Announcements

Cumulative research in STEM education consistently underscores its efficacy in elevating students’ knowledge proficiency and fostering higher-order thinking skills, such as creativity and problem-solving. Positioning education within the context of robotics in STEM has proven to be innovative and merit-worthy. Robotics stands out as a compelling facet in STEM education due to its interdisciplinary nature, spanning from mathematics to engineering design (Čehovin Zajc et al., 2023; Zhong et al., 2022). The adoption of robotics in STEM education is actively promoted as an innovative and methodological approach to learning (Chen et al., 2017; Shang et al., 2023). This educational approach focuses on imparting knowledge about the design, construction, programming, and operation of sophisticated robots, often incorporating aspects of artificial intelligence and machine learning (Bers et al., 2014). Intelligent robotics education within STEM equips students with competencies aligned with the increasing demand in industries adopting automation and robotics technologies (Atman Uslu et al., 2022). Beyond technical skills, it fosters computational thinking, critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity, preparing students for the challenges and opportunities in rapidly evolving fields like robotics, automation, AI, and engineering (Anwar et al., 2021).


Specifically, the inclusion of robotics in STEM education yields substantial benefits for skills development and the associated learning process. Engaging and playful robotics-enabled STEM activities stimulate thinking and reasoning, enhancing students’ engagement in STEM subjects, and refining their problem-solving skills (Madariaga, et al., 2022). Early exposure to technology-oriented STEM curricula is shown to mitigate gender-based stereotypes regarding STEM careers and reduce barriers to entry into technical domains (Kalogiannidou et al., 2021).


Furthermore, the emphasis on interdisciplinary competence is crucial in addressing the evolving needs of the workforce. Intelligent robotics inherently integrates principles from various STEM domains, making it an ideal tool for breaking down traditional disciplinary silos. As such, this special issue aims to bring together insights, research findings, and practical strategies contributing to the ongoing dialogue on the role of intelligent robotics in shaping the future of STEM education. 


This special issue endeavors to explore the dynamic intersection of Intelligent Robotics and STEM Education, emphasizing Pedagogical Innovation, stimulating Higher-Order Thinking skills, and cultivating Interdisciplinary Competence. The scope encompasses a diverse range of topics, encouraging submissions that exploring innovative pedagogical approaches leveraging robotics technology to engage students effectively. Contributions are also welcomed in the realm of developing Higher-Order Thinking skills through robotics-based activities, as well as exploring the integration of robotics to promote interdisciplinary competence across STEM disciplines. 



Guest Editors:

Daner Sun (corresponding guest editor)

Assistant Professor, The Department of Mathematics and Information Technology, The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China


Therese Keane

Professor, School of Education, La Trobe University, Australia


John Chi-Kin Lee

Chair Professor, The Department of Curriculum and Instruction, The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China

Generative Artificial Intelligence (GAI) applications, such as ChatGPT and Midjourney, have attracted much attention from educators and researchers in the globe. Using GAI applications, text, images or drawings can be created following users’ requests or commends. Some generated contents are even indistinguishable from those developed by human experts. The quality of the generated contents is impressive; on the other hand, the possible problems caused by the misuse of GAI also lead to serious concerns. Some publishers have already announced guidelines to respond the use of GAI applications for academic publications. For example, authors must take responsibility of using GAI applications when conducting research and writing papers to ensure the correctness and quality of the published articles; moreover, GAI applications can only serve as research or learning tools rather than a co-author of an article.


Despite the concerns, it is no doubt that GAI has become one of the most popular technologies nowadays. Scholars have indicated the potential of using GAI in education, such as improving students’ computational thinking, creative thinking, and critical thinking performances. Many educational technology researchers and school teachers are eager to learn to use GAI applications and have started to discuss how GAI applications can be applied to their learning designs. Meanwhile, it is found that few studies have been published to reported the issues of GAI in school settings and professional training from in-depth and evidence-based perspectives. Therefore, this special call for papers aims to collect quality papers related to GAI in education to enable researchers to perceive the trends, potential applications, opportunities, and challenges of using GAI in education from the perspectives of pedagogical theories and practical applications. The submitted papers will be reviewed by at least two experienced reviewers after passing the desktop review. It is expected that the first-round review is completed in a month. The accepted papers will be published in the coming regular issues of Educational Technology and Society. Moreover, selected papers will have the opportunity to be published in a book edited by the theme-based editors.



