Robert Kozma’s Views on Technology Influencing Education & Current EdTech

Kozma, R. B. (1994). Will media influence learning?: Reframing the debate. Educational Research and Development.

Kozma’s 1994 article is a response to Richard Clark’s article, Media Will Never Influence Learning of 1983. Kozma’s article was written approximately ten years later and explores his opposing views regarding Clark’s arguments. Kozma is a proponent of technology influencing learning and provides research and substantial arguments that prove that technology can and will assist in advancing education in the future. As a result, Kozma urges educators and educational technologists to get more involved in the surge of technological advancements to ensure that it benefits the field of education and not just entertainment or commercial entities. Kozma also emphasizes the importance of educational technology exhibiting a collaboration of effective technological media design with best instructional design methods to maximize learning. Kozma recognizes the pertinence of instructional design incorporating opportunities for cognition, social learning and active learning. These components lay the foundation for impactful learning in traditional classrooms and must also be incorporated into educational technology for it to thrive. Kozma also emphasizes the importance of incorporating the best instructional strategies of activating background knowledge, real world application, synthesis, evaluation, group activities, and scaffolding, which will facilitate cognition and social learning. Thus, maximizing learners’ attainment of skills and achievement. Kozma used B. White’s Thinker Tools as a prime example of educational technology maximizing learning and surpassing the achievement of students taught in traditional classroom settings. Thinker Tools was designed to teach Newtonian Theory to 6th grade students. The design of the technology medium incorporated all of the best cognitive and social learning practices while also using the media visuals of Thinker Tools to replicate and provide hands on instruction regarding Newtonian Theory, which assisted in the success of this educational technology. Kozma advocates for various research methodologies to be used to conduct research that will further confirm his beliefs and enhance the performance of educational technology. He also discussed the fusion of cable television, telephones and video that would eventually have powerful impacts on the use of educational technology, which would lead to educational technology being a significant catalyst for higher lever cognition, educational collaboration and social learning.

Kozma provides compelling arguments in this article as well as provides a framework of how educational technology can powerfully enhance education and training. The ideas that he expressed have been the catalyst for much of the online learning, computer based training and various other educational technology tools that have indeed enhanced learning since his article was written. Therefore, Kozma’s ingenuity and support of educational technology were substantial views that have impacted the success of current educational technology. I definitely agree with Kozma’s views that educational technology must include the best instructional design methods to maximize its effectiveness, and it is the not the technology medium alone that will lead to learner cognition and achievement. Educational technologist must consider this theory in the development of learning applications that incorporate cognition through the use of real world application and problem solving, tactile activities for differentiation, synthesis, evaluation and collaboration. All of these components will further advance the field of educational technology.

As an elementary school and adult educator, I noticed that technology was not as effective in isolation, but was successful when facilitated using an integrated approach to learning. Educational technology was used to enhance a lesson plan by offering media to engage or hook learners at the beginning of the lesson, videos to bring text alive and reinforcement of skills that I taught through direct instruction. Therefore, technology integration should be thoughtfully planned out to elicit cognition, problem solving and real world scenario applications. Instructional design is paramount to ensuring that educational technology maximizes learner achievement.