CJLT Editorial 35(2)

Editorial: Defining the Field of Educational Technology

Dr. Michele Jacobsen, Editor

Fourteen scholars from across Canada and in the United States contribute their research and critical perspectives to this issue. This open issue consists of two book reviews and five articles (four research papers, one position paper) that explore diverse issues in educational technology. Unique to this issue is a commentary, “What is educational technology, anyway?” in which Denis Hylnka and I explore the latest AECT definition of the field. Our aim is to increase awareness of the AECT definition and to promote conversation and debate about the meaning of educational technology among CNIE members.

In the first part of this editorial, I offer an overview of the papers included in this issue. In the second part of the editorial I summarize the 2008 publication activity of the 34th volume of CJLT.

This issue begins with the CJLT Editor’s Award 2009 winning paper by Jay Wilson and Richard Schwier, entitled “Authenticity in the Process of Learning about Instructional Design”. In this article, Wilson and Schwier detail their efforts to broaden and deepen the understanding of instructional design through a service learning approach to teaching that emphasizes authentic learning and assessment in graduate learning. Five constructs are defined that comprise the pillars of the authentic learning environment under study: problem-based learning, authentic assessment, project management, scaffolding and social agency. These constructs were woven into the design of two graduate courses on instructional design. The first course addresses the fundamentals of instructional design. In the second course, graduate students are teamed and assigned to a field-based contract with an external client under the supervision of the instructor who acts as project manager for the group. A memorandum of understanding articulates the terms of the agreement and also provides a clear understanding of what is expected of both groups. Performance assessment includes peer evaluations, reviews of the product and the performance of the team by clients, and weekly instructor feedback and evaluation of the team and individuals. The authors summarize several recommendations and practical considerations for an authentic learning project. The authors conclude that authentic learning can be a powerful learning approach that helps close the gap between learning about doing instructional design and being an instructional designer. The many learning benefits derived from this approached are described, along with the trade-offs, such as course uniqueness and unpredictable outcomes and high student and instructor workload.

In the second article, entitled “Online Professional Development Conferences: An Effective, Economical and Eco-Friendly Option”, Lynn Anderson and Terry Anderson describe and endorse online conferences as an effective, economical, and environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional place-based professional development conferences. In the first part of this article, the costs and negative impact of academic and business travel on the environment by reviewing recent literature on climate change. The authors promote online professional development conferences as a comparable alternative to travel and face-to-face events. A successful online conference and a list of several advantages are used to demonstrate the magnitude of the environmental and economical benefits of online conferences. To quantify the advantages of online conferences, the authors analyze the average carbon footprint and associated monetary costs that participants in a recent online conference would have created / incurred, had the conference taken place at a face-to-face venue. Based on this analysis, the authors argue that online conferencing technologies offer another option for professional development that is effective, economical and environmentally friendly.

Learning organizations often rely on collaborative information and understanding to support and sustain professional growth and development. In the third article in this issue, “Developing the level of adoption survey to inform collaborative discussion regarding educational innovation”, Doug Orr and Rick Mrazek summarize the development and pilot of a collaborative self-assessment instrument for the level of adoption of innovations such as the use of instructional technologies. Adapted from the “Level of Use” (LoU) and “Stages of Concern” indices, the Level of Adoption (LoA) survey was developed to assess changes in understanding of and competence with emerging and innovative educational technologies. In this pilot study, the authors surveyed graduate students enrolled in a Spring-Summer blended learning experience. Three sets of data were collected using a structured online, self-reporting scale of “level of adoption” to promote collaborative self-reflection and discussion. Results indicate a growth in knowledge of, and confidence with, specific emergent technologies. The authors conclude that findings support the use of collaborative reflection and assessment to foster personal and systemic professional development.

In the fourth paper, entitled “School Cultures, Teachers, and Technology Transformation”, Andrew Kitchenham outlines a recent study on school culture and technology adoption. To explore perspective transformation and several external factors, questionnaire and semi-structured interview data were collected, along with information from teacher reflective journals, researcher field notes, and an administrator questionnaire on technology use. Using an adapted model of school cultures, Kitchenham presents research findings from three schools involved in a study on teacher transformation using educational technology to explain how each school represents a separate school culture and school regime. A detailed profile of each school is presented. The three profiles are compared and contrasted, along with direct quotes from the participants, to demonstrate how a specific school culture or regime can reflect varying degrees of transformation, and subsequent technology adoption.

