October 2023, Volume 26, Issue 4

Special Issue on "Dynamic Accounts of Digital Divides: Longitudinal and Relational Insights into Unequal Learning Gains from Online and Blended Education

Guest Editor(s):  Nora McIntyre

Full Length Articles

Yu-Ching Tseng

Department of English, Tamkang University, Taiwan // ychtseng@mail.tku.edu.tw

Mei-Rong Alice Chen

Department of English Language and Literature, Soochow University, Taiwan // mralice@scu.edu.tw

Yi-Hsuan Lin

Department of English Language and Literature, Chinese Culture University, Taiwan // lyx29@ulive.pccu.edu.tw


This study investigates the role of self-efficacy in an asynchronous online English course enriched with interactive features. Self-efficacy is a strong predictor of academic achievement in conventional classrooms. However, when learning happens in an online environment, the students’ learning achievement is also affected by their psychological perceptions of online learning. In this study, the relationship between self-efficacy and affective factors (i.e., learner autonomy, learner–content interaction, and perceptions toward transactional distance) was investigated. The aims of this study were to identify the influence of different levels of self-efficacy on these factors and to explore their relationships in an online EFL course. In total, 286 students were administered the questionnaires before and after the curriculum to probe their self-perception of these affective variables. When asynchronous interactive learning materials came into play, learners with different levels of self-efficacy make statistically different learning achievements. The statistically significant differences were also found between the student’s self-efficacy level, their learner autonomy, and their perception toward the interactive contents. However, the difference was not significant between self-efficacy and transactional distance. The cost of asynchronous learning is an increasing transactional distance due to the lack of instructor-learner interaction. This study suggests that interactive content triggered an opposite effect by making the instructor’s role invisible rather than absent. A good online course must balance the student’s self-determined learning and flexibility with the course structure. Interactive learning content can keep the balance between developing learner autonomy and fostering engagement by dissolving the teacher’s role into interactive course material.


Self-efficacy, Asynchronous learning, Learner perceptions, Transactional distance, Interactive contents

Cite as:Tseng, Y.-C., Chen, M.-R. A., & Lin, Y-.H. (2023). An Investigation of the Effects of EFL Students’ Self-efficacy in an Asynchronous Online Course with Interactive Contents. Educational Technology & Society, 26(4), 1-13. https://doi.org/10.30191/ETS.202310_26(4).0001
Submitted July 26, 2022; Revised February 14, 2023; Accepted February 24, 2023; Published March 24, 2023

Rustam Shadiev

College of Education, Zhejiang University, China // rustamsh@gmail.com

Junpei Zhou

School of Education Science, Nanjing Normal University, China // zhoujp_99@163.com


The present study is set to systematically review articles on the use of 360-degree video technology in language learning. The study selected and reviewed twenty-four articles in the following aspects: (1) tools related to 360-degree video technology; (2) languages and skills involved; (3) theories and pedagogical approaches in reviewed articles; (4) methodology of reviewed studies; (5) applications of 360-degree video technology to language learning; (6) reported findings; and (7) reported problems in reviewed studies. The results demonstrated that the tools related to 360-degree video technology can be grouped according to the following three ways of using them: (1) creating or editing videos/images, (2) obtaining videos/images, and (3) viewing videos/images. The participants in most studies recorded or edited 360-degree videos to develop their own learning content, rather than using existing ones. In most studies, the participants used head-mounted displays (HMDs) to view 360-degree videos and low-cost HMDs were used more frequently. Scholars often focused on English and Chinese, and they targeted speaking and writing skills in their research. Various theories were used to frame research and the embodied cognition theory was the most popular. The most commonly used pedagogical approach was task-based learning. Fewer studies focused on students from primary or junior school. Many studies lasted for more than one month. Different language skills were mainly measured using scales or tests. Findings related to learning outcomes, learners’ perceptions of using 360-degree video technology and motivation were most frequently reported in the reviewed studies. Finally, problems related to methodology, technology implementation and learning process were identified in the reviewed studies and they are reported in the present research. Based on the results, several suggestions were made and implications derived.


