Handbook on information technologies for education and training

09 Jul 2020

Educational technology specialists, instructional designers, and managers of distance or blended learning programmes share the need of staying up to date with the more and more rapid development of digital technologies in education. Their necessity for learning about the latest technologies is not because they want to follow new trends, but exactly the opposite reason: good practitioners should be able to make sound and consistent decisions based on data and information that goes beyond the techy buzzword of the day. Only in this way can technological innovation really serve and support educational improvement. From a different perspective, researchers in educa- tional technologies share the same need: understanding emerging technologies and their use, and identifying sound research methods to investigate their applications and impact. Research marches to the rhythm of a different drum from the consumer infor- mation technology market, so that learning about trends and new developments is important to align scientific findings and actual needs. Keeping pace with digital technologies in education and training is made more difficult by the continuing branching of technological development, which has gener- ated many families and sub-families of technologies. A Web site today means very little, as it can be a portal, an e-commerce site, a social network, or any kind of other Web-based application. Also, technologies operate on different layers. Some consti- tute the infrastructure and impact at an organizational level (for example, standards for competences definition), while others represent user applications and impact locally (such as simulations). So, it is not only a matter of learning to use technologies, but also of learning about technologies, including their goals, their scope, and the way they can be exploited to enhance learning and learning organizations.