Theme-based CFP Editors:

Gwo-Jen Hwang

Graduate Institute of Educational information and Measurement, National Taichung University of Education, Taiwan and Graduate Institute of Digital Learning and Education, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taiwan


Nian-Shing Chen

Institute for Research Excellence in Learning Sciences, Program of Learning Sciences, National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan

Online multi-user virtual environments (MUVEs) have been in use since the late 1970s. They have been referred to as MUDs (Multi-User Dungeons), MOOs (MUD, object-oriented), and MMORPGs (Massively-Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games) (Dickey, 2003; Tüzün, 2006). These environments have recently been called immersive virtual worlds. Technologies such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality, mixed reality, and blockchain continue to change 3D MUVEs. It is currently well understood that 3D MUVEs are becoming more feasible every day with faster Internet connection and devices with high processing capacity. 3D MUVEs now offer a more “immersive” experience using VR headsets. Several tech companies have now created their own metaverses. However, it is the pedagogical use of new technologies in the context of learning environments that is central to their success. If pedagogical approaches are not included in the design of 3D MUVEs, these environments will turn into ephemeral “Virtual Ghost Towns.” In this context, not only the tool used in these environments but also the pedagogical approaches implemented with the tool come to the fore (Doğan & Tüzün, 2022). All in all, in spite of the fact that there are some educational commentaries heralding a promising outlook pertaining to them (e.g., Hwang, 2023; Tlili et al., 2022), the academic community needs a greater focus on pedagogical approaches utilizing 3D MUVEs.


Recently, the educational community has witnessed a massive exodus to distance education in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. This rapid shift was characterized by the use of direct instruction and synchronous communication platforms, typically Zoom, notwithstanding their well-known limitations. Even so, dipping their toes in the water and seeing that it is not that cold, they do not seem to revert to full face-to-face learning. Blended learning lies ahead. There is a great deal of literature attesting to 3D MUVEs’ potential for fostering learning. These environments provide educational opportunities for solving authentic problems that have historically been inaccessible due to space, time, and cost barriers (Marešová & Ecler, 2022; Tlili et al., 2022). Further, they allow for collaboration without limits of physical space (Gresalfi et al., 2009). Their pedagogical affordances such as enhanced learner engagement, motivation, and positive attitudes together with their openness to explore, design, and manipulate 3D objects provide learners with more realistic and authentic learning environments (Doğan et al., 2018). They enable setting ambient conditions that could otherwise be dangerous such as emergency scenarios made safe in a virtual world (Meredith et al., 2012). Surprisingly, despite all these affordances, only a small fraction of educators have turned to 3D environments for distance education.


3D learning environments are not simply for 3D role-playing games and do not constitute all encompassing learning environments to suit all learner needs for all circumstances. Therefore, the design process of these learning environments requires inclusion of both instructional and 3D design elements that complement each other. As 3D MUVEs are cut out for “learning by designing,” allowing participants to experience and create new environments, they do not get on well with mere lecturing, which makes users inactive. This inactivity seriously dampens the flow experience (Doğan et al., 2022). In addition, user-unfriendly interfaces also affect students' behaviors towards these environments. For example, efficient navigation is also a design problem in 3D MUVEs because users’ field of view cannot encompass the entire environment. This is a usability problem that causes disorientation (Tüzün & Doğan, 2009). Further, practitioners might encounter inconsistencies between intended and implemented educational purposes as they try to implement educational innovations in real-life contexts and achieve curricular objectives. These undesirable variations that occur in real-life contexts pose a threat to the fidelity of innovation (Thomas et al., 2009). This is why flexible adaptive designs (or design-based attempts) are so crucial for innovations to survive local variations. These environments have a social dimension that encourages interpersonal interaction. Some concerns also accompany the social dimension of 3D MUVEs. This becomes even more apparent as the age of the group decreases. One of the increasing concerns among parents as well as teachers is the privacy and appropriateness of these environments for minors (Meyers et al., 2010). In conclusion, the design-intensive, complex, and student-oriented nature of 3D environments makes preparations difficult and time-consuming endeavors (Çınar et al., 2022), which seems to account for the reason why educators opted out of 3D-MUVEs in the Emergency Distance Education process.