360-degree video technology, Language learning, Review

Cite as:Shadiev, R., & Zhou, J. (2023). A Review of Research on the Use of 360-degree Video Technology in Language Learning. Educational Technology & Society, 26(4), 14-37. https://doi.org/10.30191/ETS.202310_26(4).0002
Submitted July 8, 2022; Revised February 6, 2023; Accepted February 27, 2023; Published March 24, 2023

I-Ying Hsu

The Affiliated Senior High School of National Kaohsiung Normal University, Taiwan // tosca@tea.nknush.kh.edu.tw

Fu-Hsing Tsai

Teacher Education Center, National Chiayi University, Taiwan // fhtsai@mail.ncyu.edu.tw


This study developed a physical computing game-design project that incorporates block-based programming, physical computing, and computer game design for Taiwan’s high school technology education curriculum to strengthen students’ computational thinking. The project asked students to develop a somatosensory computer game using a block-based programming language and physical computing devices. This study also attempted to enhance students’ attitudes toward programming, technology, and engineering, and to explore the effectiveness differences between students with different majors. The research findings indicate that the project may improve students’ computational thinking concepts, but did not improve students’ attitudes toward programming, technology, and engineering. While participating science major students’ perceptions and attitudes toward technology and engineering were significantly higher than those of social science majors, this study also found that students’ performance on their project product showed no significant difference between the different groups of majors. These results imply that the application of this project could be feasible and may be beneficial to deepen science majors’ interest in technology and engineering.


Physical computing, Game design, Computational thinking, Project-based learning

Cite as:Hsu, I.-Y., & Tsai, F.-H. (2023). Development and Evaluation of a Physical Computing Game-Design Project for Students’ Computational Thinking. Educational Technology & Society, 26(4), 38-50. https://doi.org/10.30191/ETS.202310_26(4).0003
Submitted July 26, 2022; Revised December 8, 2022; Accepted January 30, 2023; Published March 24, 2023

Ying-Hsueh Cheng

National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan // folyhc@alum.ccu.edu.tw


Many students who study English as a foreign language (EFL) often find it challenging to paraphrase while writing from source texts. Lacking such an ability can lead to different meanings as well as copying another person’s ideas, words or work. However, little research has been done to integrate tool consultation to assist students in paraphrasing. To address this gap, this study explored whether guided tool consultation with paraphrasing strategy instruction can help students improve their overall paraphrasing performance. During an 18-week course, a class of students were trained to use three different e-tools to find synonyms: Microsoft Word thesaurus, Oxford Living Dictionaries synonyms (now called Thesaurus.com), and Linggle. Adopting a mixed-method approach, data sets included: pre-posttest drafts (summary writing), surveys, screen recordings, and interviews. The results showed significant differences between the pre- and post-tests. The majority of the lexical and phrasal paraphrases was suitable, while only a few were inaccurate. The students demonstrated the ability to consult the tools for changing synonyms and were able to apply taught strategies to restructure and restate the original sentences. Although students revealed different perceptions of the usefulness of the three tools for finding synonyms, they generally agreed that paraphrasing strategies combined with tool training were beneficial for learning. Pedagogical implications and research suggestions are provided based on the findings.


EFL, Paraphrasing, Tool consultation, Second language writing, Instructional design

Cite as:Cheng, Y.-H. (2023). Exploring the Effects of Tool-Assisted Paraphrasing Strategy Instruction on EFL Learners’ Paraphrasing Performance. Educational Technology & Society, 26(4), 51-68. https://doi.org/10.30191/ETS.202310_26(4).0004
Submitted April 29, 2022; Revised February 25, 2023; Accepted March 6, 2023; Published March 29, 2023

Anna Y. Q. Huang, Jei Wei Chang, Albert C. M. Yang, Hiroaki Ogata, Shun Ting Li, Ruo Xuan Yen and Stephen J. H. Yang

