Selected Research on the Effectiveness of Technologies in Education: An Annotated Bibliography
Scott Hogan 3 July, 2012
For this annotated bibliography I tried to focus my attention on two popular movements in education within the last ten to twenty years; constructivist educational theory and the the inclusion of new technologies in the classroom. I chose constructivism because it is the most recent “new best method” being embraced for instructional design. I hoped to find support for my theory that there is enough empirical evidence to proclaim constructivism as the best theory and support my feelings that a mix of many learning theories is a better method for instruction. I also chose to include technology in my focus because I feel it also is being presented as a panacea that will cure most of the problems that face education today. While technology can present useful tools for educators if they are trained properly, given continuing professional development at sufficient levels, and have equipment that is modern and relevant, most schools do not commit fully to those ideas. I want my research paper to look at the promise of technology vs. the results we’ve seen in our schools.
Deaney, R., Chapman, A., & Hennessy, S. (2009). A Case-Study of One Teacher’s Use of an Interactive
Whiteboard System to Support Knowledge Co-Construction in the History Classroom. Curriculum
Journal, 20(4), 365-387.
The authors are faculty at the University of London and the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and used research from the T-MEDIA project to observe the adoption of IWBs (interactive whiteboards) as a tool to enhance student learning in a history class setting. The study involved setting up cameras to monitor the teaching strategies of four highly skilled secondary teachers as they taught a set of six lessons. The authors acknowledged that the installation of technology like IWBs did not guarantee that the technology will affect learning, and that it must be coupled with an instructor who is willing to find ways to use the technology to increase the transfer of knowledge and deeper understanding of complex concepts. While they observed teachers in this setting using the IWBs as tools to scaffold knowledge in a collaborative setting, enhance questioning techniques, and highlight key concepts, and have students classify common themes, it was the willingness of a master teacher to employ this technology that made it useful, not some inherent quality of the technology.
De Castell, S., Bryson, M., & Jenson, J. (2002). Object lessons: Towards an educational theory of
technology. First Monday, 7(1). Retrieved from
The authors, educators at universities in the United States and Canada, use their own research and studies done throughout schools across North America to analyze the extent to which the use of technologies are being implemented in schools. They propose that we must come up with theories to educate using technology in ways that do not simply relegate the internet, hardware, and software tools as fancy ways to deliver the same information that textbooks have done for years. They use anecdotal evidence that rings true to my experience as a teacher, citing the proclivity of states or school districts to throw money at the problem (buying computers, projectors, smartboards, etc.) without the training and inspiration it will take to get staff to “buy-in” to the idea that the technology can increase their students’ success levels. Rather than partnering with on-the-ground educators, companies have tried to monetize technology into packages that teachers can feel familiar with, have some measure of success in raising standardized tests scores, and use those results to encourage more districts to buy their programs. They suggested finding ways to educate teachers about how to use technology in more meaningful ways, no matter how little or great their access to computer labs or the internet, that would increase education uses of technology in classrooms.
Green, B. (2010). Knowledge, the Future, and Education(al) Research: A New-Millennial Challenge.
Australian Educational Researcher, 37(4), 43-62.
Bill Green is a professor of education at Charles Sturt University in Australia who wrote a paper hoping to open a discussion about the future of knowledge in education, with a focus on how new technologies may be causing societies to reevaluate what they consider “knowledge worth knowing.” Green argues that with the increase of technology has also come an increase to access of new knowledge from previously untapped or unappreciated sources, especially native populations around the world who through the course of history have been subjugated by Western cultures. The author seems to hold current constructivist views about how knowledge is created by the learner, but also contends that some objective forms of knowledge must be preserved, and that in modern teacher education the study of disciplinary knowledge (science, mathematics, sociology, etc.) are being left behind to discuss strictly learner-centered theories of education. Green is proposing a marriage between objective knowledge and its place in teacher education (and education in general), and something he calls phronisis. Phronisis is practical knowledge or a person’s judgement, neither of which can be taught directly but must be built by experience. Objective knowledge forms and phronisis must be used side by side to direct teacher education of the future and ensure that knowledge that society deems important and valuable are being represented in our schools.
Issroff, K., Scanlon, E.. Educational Technology: The Influence of Theory. Journal of Interactive Media in
Education, North America, 2002, jul. 2002. Available at: http://www-jime.open.ac.uk/article/2002-6/90.
Date accessed: June 28, 2012.
The authors are educational technologists from universities in London. One of the main points of their paper is to get other educational technologists to explore the theories that are the foundation for what they believe. They feel that educational technologists should not focus on only one theory, but try to incorporate various styles. Their paper focused on Artificial Intelligence Education (AIED) and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and observed that (at the time of this paper both could have been considered relatively new) these technologies could aid in the building of, experimenting with, and analyzing the success of various teaching models. The authors very briefly, and with little depth, discussed the educational theories that have been dominated the field over the last fifty years. Their feeling was that no matter how AIED and HCI were going to be applied, researchers must be willing to look at the results to truly evaluate their usefulness in the setting they were applied. Context in the educational setting, which would fit with the current trend in student-centered learning environments, was a main theme of their writing. Issroff and Scanlon felt that at the time of their article HCI and AIED were more concerned with the design of various models that technology could enhance, but should have been focused on the context, culture, and students that would be using those technological tools.
