Special Monothematic Issue: Education Futures for the Digital Age: Theory and Practice

There have been high expectations of digital technology in education but, after the initial, practically-unbounded enthusiasm all over the world, the first disillusion, disappointment and significant, critical research studies are beginning to appear. At the same time, there are on the market plenty of programmable toys for the development of pre-school children’s digital thinking. Computer companies offer varied modern (very often attractive) digital technology and services to schools that can invest in their technological equipment, including sophisticated, interactive touch platforms interconnected with mobile technology for pupils which enable teachers during classes concurrently to gain feedback and data about pupils’ work and which support active and constructive learning, including collaboration and co-operation (computer-based systems for adaptive teaching, personalised learning systems, etc.).

New technology with a certain didactical potential are after a short time replaced by yet another without there being serious, in-depth research of the educational effect and the impact of previous technology. “Schools and colleges have invested billions in technology with the promise of radically improving learning. It has not. Why not?” (G. O. Melow in D. Laurillard, 2012). The digital divide between pupils and their teachers becomes larger in the ways in which technology and applications are used, how pupils spend their free time and how teachers apply digital technology in their teaching. “Claims for how technology can improve educational performance in schools are widespread and influential yet the research evidence is extremely weak and the discourse is often clouded and confused by the motives and interests of some key individuals and organisations.” (J. Nutt, 2010, p. 3). It is mainly the positive aspects of short-term experiences using digital technology in education (very often only a pilot project) which are advertised and publicised (creativity, collaboration, enthusiasm, thinking development, sharing etc.); the problems with educational applications of technology are commonly ignored or marginalised.

In the Digital Age, the form of school education and particularly the learning process will be influenced by advanced digital technology which is ready to enter into school, for example, virtual or augmented reality. Researchers have identified various patterns of innovative approaches to learning (learning through social media, productive failure, teachback, learning through video games, etc.) that either already influence educational practice or offer opportunities for the future (M. Sharples et al., 2016, p. 7). Do we reflect this state of affairs in teacher education? How are student teachers taught to be competent to apply digital technology for learning and enabled to adapt themselves for the transformation of the educational environment in the Digital Age.

Computer systems allow a lot of data to be collected about the learners’ learning. Learners already gain feedback not only from their teachers, schoolmates, specialists and experts but also via computers and other digital devices. Our knowledge of human learning is based on research in psychology, neuroscience, pedagogy and machine learning and exploits the latest findings about behaviour of human memory in the learning process. “Research is combining observations of learning in classrooms and online, controlled psychology experiments, investigations of human brain functioning, and computational models of machine learning.” (M. Sharples et al., 2016, p. 10). How much are teacher educators experienced in and aware of all these findings to be able to educate their students at initial and post-graduate study levels to be ready for teaching approaches needed for education in the Digital Age?

The main aim of this monothematic volume is to contribute to the field by offering from different perspectives and different contexts a wide spectrum of topics related to the application of digital technology in learning, in teaching and, generally, in education in advanced societies. We would like to mediate the latest knowledge and findings of pedagogy and psychology about the impact of digital technology on forming cognitive processes of pupils and to point out on methodical, instructional, pedagogical and organisational aspects of education using digital technology.

This monothematic volume of Pedagogika focuses primarily on the following areas which can cover issues of education in the Digital Age from a theoretical, research and practical point of view:

  • The role and importance of digital technology in learning from childhood. Do we actually learn differently via digital technology? Which learning styles do learners prefer when they use digital technology? Do pupils use digital technology in their learning in school effectively and to good purpose? In which way do teachers direct their pupils to use technology for learning?
  • Changes in the role of the teacher in education with digital technology. Which teacher competencies are important to be developed in initial teacher education for education in the Digital Age? And in continuing professional development.
  • Innovative pedagogy focused on learning with digital technology. Technology is quite successful at analysing and responding to the accuracy of students’ actions. What research findings help us to answer the question of MOOCs as a solution for education in the Digital Age?
  • Digital technology and creativity development including aesthetic awareness.
  • Safety, right to privacy, privacy violation, anonymity, aggressive behaviour, cyberbullying, digital dementia and other risk following from digital technology usage by child users.
  • Digital cheating: plagiarism, cheating, cribbing, etc.
  • Methodical questions related to the implementation of computational thinking and computing in the school curriculum. Computational thinking concerns not only computer science education, but it is considered as an essential skill and analytical ability for learning in the Digital Age. Case studies with examples of good practice in how to develop computational thinking and introduce computing in school education. How do pupils think when they design an algorithm and apply coding or when they program robotic systems? How does ability relate to computational thinking and mathematical capability or linguistic abilities? How can computing contribute to linguistic competence development of children?
  • Methodological questions on how to research the level of digital literacy achievement of pupils and teachers and digital compeatence.
  • Methodical questions related to digital literacy development across the school curriculum and constructive alignment and assessment.
  • A critical review of the development of new trends in technology from the perspective of their application in the learning and teaching process; their impact on neurophysiological changes and on human behaviour; on physical health; social relations and the mental health of young people.
  • A critical review of governmental strategies of digital education across the world, their projection into school curricula and practice, including teacher education.

Qualitative systematic reviews, research studies, comparative studies, critical review, meta-analysis or mixed-mode studies and reviews that are not focused only on positive experiences with digital technology, but that also indicate their limitations, risks and negative aspects or consequences are welcome.

Guarantors of the Volume: Miroslava Černochová (CZ), Glynn Kirkham (UK), Christina Preston (UK), Christine Redman (AU), Jana Jacková (SK), Sarah Younie (UK)

  • By 31st January 2018: Submit annotations of maximum two pages (3,600 characters) labelled “Monočíslo AJ DIGITAL EDUCATION” to the email address pedagogika@pedf.cuni.cz. The annotation is to include the following: the author(s) and title of the submission, type of paper – theoretical, review, methodological or research paper – together with the presumed size, aims and content of the submission.
  • By 28th February 2018: Annotations (in English) will be reviewed and the authors will be notified about further proceedings.
  • By 30th April 2018: Papers based on the accepted annotations will be submitted. Subsequently, papers will be submitted for standard peer review after which authors will be notified and prospective adjustments to the texts will be required by 30th June 2018.

Resources:

  • LAURILLARD, D. (2012) Teaching as a Design Science. Building Pedagogical Patterns for Learning and Technology. Routledge, 2012.
  • NUTT, J. (2010) Professional educators and the evolving role of ICT in schools. Perspective report. CfBT, 2010. http://www.ictliteracy.info/rf.pdf/ICTinSchools.pdf
  • SHARPLES, M., de ROOCK, R., FERGUSON, R., GAVED, M., HERODOTOU, C., KOH, E., KUKULSKA-HULME, A., LOOI, C-K, McANDREW, P., RIENTIES, B., WELLER, M., WONG, L. H. (2016). Innovating Pedagogy 2016: Open University Innovation Report 5. Milton Keynes: The Open University. ISBN 9781473022812.
  • WOOLF, B. P., SHUTE, V., VanLEHN, K., BURLESON, W., LESLIE KING, J., SUTHERS, D., BREDEWEG, B., LUCKIN, R., S. J. D. BAKER, R., TONKIN, E. (2010) A Roadmap for Education Technology. Beverly Park Woolf, 2010.