Anna Y. Q. Huang

Computer Science & Information Engineering, National Central University, Taoyuan City, Taiwan // anna.yuqing@gmail.com

Jei Wei Chang

Computer Science & Information Engineering, National Central University, Taoyuan City, Taiwan // a0978122159@gmail.com 

Albert C. M. Yang

Graduate School of Informatics, Kyoto University, Japan // Computer Science and Engineering, National Chung-Hsing University, Taichung City, Taiwan // albertyang1994@gmail.com

Hiroaki Ogata

Academic Center for Computing and Media Studies, Kyoto University, Japan // hiroaki.ogata@gmail.com 

Shun Ting Li

Computer Science & Information Engineering, National Central University, Taoyuan City, Taiwan //  ariel055132@g.ncu.edu.tw

Ruo Xuan Yen

Computer Science & Information Engineering, National Central University, Taoyuan City, Taiwan // apple310565@gmail.com 

Stephen J. H. Yang

Computer Science & Information Engineering, National Central University, Taoyuan City, Taiwan // stephen.yang.ac@gmail.com


To improve students’ learning performance through review learning activities, we developed a personalized intervention tutoring approach that leverages learning analysis based on artificial intelligence. The proposed intervention first uses text-processing artificial intelligence technologies, namely bidirectional encoder representations from transformers and generative pretrained transformer-2, to automatically generate Python programming remedial materials; subsequently, learning performance prediction models constructed using various machine learning methods are used to determine students’ learning type, enabling the automatic generation of personalized remedial materials. The participants in this study were 78 students from a university in northern Taiwan enrolled in an 8-week Python course. Students in the experimental (n = 36) and control (n = 42) groups engaged in the same programming learning activities during the first 5 weeks of the course, and they completed a pretest of programming knowledge in Week 6. For the review activity in Week 7, the 36 students in the experimental group received personalized intervention, whereas those in the control group received traditional class tutoring. We examined the effect of the self-regulated learning and personalized intervention on the learning performance of students. Compared with the traditional class tutoring, the personalized intervention review activity not only helped students obtain higher learning performance but also prompted greater improvements in the following learning strategies: rehearsal, critical thinking, metacognitive self-regulation, effort regulation, and peer learning. We also observed that students’ rehearsal and help-seeking learning strategies indirectly affected learning performance through students’ note-taking in the provided e-book.   


Personalized intervention, Self-regulated learning, Machine learning, Artificial intelligence 

Cite as:Huang, A. Y. Q., Chang, J. W., Yang, A. C. M., Ogata, H., Li, S. T., Yen, R. X., & Yang, S. J. H. (2023). Personalized Intervention based on the Early Prediction of At-risk Students to Improve Their Learning Performance. Educational Technology & Society, 26(4), 69-89. https://doi.org/10.30191/ETS.202310_26(4).0005
Submitted June 24, 2022; Revised March 6, 2023; Accepted March 24, 2023; Published April 8, 2023

Changhao Liang

Graduate School of Informatics, Kyoto University, Japan // liang.changhao.84c@st.kyoto-u.ac.jp 

Izumi Horikoshi

Academic Center for Computing and Media Studies, Kyoto University, Japan // horikoshi.izumi.7f@kyoto-u.ac.jp

Rwitajit Majumdar

Academic Center for Computing and Media Studies, Kyoto University, Japan // majumdar.rwitajit.4a@kyoto-u.ac.jp

Brendan Flanagan

Center for Innovative Research and Education in Data Science, Kyoto University, Japan // flanagan.brendanjohn.4n@kyoto-u.ac.jp

Hiroaki Ogata

Academic Center for Computing and Media Studies, Kyoto University, Japan // hiroaki.ogata@gmail.com


Data-driven platforms with rich data and learning analytics applications provide immense opportunities to support collaborative learning such as algorithmic group formation systems based on learning logs. However, teachers can still get overwhelmed since they have to manually set the parameters to create groups and it takes time to understand the meaning of each indicator. Therefore, it is imperative to explore predictive indicators for algorithmic group formation to release teachers from the dilemma with explainable group formation indicators and recommended settings based on group work purposes. Employing learning logs of group work from a reading-based university course, this study examines how learner indicators from different dimensions before the group work connect to the subsequent group work processes and consequences attributes through correlation analysis. Results find that the reading engagement and previous peer ratings can reveal individual achievement of the group work, and a homogeneous grouping strategy based on reading annotations and previous group work experience can predict desirable group performance for this learning context. In addition, it also proposes the potential of automatic group formation with recommended parameter settings that leverage the results of predictive indicators.


