About Philosophy of Technology Enhanced Learning
The issue of knowledge — what it is, how it is created and acquired,
and the different forms it takes — is of central importance to
technology-enhanced learning, yet, in the past, these issues have
largely been overlooked. The overarching goal of our group is to
examine knowledge in its various forms, focusing specifically on the
interrelationship between knowledge and context. Our aim is
essentially practical: to produce understanding of the significance
that new technologies have for knowledge and learning, enabling us to
better steer these towards benefit in the e-society. While we look at
the use of technology in formal education, we also have a broader
conception of information technology — a world in which computers are
Achievements to date
We have brought together computer scientists, philosophers and
sociologists in order to articulate common ground and define
differences within the field, focusing on the concept of knowledge and
context and how it figures in research and literature on new
technologies; practical knowledge; and knowledge acquired both formally
and informally. We have also fostered a diverse and committed team of
researchers involved in other Kaleidoscope activities, who are
investigating frameworks that address the changing natures of knowledge
and learning in the e-society.
In addition we have developed, along with the Kaleidoscope Mobile
Learning Initiative, a coordinated list of resources to introduce some
of the issues raised by technology-mediated learning. This has
evolved from participation in symposia, as well as from meetings and
discussions with members both within and outside our group. We have
also outlined key research questions that have emerged in the fields of
mobile learning and technology-enhanced learning more generally.
Contributions to the field
We are seeking to integrate the field at a European level, reaching
across the Network to draw in researchers of varied disciplines and
research traditions. Thus the goals of the group are to:
Help researchers, scholars and students develop a robust understanding of learning and knowledge in the field of TEL.
Build a common research framework for TEL, through
developing a shared understanding of the field and its associated
Bring together researchers and students in the field of
technology-enhanced learning, in order to make explicit current
concepts and methodologies and, in so doing, form critical research
questions concerning the nature of knowledge involved in such learning.
The benefit of Kaleidoscope
Kaleidoscope has provided access to a large network of people, from
researchers to students, to scholars, allowing us to work within
wide-ranging areas of expertise and interest. This is fundamental
for the development of a research field such as Philosophy of
Technology Enhanced Learning, as well as for TEL itself.
Future issues to address
We are helping to establish PTEL as a productive and contemporary
research activity in the European Union and the European Research Area.
We are also collaborating with others in Kaleidoscope on a shared
scientific policy — arising out of the work on the development of a
theory of mobile learning, representation and the mediated mind (with a
specific focus on research questions pertaining to the
re-interpretation of both knowledge and context) — to move the field of
TEL forward in a manner that is both strategic and comprehensive.
A message for European policy makers
In the past, the question of knowledge in education was either taken
for granted or was perceived of as a rather esoteric debate on the
margins of the social sciences and the humanities, of little practical
significance for educational or social policy. However technological
developments, combined with globalisation and the burgeoning knowledge
economy, are changing the circumstances facing policy makers, who,
increasingly, are making decisions taking them to the heart of debates
about knowledge. We need to create sustainable, integrative educational
scenarios that utilise new technologies effectively, rather than
relying on the latest trends and technological fads.
A message for the public
Technology is central to our lives, as is learning. An explication of
different perspectives (and the process of opening them to
interrogation) is crucial to developing, expanding and enhancing an
improved understanding of new technologies for learning.