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Educational technology

Educational technology is the use of both physical hardware, software, and educational theoretic to facilitate learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources [1].

The Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) defined educational technology as 'the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources'.[2]

As such, educational technology refers to all valid and reliable applied education sciences, such as equipment, as well as processes and procedures that are derived from scientific research, and in a given context may refer to theoretical, algorithmic or heuristic processes: it does not necessarily imply physical technology.

Educational technology is the process of integrating technology into education in a positive manner that promotes a more diverse learning environment and a way for students to learn how to use technology as well as their common assignments.

Educational technology encompasses e-learning, instructional technology, information and communication technology (ICT) in education, EdTech, learning technology, multimedia learning, technology-enhanced learning (TEL), computer-based instruction (CBI), computer managed instruction, computer-based training (CBT), computer-assisted instruction or computer-aided instruction (CAI),[10]

internet-based training (IBT), flexible learning, web-based training (WBT), online education, digital educational collaboration, distributed learning, computer-mediated communication, cyber-learning, and multi-modal instruction, virtual education, personal learning environments, networked learning, virtual learning environments (VLE) (which are also called learning platforms), m-learning, ubiquitous learning and digital education.

In practice, as technology has advanced, the particular 'narrowly defined' terminological aspect that was initially emphasized by name has blended into the general field of educational technology.[11]

Initially, 'virtual learning' as narrowly defined in a semantic sense implied entering an environmental simulation within a virtual world, for example in treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).[12][13]

'Virtual' is used in that broader way to describe a course that is not taught in a classroom face-to-face but through a substitute mode that can conceptually be associated 'virtually' with classroom teaching, which means that people do not have to go to the physical classroom to learn.

Accordingly, virtual education refers to a form of distance learning in which course content is delivered by various methods such as course management applications, multimedia resources, and videoconferencing.[14]

The combination of adaptive learning, using an individualized interface and materials, which accommodate to an individual, who thus receives personally differentiated instruction, with ubiquitous access to digital resources and learning opportunities in a range of places and at various times, has been termed smart learning.[17][18][19]

Helping people and children learn in ways that are easier, faster, more accurate, or less expensive can be traced back to the emergence of very early tools, such as paintings on cave walls.[22][23]

From the early twentieth century, duplicating machines such as the mimeograph and Gestetner stencil devices were used to produce short copy runs (typically 10–50 copies) for classroom or home use.

Early e-learning systems, based on computer-based learning/training often replicated autocratic teaching styles whereby the role of the e-learning system was assumed to be for transferring knowledge, as opposed to systems developed later based on computer supported collaborative learning (CSCL), which encouraged the shared development of knowledge.

With the advent of World Wide Web in the 1990s, teachers embarked on the method using emerging technologies to employ multi-object oriented sites, which are text-based online virtual reality systems, to create course websites along with simple sets of instructions for its students.

In 1997, Graziadei described criteria for evaluating products and developing technology-based courses that include being portable, replicable, scalable, affordable, and having a high probability of long-term cost-effectiveness.[37]

The National Center for Education Statistics estimate the number of K-12 students enrolled in online distance learning programs increased by 65 percent from 2002 to 2005, with greater flexibility, ease of communication between teacher and student, and quick lecture and assignment feedback.

According to a 2008 study conducted by the U.S Department of Education, during the 2006–2007 academic year about 66% of postsecondary public and private schools participating in student financial aid programs offered some distance learning courses;

2015 was the first year that private nonprofit organizations enrolled more online students than for-profits, although public universities still enrolled the highest number of online students.

While retaining the empirical framework of behaviorism, cognitive psychology theories look beyond behavior to explain brain-based learning by considering how human memory works to promote learning.

The former focuses on the understanding of the thinking or cognitive processes of an individual while the latter includes social processes as influences in learning besides cognition.[51]

Constructivist learning environments require students to use their prior knowledge and experiences to formulate new, related, and/or adaptive concepts in learning (Termos, 2012[52]).

Educators utilizing a constructivist perspective may emphasize an active learning environment that may incorporate learner centered problem-based learning, project-based learning, and inquiry-based learning, ideally involving real-world scenarios, in which students are actively engaged in critical thinking activities.

