a short video to introduce yourself to the rest of the class. Be sure to keep checking back, and watch the introductions posted by the rest of your classmates!

Activity 4: Your First Portfolio Post

You have explored a bit about the history of educational technology, and you have set up your personal portfolio for EDDL 5101. Write a post about one of the following:

  1. Describe and discuss one or two elements from the Bates or Watters chapters that allowed you to think deeper about your past or present teaching.
  2. How does the history of education and educational technology impact what we do when we teach with technology today? How do Bates and Watters differ?
  3. Make an argument for or against one of the main propositions supported by either Bates or Watters. Try to bring evidence to bear in your argument (don’t just make this an “I think” argument).

Week 1 Summary

This week, we have briefly explored the history of educational technology. We have also taken a look at some of the modes of delivering education with the integration of technology. You have started on your journey of leveraging educational technology in your own practice by setting up a portfolio site to share your thoughts, experiences, resources, and growing expertise as you progress through the rest of this course. And you have met and introduced yourself to your classmates by recording a short greeting video using Flipgrid. In Week 2, we will start looking at the concept of digital literacies, and how to locate and evaluate digital resources for use in different curriculum areas.


Automattic. (n.d.). WordPress. Retrieved from https://wordpress.com/

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