The concept of educational technology is broad as indicated by the various meanings attributed by experts who plan, design, and implement educational technology initiatives. “the educational technology field has taken on a wide range of meanings which has resulted in some confusion about the purposes and boundaries of the field.”
This misunderstanding, which is expected to continue throughout the 1990s, is the basic factor resulting in unsuccessful initiatives in implementing educational technological solutions. Educational technology is defined as “the systematic application of scientific or other organized knowledge to practical educational tasks.”
The Association for Educational Communication and Technology (AECT) Task Force defines instructional technology broadly as: A complex, integrated process involving people, procedures, ideas, devices, and organization, for analyzing problems, and devising, implementing, evaluating, and managing solutions to those problems, involved in all aspects of human learning. This investigation accepts a broad conception of educational technology, but one focused on the tools hardware, software, and techniques employed in the educational process. The following paragraphs explore this conception in some detail, arriving at an operational definition of the specific educational technologies studied in this investigation.
Classification of Educational Technology Experts broadly classify educational technology as “hard technology” and “soft technology”. Hard technology refers to the products, devices, or tools (e.g., electronic media such as audiovisual media, calculators, and computers) equipment, and devices.
Soft technology refers to a process (e.g., systematic instructional design and delivery), methods for solving problems, and engineered procedures (e.g., programmed instruction and simulation games) for organizing instruction. Other experts classify educational technologies into different categories to emphasize various aspects of their use.
Similarly, Educational technologies is classified as traditional, which are non-interactive, and contemporary, which are interactive. However, for the purpose of this study we shall consider three categories: (1) computer-based technologies; (2) traditional audiovisual technologies which are already well used in schools; and (3) “other” technologies. the need for educational technology is based on the concepts of (1) providing a variety of materials, equipment, and instructional modes to enhance the teaching and learning process”; (2) providing the quantity and quality of training required for using technology; and (3) developing appropriate attitude to use technology.