What is an Educational Technologist? A Q&A with Eman Rashwan
Have you ever wondered what an Educational Technologist does? With our focus this month being on technology in learning and teaching, we interviewed Eman Rashwan to find out about her role. Eman has worked in the eLearning space for almost 13 years and across several countries. Here’s what she had to say:
What is an educational technologist?
As the title suggests, it’s someone who connects Education and Technology to solve traditional face-to-face teaching problems and facilitate the enhancements of the learning experience. What I love about this role is the balance between my love of technology and my passion for teaching and course design.
What does a day on the job consist of to you?
My day starts with drinking my coffee while checking my emails which usually are requests to suggest tools that solves a particular teaching/learning problem or queries on the current technologies that we use in the University. Every request/question requires a different set of actions, like a process of investigating a technology, running a pilot to evaluate the impact of using it in a teaching scenario or supporting academics while using new technologies in offering their course.
How are you able to assist Academics at the University?
I work closely with Learning Designers to explore the new trends in digital education and also to utilize the current available core technologies we have in the University. This connects me to Academics who want to try innovative approaches in teaching and assessments. I help them through one-on-one consultation sessions, arranging a protype/trial or conducting training workshops. Currently, I work remotely due to the COVID19 situation, so I connect with Academics through Zoom. I also use Zoom to provide support on how to deliver interactive sessions online.
I actively participate in several communities of practices in the University, where we discuss and exchange perspectives on teaching and learning challenges and opportunities.
What are some common misconceptions about educational technology and your role?
The biggest misconception is that this role provides general technical support regardless the teaching and learning pedagogies behind the use of technology. While we support Academics in teaching with technology, the role facilitates the content and activities design through recommending the appropriate solutions for specific teaching scenarios. In order to do this, the Educational Technologist needs to know the objective of using a specific tool and the learning outcomes that learners should achieve to help Academics choose the right technology.
You’ve worked in educational technology for the past 13 years, what are some changes that you have seen?
Working in a technology-related field is an ever-changing career. The number of tools and vendors of educational technologies has increased significantly. The trends in education technologies have progressed a lot, thanks to Cloud-based technologies, mobile learning apps and personalized learning algorithms. Even social media platforms are now used efficiently in education.
You have worked as an Educational Technologist in several countries, what are the biggest differences/and similarities that you’ve seen in approach?
Besides working in several countries, I also played different roles since I started my career in eLearning. What I’ve seen is that the transformation from a traditional way of teaching to blended or online requires a strong support mechanism in place both pedagogical and technical. I believe this is the first and biggest challenge for all higher education institutions around the world. Support also includes providing Academics with time and resources to plan, prepare and create digital content and assessments. The differences mainly are university priorities, number of students and staff, the diversity, the readiness of staff and management for the change, political and geographical challenges and the available resources to support the transformation.
What new technologies are you excited about?
Right now, we are exploring the new trends in Educational Technology such as the applications of Virtual and Augmented reality, adaptive learning and customized learning paths.
Eman Rashwan is an Educational Technologist for Learning Enhancement and Innovation at the University of Adelaide. She has 13 years’ experience in Higher Education, working at Universities in the Middle East and Africa.
Looking for assistance with education technology?
Use our online booking system to connect with Eman or Kym, our Educational Technologists.