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Classroom of the Future's NASA Study Focus of Special Journal Issue

Feb 7 2008

A NASA-funded study by the NASA-sponsored Classroom of the Future into educational technology is the basis for a series of articles to appear in a special issue of an international education journal later this year.

The Classroom of the Future's work at benchmarking educational technologies will be the focus of the October special issue of the International Journal of Information and Communication Technology Education.

The journal will dedicate its entire issue to seven articles written by members of the Classroom of the Future, located at the Center for Educational Technologies. The articles build on a research study—"Next Practices: 2006 Benchmarking Study of Educational Technologies—Pilot Phase"—the Classroom of the Future completed in 2006 for NASA, examining how to provide a current yardstick for the effective use of educational technologies.

"This special issue represents the culmination of 15 years' work at the center, developing expertise in the field of educational technologies," said Bruce Howard, assistant director of the Center for Educational Technologies and Classroom of the Future. "The research presented here illuminates and underscores many of the most current hot-button issues related to choosing and using educational technologies."

The "Classroom of the Future and Emerging Educational Technologies" is the name of the special issue. Here are the seven articles with their authors and a synopsis:
  1. "The Classroom of the Future and Emerging Educational Technologies: Introduction to the Special Issue," by Howard and Lawrence Tomei, dean of academic services and associate professor of education, Robert Morris University School of Education and Social Sciences.

    Summary: The Classroom of the Future research team focused on the process of choosing educational technologies themselves instead of explaining the need for the technologies. The study also set out to determine how to evaluate the individual promise an educational technology may hold and to provide guidelines to those who choose and use the technologies for teaching and learning.

  2. "Evaluating Educational Technologies: Historical Context," by Manetta Calinger, curriculum writer at the center, and Howard.

    Summary: The team of researchers reviewed published results from the last 15 years to compile a list of the characteristics of effective educational uses of technology. The wide range of identified characteristics suggests that there is great hope that educational technology will solve many problems.

  3. "Design Principles for 21st Century Educational Technology: Connecting Theory and Practice," by Karen Chen, educational researcher at the center, Calinger, Howard, and Anna Oskorus, formerly an educational researcher at the center.

    Summary: The research team took a two-pronged approach to defining best practices—it studied theories of how people learn and interviewed pacesetters in the field of educational technologies for their definitions. With the knowledge gained from those two sources, researchers derived key design principles for creating technology-enhanced learning environments.

  4. "Common Features and Design Principles Found in Exemplary Educational Technologies," by Howard.

    Summary: Researchers used multiple data sources to develop a list of exemplars and delineate common design features. Each exemplar was placed into one of six categories: knowledge and comprehension tools, interactive technologies and problem-solving tools, product-creation tools, efficiency and productivity tools, communication and collaboration tools, and technology tutors. The features of each exemplar were described, and a set of common design principles for that category was developed.

  5. "Emphasis on Educational Technologies within National Science Foundation Projects," by Howard and Laura Curtis, formerly a curriculum writer at the center.

    Summary: The research team evaluated 18 months of National Science Foundation program announcements and indicated where federal dollars are being invested in educational technologies and how the technologies are being used.

  6. "Science for Everyone: Visions for Future Educational Technology," by Chuck Wood, executive director of the Center for Educational Technologies.

    Summary: Wood writes about the potential of real-time data, real science instruments in learners' hands, online science instruments, caves and immersive virtual reality, simulations, videogames, 3-D object creation, e-books, and science television, and he ends with a vision for a society fully engaged in science.

  7. "Conclusions and Next Steps: The EdTech Collaborative," by Howard.

    Summary: The team discusses the EdTech Collaborative, an adaptable, organized, collaborative website being developed by the Classroom of the Future to provide an information-rich resource about educational technologies around which various professional communities may communicate and collaborate.