Evaluating the effective use of emerging technologies in education

Minocha, Shailey (2012). Evaluating the effective use of emerging technologies in education. In: IEEE International Conference on Technology for Education Conference, 16-20 Jul 2012, Hyderabad, India.

URL: http://t4e.iiit.ac.in/Pre-conference%20on%2016-07-...


The aim of this tutorial is to present practical guidance for evaluating the effectiveness of educational initiatives involving social software and emerging technologies to support student learning and engagement. Examples of such initiatives are: inclusion of a blog in a course to encourage reflective learning, or having a wiki in a course for fostering team-working skills, or an activity in a 3D virtual world to enable students to learn through simulations, or the use of Delicious for bookmarking resources, or an App on a smartphone. ‘Evaluation’ implies investigating the usability, pedagogical effectiveness (does it meet the learning outcomes?), student experience, and impact on direct stakeholders such as educators and technical support staff (in terms of workload and support required).

Educators, practitioners and educational researchers will find this tutorial useful for learning about evaluating initiatives in a systematic manner and yet be able to choose research methods that are not very resource-intensive for themselves and for the participants (primarily students but other direct stakeholders too such as technical support staff). Through examples of social software initiatives, we will discuss a number of data collection and data analysis methods in the tutorial ranging from traditional social science research (e.g. focus groups) to user-centred research methods (e.g. observations, diary studies) and to participatory design methods (e.g. experience sampling, student panels). We will also discuss about ethical considerations of conducting research, specifically, involving social software, where the personal and professional boundaries of user profiles (or identities) sometimes get blurred.

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