Invitation to BERA 2016 Innovation Session: Open Space: Critically Rethinking Challenges, Paradoxes and Pitfalls in Educational Technology Research and Innovation Professor Jill Jameson
BERA Educational Technology SIG Convenor, University of Greenwich
You are invited to attend and also to participate in commenting on this EdTech BERA SIG event at the conference:
This Open Space Innovation Session on the field of Educational Technology Research and Innovation aims to debate challenges, paradoxes and pitfalls currently affecting the field, in consideration of rapidly advancing new global developments in, amongst other influences, emerging technologies, social media, big data, ICT, internet access, knowledge management, open access, research ethics and impact, digital surveillance, cybersecurity and serious games.
While on the one hand, educational technology seems to offer greater freedoms, unprecedented learning and teaching opportunities, access to vast knowledge and a more democratic ‘voice’ for learners across global communities, on the other, educational technology as a field of policy and practice paradoxically can also result in less freedom (through tighter managerial controls and scrutiny), a reduction in depth and achievements in learning (through proliferation of distracting online information), greater inequality of access (due to inequities in digital ICT divides affecting poorer populations globally) and a reduction in social mobility and democratic participation (through unequal employment opportunities, elite stratification and competition in global league tables of excellence). Educational technology developments seem to offer, simultaneously, both greater opportunities and increased restrictions.
How are we to make sense of these kinds of paradoxes? Selwyn argues that much research in the ‘(non)field’ has demonstrated ‘outright evangelism’ rather than critical inquiry (Selwyn, 2012;2015), while Bulfin et al.(2015) examine the ‘myths and rhetoric of digital age education’ and Jameson calls for more critical ‘e-leadership’ (Jameson, 2013). Hence this session asks whether and in what ways educational technology research is critically engaging with challenges in the field?
For example, the OECD study on the PISA assessment of digital skills (OCED, 2015) indicates that frequent use of computers in schools tends to have negative outcomes for student learning, while more moderate use of computers, allied with increased integration of technology usage with high quality teaching in literacy and numeracy and improved social equity, tends to result in improvements in student achievement. The OECD study provides one instance of research which strongly provides evidence that a more critical, nuanced and reflective debate is needed about the challenges, pitfalls and paradoxes in the field.
Educational technology and interdisciplinary research participants will be encouraged to debate these and other issues to consider the extent to which evidence emerging from research findings in educational technology effectively engages with important global issues that have a strong influence on educational policy, theory and practice, including, particularly, outcomes for learners.