Group work indicator, GLOBE, Correlation analysis, Group formation, CSCL, Group work prediction, Teacher assistance

Cite as:Liang, C., Horikoshi, I., Majumdar, R., Flanagan, B., & Ogata, H. (2023). Towards Predictable Process and Consequence Attributes of Data-Driven Group Work: Primary Analysis for Assisting Teachers with Automatic Group Formation. Educational Technology & Society, 26(4), 90-103. https://doi.org/10.30191/ETS.202310_26(4).0006
Submitted September 26, 2022; Revised April 6, 2023; Accepted April 13, 2023; Published April 28, 2023

Special Issue Articles

Nora A. McIntyre

Southampton Education School, University of Southampton, United Kingdom // N.McIntyre@soton.ac.uk



Educational access is the first step to realising education as a universal human right.  Yet, education remains a luxury for many.  Contrary to expectations, the advent of online learning has not resolved this fundamental injustice as out-of-school learning and early drop-outs remain widespread phenomena.  Rather, digital divides have hit hard in exacerbating social inequalities, with help from Covid-19.  This special issue takes a critical look at online learning in its potential to rebalance and hinder universal educational access.  It includes four papers focused on differing positions of disadvantage.  Based on these papers, this special issue highlights that — although it is possible for disadvantaged learners to compensate for inequities — socioeconomic and infrastructural constraints often prevail, and will continue to unless critical changes are made to the educational ecosystem.  Furthermore, the Special Issue calls for future work that takes process-level changes into account in order to generate recommendations that are better grounded in iterative change and causality: only then can actionable and impactful changes be made for a more equitable future of online learning. 



Social justice, Educational access, Disadvantage, Longitudinal research, Online learning 

Cite as:McIntyre, N. A. (2023). Guest Editorial: Dynamic Accounts of Digital Divides: Longitudinal Insights into Inequitable Access to Online Learning. Educational Technology & Society, 26(4), 104-107. https://doi.org/10.30191/ETS.202310_26(4).0007
Published May 31, 2023

Xiao-Fan Lin, Juan Jiang, Guoyu Luo, Xiyu Huang, Wenyi Li, Jiayan Zou, Zhaoyang Wang and Qintai Hu

Xiao-Fan Lin

School of Education Information Technology, South China Normal University, China // GuangDong Engineering Technology Research Center of Smart Learning, Guangdong Provincial Institute of Elementary Education and Information Technology, China // Guangdong Provincial Philosophy and Social Sciences Key Laboratory of Artificial Intelligence and Smart Education, Institute for Artificial Intelligence Education, South China Normal University, China // linxiaofan@m.scnu.edu.cn 

Juan Jiang

School of Education Information Technology, South China Normal University, China // 2013010048@m.scnu.edu.cn

Guoyu Luo

School of Education Information Technology, South China Normal University, China // luoguoyusera@163.com

Xiyu Huang

School of Education Information Technology, South China Normal University, China // 1036562967@qq.com

Wenyi Li

GuangDong Engineering Technology Research Center of Smart Learning, Guangdong Provincial Institute of Elementary Education and Information Technology, China // liwenyi@pku.edu.cn

Jiayan Zou

School of Education Information Technology, South China Normal University, China // 981901151@qq.com

Zhaoyang Wang

School of Education Information Technology, South China Normal University, China // m17754831067@163.com 

Qintai Hu

New Engineering Education Research Center, Guangdong University of Technology, China // huqt8@gdut.edu.cn