In the final paper in this issue, “Weaving a Personal Web: Using Online Technologies to Create Customized, Connected, and Dynamic Learning Environments”, authors Jessica McElvaney and Zane Berge explore the use of Personal Web Technologies (PWTs) by learners and the relationship between PWTs and Connectivist Learning Principles. The authors present detailed descriptions and potential applications of several technologies, including social bookmarking tools, personal publishing platforms, and aggregators. The authors argue that with these tools, individuals can create and manage Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) and Personal Learning Networks (PLNs), which have the potential to become powerful resources for academic, professional, and personal development.

Two book reviews round out this Spring 2009 issue of CJLT. The first, by Norm Vaughan, is a review of Latchem and Jung’s (2010) book, Distance and Blended Learning in Asia. The second book review, by Dorian Stoilescu and Douglas McDougall, is a review of The Handbook of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK) for Educators.

Part Two

The main purpose of this second section is to take stock of the 34th volume of the Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology (CJLT) published in 2008. In the past year, the editorial team was able to maintain a regular publication and distribution schedule for the journal and published three solid issues (both print and online). In brief, two open issues and one special issue of the journal were published for the international academic community in 2008, comprised of four editorials, three book reviews and 20 scholarly articles (Table 1). A special issue of CJLT on Electronic Portfolios, edited by Elizabeth Meyer, Concordia University, constituted the Fall 2008 issue, V34.3.

Table 1. CJLT Publication Activity in 2008, Volume 34
Table 1

Winter 2008, Volume 34.1 - This was an open issue and contained an editorial, two book reviews and six articles, including one in French (four research papers, a position paper and a literature review). The 16 authors who contributed their scholarship to this issue are educational technology researchers affiliated with higher education institutions across Canada (i.e., New Brunswick, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec). This volume contains the article nominated for the CJLT Editor’s Award, 2008, by Ellen Rose and Kate Tingley, entitled “Science and math teachers as Instructional Designers: Linking ID to the ethic of caring”.

Spring 2008, Volume 34.2 - This was an open issue that consisted of an editorial, one book review and eight articles, one in French, which explored diverse areas of educational technology research (six research papers, two position papers). The 14 authors who have contributed their research and critical perspectives to this issue hail from universities across Canada and the United States.

Fall 2008, Volume 34.3 - Volume 34.3 is a special issue on Electronic Portfolios and consists of an editorial by Elizabeth Meyer, Concordia University, an editorial by Michele Jacobsen and six articles (one in French). The authors present research and perspectives that represent the international scope of this topic with submissions from France, the United States of America, Canada, the Netherlands and China. The articles also demonstrate the high degree of flexibility and multiplicity of options currently available to professionals, scholars and educators interested in creating, researching, or teaching with EPs.

Shift from Dual Medium to Open Access Academic Publishing

It is worth noting that the Fall 2008 issue, V34.3, marks the passage of CJLT from a dual medium publication to an open access academic journal. At the April 2008 CNIE Board Meeting at the Annual Meeting in Banff, Alberta, the decision was taken to publish both of CNIE’s peer reviewed journals, the Journal of Distance Education (JDE) and the Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, as open access, open source journals starting in 2009. Therefore, the Fall 2008 print issue is the last hard copy version of CJLT that was distributed by mail to Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE) members. Starting with Volume 35 in Winter 2009, CJLT completes the transformation from dual media to a fully open access journal.

Acceptance and Rejection Rates

Journal activity was tracked to calculate the approximate acceptance / rejection rate for 2008. A total of 67 manuscripts were submitted in 2008 (which includes 48 English, 11 special issue and 8 French), a 19.5% increase over 2007 (n=54). CJLT published 20 articles in 2008 for an approximate acceptance rate of 29.8%, which is lower than the acceptance rate in 2007 (40%).

Table 2. CJLT Submission and Acceptance Rates, 2002 – 2008
Table 2

* Reflects articles only; excludes book reviews and research reports
** Acceptance rates reflect the proportion of submitted articles already through the review process

Publication of Back Issues of CJEC on the CJLT Online Journal System

The 2008 calendar year saw the republication of 14 back issues of CJEC, Volume 15 – Volume 27, in the online journal system. A doctoral student at the University of Calgary was employed to design a method and approach to repurposing PDF content of several back issues of CJEC (provided by Ross Mutton, former AMTEC web master) for the OJS framework. This archival work was completed in February 2009. The editor published an appeal in the Spring 2008 issue: If members of the former AMTEC and CADE communities, and present CNIE community, can help to locate CJEC back issues from between 1979 – 1985, and earlier versions of Media Message, these can be scanned and electronically archived on the CJLT website.

Looking Forward

In closing, the current editorial team continues to be successful in publishing CJLT - RCAT on a regular basis and have ensured that it remains a high quality, international scholarly journal for educational technology research and scholarship.

Copyright (c) 2010 Michele Jacobsen

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