Nov 24 2010

Defining ET

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Question from the course:

Firstly, define educational technology. Secondly, identify nature and characteristics of a good ET program based on your own field observations and readings. Thirdly, give some examples such as philosophical, psychological, social and cultural foundations of ET.

My answer:

I’d like to take a stab at defining Educational Technology as a step towards answering your 2nd and 3rd questions.

ET is any tool used to enhance learning. We could contrast it to Adaptive Technology, which would be all the tools used in improving accessibility for the disadvantaged, for instance, speech recognition software. Then we have the study of technology or Technology Education – programming, hardware, various applications, web design, etc. (The reading suggest that it is no longer popular to study programming in school, a shift that I have observed personally as our programming/computer science teacher barely gets to teach his specialty anymore.)

I have no trouble defining ET, what seems more elusive is trying to limit the technologies (tools) that we can include as part of that category. It seems that all sorts of tools are now being used in education, whether they be social networking tools, design tools, visual literacy tools, LMS, along with many of the adaptive tools we have begun to adopt more regularly such as touch screens and voice recognition software.

So the lines are now blurred. We cannot simply study ET as technology is pervasive in all aspects of our lives. In order to improve our teaching practices, it is wiser to study and understand how technology has effected change in society, whether it be the way in which we communicate or the way we define the world around us.

Mash-up by Catherine Gagnon

Mash-up (mashup): combining content from various sources to create original work. Other terms used to describe mash-ups are remix, collage, reuse, juxtaposition, derivative work.

In order to create a mash-up, certain applications are now available that allow the user to combine other applications that were once proprietary. Mashups are centered on the consumer as they allow the use of standardized data and access formats such as RSS which could be defined as “Web-accessible”. Creating a mash-up is incumbent on using data sources that require minimal manipulation for the user to make sense of it. (Crupi & Warner, 2008)


In the first iteration of applications (web 1.0), companies usually created software that had to be used with their permission and could not be combined with other applications, examples are Corel Draw and Dreamweaver.

With the advent of the web 2.0, end users are now able to combine various applications to reformulate a product (deriving) or create a new product from a collage of existing data.

Examples of mash-ups in various domains

There are 3 different varieties of Mash-ups – Data, Consumer (end user) and Business. Consumer mash-ups are a combination of different data types, for example audio and video data to create a new Youtube movie.

  • Science: Medical researchers extending their collaborative efforts by comparing and joining public research collections with internal research databases.
  • Business: A investment adviser making decisions based on mashing internal analysis data combined with Web-based financial and news data.

Use of Mash-ups in education

Education focuses on 2 major aspects of Mash-ups – educators sharing resources and students reusing existing work to resubmit as original work (collage). The first is enhanced by the increased use of collaborative applications such Google Docs and self-publishing tools such as WordPress. The second is a hotly debated issue in education as it blurs the lines between creativity, original work, plagiarism and copyright infringement.

References and additional reading

Crupi, J., & Warner, C. (2008, May 16). SOA Magazine – Enterprise Mashups Part I. The SOA Magazine. Retrieved September 17, 2010, from

Lamb, B. (2007, July 1). Dr. Mashup; or, Why Educators Should Learn to Stop Worrying and Love the Remix (EDUCAUSE Review) | EDUCAUSE. What is EDUCAUSE? | EDUCAUSE. Retrieved September 17, 2010, from

MASHUP in Fiction and Creative Writing. (n.d.). MASHUP in Fiction and Creative Writing. Retrieved September 17, 2010, from

Mashup (web application hybrid) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved September 17, 2010, from

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