Mitigating the digital divide is essential for the sustainable development of education. To provide distance access which ensures equality in education for both urban and rural students, online learning has been emphasized in the post COVID-19 period. However, some challenges to total online learning have been described, such as isolation and the lack of in-time interaction due to the separation between teachers and students. The mobile augmented reality (AR) learning approach has the potential to combine real-world and online objects to promote interaction in total online learning. However, researchers have found that teachers and students might feel frustrated while handling too much information to deal with complex tasks in AR learning without appropriate scaffolding, which might reinforce the digital divide. Therefore, there is a need to propose a dual scaffolding-embedded AR learning approach to mitigate the urban-rural digital divide rather than a single form of scaffolding for either teachers or students. A quasi-experiment was conducted by recruiting 173 sixth-grade students from four classes of urban and rural schools in southern China. The longitudinal results showed that the proposed approach effectively improved both urban and rural students’ learning achievement, higher-order cognition, and self-efficacy. The comparison of the students’ learning outcomes indicated that it was helpful to mitigate the digital divide between rural and urban students through the proposed approach. These findings provide insights for school administrators to provide relational and suitable scaffolding-embedded mobile AR learning to support total online education for mitigating the urban and rural digital divide in the post COVID-19 period.


Digital divide, Mobile, Augmented reality, Scaffolding, Outcomes

Cite as:Lin, X.-F., Jiang, J., Luo, G., Huang, X., Li, W., Zou, J., Wang, Z., & Hu, Q. (2023). Mitigating the Urban-rural Digital Divide: A Dual Scaffolding-embedded Mobile Augmented Reality Learning Approach in the Post COVID-19 Pandemic. Educational Technology & Society, 26(4), 108-122. https://doi.org/10.30191/ETS.202310_26(4).0008
Published April 26, 2023

Davy Tsz Kit Ng

Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong // davyngtk@connect.hku.hk

Xiaoxuan Fang

Department of Curriculum and Instruction, The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong // roxannexxfang@gmail.com


Due to the varied social inequities, the pandemic has prompted unprecedented attention to the social divides in learning gains via online/blended learning. It has been identified that approximately 27,000 Chinese cross-border students live on the Mainland but attend Hong Kong schools every day. The pandemic has restricted the passage of the Shenzhen-Hong Kong border, and these students suffer greatly as they may still be forced to attend online lessons at home for over two years, even if schools return to face-to-face teaching. This study is a 2-year longitudinal case study with a purposeful sampling of a primary school that has over 70% of Chinese cross-border students. A mixed-methods approach was adopted to examine students’ online learning experiences via teachers’ interviews. Regarding their learning challenges, 35 students were invited to complete a 5-point Online Self-regulated Learning Questionnaire (OSLQ) and an open-ended opinion survey, which was then triangulated with teachers’ feedback. First, this study has identified three major challenges that cross-border students suffer the most in online learning: self-regulation strategies, technical challenges, and social interaction. Second, several teaching strategies have been found to offer additional support (e.g., after-school classes and learning centers in Shenzhen) for cross-border students to sustain their online learning and alleviate their learning challenges. Based on these findings, this study contributes to documenting the learning challenges for cross-border students during the pandemic, which provides insights for other schools to facilitate cross-border education and develop appropriate online learning strategies for cross-border students.


Cross-border students, Online learning, Pandemic, Social divide

Cite as: Ng, D. T. K., & Fang, X. (2023). Inequity Issues in Online learning of Chinese Cross-border Students under the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Longitudinal Study at a Macro-level. Educational Technology & Society, 26(4), 123-135. https://doi.org/10.30191/ETS.202310_26(4).0009
Published April 26, 2023

