Putting ICE on IT

I have worked in what is traditionally viewed as "IT", or Information Technology for a very long time now. However, since I began working in the Faculty of Education at Brock University, my initial IT position has evolved in wonderful and important ways. To support the Teacher Candidates and our faculty, I became increasingly involved with what has been traditionally viewed (apologies for the redundancy) as Educational Technology.

Over the last few years, I have realized that neither IT nor ET can adequately capture what is truly happening in education, from K-12 through higher education.

There are many technologies that enable teaching, learning, and research. Some technologies are commonly used in education, but can hardly be described as educational technology. Examples include presentation tools and learning management systems. I am more inclined to describe these as Instructional Technologies (though IT already exists as a separate entity). Similarly, technologies such as video conferencing and shared document editing are commonly used in education, but are better described as Collaboration Technologies. There are indeed Educational Technologies, but which category they fall under depends on their specific use. Tablets are a good example.

Almost hand-in-hand with these technologies there tend to be associated staff members, focused on specific areas.

For several months now I have been considering a more holistic approach; a combination of Instructional, Collaboration, Educational, and Information Technology. Although I am not a huge fan of acronyms, I feel that describing all of the relevant technology pieces would be a little too cumbersome.

Welcome to ICEIT.

This is more than just a name. It reflects that these individual pieces are stronger together; that there needs to be a collaborative approach to technology. Each letter does not represent an individual territory to be claimed by individual staff or units. It is a whole, and all of the members need to work together for it to be effective.

I look forward to the coming months as we start to look at this approach in the Faculty of Education.