Wcet Denver: Re-Thinking E-Learning Research


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Re-thinking E-Learning Research introduces a number of research frameworks and methodologies relevant to e-learning. The book outlines methods for the analysis of content, narrative, genre, discourse, hermeneutic-phenomenological investigation, and critical and historical inquiry. It provides examples of pairings of method and subject matter that include narrative research into the adaptation of blogs in a classroom setting

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Wcet Denver: Re-Thinking E-Learning Research

  1. 1. Re-Thinking E-Learning Research Norm Friesen [email_address]
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Chapters have appeared in: </li></ul><ul><li>Mind, Culture & Activity </li></ul><ul><li>AI & Society </li></ul><ul><li>ijCSCL </li></ul><ul><li>E-Learning </li></ul><ul><li>Ubiquity </li></ul>
  3. 3. Overview <ul><li>Re-thinking assumptions about technology: </li></ul><ul><li>Technology as the driving force for educational change </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology & faculty change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology & research paradigms </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Research across the disciplines </li></ul>
  4. 4. Technology & Educational Change <ul><li>A new technology “impacts” student outcomes, student satisfaction, education overall </li></ul><ul><li>Technology as a disruptive force in organizations, institutions </li></ul><ul><li>Technologies “afford” certain pedagogies by virtue of their design or function </li></ul><ul><li>Technological change as occurring by law </li></ul>
  5. 5. Example: “tipping point” <ul><li>The… &quot;opportunity to [act] before the tipping point arrives will occur only once.“ </li></ul><ul><li>“… tools and techniques are developing at an accelerated rate, a rate that calls for an effective response—the preparedness of educators in schools with technology integrated into all subject areas.“ </li></ul>
  6. 6. Impact of Technology <ul><li>Technology is a force acting from outside </li></ul><ul><li>Technology acts on its own </li></ul><ul><li>The arrival of technology is inevitable </li></ul><ul><li>The object impacted is otherwise immobile </li></ul><ul><li>The consequences of impact are massive </li></ul>From: Darkmatter
  7. 7. Laws of Technological Change <ul><li>Moore's law (the regular doubling of computer processor speeds) </li></ul><ul><li>Gladwell's &quot;tipping point&quot; (change occurs via an &quot;epidemic&quot; dynamic) </li></ul><ul><li>Kurzweil's &quot;law of accelerating returns&quot; (the exponential nature of technical innovation) </li></ul><ul><li>These laws may hold in terms of the spread of disease, or numbers of transistors. But… </li></ul>
  8. 8. But… <ul><li>Changes in technological capability </li></ul><ul><li>Bandwidth, processing power, storage </li></ul><ul><li>Do not result in direct and proportionate changes in: </li></ul><ul><li>learning abilities, </li></ul><ul><li>teaching performance </li></ul><ul><li>use of technologies </li></ul><ul><li>Other institutional metrics </li></ul>
  9. 9. Wikipedia 2009
  10. 10. Encoded in Research Designs <ul><li>Rogers’ &quot;Dissemination of Innovation&quot; Model: </li></ul><ul><li>Technology disseminated through a population </li></ul><ul><li>Adoption and resistance as the only responses </li></ul><ul><li>technology as a kind of &quot;unmoved mover,&quot; decisively influencing education from the outside </li></ul><ul><li>Technology as pre-given in its uses, design, purposes, functions, etc. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Wikipedia 2009
  12. 12. Encoded in Research Designs <ul><li>quasi-experimental designs that define technology as a treatment or control </li></ul><ul><li>Measure its educational effects or outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>produces results deemed either controversial, inconclusive or as “fatally flaw[ed]” (Bernard et. al. 2004; Russell, 1997 </li></ul><ul><li>fundamental questions about technology & change are unasked and unanswered; instead, a tacit understanding is shared… </li></ul>
  13. 13. Technological Determinism <ul><li>technological determinism : “the belief that social progress is driven by technological innovation, which in turn follows an ‘inevitable’ course.” Smith, 1994, p 38; also http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/tecdet/tecdet.html </li></ul><ul><li>“ optimistic” hard determinism: “the advance of technology leads to a situation of inescapable necessity [with the future being] the outcome of many free choices and the realization of the dream of progress…”(Marx & Smith, 1994; xii). </li></ul>
  14. 14. Counter-Examples <ul><li>“ progress” can sometimes fail, or be stopped dead in its tracks –or can be “co-opted” (DCMI) </li></ul><ul><li>The persistence of the classroom as a site of educational practices </li></ul><ul><li>The Web as being modified and adapted for education: WebCT or Moodle </li></ul><ul><li>adaptation has occurred in a manner that seems to have had the end effect of reinforcing rather than disrupting many conventional educational practices and organizations. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Technology as Negotiated <ul><li>Users interpret & “domesticate” technologies </li></ul><ul><li>Computer and communication technologies are open to multiple uses, non-uses, & improvisations </li></ul><ul><li>Processes of construction & negotiation </li></ul><ul><li>is &quot;an 'ambivalent' process of development&quot; that is &quot;suspended between different possibilities&quot; (Andrew Feenberg, 2002, p. 15) </li></ul><ul><li>Web 2.0 specially suited to this approach </li></ul>
  16. 16. Feenberg: Technology in E-Learning? <ul><li>Technology is not a destiny for e-learning </li></ul><ul><li>Technology is instead a scene of engagement & struggle </li></ul>
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