Each AACE conference awards best papers to honor submissions that offer a significant contribution to the field of educational media, learning and technology. Award paper publications are typically available as open access through LearnTechLib. These conference highlights comprise some of the theoretical and practical innovations that are likely to shape the future of edtech. For AACE Review, Allie Alayan combed through the best paper section in the proceedings of ‘EdMedia + Innovate Learning 2018’ and discovered a wide variety of topics: Open Education Resources, artificial intelligence in language learning, design frameworks, cultural learning, STEM, augmented reality and computational thinking processes of young children. Download and review whatever sparks your interest or use this systematic overview to orient yourself on current ideas, technologies, methodologies and approaches.
Author: Martin Ebner
Topic: Open Education Resources
Summary: In Austria, Open Educational Resources can serve as an exception to the copyright laws and can provide the means for individuals to freely share material for teachers and students. This paper strives to answer the research question of how a concept for a nation wide OER-certification in higher education can look like.
Research Methodology: A report published by a special interest group (SIG) provided several recommendations for integrating Open Educational Resources into higher education, and for the methodology. This methodology included discussing possible concepts with different stakeholders in order to ensure different perspectives be considered.
Key Findings: “It can be concluded that these concept serves as bases for further steps on a nationwide OER certification in the area of higher education. From our perspective, this can be an essential first step to foster the production of OER within higher education institutions, their distribution amongst different lecturers and of course their reuse aiming to create a more flexible learning behavior of tomorrow’s society.”
Developing e-learning system for English conversation practice using speech recognition and artificial intelligence
Author: Makoto Shishido
Topic: Artificial Intelligence in Language Learning
Summary: There are e-learning materials available to help improve one’s vocabulary, listening, and reading comprehension skills, but there are few e-learning materials that are available or designed for helping to improve speaking ability. E-learning materials could be effective means to provide students with opportunities to practice speaking English.
Research Methodology: The researchers developed an E-learning system called Shikibu, which helps Japanese learners practice speaking English. Using this system, participants from a Japanese university were able to practice English speaking through various lessons. These lessons included Read Text Aloud, Word and Phrases, Voices, and Describe Picture.
Key Findings: At the conclusion of the study, most of the participants did not feel confident in their English speaking abilities, and most noted that they would like to improve their speaking skills. 61% of participants found the Shikibu system to be fun, 69% felt a sense of accomplishment after practicing English through the system, and 80% found the system to be effective.
“Many Japanese learners often have negative feelings to speech practice in English because they feel embarrassed in speaking in English and are not confident. However, about the features of an English conversation application using AI, 85% answered that “they felt less resistance to speaking English,” and 92% answered “they were not embarrassed to make mistakes”. With practicing English conversation with E-Learning material using AI, we can expect that students will get out of such negative impressions, make progress, and gain confidence in English conversation with autonomy.”
Topic: Design Frameworks
Summary: This paper presents the results of a study that aims at constructing a framework for the design of educational technology, and adds to the continued efforts to construct the LETUS framework. This study aims to further develop the LETUS framework through designing pedagogically usable products for various learning environments.
Research Methodology: This study involved theory based fortification of the Learning, Content and Technology related aspects of the LETUS framework, and also analysis of practice based articles focused on the contextual aspects of the framework. The researchers also identified relevant micro, meso, and macro level factors.
Key Findings: Through this study, understanding of several key components of the LETUS framework (namely Learning, Content and Technology) was furthered through critical analysis of research related to these aspects.
“The reinforced LETUS Design framework gives a greater understanding of the contextual aspects that affect all learning technology but have not been defined to a satisfactory degree in relation learning technology design. This work adds to the research in the field of usability and learning software design and evaluation to offer deeper understanding of the complicated issue of context.”
Supporting Cultural Connections, Collections, and Reflections through Technology in Short-Term Study Abroad
Authors: Kevin Oliver, Angela Wiseman, & Michael Cook
Country: United States
Topic: Technology for cultural learning
Summary: This particular study is part of a larger grant, with funding provided to help teachers better use technology to teach primary and secondary students about diverse cultures, and to promote deep cultural understanding using technology. Through this grant, teachers have been able to travel abroad. Little research has looked at the use of technology for cultural learning while studying abroad, with findings demonstrating that certain uses of technology can have positive impacts and others can have negative impacts. The researchers have formulated technology projects for short-term study abroad in three areas – cultural connections, collections, and reflections.
