Learner-centred approaches that empower learners to problem-solve, think critically and innovate, prepare learners for the demands of 21st Century contexts where these skills are in demand. Approaches that provide opportunities to develop these skills are required and a rethink is needed. This is where an educational technologist can help.
An educational technologist works at the intersection of technology and learning to enhance the learning experience and encourage deep learning. In this process they will combine their knowledge of technological tools with content and pedagogy to ensure that balanced amounts of each are employed.
Educational technologists have a keen interest in sound pedagogical practices that enhance digital learning. Their goals are to assist individuals to increase their knowledge of a particular subject or skill, using technology. The educational technologist has an understanding of how people learn and the technological challenges that sometimes interfere with the learning process. A software implementation that may seem logical to a software developer, for example, may not be the best solution from and educational standpoint. In this example, an educational technologist can work with the developer to create a more satisfactory learning experience.
Practitioners in educational technology seek new and effective ways of organising the teaching and learning process through the best possible application of technological developments. These activities rely upon a body of knowledge for successful and ethical implementation, rather than routine tasks or isolated technical skills.
The field provides the research base for effective utilisation of new media in education and by default is interdisciplinary in its approaches and theories. This may include human-computer interaction and cognition, social and behavioural aspects of media in learning, or change and innovation theory among social and cultural groupings as the basis for research and study.
Formulating, commencing and sustaining effective educational and institutional systems require specialist knowledge of education, educational management, change leadership and technology. Employing the services of an educational technologist can produce a cost effective resource for change management, development of sound approaches and training and support of professionals, while also improving learning and teaching outcomes.