UD Logo
School of Education

Educational Technology Foundations

Module 1: Definitions

What is educational technology? How has it been defined, by whom, and for what purpose? There are several definitions, which reflect various models of instructional technology that have been created to serve the needs of different audiences. This module provides links to definitions of educational technology created by (1) ISTE, (2) AECT, and (3) the U.S. Department of Education.

ISTE Definition

ISTE is the International Society for Technology in Education. It develops the ISTE Standards, formerly known as the National Education Technology Standards (NETS). As ISTE explains, "The time for major change in education is now. In a world where rapid advances in technology have a profound impact on the ways we work, communicate and live, education has struggled to keep pace. The ISTE Standards work together to support educators, students and leaders with clear guidelines for the skills and knowledge necessary to move away from the factory model. These are not the typical boxes educators need to check. They provide a framework for rethinking education, adapting to a constantly changing technological landscape and preparing students to enter an increasingly global economy."

ISTE Standards are at https://www.iste.org/standards. Be sure to follow the links to standards for students, educators, coaches, and administrators. As you will discover, the ISTE standards have been refreshed. As ISTE explains, the 1998 standards focused on learning to use technology. In 2007, the focus was on using technology to learn. The 2016 refresh seeks to transform learning with technology. To learn more about the thinking behind the latest standards, follow this link to:


  • School of Education  •   Willard Hall Education Building  •   Newark, DE 19716  •   USA
    Undergraduate phone: 302-831-8695  •  Fax: 302-831-4110  •   E-mail: amgreen@udel.edu
    Graduate phone: 302-831-1165  •  Fax: 302-831-4421  •   E-mail: dhannah@udel.edu
    Director's Office: 302-831-3178  •  Fax: 302-831-6039  •   E-mail: jofitz@udel.edu