Technology I, II, and III: Criteria for Understanding and Improving the Practice of Instructional Technology


Critical thinking, Innovation diffusion, Instructional quality, Reflective practice


In this paper we describe the criteria of Technology I, II, and III, which some instructional theorists have proposed to describe the differences between a formulaic and a reflective approach to solving educational problems. In a recent study, we applied these criteria to find evidence of a technological gravity that pulls practitioners away from reflective practices into a more reductive approach. We compared published reports of an innovative instructional theory, problem-based learning, to the goals of the theory as it was originally defined. We found three reasons for technological gravity, as well as three approaches some practitioners have used to avoid this gravity. We recommend that instructional technologists adopt our three approaches, as well as the criteria of Technology III, so they may better develop instruction of a quality consistent with the innovative instructional principles they claim, and that best characterizes the goals they have for their practice.

Original Publication Citation

McDonald, J. K., & Gibbons, A. S. (2009). Technology I, II, and III: Criteria for understanding and improving the practice of instructional technology. Educational Technology Research and Development, 57(3), 377-392.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

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David O. McKay School of Education


Instructional Psychology and Technology