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Emerging Technologies in Distance Education, edited by George Veletsianos, is part of a series in Terry Anderson's Issues in Distance Education. Veletsiano's book was first published in July 2010 as a paperback (ISBN-13 978-1-897425-76-3) and in electronic format, or e-book (ISBN 978-1-897425-77-0), by AU Press. The cost for a paperback is $34.95 while $0 for an e-book. The e-book is licensed under a Creative Commons License. It may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes, provided that the original author is credited (Athabasca University Press, 2008). The e-book copy contains graphs, illustrations or diagrams, conceptual framework, pictures, tables, and wordle in black and white. I used the e-book for my book review.
The e-book is a collection of shared examples of practice and research surrounding the use of emerging technologies in distance education such as social networking sites, learning management systems, blogs, wikis, videoconferencing, and virtual worlds in distance education. The chapters provide multiple perspectives of online education by an international span of multidisciplinary authors. They provided examples of teaching strategies with varied online tools (Rochefort, 2011). Furthermore, it is part of a series that aimed at a wide group of readers including distance education teachers, trainers, administrators, researchers, and students (Anderson, 2010). Most likely, students of educational technology and instructional design would greatly appreciate this book. Lastly, it is also a product of Veletsianos initial inquiry into the critical question of what is considered to be an "emerging technology" in distance education.
Veletsianos' expertise is in Curriculum and Instruction. He is also an Assistant Professor of Instructional Technology of the UoT-Austin. Aside from the many publications that he produced, he also received grants or awards from the National Science Foundation and UoT-Austin. His research focuses on understanding participant experiences in learning contexts mediated with emerging technologies. At the same time, he studies online and in hybrid learning environments. It is apt, therefore, for him to focus on emerging technologies in distance education where he looks closely into new Web 2.0 tools applicable for distance learning and teaching.
The book started on the need to clarify what is considered to be an emerging technology in distance education. A broad and vague term, it later developed into four parts. In PART 1: Foundations of ET in DE, the focus is on definition, theories, and Web 2.0 approaches in distance education. In PART 2: Learning Designs for ET, the contributors gave examples, manifestations, online learning programs, websites, tools, and applications for emerging technologies in distance education. In PART 3: Social, Organizational, & Contextual Factors, is the actual use and practice of DE practitioners with the integration of Web-based tools and applications (online learning - synchronous or asynchronous). In PART 4: Learner-learner, Learner-Content, & Learner-Instructor Interaction & Communication with ET, the focus is on instructional development integrated with the appropriate Web-based program or tool to motivate and engage the learner in order to achieve the learning goal or objective.
After reading the book, I realized that there are so many ways on how to develop a lesson or instructional material. It also widened my horizon and expanded my previous knowledge about lesson planning. Emerging technologies in distance education gave me a positive outlook on how to ease some of the burdensome tasks in teaching. Now I know how to motivate and engage the students for them to achieve their learning goals as independent learners.
The book can indeed serve as a refresher for long-time educators with outdated ideas and teaching methods. A great resource for those who are just starting out in the teaching profession but already familiar with some of the Web 2.0 tools and applications (technology native). As one DE practitioner would say, "Faculty will always be the limiting factor for technology adoption in higher education" (Katkoff, 2011).
The theme of the book would be on current Web-based interactive technologies used in distance education. The author believes that the definition and clarification of the term "emerging technologies" in distance education would strengthen it as a field of study and not just as a sub-area of the different disciplines (thesis). This book is a combination of exposition and description methods.
Beth A. Rochefort, a senior instructional designer, adjunct faculty, and doctorate student at Northeastern University, USA also published an online review for this book in SpringerLink Journal (2011). She considered this book as a, "....valuable resource for the distance education community, because it shows innovative examples of teaching with emerging technologies. Its strength is that it can be used by a variety of audiences, from instructors to instructional designers, in pieces or as a whole. It provides accessible examples of research and practice for educators and professionals within the field, as well as an entry-point for students and novice distance educators."
A blog posted by Richard E. Lillie (2010) of Cal State, San Bernardino also considered this book as an outstanding resource and an excellent resource for ideas about using technology in teaching and learning. According to Rick, "This book is worth exploring...However, it should help you better understand how to use technology when you design course materials and share them with your students."
Moving to the end portion of the book, the Index contains Web-based and Web 2.0 terminologies applied in the learning and teaching environment. The Notes are very helpful in providing additional information. These are very timely when our students are greatly exposed to varied Internet applications and programs (technology native). Good resource for educators, instructional designers, researchers, and educational technology students who are not yet abreast with the current Web 2.0 tools and terminologies (technology immigrant). Knowledge and integration of these Web 2.0 tools can greatly enhance the teaching and learning environment.
Since the topic is about the volatile world of technology innovations in distance learning, the author should have included an online discussion board or site for any updates. Surely, information published in this book can change in a matter of months as new Web 2.0 tools and applications emerge daily and with great potential to enhance online learning and teaching. The future of technology is to reach all consumers and the whole society (Standage, 2005). Eventually, it will also reach all learners anytime or anywhere. One DE professional mentioned, "Students are moving to tablets quickly and those devices are becoming more powerful. They also have enough screen size to be usable in classes - which cell phones do not." (Powell, 2011).
Finally, the contributions of distance education practitioners about emerging interactive technologies can now be found in one book. It also looked into the different factors relevant to the adoption and integration of emerging technologies in distance education such as pedagogical, organizational, cultural, social, and economic. This collection has added vital information about the emerging technologies for distance learning and teaching.
Anderson, Terry (2010). Emerging Technologies in Distance Education. Retrieved August 24, 2011, from,[...]
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Katkoff, Artom George (2011). What will be the next tool or technology available for distance educators? In Linkdin, National Alliance of Distance Education Professional. Retrieved November 12, 2011, from [...]
Lillie, Richard E. (2010). Emerging Technologies in Distance Education -- Outstanding Resource. In Teaching with Technology. Retrieved November 7, 2011, from [...]
MacDonald, John (2011). What will be the next tool or technology available for distance educators? In Linkdin, National Alliance of Distance Education Professional. Retrieved November 12, 2011, from [...]
Powell, Albert (2011). What will be the next tool or technology available for distance educators? In Linkdin, National Alliance of Distance Education Professional. Retrieved November 12, 2011, from [...]
Rochefort, Beth A. (2011). Book Review of Emerging Technologies in Distance Education. In SpringerLink. Retrieved November 7, 2011, from [...]
Standage, Tom (Ed.). (2005). The Economist: The Future of Technology. London: Profile Books Ltd.
The College of Education, University of Texas at Austin (2011). George Veletsianos. Retrieved November 7, 2011, from [...]