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Current and Future Issues in Learning, Technology, and Education Research

Authors: Hoadley, Christopher
Uttamchandani, Suraj
Keywords: education, technology, equity, design, learning, cyberlearning, cyberinfrastructure, social justice
Issue Date: Sep-2021
Publisher: Spencer Foundation
Abstract: A sea change in society driven by technology presents both opportunities and perils for education and research, especially with respect to equity and human flourishing. It is urgent that scholarship must adapt to address this challenge. Four major developments in technology promise to fundamentally alter society: the rise of pervasive or “total” data, platforms for realistic “retina-grade” experiences, deployment of artificial intelligence and other algorithms for processing big data, and the increasing ubiquity of technology access but with digital divides. These lead to six key areas of tension regarding technology and education; (1) Ownership, governance, and adoption of information and curricular content; (2) Ownership and control of educational data; (3) Personalization vs. standardization of educational experiences and assessment criteria; (4) Nature of knowledge and learning as contested ground; (5) Improvement vs. disruption of educational institutions; and (6) Bottom-up vs. top-down design. Addressing the tensions requires additional effort in several areas. We need to better understand how technology intersects with holistic conceptions of human learning and thriving. We need to study and develop new models for how technology shifts the role and preparation of educators and educational leaders. We need targeted, actionable research on how educational technologies advance or curtail equity, along with better understandings of how to design technology in support of justice. And, we need to transform our research methodologies to encompass technological possibilities without sacrificing context, quality, or ethics. To support progress in these areas, researchers, designers, and educators must: commit to shared prosocial values and equity; develop new, integrative methods for research and design; and create new relationships and structures to support research, development, and enactment. Keywords: cyberinfrastructure; cyberlearning; education; social justice; technology
Description: Peer-reviewed white paper. <>
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