An illustrative discussion and example can be found in the 1980s deployment of constructivist cognitive learning in computer literacy, which involved programming as an instrument of learning.[53]:224 LOGO, a programming language, embodied an attempt to integrate Piagetan ideas with computers and technology.[53][54]

Initially there were broad, hopeful claims, including 'perhaps the most controversial claim' that it would 'improve general problem-solving skills' across disciplines.[53]:238 However, LOGO programming skills did not consistently yield cognitive benefits.[53]:238 It was 'not as concrete' as advocates claimed, it privileged 'one form of reasoning over all others,' and it was difficult to apply the thinking activity to non-LOGO-based activities.[55]

From a constructivist approach, the research works on the human learning process as a complex adaptive system developed by Peter Belohlavek showed that it is the concept that the individual has that drives the accommodation process to assimilate new knowledge in the long-term memory, defining learning as an intrinsically freedom-oriented and active process.[57]

As a student-centered learning approach, the unicist reflection driven learning installs adaptive knowledge objects in the mind of the learner based on a cyclic process of: “action-reflection-action” to foster an adaptive behavior.[58][59]

The extent to which e-learning assists or replaces other learning and teaching approaches is variable, ranging on a continuum from none to fully online distance learning.[60][61]

For example, 'hybrid learning' or 'blended learning' may refer to classroom aids and laptops, or may refer to approaches in which traditional classroom time is reduced but not eliminated, and is replaced with some online learning.[62][63]

Synchronous learning occurs in real-time, with all participants interacting at the same time, while asynchronous learning is self-paced and allows participants to engage in the exchange of ideas or information without the dependency of other participants′ involvement at the same time.

Examples are face-to-face discussion, online real-time live teacher instruction and feedback, Skype conversations, and chat rooms or virtual classrooms where everyone is online and working collaboratively at the same time.

Students have access to an incredible variety of enrichment courses in online learning, and can participate in college courses, internships, sports, or work and still graduate with their class.

The lack of human interaction can limit both the type of content that can be presented and the type of assessment that can be performed, and may need supplementation with online discussion or other interactive elements.

Computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) uses instructional methods designed to encourage or require students to work together on learning tasks, allowing social learning.

One of the main reasons for its usage states that it is 'a breeding ground for creative and engaging educational endeavors.'[70]:2 Learning takes place through conversations about content and grounded interaction about problems and actions.

In contrast to that linear delivery of content, often directly from the instructor's material, CSCL uses social software such as blogs, social media, wikis, podcasts, cloud-based document portals, and discussion groups and virtual worlds.[72]

For example, Roschelle and Teasley (1995) argue that 'cooperation is accomplished by the division of labour among participants, as an activity where each person is responsible for a portion of the problem solving', in contrast with collaboration that involves the 'mutual engagement of participants in a coordinated effort to solve the problem together.'[78]

Social networking sites are virtual communities for people interested in a particular subject to communicate by voice, chat, instant message, video conference, or blogs.[95]

In higher education especially, a virtual learning environment (VLE) is sometimes combined with a management information system (MIS) to create a managed learning environment, in which all aspects of a course are handled through a consistent user interface throughout the institution.

Several universities offer online student support services, such as online advising and registration, e-counseling, online textbook purchases, student governments and student newspapers.

Augmented reality (AR) provides students and teachers the opportunity to create layers of digital information, including both virtual world and real world elements, to interact with in real time.

Prior studies have shown that Lumilo can change classroom dynamics and direct teachers' time and attention to students who require human assistance, such as those who exhibit unproductive persistence or game the system.[101]

Students would switch between individual and collaborative learning dynamically, based on their own learning pace, while teachers, with the help of AR, monitor the classroom and provide necessary interventions in cases where computer systems are not yet designed to handle.

With some systems, feedback can be geared towards a student's specific mistakes or the computer can navigate the student through a series of questions adapting to what the student appears to have learned or not learned.

An electronic performance support system (EPSS) is, according to Barry Raybould, 'a computer-based system that improves worker productivity by providing on-the-job access to integrated information, advice, and learning experiences'.[107]

Similar to an enterprise resource planning (ERP), it is a back office tool which aims at streamlining every aspect of the training process: planning (training plan and budget forecasting), logistics (scheduling and resource management), financials (cost tracking, profitability), reporting, and sales for-profit training providers.[108]

A training management system can be used to schedule instructors, venues and equipment through graphical agendas, optimize resource utilization, create a training plan and track remaining budgets, generate reports and share data between different teams.

These units are independent of format, meaning that although the unit may be delivered in various ways, the pedagogical structures themselves are not the textbook, web page, video conference, Podcast, lesson, assignment, multiple choice question, quiz, discussion group or a case study, all of which are possible methods of delivery.

