Pages: pp. 3-4
Welcome to our second issue of the IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies! Innovation in technology-enhanced learning has many facets, from providing new ways of interaction between teachers and learners in the real world to virtual learning environments, where students can use sophisticated simulations to gain new insights into subjects difficult to teach otherwise. Beyond these learner-centered advances, working on software tools and architecture is another important area of technology-enhanced learning. These problems are now explored by researchers and practitioners all over the world as demonstrated by the papers appearing in this issue and coming from Europe, Japan, and the US. We have three papers on these topics in this second issue, with several more to follow in rapid succession in the next issues.
Elliot Moore and his colleagues from the Georgia Institute of Technology, which has locations in Savannah and Atlanta, as well as in France and China, have investigated the use of tablet PC technology in the classroom, focusing on their uses in a synchronous distributed learning scenario. In these scenarios, additional support has to be provided to keep and increase student engagement despite the inconveniences often incurred through the physical separation of DL classrooms. The authors show how the use of tablet PCs with appropriate interactive software is able to increase student satisfaction with their learning process, and discuss interesting future work, including an extension of the assessment tools used in the project to allow in-depth course-by-course monitoring and analysis.
Mohamed Hamada from the University of Aizu in Japan discusses advanced simulations for a theory of computation course, supporting an active construction learning model for this course, where teachers act as facilitators and learners are actively involved in knowledge construction and learning activities focused around a set of motivating problems and examples. The core of the virtual learning environment is an advanced finite state automata simulator, providing hands-on experience with various variants of finite state machines and Turing machines, as well as self-assessment facilities and collaboration support.
Finally, Andreas Harrer from the Catholic University of Eichstätt, together with colleagues from Clausthal, CMU, and DFKI, focuses on interoperability between educational software tools. The authors describe the Scalable Adapter Design Pattern, which formalizes the connection between different learning environments. Three use cases serve to illustrate the use of this pattern.
For the future, let me point you to the upcoming special issue on Real-World Applications of Intelligent Tutoring Systems, scheduled to appear in 2009. ITS is a good example for the use of Artificial Intelligence techniques in advanced technology-enhanced learning systems, and we are looking forward to an exciting set of papers on how intelligent tutoring systems will look in the 21st century.
Finally, I am happy to announce two new additions to our editorial board: David A. Conner, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Chee-Kit Looi, from the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. You will find their short biographies below.
We hope you enjoy this and future issues of the IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies and are looking forward to receiving your contributions describing new advances and experiences of technology-enhanced learning.
Wolfgang Nejdl, Editor-in-Chief
Peter Brusilovsky, Associate Editor-in-Chief