DEHub/Research Themes/Educational technology

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Research themes
1. Theories and models
2. Globalisation of education and cross-cultural aspects
3. Access, equity, social inclusion and ethics
4. Professional Development & Faculty Support
5. Learner support and development approaches
6. Curriculum design
7. Interaction and communication in learning communities
8. Distance teaching systems and institutions)
9. Research methods in distance education and knowledge transfer
10. Quality assurance
11. Innovation and change
12. Costs and benefits
13. Management and organization
14. Educational technology
15. Learner characteristics
16. Open Education Resources (OERs)

Educational technology (possible linkage with innovation & change)

Research under this sub-theme will canvass innovative uses of technology, as well as uptake and impact of technology use in distance education settings.

Guiding question

What are the theoretical and practical applications of digital and communication technologies in distance learning?

Research Questions

  • What impact does the proliferation of technologies have on teaching/learning strategies and tactics?
  • Are there links between effective use of ICT in distance education and improved rural economic sustainability?
  • What are the impacts of educational technologies on pedagogical practice?
  • What are the innovative uses of Web 2.0 + technologies (inclusive of personal learning environments)? What is the uptake of these tools with institutions/ staff/ students?
  • Does the use of new-media/technology democratise education?
  • Is mobile learning having any impact on the digital divide?
  • Is ICT an instrument of the discipline and/or an instrument of learning within the discipline?

Highly Recommended Priority Links

The Horizon Report

Horizon Report, 2009 by The New Media Consortium. Quoting from the Executive summary:
The annual Horizon Report describes the continuing work of the NMC’s Horizon Project, a long-running qualitative research project that seeks to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have a large impact on teaching, learning, research, or creative expression within learning-focused organizations.

Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA)

Study on indicators on ICT in education. This study is focused on the 27 EU Member States, the 3 candidate countries and the countries from the European Economic Area. The main purposes of this study were:

  1. To identify a set of indicators that are relevant for enabling the regular monitoring of the use and impact of ICT in primary and secondary education. For each proposed indicator information will be presented regarding definition (in terms of constituent variables), in which assessment it has been applied, and statistical quality (e.g. reliability, validity). For indicators that have been used since 2000 in international comparative assessments (EU, IEA, OECD) the statistics for these ICT related indicators will be presented in tables and/or figures (derived from international reports or calculated from the available data bases).
  2. To describe scenarios for monitoring ICT in Education in the European Union.

Study on the Impact of ICT and New Media on Language Learning. Edited and compiled by Anne Stevens, The Open University UK in conjunction with Lesley Shield, e-learning consultan. The study, which was carried out between June 2008 and May 2009, aimed to assess the current situation concerning the use of ICT and new media for language learning, and cast light over future developments in this area. It concentrated particularly on identifying trends and practices beyond schools and universities, in working life and in personal life, including the use of ICT and new media in formal, non-formal, and informal language learning.

The study followed a four-stage plan of development, which is reflected in the four Annexes:

  • A comparative study ‘on the potential for the use of ICT and new media for language

learning in eight European countries (Annexe I)

  • A quantitative survey of the use of ICT and new media for language learning purposes

(Annexe II)

  • A qualitative survey on current trends in ICT-supported language learning and possible

developments in Europe and beyond (Annexe III)

  • A set of case studies that serve as examples of good practice of the positive impact ICT

and new media on language learning (Annexe IV).

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design)

Clay Shirky: How social media can make history. A 15 minute video from TED filmed in June 2009. While not directly referenced to education the implications of what Clay Shirky propounds will have an effect on educational social networking and attempts to create social community online.

Clay Shirky's consulting focuses on the rising usefulness of decentralized technologies such as peer-to-peer, wireless networks, social software and open-source development. New technologies are enabling new kinds of cooperative structures to flourish as a way of getting things done in business, science, the arts and elsewhere, as an alternative to centralized and institutional structures, which he sees as self-limiting.


Online Learning as a Strategic Asset Aug 31 2009. This two-volume report contains the results of 231 interviews conducted with administrators, faculty, and students at 45 public institutions across the country and more than 10,700 responses from faculty across the spectrum of teaching positions – tenure/non-tenure track; full- and part-time; and both those who have and those who have not taught online. Volume I is a response for campus leaders and Volume II is the responses from faculty members titled Paradox of Faculty Voices: Views and Experiences with Online Learning.


