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Technology Education vs Educational Technology

The Difference

Note: The ITEA-TfAAP webpages are intended to present the reader with an historical perspective of the project and the ground-breaking work it accomplished. The TfAAP web pages are archival and will not continue to be updated. After the TfAAP web pages were archived in January 2006, ITEA had a name change and became the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA). The name was not changed on these archival pages.

Technology Education is the area of education that specifically concerns the professional organization, the International Technology Education Association (ITEA), and for which ITEA’s Technology for All Americans Project (TfAAP) developed the set of technological literacy standards contained in Standards for Technological Literacy: Content for the Study of Technology (STL) and Advancing Excellence in Technological Literacy: Student Assessment, Professional Development, and Program Standard (STL).

  • Technology Education is also called the Study of Technology or Technological Studies.
  • Technology Education teaches about technology as an educational area of content.
  • Technology Education is concerned with a broad spectrum of technology, which is any innovation, change, or modification of the natural environment to satisfy perceived human needs and wants, and how technology accomplishes this through the interrelated disciplines of math, science, engineering, and others.
  • The primary goal of Technology Education in grades K—12 is to develop technological literacy in all students. Technological literacy is the ability to use, manage, understand, and evaluate technology in general.

Educational Technology focuses on the use of computers, information systems*, audiovisual equipment, and other media.

  • Educational Technology is also called Instructional Technology or Information Technology (IT)
  • Educational Technology is mainly concerned with the narrow spectrum of technologies used for communication and the dissemination of information.
  • Educational Technology teaches through technology, instructing students in the use of a relatively small set of tools developed by technology.
  • The primary goal of Educational Technology in grades K—12 is to enhance the teaching and learning process.

Warning: The two links below lead directly to files in PDF or Microsoft PowerPoint® format. If you are unfamiliar with either format, please read Opening Files in Specialized Formats before clicking the link(s). Viewers who do not use a Microsoft Windows or Mac operating system will unable to view the PowerPoint® presentation.

Additional clarification between technology education and educational technology is provided by the following article, which appeared in The Technology Teacher, a professional* journal* published by ITEA. The article is reproduced with permission from ITEA (PDF format, 5 pages, 131 KB).

Dugger, W., & Naik, N. (2001). Clarifying misconceptions between technology education and educational technology. The Technology Teacher, 61(1), 31-35.

For the convenience of those viewers who may be giving a presentation, the single slide in the 60 KB PowerPoint® file entitled Technology Education vs. Educational Technology reiterates the primary points made above.

TfAAP was initiated and administered by ITEA and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). It achieved its successful conclusion and ended in October 2005.
* Consult the Condensed Glossary for the applicable meaning(s) of the denoted term(s).

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