50 years of integrating technology into teaching
Concordia’s Educational Technology program is Canada’s oldest and celebrates its 50th anniversary with their Reflecting Back, Looking Forward conference, pre-conference educational workshops, and special anniversary banquet in June 2019.
“EdTech is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources,” says Saul Carliner, Director of Graduate Programs in Educational Technology. “In plain English, what this really means is EdTech is primarily focused on designing instruction.”
EdTech’s web page states their programs “prepare a new breed of educator who can identify educational problems and apply developments in psychology, information/communication and technology, management and systems analysis to solve them.”
EdTech grads “work as researchers, consultants, producers and evaluators of educational media, designers and planners of instructional/training systems, knowledge engineers and faculty in educational, corporate, government and NGO contexts.”
Says Carliner: “Basically our grads teach people how to do their jobs.”
Carliner points out the program was originally created in 1968 as a “response to the growth and use of educational television and that was our focus for the first 20 years or so. We had TV production courses, we had a little TV studio. By the 90s —especially the late 90s — it moved online and became e-learning. And one of the trailblazers of e-learning is Robert Bernard, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Concordia, who showed that e-learning is as effective as the classroom.”
Many Concordia EdTech graduates work in university e-learning units developing online courses, as well as helping develop faculty in higher education.
Carol Hawthorne, MA (EdTech) 10, a Curriculum Developer for Concordia’s Centre for Teaching and Learning, says her Educational Technology studies changed her life.
“EdTech helped me take my career to the next level,” Hawthorne explains. “It was multidisciplinary, the class sizes were small, the teachers were highly invested and the content was really provocative. It turned me into somebody who could think and learn on another level, and I use what I learned every day in my job.”
Hawthorne is one of many grads returning for the program’s 50th-anniversary celebration.
In addition to keynote speaker Dr. Patti Shank, EdTech’s Reflecting Back, Looking Forward conference will feature such workshops and panels as “The Business of Instructional Design,” “Ed Tech in China: Opportunities and Pitfalls” and “The Five Ws of Microlearning.”
The June 29 anniversary banquet will also be an opportunity to meet and mingle with many of the program’s renowned graduates.
“I am excited because many of our students will present their work at the conference,” Carliner says. “I’m also looking forward to the interactions of different cohorts of current students and alumni. I am very proud of them.”