The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2009 . This study: a longitudinal extension of the 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 studies. It is based on quantitative data from a spring 2009 survey of 30,616 freshmen and seniors at 103 four-year institutions and students at 12 two-year institutions; student focus groups that included input from 62 students at 4 institutions; and review of qualitative data from written responses to open-ended questions. In addition to studying student ownership, experience, behaviors, preferences, and skills with respect to information technologies, the 2009 study also includes a special focus on student ownership and use of Internet-capable handheld devices.

Orange Grove Text

The Theory and Practice of Online Learning: 2nd edition edited by Terry Anderson. Topics covered are:

  • PART I: Role and Function of Theory in Online Education
  • PART II: Infrastructure and Support for Content Development
  • PART III: Design and Development of Online Courses
  • PART IV: Delivery, Quality Control, and Student Support of Online Courses

As can be see from the headings to the four Parts of the book these are all vitally relevant to Distance teaching systems and institutions in the 21C.

The No Significant Difference (NSD)

Web site
The No Significant Difference (NSD) website has been designed to serve as a companion piece to the book The No Significant Difference Phenomenon: A Comparative Research Annotated Bibliography on Technology for Distance Education" (2001, IDECC, fifth edition) by Thomas L. Russell. The primary purpose of the NSD website is to expand on the offerings from the book by providing access to appropriate studies published or discovered after the release of the book. In addition to studies that document no significant difference (NSD), the website includes studies which do document significant differences in student outcomes based on the mode of education delivery. The significant difference (SD) entries on the website are further classified into three categories:
  • better results through technology - improvement in outcomes when curriculum is delivered at a distance;
  • better results in the classroom - improvement in outcomes when curriculum is delivered face to face; or
  • mixed results - some variables indicate improvement when curriculum is delivered at a distance, while others indicate improvement when curriculum is delivered face-to-face.

Study findings can be sourced from the years 1928 to 2009.


OLDaily by Stephen Downes. The author describes OLDaily as:

OLDaily - short for Online Learning Daily - is my contribution to the growing world of email newsletters. You might ask, does the world need another online newsletter, especially in the field of online learning? My answer - obviously - is yes.

What makes OLDaily different from other email newsletters, then? Three things: content selection, value-add, and website support.

This an excellent site to stay abreast of what is the latest developments in online learning.'''

Other sites to explore

Research Online (University of Wollongong)

New technologies, new pedagogies: Mobile learning in higher education 2009, 138p. By Jan Herrington, Anthony Herrington, Jessica Mantei, Ian Olney and Brian Ferry (editors). The 13 chapers to this book are:

  1. Introduction: Using mobile technologies to develop new ways of teaching and learning
  2. Professional development: Faculty development for new technologies: Putting mobile learning in the hands of the teachers
  3. Adult education: Using a smartphone to create digital teaching episodes as resources in adult education
  4. Early childhood education: Digital story telling using iPods
  5. Environmental education: Using mobile phones to enhance teacher learning in environmental education
  6. Information technology education: Incorporating mobile technologies within constructivist-based curriculum resources
  7. Language and literacy education: Using iPods to capture professional dialogue between early career teachers to enrich reflective practice
  8. Mathematics education: Role of mobile digital technology in fostering the construction of pedagogical and content knowledge of mathematics
  9. Physical education: Using iPods to enhance the teaching of games in physical education
  10. Reflective practice: Collaborative gathering, evaluating and communicating ‘wisdom’ using iPods
  11. Science education: Using mobile phone cameras to capture images for slowmations: Student-generated science animations
  12. Visual arts education: Art on the move: Mobility – a way of life
  13. Design principles: Design principles for mobile learning. document downloads/media provides articles from the Boston Review, BBC News, The Africa Journal, FALMER the Sussex University Alumni magazine and podcast interviews on economic development, mobile technology and projects in Africa.

First Monday

Public lives and private communities: The terms of service agreement and life in virtual worlds, Volume 14, Number 12 - 7 December 2009 by Debora J. Halbert. Quoting from the Abstract:

This paper argues that the terms of service (TOS) agreements, also sometimes referred to as end user license agreements (EULAs), governing virtual worlds have important implications for the political and legal structures under which our virtual selves will function. This essay will focus on four key political concepts central to all TOS agreements studied. These concepts include contract language governing speech codes, intellectual property rights, privacy, and the relationship of the gaming world to the real world. If indeed these agreements offer governing constraints for people functioning in virtual spaces, then not only should their anti–democratic construction be considered, but as people spend more time in virtual worlds, these structures will become increasingly important to many aspects of our virtual identities.


More related sites can be found at the DE Hub Delicious site.