The Nature [and Evolution] of Educational Technology

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 14:09 -- bbutt

In 1967, Sir Eric Ashby determined four revolutions in education. The first, according to Davies (1978), occurred when society began to shift the focus of education from parents to teachers; from the home to the school. The second big paradigm shift occurred with the adoption of the written text rather than oral storytelling as the educational "tool" of preference. The third shift came with the invention of the printing press which resulted in the availability of books.

The Evolution of e-Learning

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 16:34 -- bbutt

What ever happened to teaching, with kids, in a classroom? I agree with Tom Clark (20??) who advocates for the teacher as facilitator/coach helping students achieve goals in a learning-centered approach to education. The teacher has many vital roles in such an environment "...offering authentic, motivating, and compelling learning experiences; using a learning-centered approach to prompt novices to engage in more expert -level endeavors; and teaching both cognitive and people-skills that improve students’ success in the world".

Reinventing Project-Based Learning

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 16:29 -- bbutt

Neal Stephenson in commenting on Susie Boss and Jane Krauss' text "Reinventing Project-Based Learning" states on his website ( "One of the things I really appreciated about this presentation was the distinction that Jane made between activity or theme based projects and inquiry-based work that is organized around a unifying question or topic. In my experience, both in my own classroom and in observing other teachers, this is not an easy transition for teachers to make.

Is the future here?

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 16:26 -- bbutt

Is the future here? If yes, how is that the case (site examples)? If not, why not? Yes, but in limited means and ways. In some circumstances we have programs developed by the Nova Scotia Department of Education that embeds 21st Century skills such as research, collaboration and cooperation, and technology skills that are meant to foster the concept of "infotective" (Mackenzie's term). Two high school courses come to mind: "Options and Opportunities" and "Skilled Trades" programs utilize hands on, inquiry based learning strategies.

The influence of experience, ability and interest on eLearning effectiveness

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 16:23 -- bbutt

Haverila, M. & Barkhi, R. (2009). The influence of experience, ability and interest on eLearning effectiveness. EURODL. The authors of this paper studied two groups of students, surveying both on their learning styles and the method of instruction they were exposed to, to determine the effects of online learning on individual needs of each learner versus the traditional classroom setting. The main conclusion that I drew from reading their paper was that students were most comfortable with a blended learning environment that utilized classroom instruction with an online component.