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Article

Paul Farber and Dini Metro-Roland

Moral education and technology seem to represent two fundamentally different kinds of concern and domains of inquiry. But these domains are fused in educational practice. Teaching as a fundamental human endeavor and form of activity has been a central component of human cultural evolution and regeneration from the earliest human social groupings. As a distinctive form of activity, teaching braids together ethical and instrumental norms and values. The modern, global institution of schooling has added layers of institutional support, constraint, and governance on the teaching it structures as well as increased scrutiny of the ethical and instrumental values in play; schooling is in effect a kind of moral technology for advancing certain norms and values in an efficient way. At present, technological developments with modern society make possible new forms of teaching and learning that likewise warrant scrutiny as they impact the ethical and instrumental ends of teaching and instructional practices today.

Article

Lateral learning in the last two decades can be seen in peer-to-peer learning that is being promoted by new technologies where there are apps that allow students to work together in real time through virtual space, a method which thereby shifts the focus from the solitary self to the interdependent group which lives an educational experience of a collaborative and distributed nature, whose focus lies in instilling the principle of the social nature of knowledge. The ideological bases of lateral thinking are sustained by issues such as emancipation of the student from the authority of the teacher, the relationship of collaboration, permitting the development of individual appreciations and ideas, based simultaneously on those of their peers, on the democratization of knowledge, and so on, which ultimately refers to a collaborative creative education, to a democratic education, and to an education for democracy that assumes the new technologized context in which we live. Because of this, lateral thinking is increasingly influencing everyday life and areas such as education and the arts, as it happens in the post-Internet art, and more specifically net.art (i.e., an online art), which is a collaborative creative experience that has become an instrument which allows us to see a “new type of art in the 21st century.” Net.art, Internet art and the most experimental design, therefore constitutes a community experience that hypertextualizes computerized languages and generates poetic perspectives as artistic practices of lateral thinking. It has bestowed upon us a series of mechanisms to devise collaborative development strategies for lateral learning based on those creative ludic educational experiences of using and interacting with new technologies. This is essential to bear in mind because, as Jeremy Rifkin says, collaborative learning helps students to expand their own self-awareness, including their “self” in reference to diverse “others,” and promotes in-depth participation in more interdependent communities. It extends the territory comprised within the boundaries of empathy.

Article

Donna E. Alvermann and William Terrell Wright

Naming is a curious practice. It entails rudiments, now mostly taken for granted, that serve to categorize everyday literacy practices across fields as diverse as cultural anthropology and the management of multiple Git profiles. As a term unto itself, adolescent literacies is not immune to the vagaries of naming. In fact, it serves as an excellent example of how commonly named concepts in education embed the field’s histories, debates, pedagogies, and policies writ large. Conceptualizing literacy in its plural form raised eyebrows among academics, researchers, practitioners, publishers, and indexers concerned with the noun–verb agreement in phrases such as “adolescent literacies is a subfield” of adolescence. For some, the very notion of literacy extending beyond reading and writing is still debatable. With each passing day, however, it becomes noticeably more evident that multimodal forms of communication—images, sounds, bodily performances, to name but a few ways of expressing oneself—are competing quite well in the marketplace of ideas that flow globally with or without a linguistic component attached to them. Aside from the naming process and its attendant political overtones, the practice of treating youth between roughly the ages of 12 and 17 as a monolithic group has been common in the United States. Largely traceable to a time in which developmental psychology dominated the field of literacy instruction (in the early to late 20th century), designating youth as adolescents equated to viewing them as some a normative group devoid of racial, class, gender, and any number of other identity markers. Even with the sociocultural turn in early 21st century and its abundance of studies reifying the socially constructed nature of adolescents, the term persists. Its adhesive-like attraction to literacies, however, may be weakening in light of research that points to youth who are agentic and dynamic game changers when it comes to participating in a world grown more attuned to the need for collaboration based not on hierarchical standing but instead on working through commonplace tensions too complex for any one solution.