Abdallah AlShawabkeh

College of Business, Al Ain University, UAE // abdallah.alshawabkeh@aau.ac.ae 

Faten Kharbat

College of Engineering, Al Ain University, UAE // faten.kharbat@aau.ac.ae

Ajayeb Abu Daabes

College of Business, Liwa College of Technology, UAE // ajayeb.daabes@ect.ac.ae 

M Lynn Woolsey

Campbell County Public Schools TN, USA // drmarylynnwoolsey@gmail.com


This longitudinal mixed method study investigated the education experiences among 38 Deaf/Hard of Hearing (DHH) students, 44 of their hearing peers, and three lecturers in two programs at a postsecondary institution in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Longitudinal data were collected at three points in time, summer 2020, winter 2021, and spring 2021. To investigate the differences between the two groups, GPA marks and responses to designed questionnaires for the different moments were collected from students. Repeated-measures ANOVA, the fixed effect regression approach, and one-way ANOVA were used to analyze the quantitative data. Qualitative data were collected through semi-structured interviews and personal communication with the students and the lecturers. Interviews were conducted with the addition of a sign language interpreter familiar to the DHH students. Results revealed a significant distinct digital divide between the two groups in academic achievement, degree of adaptation, and general perceptions of their education. The results of this study suggest that DHH students in postsecondary settings may be at risk of underachieving in the distance learning study mode. As a result, higher education institutions, universities, and curriculum designers need to take steps to improve the environment of distance learning platforms considering the diversity of students’ needs. This will ensure that students with hearing loss have equal access to lectures, course content, and their peers. Promoting equity and justice in the learning environment aims to bridge the knowledge gap and prepare DHH students for their future careers. 


Longitudinal study, Digital divide, Covid-19 crisis, Academic justice, Deaf/Hard of hearing students  

Cite as:AlShawabkeh, A., Kharbat, F., Daabes, A. A., & Woolsey, M. L. (2023). Technology-based Learning and the Digital Divide for Deaf/Hearing Students During Covid-19: Academic Justice Lens in Higher Education. Educational Technology & Society, 26(4), 136-149. https://doi.org/10.30191/ETS.202310_26(4).0010
Published May 30, 2023

Li Zhao 

School of Education Science, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, China // li.zhao@njnu.edu.cn 

Yue Liu

School of Education Science, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, China // 200602149@njnu.edu.cn

Yu-Sheng Su

Department of Computer Science and Information Engineering, National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan // Department of Computer Science and Engineering, National Taiwan Ocean University, Taiwan // ccucssu@gmail.com // ntouaddisonsu@gmail.com 


The digital skills divide has been raised as a serious issue during the COVID-19. However, few studies explored the predictive influence of personality traits on college students’ digital skills in online learning. To address this gap, this study took the second-level digital divide as the focus to conduct a two-round survey of college students over nearly 2 years based on cross-sectional and longitudinal methods to explore whether there is a digital skill divide or personality trait differences between urban and rural college students while learning online, and whether college students’ personality traits can predict their digital skills. The results confirmed the rural and urban college students’ digital skills divide. There were significant differences in all dimensions of their digital skills except for mobile skills. In addition, the digital skills divide of these college students persisted for nearly 2 years. Specifically, this study further confirmed that there were significant differences in the urban and rural college students’ extraversion, neuroticism, and agreeableness, but there was no significant difference in their openness and conscientiousness. Additionally, there was no change in the urban and rural college students’ personality trait differences in nearly 2 years. Personality traits could positively predict college students’ digital skills. This study provides evidence for bridging the second-level digital divide of the rural and urban college students from the perspective of personality traits.


Digital divide, College students, Cross-sectional analysis, Longitudinal analysis, Personality traits, Digital skills

Cite as:Zhao, L., Liu, Y., & Su, Y.-S. (2023). Personality Traits’ Prediction of the Digital Skills Divide between Urban and Rural College Students: A Longitudinal and Cross-Sectional Analysis of Online Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Educational Technology & Society, 26(4), 150-162. https://doi.org/10.30191/ETS.202310_26(4).0011
Published June 14, 2023

Starting from Volume 17 Issue 4, all published articles of the journal of Educational Technology & Society are available under Creative Commons CC-BY-ND-NC 3.0 license.