Over the years, a combination of cognitive science theories and data-driven techniques have greatly enhanced the capabilities of ITS, allowing it to model a wide range of students' characteristics, such as knowledge,[113]

On the other hand, AI can share the workload and recommend the best course of actions (e.g., by pointing out which students require the most help), but can only operate in the pre-specified domain and cannot handle tasks such as providing emotional support or remedial lessons to students in need.[101]

The age when a given child might start using a particular technology such as a cellphone or computer might depend on matching a technological resource to the recipient's developmental capabilities, such as the age-anticipated stages labeled by Swiss psychologist, Jean Piaget.[121]

Some options that are age-appropriate are video- or audio- recording of their creations, introducing them to the use of the internet through browsing age-appropriate websites, providing assistive technology to allow differently-abled children to participate with the rest of their peers,[124]

Educational technology in the form of electronic books [109] offer preschool children the option to store and retrieve several books on one device, thus bringing together the traditional action of reading along with the use of educational technology.

Educational technology is also thought to improve hand-eye coordination, language skills, visual attention and motivation to complete educational tasks, and allows children to experience things they otherwise wouldn't.[127]

There are several keys to making the most educational use out of introducing technology at the preschool level: technology must be used appropriately, should allow access to learning opportunities, should include the interaction of parents and other adults with the preschool children, and should be developmentally appropriate.[128]

Allowing access to learning opportunities especially for allowing disabled children to have access to learning opportunities, giving bilingual children the opportunity to communicate and learn in more than one language, bringing in more information about STEM subjects, and bringing in images of diversity that may be lacking in the child's immediate environment.[128]

E-learning is increasingly being utilized by students who may not want to go to traditional brick and mortar schools due to severe allergies or other medical issues, fear of school violence and school bullying and students whose parents would like to homeschool but do not feel qualified.[129]

Online college course enrolment has seen a 29% increase in enrolment with nearly one third of all college students, or an estimated 6.7 million students are currently enrolled in online classes.[138][139]

University-level programs, like edX founded by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, offer wide range of disciplines at no charge, while others permit students to audit a course at no charge but require a small fee for accreditation.

Effective student engagement measures that reduce drop-outs are forum interactions and virtual teacher or teaching assistant presence - measures which induce staff cost that grows with the number of participating students.

E-learning is being used by companies to deliver mandatory compliance training and updates for regulatory compliance, soft skills and IT skills training, continuing professional development (CPD) and other valuable workplace skills.

low and middle income countries, mHealth is most frequently used as one-way text messages or phone reminders to promote treatment adherence and gather data.[152]

Using computers or other forms of technology can give students practice on core content and skills while the teacher can work with others, conduct assessments, or perform other tasks.[153][154]

According to James Kulik, who studies the effectiveness of computers used for instruction, students usually learn more in less time when receiving computer-based instruction and they like classes more and develop more positive attitudes toward computers in computer-based classes.

Studies completed in 'computer intensive' settings found increases in student-centric, cooperative and higher order learning, writing skills, problem solving, and using technology.[166]

More than 50% of human resource managers SHRM surveyed for an August 2010 report said that if two candidates with the same level of experience were applying for a job, it would not have any kind of effect whether the candidate's obtained degree was acquired through an online or a traditional school.

New technologies are frequently accompanied by unrealistic hype and promise regarding their transformative power to change education for the better or in allowing better educational opportunities to reach the masses.

The study found that for every one hour that babies 8–16 months of age watched DVDs and Videos they knew 6-8 fewer of 90 common baby words than the babies that did not watch them.

Andrew Meltzoff, a surveyor in this study states that the result makes sense, that if the baby's 'alert time' is spent in front of DVDs and TV, instead of with people speaking, the babies are not going to get the same linguistic experience.

MOOCs also implies that certain curriculum and teaching methods are superior and this could eventually wash over (or possibly washing out) local educational institutions, cultural norms and educational traditions.[180]

Although these technologies affect adults too, young people may be more influenced by it as their developing brains can easily become habituated to switching tasks and become unaccustomed to sustaining attention.[181]

This leads to heightened stress levels on the brain that, at first, boost energy levels, but, over time, actually augment memory, impair cognition, lead to depression, alter the neural circuitry of the hippocampus, amygdala and prefrontal cortex.

When children are exposed before the age of seven, important developmental tasks may be delayed, and bad learning habits might develop, which 'deprives children of the exploration and play that they need to develop.'[184]

When technology is brought into an educational setting, the pedagogical setting changes in that technology-driven teaching can change the entire meaning of an activity without adequate research validation.