Article

Rocío Rueda Ortiz and Alejandro Uribe Zapata

Particularly since the turn of the new millennium, the field of cyberculture and education in Latin America has undergone significant development. Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary studies have focused on the rise of a novel sociotechnical network, the product, on the one hand, of advances in information and communications technology, computing, and a broader reach of the internet, and, on the other hand, of the diverse appropriations of these advances by individuals and collectives. In general, the research questions addressed in this field analyze the continuities and transformations in areas such as the creation, circulation, and legitimization of information and knowledge inside and outside the educational institution; the forms of socialization, communication, and construction of individual and collective identities; and the modes of citizen participation, all of which have been catalyzed by the new technological ecosystem. In an initial stage, this field was marked by national and international policies of incorporating information and communications technology into education and, as a result, by the discussions on access to this technology, the digital divide, and the scope of technological infrastructure. This first stage was criticized for an instrumentalist and determinist emphasis on statistics regarding computer access and use in education that ignored the diverse and unequal processes of social and cultural appropriation of these factors. In a second stage of critical cybercultural studies, efforts were made to overcome technological determinisms, understanding information technologies not as something completed, closed, or definitive, but rather as part of the process of humanization—in other words, as devices that are transformed through interaction with individual and collective subjects, just as these latter reconfigure themselves to the extent that they interact with the former. What is highlighted here, on the one hand, is that the processes are heterogenic and sometimes contradictory in respect to what this sociotechnical interaction produces in the subjectivities; and, conversely, that imagination and invention are inherent to the technical objects. The human artifacts are thus not simple instruments mechanically joined to the social and cultural life of people. A third stage envisions challenges and new fields of research and creation in the production of knowledge arising from the peculiarity of Latin American educational, social, and cultural problematics. In particular, there is an emphasis on the need to include in an interrelated way intergenerational dimensions of race, gender, region, and social class in order to analyze the different and unequal forms of inclusion and appropriation of technologies. Similarly, studies begin to appear on “Commons” and “Commoning” as new ways of producing and sharing knowledge, as do grassroots educational proposals from the decolonial, situated feminist perspective calling for an intercultural dialogue on and recognition of indigenous, peasant, and Afro-descendant knowledge, worldviews and lifestyles that have appropriated technologies in diverse ways and for different purposes in the region.

Article

Meagan Karvonen, Neal M. Kingston, Michael L. Wehmeyer, and W. Jake Thompson

Historically pervasive models of disability as a deficit negatively impacted thinking about the accessibility of educational assessments and how this issue should be addressed. In a deficit-based model, assessments are designed without consideration of individual differences and students with disabilities receive accommodations as an exception to the typical administration. With the shift to social models of disability, the assessment field has concomitantly adopted new approaches to designing and administering assessments that recognize variability in how individuals interact with assessments. Inclusive assessment requires that conditions are in place to support the validity of score inferences for their intended uses—for all students. Inclusive assessment requires moving past a deficit-based model and designing for examinee variability. An inclusive model requires knowledge of student characteristics and new ways of thinking about student-item interactions. Computer-based testing and other technologies such as alternative or augmentative communication devices provide support for flexible assessment administration. One way to ensure inclusive assessments meet professional standards for quality is to blend evidence-centered design and universal design principles. Evidence-centered design has five stages that span from construct definition to inferences made from test scores: domain analysis, domain modeling, conceptual assessment framework, assessment implementation, and assessment delivery. Assessment developers can use universal design principles to minimize construct-irrelevant variance by attending to the student’s engagement when presented with assessment stimuli and items, articulating the information the student needs to know in order to respond correctly, and providing multiple means to communicate responses. When evidence-centered design and universal design are blended, these approaches support inclusive assessment design, administration, and scoring, as well as evidence for validity and technical adequacy. Shifts in policy and educational practice are also necessary to support inclusive assessment.

Article

Differentiated instruction encompasses a wide range of responsive pedagogies, including individualized types and levels of curricula, teaching methods, materials, and assessment strategies. It has at its roots the impetus for effective inclusive schooling, providing supports directly within general education classrooms for students with the full range of exceptionalities (both significant disabilities and giftedness) and other diverse educational characteristics such as cultural and linguistic background and socioeconomic status. To effectively include students with higher levels of need, comparable levels of supports follow the student from the special education setting to the general education classroom. This enriched level of support in the general education classroom benefits not only students with disabilities, but the class as a whole. The legal and ethical bases for inclusive schooling are connected with various civil rights movements (including race, disability, culture and language, gender); it can be viewed as a response to segregated schooling (and denial of schooling altogether). Schools frequently remove students when traditional educational programs fail, adding on separate programs rather than rectifying the existing system. Such special programs have been routinely promulgated without substantial evidence of their effectiveness over supportive general education classrooms (either for segregated students or for their unlabeled general education peers). Important aspects of differentiated instruction and inclusive schooling include multilevel instruction; authentic and culturally responsive curricula, methods, and assessment; universal design for learning; assistive and instructional technologies; positive behavioral supports; and a collaborative team approach to instructional decision-making and delivery. Differentiated instruction and effective inclusive schooling are vital for equitable access to educational opportunities, bringing more responsive curricula, methods, and perspectives to increasingly diverse classrooms and schools.

Article

Universal Design for Learning, widely known as UDL, is a framework for creating flexible curriculum and pedagogy that provides access for all students, giving the opportunity to build from their strengths. First introduced in 1998, UDL is centered on three principles: (a) provide multiple means of engagement, (b) provide multiple means of representation, and (c) provide multiple means of action and expression. In applying the framework in K–12 or postsecondary schools, educators first consider the diversity of students, their assets and needs, the barriers that interfere with their success, and then plan lessons that are widely accessible. UDL has close relationship with technology as it provides various ways to present content, engage students, and demonstrate their learning. Research and policy, largely in the United States, support the growth of UDL. Research has created UDL tools like the Strategic Reader, produced recommendations for implementation, and measured efficacy. The National UDL Task Force, a coalition of stakeholder organizations has worked for the integration of UDL principles into local, state, and federal policies. Critiques of the framework note a dearth of empirical evidence and inconsistency in the research. They also help identify a path forward in designing new research and attending to complications in the framework that might better address diversity and bring students to the center.