This issue solicits rigorous quantitative, qualitative, and mixed research studies related to the use of 3D environments for distance and/or mixed purposes. This special issue welcomes original empirical research articles, critical viewpoints, theoretical perspectives, systematic literature reviews, and meta-analyses. Studies that are purely descriptive and drawing on self-report scales are not satisfactory unless they make a significant contribution to the field.



Guest Editors:

Dr. Dilek DOĞAN

Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey

 

Dr. Ömer DEMİR (Corresponding Guest Editor)

Hakkari University, Hakkari, Turkey

 

Dr. Murat ÇINAR

Turkish Ministry of National Education, Adana, Turkey


Dr. Hakan TÜZÜN

Department of Computer Education and Instructional Technology, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey


Dr. Michael K. THOMAS

University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA

April 7, 2023

With the emergence of new technologies including extended reality, blockchain, and generative artificial intelligence, we have entered a brave new world of the Metaverse (Wang et al., 2022; Wu et al., 2023). In particular, virtual reality (VR) has emerged as a powerful technology for teachers to create a simulated learning experience for learners, opening up a new arena for teachers to revolutionize their teaching practices (Chen et al., 2021; Guo & Lan, 2023). Existing literature has explored the diverse use of VR from learners’ perspectives, pointing to the unique features of VR in education, such as immersion, interactivity, authenticity, and motivation (e.g., Song et al., 2022; Tai & Chen, 2021), though a number of challenges were reported as well when using VR in learning, covering aspects of health concerns, psychological engagements, and technical hiccups (e.g., Wu et al., 2021). 


Yet, to fully realize the potential of virtual reality in education, there is an urgent need to provide greater effort to support pre- and in-service teachers to agentively select, innovatively apply, and critically evaluate the use of VR in their teaching practices (Lan, 2020). Kessler (2021) remarked that teacher preparation for using technology in teaching is “generally inadequate, insufficient, or inappropriate” (p. ii). A great line of factors poses threats to current teacher education. For example, learning is no longer confined to the bricks-and-mortar space, whereas much of the discourse surrounding teacher education remains focused on in-class teaching (Richards, 2015). Effective ways to support student VR learning in the wilds, for example, VR games, are hardly discussed in our traditional teacher education programs. In addition, the lack of robust theoretical, conceptual, and pedagogical support has kept challenging teachers to effectively integrate emerging technologies into their practices (Colpaert, 2018). Also, the lack of simulated, immersive teaching experience has prevented pre-service teachers from applying learning theories into practice, however, the use of VR could enhance teaching skills and test out different ways of teaching in a less anxious, but safer environment (Chen, 2022). Moreover, due to the novelty of VR, we are yet to see more future empirical studies focusing on the cultivation of global citizenship (Gruenewald & Witteborn, 2022). Particularly, the various soft skills such as empathy, critical thinking, and adaptability, are of prime importance in contemporary society to cope with ethical challenges such as school bully. 


Against this backdrop, this special issue aims to prepare pre- and in-service teachers for “diversity, unpredictability, and change” (Hauck & Kurek, 2017, p. 283) so that they can become more confident and make better judgments about when, where, and how to use technology in their future language teaching. The special issue sets the aim to contribute to the increasing body of literature on the applications of VR in teacher education. Without limiting the scope to a specific field of education, we welcome authors from all disciplinary backgrounds to share their successes and challenges. By highlighting the potential affordances and challenges associated with using VR in teacher education, this special issue will advance our understanding and update the traditional practices of preparing pre- and in-service teachers for future-oriented teaching.




Guest Editors:

Di Zou

The Education University of Hong Kong


Junjie Gavin Wu 

Shenzhen Technology University


Jozef Colpaert

University of Antwerp


Minjuan Wang

San Diego State University

November 26, 2019

General Call for Special-Issue Proposals

Educational Technology & Society (ET&S) welcomes special issue proposals on specific themes or topics that address the usage of technology for pedagogical purposes, particularly those reflecting current research trends through in-depth research. 


For more information, please visit the Special Issue Proposals page.


The ET&S Editorial Office