Journal Review of Educational Technology Research and Development (ETR&D)

Hello, readers. Long time, no see. Things have been busy with me as of late so this blog has not gotten an update for a short while. Sadly, today is the day that I bring you my final blog post for my course titled “Technology in Education in the 21st Century.” It comes in the form of a journal review assignment wherein I had to research a journal that deals with education and technology in some form and critic it, along with providing basic information about the journal itself. It is quite similar to my website review that I posted a few weeks ago. Following this post, I am now on my own in terms of choosing content for this blog. I have ideas about the types of things I would like to write about and it will not revolve around technology as all of my posts have up until this point. I hope to cover various topics across the whole spectrum of TEFL/TESL/TESOL education. I may do spurts of themed posts if I think there are enough worthwhile reads from other classes or seminars that I participate in, but the point to take away from this is, I am expanding the horizons of this blog from here on out. Now, on to the journal review!

The journal that I choose to look at was Educational Technology Research and Development. The journal is a bimonthly publication and has been published since 1953 and is a publication of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT). The online editions are published by Springer and can be accessed here.

ISSN: 1042-1629 (Print Version)
ISSN: 1556-6501 (Electronic Version)


Mission Statement (Taken Directly from the Journal’s Website):

“Educational Technology Research and Development is the only scholarly journal in the field focusing entirely on research and development in educational technology.

The Research Section assigns highest priority in reviewing manuscripts to rigorous original quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods studies on topics relating to applications of technology or instructional design in educational settings. Such contexts include K-12, higher education, and adult learning (e.g., in corporate training settings). Analytical papers that evaluate important research issues related to educational technology research and reviews of the literature on similar topics are also published. This section features well documented articles on the practical aspects of research as well as applied theory in educational practice and provides a comprehensive source of current research information in instructional technology.

The Development Section publishes research on planning, implementation, evaluation and management of a variety of instructional technologies and learning environments. Empirically-based formative evaluations and theoretically-based instructional design research papers are welcome, as are papers that report outcomes of innovative approaches in applying technology to instructional development. Papers for the Development section may involve a variety of research methods and should focus on one or more aspect of the instructional development process; when relevant and possible, papers should discuss the implications of instructional design decisions and provide evidence linking outcomes to those decisions.

Each issue also includes book reviews, international reviews, and research abstracts.

Manuscripts undergo a blind review process involving a panel of three reviewers with initial outcomes usually provided within two months.”

I will start off by saying that, like many academic journals out there, the cost of reading articles is quite pricey. I am lucky enough to have free access to a number of journals due to my being a graduate student at Temple University. If you have no such affiliation, an article costs $39.95, €34.95, or £29.95, depending on your currency of preference. At the time of writing this journal review, they were offering a very tempting 30% off of all articles, bringing the price down to $27.95 / €24.50 / £20.95.

Price aside, I did find this journal to be a source of very good articles. I read several from start to finish and skimmed a number of others. While I am sure that there are plenty of articles not worthy of consideration amongst all those written during the 60+ year life of the journal, the ones I read did not contain anything that I would be overly critical of. I found the wide range of topics in educational technology that are covered to be impressive as well. The journal covers emerging methodologies and models of learning aside from purely technology-focused subjects, but the bulk of articles that I came across revolved around the use of technology in education. Readers of this blog will be familiar with the topics of many of the articles that I looked at, including wiki mediated collaborative writing, social networking use in higher education, etc. One article that my classmates and instructor would appreciate was on metacognition and the influence of polling systems that compared clickers and low technology systems (clickers being the subject of a lecture done via Skype for one of our classes).

I found the content of the articles to be quite intriguing and the methodologies were all seemingly sound, unlike some of those in other articles I have read for this course. Again, I read a mere sampling (about 10) articles from this journal, so my knowledge of its contents is, by no means, complete. I will, however, be looking at this journal for potential topics to discuss on this blog going forward. In fact, I found two articles on topics that I have yet to discuss that are potential game for just that.

Wu, C. J., Chen, G. D., & Huang, C. W. (2014). Using digital board games for genuine communication in EFL classrooms. Educational Technology Research and Development, 62(2), 209-226.

Santiago, R., Nakata, M., Einwaechter, N., Marschmeier, R., & Shimada, R. (1996). Integrating technology in the writing curriculum of Japanese learners of english as a foreign language. Educational Technology Research and Development, 44(3), 103-109.

The first article discusses using digital board games in order to introduce genuine communicative situations into the classroom by using an interactive whiteboard and computer program that presents situations to pairs or groups of students that require them to interact in English in order to advance. At first glance, this does not seem to be something immediately applicable to most teachers as digital whiteboards are an expensive technology and most schools do not have the resources necessary to purchase one. In the future, however, this technology may become more readily available and so looking at how it can be used beyond as a more high tech version of a blackboard is interesting.

The second article is something that is relevant to me as it discusses how typing versus handwriting pieces affects learners along with learner perceptions of typing versus handwriting. I have been playing with ways to allow my junior high school 3rd year students to turn in their weekly journal entries digitally starting in the 2nd term this year, as all of their entries in the 1st term were handwritten. After reading this article and looking at the results of the student surveys, I am even more enthusiastic about developing a system for such before the end of summer vacation.

I hope to find more articles like this one that are relevant to my own current teaching situation. With such a long history, I am sure that more time spent searching this journal’s database will uncover such research. I also believe that research being published in this journal will continue to introduce ideas and concepts that are, at present, only in the early stages of development. The first article I listed mentions motion-controlled devices such as Nintendo’s Wii (and now there is also Wii U) and Microsoft’s Kinect (which also now has a new version) in it’s conclusion as something that is starting to be used in edutainment and that they are currently working on integrating motion controls into their own digital board game. Areas like this are what I expect the research in this journal will continue explore and help expand in the coming years. I recommend that, if you have the opportunity (or a considerable amount of money you do not have any particular use for), you check out this journal and some of its articles for yourselves. If you find something particularly interesting, do let me know and perhaps I can even cover the topic in a future post. Happy hunting!