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

Introduction to the IJELLO Special Series of Chais Conference 2013 Best Papers

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

Introduction to the IJELLO Special Series of Chais Conference 2013 Best Papers

Article excerpt


Learning, finding or retrieving information, and acquiring knowledge are daily fundamental activities in the technological era. Innovative instructional and learning technologies have a crucial role in helping people of all ages develop digital literacy skills, as well as effectively providing them with the knowledge they need. 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 fifty faculty members from the various OUI academic 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 innovation in 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 continue 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, which was closed in 2010. 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.

The 700 participants attending the two-day Chais conference 2013 represented most of Israel's universities and academic colleges, as well as organizations and corporations. The opening keynote Guest lecturers were Douglas Clark of Vanderbilt University, USA, who talked about "digital games for learning: scaffolding integration of intuitive and formal understanding of science" and Shaaron Ainsworth of Nottingham University, United Kingdom, who discussed "understanding and transforming multi-representational learning". The closing lecturers were Niva Elkin-Koren of Haifa University, Israel ("trial in the technological era"), and Tom Ran of Wizmann Institute ("the biological computer: innovation in the computing world").

The purpose of this IJELLO special series of Chais conference best papers is to increase 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 since it draws together researchers and practitioners of information technologies, who seek effective ways to inform clients about sharing their knowledge with others ( 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). …

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