The Digital Educator project set out to identify significant developments in Educational Technology which can influence the HE Distance Learning Sector in the next two to five years.
Mobile Technologies and Social Media are often quite well established, but AI and VR are more emerging, with learning analytics being somewhat in between.
Humanities disciplines have much less uptake of a whole range of technologies, while professional education and, perhaps unsurprisingly Mathematics/Technology have made more use. Biomedical education has slightly lower uptake than the latter two domains, but there was considerable enthusiasm for a number of more avant-garde technologies, such as Augmented Reality and AI.
Disciplinary differences reflect different barriers to acceptance. For example, it was felt that humanities academics were less familiar with many of the technologies than other disciplines because they are less likely to use them in research. However, mathematics and technology academics, while very comfortable with technology, are often less familiar with the pedagogical ideas that would help them put these technologies into practice in education.
Technology itself was not generally a barrier, but there were a number of individual and organisational barriers. These include individual lack of familiarity with technology and also organisational factors such as incentive structures that do not reward pedagogical innovation.
Where technological barriers do exist, these tend to be in situations where there have not been sufficient resources to explore and develop new technologies in an educational context.
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