Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Guest Editorial: Authentic Edutainment with Advanced Technologies

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Guest Editorial: Authentic Edutainment with Advanced Technologies

Article excerpt

Introduction

Advanced information and communication technologies provide great potential for creating new learning environments. The learning process becomes more authentic and educationally entertaining with the help of modern advanced technologies (Shadiev, Hwang, & Huang, 2017). For example, learners experience authentic learning situations with educationally entertaining features, both in the classroom and outside of school, when using advanced technologies. As a result, learning becomes more attractive, effective, and meaningful (Kiernan & Aizawa, 2004; Kramsch, 1993).

Several critical characteristics of an authentic environment were highlighted by Herrington and Oliver (2000) and Newmann and Wehlage (1993). First, this type of environment provides authentic contexts that reflect the way knowledge will be used in real life. That is, learning should take place in a physical environment containing a large number of resources, which preserves the complexity of a real-life setting and reflects the way the knowledge will ultimately be used. Second, it provides authentic activities. Such activities reflect the kinds of activities in which people participate in the real world; they are meaningful and relevant to students and present complex tasks that are completed over a sustained period of time rather than a series of shorter disconnected examples. Third, it creates opportunities for learners to share their learning experiences and to practice with other learners who have various levels of expertise. That is, the students share their experiences and are able to access the experiences of other learners who have various levels of expertise. As a result, the students learn about different perspectives on the topics by considering various points of view and model their skills and performance based on those of experts. Fourth, it offers an authentic learning assessment embedded within the tasks that promotes reflection. The assessment is integrated with learning activities, peer assessment is encouraged, and the learners are assessed based on their outcomes. The learners have the opportunity to compare themselves with other learners who are in various stages of accomplishment and, thus, have the opportunity to improve their own performance and skills.

These characteristics of an authentic environment can be supported by advanced learning technologies (Shadiev, Hwang, & Liu, 2018). Scholars have argued that advanced learning technologies provide a wide range of educational affordances, including the following: pedagogical avails (in situ contextual information, recording, simulation, communication, first-person view, in situ guidance, feedback, distribution and gamification), benefits to educational quality (engagement, efficiency, and presence), and various logistical advantages (hands-free access and free up space) (Bower & Sturman, 2015; Sawaya, 2015). With the aid of advanced learning technologies, authentic edutainment learning environments have been successfully created and used in different fields of knowledge, such as language learning (Huang & Huang, 2015; Lin & Lan, 2015; Liu & Chen, 2015; Shadiev, Huang, Hwang, & Liu, 2018), science education (Looi et al., 2011; Varma, 2014), and mathematics (Carr, 2012; Ross, Morrison, & Lowther, 2010). For example, using mobile technology (e.g., smartphones), students learned basic concepts in the classroom and then applied the newly learned knowledge by solving real-life problems outside of the classroom (Agbatogun, 2014; Lin & Yu, 2016; Lin & Lan, 2015; Liu & Chen, 2015). Current mobile technologies are portable and feature multiple functions (Hwang, Ma, Shadiev, Shih, & Chen, 2016). Such characteristics are useful in supporting the learning process by incorporating many resources from the digital and physical worlds, such as creating multimedia content in an authentic environment, sharing it with classmates and the teacher, studying the content of peers' work and providing feedback on specific content (Ahn & Lee, 2015; Huang, Yang, Chiang, & Su, 2016; Huang & Huang, 2015; Huang, Shadiev, Sun, Hwang, & Liu, 2017). …

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