Li, Q., Clark, B., & Winchester, I. (2010). Instructional design and technology grounded in enactivism: A
paradigm shift?. British Journal Of Educational Technology, 41(3), 403-419.
All of the authors are either professors or administrators at the University of Calgary. They spend some effort in their writing to explain what they feel are the shortcomings of objectivism and constructivism in regards to instructional design and technology (IDT), stating that in both theories the learner is somewhat separate from learning; objectivists feeling that learning is something to be imprinted upon the student, and constructivists feeling that knowledge about things is something that must be discovered or constructed. What they offer is an alternative called enactivism, a theory of education that sees learning or knowledge as constantly connected with the learner. The theory is based on the idea that any action we make in our world causes learning whether it is conscious or not, and they question whether traditional learning outcomes can be pre-planned if we don’t know in advance how various learners are going to interact with their environment. In this theory the learners would develop much of the content in an environment that I think would be very chaotic. They seem to have little to no empirical evidence to back up their ideas that this system would work. To me ‘enactivism’ is another example of theorists coming up with something and trying to get people to create design or instructional models based on their theory. Enactivism seems like another distraction in the field of instructional design that is already trying to decide among a myriad of choices.
McDougall, A., & Jones, A. (2006). Theory and History, Questions and Methodology: Current and Future
Issues in Research into ICT in Education.Technology, Pedagogy And Education, 15(3), 353-360.
The authors of this paper are educators at the University of Melbourne, Australia. The purpose of their writing is to challenge the criticisms that research in the field of information and communications technology (ICT) is not grounded enough is current theories of education. Since ICT is just one part of the system for educating, the authors felt that the theories used for research of education in general could be used to guide ICT based research. A concern for McDougall and Jones was also that competent research that had been done to help create ICT tools of the past (specifically software programs and simulation technologies done in the 1980s and 1990s) were being discarded simply because they were older and looked or felt dated. A specific area of concern for the authors was that money for research in the ICT area usually was focused on showing how a certain technology was effective in order to justify its purchase by states or school districts. They felt it would be a better investment of funds to use ICT to help observe social interactions among students, and to see how students interacted with technologies in a given activity, to help gauge the true effectiveness of technologies in education. Their paper supports the constructivist beliefs of Vygotsky in that students learn by interacting with information, developing questions and experiments, and assimilating new data with what they already know, and that most of this happens in a social educational setting.
Galbraith, J., & Winterbottom, M. (2011). Peer-Tutoring: What’s in It for the Tutor?. Educational Studies,
Jonathan Galbraith is a science teacher at Wembley High School in London, and Mark Winterbottom is a professor at Cambridge University in London. The study they based their paper on consisted of ten boys aged 16-17 years old who acted as tutors for a group of twenty 14-15 year old boys. Prior to taking on their role as tutors the boys were given guidance about questioning techniques to help them gauge the effectiveness of their tutoring. After the experiment the tutors participated in a survey via wikis to find how their preparation for roles as tutors affected their interaction with the content, how their experience as tutors changed their outlook towards the content, and what adjustments they made in their tutoring style during the course of their sessions. The survey did however find that even though this activity was based on constructivist ideas, the tutors tended to lean more towards objectivism in their questioning. In the post-tutoring surveys it was observed that the questions tutors developed for sessions mainly checked for understanding of concrete facts and had very short answers. Rarely did tutors develop long-answer questions that would have sought to confirm conceptual knowledge. While I do believe that this strategy can be effective as a way to help increase the knowledge base of both the tutor and tutee, I think that only a small percentage of students in most classroom settings would have the background knowledge necessary to serve in a role as tutors, and of those even fewer might have the social skills to fulfill the position.
The annotated bibliography for EdTech 504 is the second artifact I’ve chosen to show my mastery of this standard. Again, the substandard 2.1 deals with producing visual materials via a mechanical process. Whether you’re the writer or another researcher, annotated bibliographies can serve various purposes. For the writer; your bibliography should make it obvious that you’ve read the material and gives you a chance to make sure that the resources you include truly fit the purpose of your research paper or other work. If someone looks at my bibliography it should quickly give them an idea of whether or not it is something they want to include in their findings. It also can give them a point of reference that they can return to later for more in depth research. My bibliography was related to a paper I wrote about constructivist learning theories and Web 2.0 technology in the classroom. Both are relatively new to the education landscape. I hoped to find out whether the promise of results for student gains in achievement had been met. In my writing I summed up the main points of the work cited, tried to give some information about the author when available, and aimed to give those who might read my bibliography some idea of whether or not I felt this was helpful in the field I was researching. I used the APA style manual to guide me in the citation process. The annotated bibliography showed that I could digest, summarize, and critique various works for the purpose of research. It was produced using a computer and could be disseminated through various methods to validate my research or aid others with their own. I feel that it meets this standard for the development of materials.