Disruptive Technologies and Education: Is There Any Disruption After All?

Disruptive Technologies and Education: Is There Any Disruption After All?

Kin Wai Michael Siu (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, China & Wuhan Institute of Technology, China) and Giovanni Jesue Contreras García (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, China)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1624-8.ch037


With the rapid development of information and communication technologies at the beginning of the 21st century terms like ‘Cloud Learning,' ‘Mobile Learning,' ‘e-Learning,' and ‘MOOCS' have been added to the long list of ‘disruptive' technologies expected to revolutionize education forever. But while it is easy to see how ICT's have put unimaginable amounts of information at the fingertips of students, can we say that this is truly revolutionizing education? Are higher education institutions adjusting their pedagogic practices to make full use of these technologies? In fact, are they using them at all? In this chapter we take a closer look at the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in higher education and report findings from a study asking how these technologies are being used in academic activities. We set up the framework for the discussion by reviewing some of the most important historical developments in educational technology to then move on to present the study's results. The chapter closes by contrasting these results with past predictions about the disruptive potential of ICTs and finally reflecting on the steps that will have to be taken in order to make the most out of these technologies.
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It is common to think of computers when discussing educational technologies, however, while most educational technologies these days are based on the computer, the term ‘educational technologies’ comprises many kinds of technologies and processes (Stallard & Cocker, 2001). In the past however, educational technologies have been seen from two different angles; one that saw educational technologies as teaching aids and in the form of hardware, and the other, that saw educational technologies more as a form of educational science and taking the form of software. In general a holistic vision considers educational technologies to be the application of all kinds of systems to teaching and learning (Bajpai & Leedham, 1970).

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