Article

Jennifer Jenson and Suzanne de Castell

The literature on gender equity, education, and technological innovation identifies three primary areas of concern: STEM (collective disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), computer science, and, interestingly enough, reading comprehension. These gendered divides are often framed in public discourse as problems of equality; however, most research and scholarly discussions focus on equity, on fairness. Considerable work by feminists in the social studies of science and technology, demonstrating how innovation and technology are already gendered, has lent strong support to an educational emphasis on how “fairness” might best be achieved. It remains the case that “gender” in most research studies refers to a binarized conception of sex: either male or female, girls or boys, men or women. However, critical intersectional understandings of gender that take into account age, socioeconomic class, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and dis/abilities hold out promise for more nuanced understandings of inequities in education. For example, taking the widest perspective, it is socioeconomic class, not gender, that continues to create the greatest disparities in educational outcomes, whereas within any given socioeconomic context, gender is paramount. For girls and women, equity-focused educational interventions aim to develop better pathways to higher education and jobs in STEM subjects and fields. Female underrepresentation in STEM and computer science is often framed as a gender-specific skills deficit impeding access to and success in globally competitive, technologically innovative, and the most highly remunerated occupations, rather than as a barrier created by differences in expectations, norms, experience, and prior educational provision. Gender equity initiatives for school-aged boys are concentrated in the areas of reading and comprehension skills, with little connection made in the literature to either presumptions about or implications of this underachievement as a deficit that jeopardizes future educational or vocational skills. It may be that evolving conceptions and practices of gender that take better account of both gender diversity and intersectionality will enable educational interventions beyond these stereotypical and binarized educational analyses and initiatives, lending hope that we may yet see women and girls assuming not just an equitable but indeed a transformative role in technological innovation.

Article

Evidence-based orientations have come to prevail among educational policymakers internationally in the early decades of the 21st century. These orientations are associated with two dramatic developments: first, the emergence of new common patterns in educational reform internationally; and second, the global rise of randomized control tests in educational research and the parallel rise of large-scale educational testing and evaluations. Because of the restricted way that evidence is conceived in these orientations they tend to neglect what is most important in educational endeavors. Such orientations largely obscure educational experience, not deliberately, yet almost as a matter of course. Educational experience tends to be recast as an arena for generating outcomes that can be indexed and ranked for purposes of evaluation of performance, nationally and internationally. Data that can be furnished in indexible form thus attains a new importance, both for educational policymaking and educational research. The consequences of these ongoing developments for how teaching is conceived and practiced are quite incapacitating but not adequately acknowledged. Equally unperceived are the debilitating consequences for educational research itself, in particular research that is related to policymaking. Illuminating the neglected landscape of educational experience thus becomes a pressing task, as does disclosing the possibilities that are most integral to it. This task involves undertaking a decisive reclamation of those possibilities, paying close attention to four key domains of relationships that define educational practice, when adequately conceived. A key distinction between having and being informs this reclamation and enables educational research itself to be regenerated.

Article

Mugenyi Justice Kintu, Aslan Aydin, and Chang Zhu

Education systems are required to train human capital on skills befitting knowledge-based economies. This calls for innovative systems in education to meet the ever-increasing demand for skilled workforces in these economies. Education systems should enhance quality in teaching and learning processes and prepare future citizens for life and work through innovative policies. In education systems, higher education may be more innovative than primary and secondary education levels as higher education is at the center of education and research focusing on innovation and creativity. In this regard, institutions of higher education encounter innovation trends and challenges in the era of the knowledge-based economy. Innovation trends are currently climbing upward and are mainly driven by factors such as the need for automation, globalization, and competitive waves of change. Economic development with regard to these innovation trends is closely associated with countries’ ability to produce, acquire, and apply technical and socioeconomic development. The main challenges lie in the rate at which countries are advancing vis-à-vis social development trends. The Social development trends do not seem to match up with the speedy onset of global acceleration, the processes in developing and developed countries, and economic imbalances that occur within the developed world itself. There are implementation difficulties regarding innovations as well as selecting the relevant innovation to apply in some contexts. Adoption of innovation is another challenge, especially when it comes to changing mindsets toward innovations like technology in education. This applies to the developing world as well as to infrastructural impediments common in the African and other developing economy contexts, such as Turkey. To overcome these challenges, research-intensive universities could promote research and innovation. Some examples of innovation in education include e-learning, audio-media usage for distance learning, online education, MOOCs, blended learning, and information communication technology utilization. Teachers should be trained as competent users of these innovative technologies to initiate and sustain innovation in education. Once harnessed, educational innovation could catch on rapidly and improve service delivery in educational institutions. Developed and developing countries should work together to foster and mass produce these technologies in higher education institutions.