Academic journal article Interdisciplinary Journal of e-Skills and Lifelong Learning

Introduction to the IJELLO Special Series of Chais Conference 2012 Best Papers

Academic journal article Interdisciplinary Journal of e-Skills and Lifelong Learning

Introduction to the IJELLO Special Series of Chais Conference 2012 Best Papers

Article excerpt

Introduction

Innovative instructional and learning technologies are among the major forces that can improve knowledge dissemination, education, life-long learning, on-the job training, and subsequently welfare in the information era. The Open University of Israel (OUI) is based on distance and blended learning and thus is committed to the ongoing examination and improvement of its teaching quality through the integration of innovative learning and instructional technologies. The Research Center for Innovation in Learning Technologies functions as the research arm of the Open University for exploring emerging technologies and developing models and strategies for their integration in teaching and learning. The main objective of the Center is to promote research related to the enhancement of instruction, using innovative learning technologies. The Center consists of a consortium of about forty faculty members from the various OUI departments. The Center conducts a wide range of ongoing academic activities such as symposia, workshops, conferences, and research seminars.

The following are some of the fields of research in which the Research Center for Innovation in Learning Technologies is engaged:

* The theoretical foundations of learning, instructional technology and distance education.

* Integration of innovative information and communication technologies into educational systems.

* Defining and characterizing the variables necessary for developing flexible and adaptive technology-enhanced instructional strategies that accommodate students' individual needs.

* Studying the pedagogical and cognitive contributions of emerging technologies to teaching and learning.

"Learning in the Technological Era" is a series of annual national research conferences on learning technologies initiated in 2006 by the Chais Research Center in collaboration with EDEN, The European Distance and E-Learning Network. The Research Center for Innovation in Learning Technologies is committed to continuing this important research activity, under the name of Chais conference, which commemorates the contribution of the late Stanley Chais, who funded the establishment of the Chais Center. The Chais conference contributes to the formation of a community of Israeli researchers in the field of instructional technologies and to the positioning of the Open University of Israel as a leading organization in the study and implementation of learning technologies. About 500 researchers from most universities and academic colleges in Israel and from many organizations and Information Technology (IT) companies participate in the conference each year.

The purpose of this IJELLO special series of Chais conference best papers is to enhance the international impact of the Chais conference by distributing high quality papers from the National conference to a worldwide audience. The Informing Science Institute (ISI) is a natural partner for this mission because it draws together researchers and practitioners of information technologies, who seek effective ways to inform clients about sharing their knowledge with others (http://www.informingscience.org/). The informing science transdiscipline studies the informing process, defined as providing a specific clientele with information in a form, format, and schedule that maximizes its effectiveness (Cohen, 1999, 2009; Gill & Cohen, 2009). Instructional technologies are a certain type of information technologies, which aim at providing students and other learners with information and tools to enhance their learning. Within the ISI journals, the Interdisciplinary Journal of E-Learning and Learning Objects publishes high quality articles on theory, practice, innovation, and research that cover all aspects of E-learning and Learning Objects (http://www.ijello.org).

The first selection in this series was published three years ago and included 13 papers, which dealt with various aspects of technology integration in teaching and learning, collaborative learning environments, quality of mobile learning, motivation for technology use, and more (Eshet-Alkalai, Caspi, Eden, Geri, & Yair, 2009). …

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