Research Methodology: In order to assess if the projects and broad program was having an impact on teacher understanding of technology and culture, the researchers had participants complete a pre-and post-survey.
Key Findings: Data collected from the teachers found that there were positive gains in technology skills associated with cultural teaching in the classroom, as well as positive gains in developing awareness of other cultures in a short period of immersion.
“Teachers have a unique opportunity to reach thousands of students in their careers, and while international professional development programs that promote cultural teaching and understanding are not cheap, neither is ignorance of world cultures or failure to teach children how to work with persons who are different.”
Authors: Diana Bogusevschi, Irina Tal, Marilena Bratu, Bogdan Gornea, Dorothea Caraman, Ioana Ghergulescu, Cristina Hava Muntean, Gabriel-Miro Muntean
Countries: Ireland & Romania
Summary: This paper focuses on the development of an application titled Water Cycle in Nature, which involves immersive computer-based virtual reality and experimental laboratory simulation to assist students to learn various physics concepts. This paper also describes a pilot study used to test the effectiveness of the application.
Research Methodology: In this experimental study, the control group received the educational content in a more traditional manner, using a power-point presentation. The experimental group received the educational content using the application. A pre-test and post-test were used to assess students’ knowledge of the topics.
Key Findings: Both the experimental and control groups showed similar level of knowledge of the topic before the lessons. 74% of students in the experimental group showed improved knowledge after using the application, whereas 48% of students in the control group showed improvement after the traditional learning approach.
Authors: Seonghye Yoon, JeeEun Jang, & JiYoung Lim
Country: Korea (South)
Topic: Virtual and Augmented Reality
Summary: The purpose of this study was to evaluate three kinds of educational AR and VR content, specifically through investigating the quantitative and qualitative aspects of the specific learning experiences of the learners, nurturers and experts.
Research Methodology: Three kinds of educational AR and VR content were evaluated. The participants were children between the ages of three and seven years old, as well as nurturers. Seven experts in early childhood education and educational technology evaluated the educational content. For the children, quality of learning, usability, satisfaction, and wearability were the measured criteria. For the nurturers, educational usefulness, usability of device, and effectiveness were measured criteria.
Key Findings: All three kinds of educational AR and VR content had a high level of satisfaction among the participants, with all being interpreted as creating a positive learning experience. Among the experts, the content was found to be high in educational usefulness, devise usability, and effectiveness.
Authors: Diane van der Linde, Nicole van der Aar, & Joke Voogt
Topic: Computational thinking processes of young children
Summary: This study was conducted in order to answer this research question: “What are the thinking processes of young children in the age of 6-12 years old, working in pairs when trying to program a small robot (Ozobot) to solve a given problem (programming task)?”
Research Methodology: Research assistants introduced the Ozobot into classes, and the children learned how it worked. The researchers observed children working in pairs on a programming task using the Ozobot. The Ozobot is a small robot which can be programmed. There were eighty-four participants, all children in grades two through six. The children were videotaped, and the videotapes were analyzed.
Key Findings: Slightly less than half of the pairs solved the programming task, and more pairs from the older groups solved the task than pairs from the younger groups. It was observed that most pairs did not follow a systematic approach to problem solving. Various thinking skills emerged, including decomposition, abstracting, testing, organizing data and debugging and troubleshooting. Younger participants approached the task using trial and error. Successful pairs went about the task in a structured manner and worked carefully.
Country best papers, not open access:
- A Cooperative Approach to the Challenges of Implementing e-Assessments (Germany)
- Developing Strategies for Digital Transformation in Higher Education: Not a Trivial Pursuit
- Perspectives for the Pre-service Teachers’ Readiness to Take Advantage of ICT in Education (Germany)
- Austria’s Higher Education e-Learning Landscape – Summary of the Status Quo (Austria)
- Beyond the Buzzwords: A Strategy to Connect Curricula with the Digital World (Germany)
- The Learning Portfolio in Higher Education: An Integrative Review (Ireland)
- Perspectives for the Pre-service Teachers’ Readiness to Take Advantage of ICT in Education (Finland)
- Adult Playfulness in Simulation-based Healthcare Education (Finland)
- Social media interns at AACE Review have interviewed several best paper award winners about their research and how this recognition has had a positive impact on their careers – read for example the interview with Florian Schimanke by Rima Chamout.
- Theo Bastiaens, chair of the EdMedia conference, talked to AACE Review about his appointment as rector of the Open University Netherlands, the last EdMedia conference and trends in the field in the interview.