“Educational technology seems to be suffering from an identity crisis. Many exciting things are happening in the field, but increasingly we educational technologists find ourselves on the sidelines in our own ballgame. People from other disciplines are taking an interest in educational technology, but they show little interest in our knowledge base (often even little awareness that it exists!) and little interest in our professional organizations and publications. Why is this happening? What can we do about it? To what extent might our mindset be the problem? What new directions do we need to pursue to improve the health and value of our field? These are the central issues which this article discusses.”
This could have been written yesterday, or five years ago. Or, 1989: Reigeluth, C. M. (1989). Educational technology at the crossroads: New mindsets and new directions. Educational Technology Research and Development, 37(1), 67-80.
Last week, a reporter from EdSurge reached out to me to shed some light on what Pearson called their Learning Design Principles. The EdSurge article is here, but below is a more detailed rough draft of the points that I made to share. I am posting them here for a fuller picture of some of my thoughts.
- Nothing proprietary (yet, perhaps). I saw a number of sources note that Pearson released their proprietary learning design principles. There’s not much proprietary in the principles. All of these ideas are well-documented in the literature pertaining to educational technology found in cognitive psychology, learning sciences, instructional design, and education literature.
- It’s good to see that Pearson is using findings from the education literature to guide its design and development. Some of these principles should be standard practice. If you are creating educational technology products without considering concepts like instructional alignment, feedback, and scaffolding, authentic learning, student-centered learning environments, and inquiry-based learning, you are likely creating more educational harm than good. The point is that using research to guide educational technology should be applauded and emulated. More educational technology companies should be using research to inform their designs and product iterations.
- BUT, since around 2011, the educational technology industry has promoted the narrative that education has not changed since the dawn of time. With a few exceptions, the industry has ignored the history, theory, and research of the academic fields associated with improving education with technology. The industry has ignored this at its own peril because we have a decent – not perfect, but decent – understanding of how people learn and how we can help improve the ways that people learn. But, the industry has developed products and services starting from scratch, making the same mistakes that other have done in the past, while claiming that their products and services will disrupt education.
- Not all of the items released are principles. For example, “pedagogical agents” is on the list but that’s not a principle. Having studied the implementation of pedagogical agents for more than 7 years, it’s clear that what Pearson is attempting to do is figure our how to better design pedagogical agents for learning. Forgive me while I link to some pdfs of my past work here, but, should amagent’s representation match the content area that they are supporting (should a doctor look like a doctor or should she have a blue mohawk?). Table 1 in this paper provides more on principles for designing pedagogical agents (e.g., agents should establish their role so that learners have a clear anticipation of what the agent can and cannot do: Does the agent purport to know everything or is the agent intended to ask questions but provide no answers?)
- As you can tell from the above, I firmly believe that industry needs research/researchers in developing, evaluating, and refining innovations.
But more importantly, happy, merry, just, and peaceful holidays to everyone!
In a prior post, I explained how we’ve been creating video and audio summaries of our research. A number of colleagues have told me that they liked these, so I thought that it would be interesting and worthwhile to do one of these for someone else’s important research. So, we summarized the following paper: Hilton, J. (2016) Open educational resources and college textbook choices: a review of research on efficacy and perceptions. Educational Technology Research and Development, 64(4), 573 – 590.
Students spend a lot of money on textbooks. Alternatives to the expensive textbooks that come from commercial publishers are open educational resources, or OER. But, are these free resources as effective or of the same quality as textbooks? The research says yes. The animation summarizes the available research synthesized by Dr. John Hilton III in the aforementioned paper.
The rest of our animations are on our YouTube channel, ResearchShorts, and appear below:
The Life Between Big Data Log Events: Learners’ Strategies to Overcome Challenges in MOOCs
YouTube URL: https://youtu.be/z0nIB_pcmEE
Veletsianos, G., Reich, J., & Pasquini, L. A. (2016). The life between big data log events: Learners’ strategies to overcome challenges in MOOCs. AERA Open, 2(3); 1–10. doi: 10.1177/2332858416657002
Digital Learning Environments
YouTube URL: https://youtu.be/-7UI-dTbMr0
Veletsianos, G. (2016). Digital Learning Environments. In Rushby, N. & Surry D. (Eds) Handbook of Learning Technologies (pp. 242-260). Wiley.
