Ross, S., Morrison, G., Lowther, D. (2010). Educational technology research past and present: Balancing rigor and relevance to impact school learning. Contemporary Educational Technology, 1(1), 17-25.
In this article, the authors discuss the importance of shifting the focus of research in educational technology as the use of technology in K-12 education continues to grow. They advocate for this shift to lean away from proving the effectiveness of technology and towards using rigorous mixed-method studies to build stronger relevance between educational research and the classroom contexts that utilize technology for assisting the learning process. Ross, Morrison, and Lowther share some of their concerns on current and past educational technology research and offer three domains that researchers should focus on in the future. They also review historic trends and topics in educational technology research and delve into their suggestions that in order for research to be truly rigorous and relevant it should balance external and internal validity and deal with meaningful topics connected to teaching and learning in modern classrooms.
Ross, Morrison, and Lowther offer an encompassing view of historical educational technology research trends in an efficient manner. Their main focus is to share how research can be more rigorous and relevant moving forward in order to “…help solve real-world education problems…” and they maintain that direction throughout the article (Ross et al., 2010, p.24). The brief review of past trends, such as the media comparison debate, helps the reader to understand areas where past research may have been lacking and how this can be improved upon. In their discussion of balancing internal and external validity, the authors discuss a few research designs (experimental, true experiments, quasi-experiments, and mixed methods) and offer potential strengths and weaknesses of each. They demonstrate a preference for mixed method designs without seeming biased and share some specific mixed method studies that were found to be truly impactful in K-12 education. They also support their article with some quantitative analysis of what kinds of educational technology research has been published within various time periods in past years.
I find this article to be applicable to my research interests because of the author’s attention to research that will actually help to solve problems within the K-12 school setting. As I’m starting to see that my research interests fall into the categories of “questions about technology implementation” and “questions about the effectiveness of an intervention”, these seem to be areas where relevancy will be extremely important. I also appreciate the concerns the authors raised concerning growing publication of qualitative studies and their worries about rigor. I used to lean toward the use of qualitative methods in my personal research interests but Ross, Morrison, and Lowther’s article gave me new perspective. Also, I found the domains they suggested for future studies to be relevant to my interests as I think the use of assistive technology within the K-12 classroom setting fits into the domain of technology as a learning tool.
Citation for Extra Article- Kale, U., & Akcaoglu, M. (2018). The role of relevance in future teachers’ utility value and interest toward technology. Educational Technology Research and Development, 66(2), 283-311.