The Labels We Use and Why They Matter

Brent Wilson and I wrote a paper in 2008 about AECT’s redefinition of the field. It was originally supposed to be included in the definition and terminology issue of TechTrends. However, due to a mix up, it was not included in that issue.  But it is finally published now online (at Springer) and is included in the Jan/Feb 2010 issue of TechTrends. A pre-print of the article can be accessed online.

Abstract of the article:
AECT has recently (yet again!) redefined our field, reverting back to the use of the term educational technology. We believe this recent change is problematic for a number of reasons, but primarily because of the weak rationale offered for the change. This change affects how external audiences view our profession and is likely to confuse practitioners in corporate and higher education settings in particular. We offer a review of job postings, program titles, and listserv discussions to support our case. The labels we use to define ourselves are critically important – and we hope to see a stronger case made for changes for our foundational definitions in the future.

I have a history of focusing on how language effects the things we do–from my Master’s thesis in religion that focused on how the language of the time shaped China’s reception of Buddhism to papers presented at AERA 2009 and AECT 2009 that focused on how online discourse  communities are shaped by the language we use. While a totally different focus, John W. White and I published a paper on the language used in educational reform.  This article can be accessed at the eJournal of Educational Policy. We have another article under review which focuses on academic literacy.

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