A Systematic Analysis And Synthesis of the Empirical MOOC Literature Published in 2013-2015
YouTube URL: https://youtu.be/M6_tuL-FYrY
Veletsianos, G. & Shepherdson, P. (2016). A systematic analysis and synthesis of the empirical MOOC literature published in 2013-2015. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 17(2).
The Structure & Characteristics of #PhDchat, an emergent Online Social Network.
YouTube URL: https://youtu.be/64uSxFeeV5s
Ford, K., Veletsianos, G., & Resta, P. (2014). The structure and characteristics of #phdchat, an emergent online social network. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 18(1).
Scholarship on Social Media and the Academic Self
YouTube URL: https://youtu.be/O-Wn9ryJM6w
Veletsianos, G. (2013). Open Practices and Identity: Evidence from Researchers and Educators’ Social Media Participation. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(3), 639-651.
Scholars’ Open and Sharing Practices
YouTube URL: https://youtu.be/v7VvpgZicXg
Veletsianos, G. (2015). A case study of scholars’ open and sharing practices. Open Praxis, 7(3), 199-209.
Emergence and Innovation in Digital Learning
YouTube URL: https://youtu.be/Tuq28uL7rnU
Veletsianos, G. (2016). Emergence and Innovation in Digital Learning: Foundations and Applications. Edmonton, AB: Athabasca University Press.
Digging Deeper Into Learners’ Experiences in MOOCs
YouTube URL: https://youtu.be/EQ6ONvevAME
Veletsianos, G., Collier, A., & Schneider, E. (2015). Digging Deeper into Learners’ Experiences in MOOCs: Participation in social networks outside of MOOCs, Notetaking, and contexts surrounding content consumption. British Journal of Educational Technology 46(3), 570-587.
Who Studies MOOCs?
YouTube URL: https://youtu.be/M2xhyxgHgo4
Veletsianos, G., & Shepherdson, P. (2015). Who studies MOOCs? Interdisciplinarity in MOOC research and its changes over time. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 16(3).
Using Twitter as a Conference Backchannel
YouTube URL: https://youtu.be/EsCvFcs8vc8
Kimmons, R. & Veletsianos, G. (2016). Education Scholars’ Evolving Uses of Twitter as a Conference Backchannel and Social Commentary Platform. British Journal of Educational Technology, 47(3), 445—464.
How Do Professors and Students Use Twitter?
YouTube URL: https://youtu.be/gUXI1ZgkKP0
Veletsianos, G., & Kimmons, R. (2016). Scholars in an Increasingly Digital and Open World: How do Education Professors and Students use Twitter? The Internet and Higher Education, 30, 1-10.
Why do professors, staff, and students disclose challenging personal and professional issues online?
Veletsianos, G., & Stewart, B. (2016). Discreet Openness: Scholars’ Selective and Intentional Self-Disclosures Online. Social Media+ Society, 2(3), 2056305116664222.
Here’s what my email spam folder looks like some days:
Predatory open access publishing: “an exploitative open-access publishing business model that involves charging publication fees to authors without providing the editorial and publishing services associated with legitimate journals.”
Jeffrey Beal gathers information on predatory open access publishers and journals. If you are ever unsure, double-check before submitting your paper. Better yet, start with a list of reputable open access journals in your field, such as the one below, which comes from page 33 in Perkins, R., & Lowenthal, P. R. (2016). Open access journals in educational technology: results of a survey of experienced users. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 32(3), 1-37.
Australasian Journal of Educational Technology
Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology
Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education
Educational Technology & Society
Electronic Journal of e-Learning
European Journal of Open and Distance Learning
IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies*
International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education*
International Journal of Designs for Learning
International Journal of Educational Research and Technology
International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning
Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks
Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication
Journal of Distance Education
Journal of Information Technology Education
Journal of Online Learning and Teaching
Journal of Technology Education
Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration
Research in Learning Technology (ALT-J)
Turkish Journal of Educational Technology
Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education