Langdon Winner makes a similar point by arguing that the underdevelopment of the philosophy of technology leaves us with an overly simplistic reduction in our discourse to the supposedly dichotomous notions of the 'making' versus the 'uses' of new technologies, and that a narrow focus on 'use' leads us to believe that all technologies are neutral in moral standing.[186]:ix–39 These critiques would have us ask not, 'How do we maximize the role or advancement of technology in education?', but, rather, 'What are the social and human consequences of adopting any particular technology?'

Winner viewed technology as a 'form of life' that not only aids human activity, but that also represents a powerful force in reshaping that activity and its meaning.[186]:ix–39 For example, the use of robots in the industrial workplace may increase productivity, but they also radically change the process of production itself, thereby redefining what is meant by 'work' in such a setting.

Because choices tend to become strongly fixed in material equipment, economic investment, and social habit, the original flexibility vanishes for all practical purposes once the initial commitments are made.

The QWERTY arrangement of letters on the keyboard was originally chosen, not because it was the most efficient for typing, but because early typewriters were prone to jam when adjacent keys were struck in quick succession.

Neil Postman endorsed the notion that technology impacts human cultures, including the culture of classrooms, and that this is a consideration even more important than considering the efficiency of a new technology as a tool for teaching.[173]

Aside name and date of birth, this information can include the child's browsing history, search terms, location data, contact lists, as well as behavioral information.[192]:5 Parents are not informed or, if informed, have little choice.[192]:6 According to the report, this constant surveillance resulting from educational technology can 'warp children's privacy expectations, lead them to self-censor, and limit their creativity'.[192]:7

According to Jenkins, 'Rather than dealing with each technology in isolation, we would do better to take an ecological approach, thinking about the interrelationship among different communication technologies, the cultural communities that grow up around them, and the activities they support.'[191]

Learning styles and the methods of collecting information have evolved, and 'students often feel locked out of the worlds described in their textbooks through the depersonalized and abstract prose used to describe them'.[191]

It encompasses several potential applications, which may be teacher or student-oriented, including educational assessment throughout the continuum of learning, such as computerized classification testing, computerized adaptive testing, student testing, and grading an exam.

Self-assessment in education technology relies on students analyzing their strengths, weaknesses and areas where improvement is possible to set realistic goals in learning, improve their educational performances and track their progress.[204][205]

Analytics is data gathered on the student's activities on the learning platform, drawn into meaningful patterns that lead to a valid conclusion, usually through the medium of data visualization such as graphs.

In 2014, the worldwide commercial market activity was estimated at $6 billion venture capital over the past five years,[208]:38 with self-paced learning generating $35.6 billion in 2011.[208]:4 North American e-learning generated $23.3 billion in revenue in 2013, with a 9% growth rate in cloud-based authoring tools and learning platforms.[208]:19

In research, these professions typically require a graduate degree (Master's, Doctorate, Ph.D., or D.Phil.) in a field related to educational psychology, educational media, experimental psychology, cognitive psychology or, more purely, in the fields of educational, instructional or human performance technology or instructional design.

In industry, educational technology is utilized to train students and employees by a wide range of learning and communication practitioners, including instructional designers, technical trainers, technical communication and professional communication specialists, technical writers, and of course primary school and college teachers of all levels.

Clara Piloto wins Hipatia Award for expanding Spanish-language programs

The director of global programs at MIT Professional Education is among the recipients of the inaugural Hipatia Women in Science Award, a new distinction launched this year by Spain’s El Economista newspaper to promote the role of women in science.

“Clara and her digital blended programs team worked in partnership with a Spanish platform partner and developed innovative programs in Spanish that have effectively reduced the gender gap by eliminating many of the traditional barriers to professional education programs, such as cost, geography, and language.

As a result, more learners — in particular, women in Latin America — have been empowered with MIT knowledge and training to help succeed in the 21st century.”   According to the U.S. National Science Foundation, women today make up less than 25 percent of the STEM workforce in the United States.

“Expanding our professional education offerings to include courses taught in Spanish with global reach will clear a path to professional growth and training opportunities for those not served by us previously.” MIT Professional Education expanded its offerings to include blended courses taught fully in Spanish in the fall of 2018.

The Digital Plus Programs team collaborated with international education technology company, Global Alumni, to integrate MIT content with cutting-edge education technologies, and collaborative teaching methods aimed at promoting maximum interaction and engagement.

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This online program provides not only a first-class professional certification from one of the most highly respected technological institutions in the world, but also the chance to dive deeper into the promising new possibilities that Cloud Computing offers for your business.

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