Educational technology is the effective use of technological tools in learning. As a concept, it concerns an array of tools, such as media, machines and networking hardware, as well as considering underlying theoretical perspectives for their effective application.
Educational technology is not restricted to high technology. Nonetheless, electronic educational technology, also called e-learning, has become an important part of society today, comprising an extensive array of digitization approaches, components and delivery methods. For example, m-learning emphasizes mobility, but is otherwise indistinguishable in principle from educational technology.
Educational technology includes numerous types of media that deliver text, audio, images, animation, and streaming video, and includes technology applications and processes such as audio or video tape, satellite TV, CD-ROM, and computer-based learning, as well as local intranet/extranet and web-based learning. Information and communication systems, whether free-standing or based on either local networks or the Internet in networked learning, underlie many e-learning processes.
Theoretical perspectives and scientific testing influence instructional design. The application of theories of human behavior to educational technology derives input from instructional theory, learning theory, educational psychology, media psychology and human performance technology.
Educational technology and e-learning can occur in or out of the classroom. It can be self-paced, asynchronous learning or may be instructor-led, synchronous learning. It is suited to distance learning and in conjunction with face-to-face teaching, which is termed blended learning. Educational technology is used by learners and educators in homes, schools (both K-12 and higher education), businesses, and other settings.