Is Educational Technology a Discipline? Let’s talk.

Written by: Leigh Graves Wolf

Primary Source: Leigh Graves Wolf – September 28, 2016

Yesterday this tweet:

Prompted this brief twitter conversation (click on the timestamp to see the conversation):

The “process of teaching needs to be brought back to the center” of what universities do. https://twitter.com/Erin11Kae/status/780224066401636352 

The title of the article begged the question – does this mean people do not see Educational Technology as a discipline?  I have a PhD with the words “Educational Technology” and for almost 10 years, I served as the co-director of the Master of Arts in Educational Technology program.

If you read the comments in the article (actually one time I will suggest reading comments!) you will see other people pointing this out as well. (Including a clarification from Eddie Maloney on how his opinions were represented and interpreted.) The voices on the panel are certainly not representative of the field – and many come from interdisciplinary or emerging fields.  This conflict/question has been brewing in my mind recently as I have been in conversations with, or have read pieces from, the User Experience (UX), Experience Architecture (XA), Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Instructional Technology, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Digital Humanities (DH) fields.  While the article that prompted this post is one singular article, from a non-scholarly publication, I think this is an area worth exploring/defining/discussing at greater depth.  How are the disciplines I mentioned different? Similar? Where do they intersect? Where should they intersect? Are they co-opting or competing with each other, when they should be collaborating?

So, I want to think out loud with my smart friends (beyond 140 characters) – let’s start in the comments here and see where that takes us!

 

Update :

Thank you to Inese Berzina-Pitcher for this reference:

Sugimoto, C. R., & Weingart, S. (2015). The kaleidoscope of disciplinarity. Journal of Documentation, 71(4), 775-794. doi:10.1108/JD-06-2014-0082 (link works w/MSU log in)