The August/September 2006 issue of Innovate provides assessments of emerging technologies for educational practice, studies of recent efforts at technology integration, and a commentary that promises to provoke engaging discussion about the role of technology in education.
In his assessment of the current state of e-book technology, David Rothman addresses common myths surrounding e-books, illustrates key features of e-book hardware and software, examines the problems that have prevented the more widespread adoption of e-books, and discusses how the development of a new software standard and a new open-source software application will address some of these problems and provide a precedent for future advances.
(See http://innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=296 )>Greg Jones and Kevin Kalinowski offer a similar assessment of video game technology as a tool for online learning; to overcome current obstacles to further innovation they propose the creation of an online community that would provide a repository of open-source gaming tools and support productive collaborations between educators, researchers, and game
designers. (See http://innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=239)
Meanwhile, the successful deployment of other technological tools has already helped pave the way for innovation in educational practice. David Radosevich and Patricia Kahn describe how tablet PCs and recording/playback software used in support of constructivist learning activities yielded significant improvements in learning.
(See http://innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=300 )
Introducing technology in educational settings can also highlight the need for a greater focus on how the learning process is managed and evaluated. Phil Clegg and John Heap describe how online facilitators often miss opportunities for fostering reflective practice among their students and offer a simple model to help facilitators make better decisions about when and how to intervene in online discussions. (See http://innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=290 )
Joan Anderson, Gary Brown, and Stephen Spaeth argue that although online surveys may allow students to offer more refined, reflective, and authentic assessments of their learning experience, if they are to be successful, they will need to be accompanied by changes in the academic culture as well. (See http://innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=301 )
For Robert Sanders, however, educators should give greater thought to whether the changes that technology brings to their teaching are beneficial at all. While acknowledging the beneficial effects of technology in education, Sanders asserts the need for critical reflection on the potential costs of technology if educators are to fulfill their mission to students. (See http://innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=232 )
Stephen Downes wraps up this issue with an introduction to The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, an e-journal that provides its readers with a range of current research and offers a worthy model of how open access journals can support the free dissemination of valuable scholarship in the field.
(See http://innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=362 )