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Dr. Henry Gillow-Wiles continues to make significant strides in investigating the impact of online communities on teaching and learning.

Transforming Teachers from Digital Immigrants to Digital Natives: An Interview with Dr. Henry Gillow-Wiles

By IGI Global on Mar 12, 2019
Dr. Henry Gillow-Wiles, a researcher at Southern Oregon University, has contributed significantly to the field of education throughout the years through his research on designing, implementing, and evaluating online programs for mathematics and science teachers. The co-author of multiple peer-reviewed journals and chapters, including co-editor of IGI Global’s books Handbook of Research on Teacher Education in the Digital Age (2 Volumes) and the recently released Handbook of Research on TPACK in the Digital Age, Dr. Gillow-Wiles continues to make significant strides in his investigation of the impact of online community of inquiry structures on teaching and learning.

Recently, we asked Dr. Gillow-Wiles to further expand upon his research activities, as well as to discuss the ever-important topic of just how technology is affecting teachers and students alike.

What inspired you to pursue research activities in your research area?

As a digital immigrant longing to be a digital native, I have long been interested in technology in general and in particular, how technology might support learning in ways that are fundamentally different from existing conceptions of learning. I was fortunate to meet a pioneer in this field early on in my career and through this relationship, have been able to explore ideas around engaging technology as a pedagogical tool. As my understanding has grown, the idea that the actual technology is less important than how it is used has come to guide my research agenda.

Why are your respective areas of research important to the field at large?

For the digital generation, technology is rapidly becoming the pencil of their daily lives. It is everywhere to the point of becoming invisible. However, unlike the pencil, there are still uses and effects still not well understood. How technology mediates communication, community, and collaboration is much more complex and has deeper impacts than did the pencil when first introduced, but like the pencil, technology can allow people to think in ways they couldn’t before its existence. If we as educators are going to meaningfully leverage technology as a thinking and learning tool, we must know as much about it as we can.

In your opinion, what are some of the benefits of your research to its community of users?

What I have most recently focused on is an attempt to develop a framework for understanding how people engage with each other, with the technology, and with the content they are exploring. Beginning with the precept that a digitally mediated learning space is fundamentally different than other learning spaces and moving forward from there, understanding how to facilitate interaction and engagement in the virtual world is the beginning of creating a body of pest practices that might guide online educators in their efforts.

What are the future directions of your research areas?

Initially, my research interests focused on technology more than its uses. As I became more immersed in the field, my interests evolved to focus more on how we engage with technology. Currently, I am fascinated with how people attempt to recreate the essential elements of face-to-face interactions in a sparse, technology mediated environment. My questions revolve around ideas of if there are essential interaction elements that are common across the two environments, and what might essential interaction elements might look like in a technology rich environment.

What are some other evolving research trends you have observed in your industry/field over the past several months and what would you say are some of the innovative research directions you foresee in the future? How do you feel your publication sets the pace for these innovations?

The community of inquiry (CoI) framework developed by Garrison, Anderson & Archer (2000) is a foundational element in how I think about online learning. Garrison has taken this idea further to expand on the separate elements and how they interact to create meaningful learning. I think work like theirs and that of others has helped the field of digital learning grow to focus more on how technology is engaged than on the “flashiness” aspects of various technologies. As ideas of how technologies can support new ways of interaction emerge, how to leverage these new engagement pathways in teaching and learning become essential. Our publication(s) collect and present important ideas around emerging technologies and thinking as a resource and a repository for educators and education researchers.

What has your experience been like publishing with IGI Global?

My experiences publishing with IGI Global have been wonderful. There are a wide range of challenges associated with creating a compendium of research. From the initial call for proposals, through collecting and editing the many chapters, to producing the final, finished copy, IGI has been there as a source of support and reassurance. The editors we have worked with have been knowledgeable and professional in all our interactions. Additionally, they are quick to respond, willing to work with us as we stumble through our work, and have been an asset throughout the experience. I can’t recommend working with IGI Global enough.
We would like to thank Dr. Henry Gillow-Wiles for sharing his research on education, community, teaching, and learning.
Dr. Henry Gillow-Wiles’s publications, Handbook of Research on Teacher Education in the Digital Age (2 Volumes) and the recently released Handbook of Research on TPACK in the Digital Age, are available through IGI Global’s world-renowned InfoSci-Books database, a database of over 4,500+ reference books containing nearly 100,000 chapters with over 1,000,000+ citations. Offered as low as US$ 8,580 US$ 6,435*, this database hosts key features such as full book download, no DRM, unlimited simultaneous users, and no embargo of content (research is available months in advance of the print release). Spanning across 350+ topics in 11 core subject areas — including business and management, computer science, education, engineering, social sciences and humanities, and more — this comprehensive research database is ideal for academic and research institutions.

Additionally, when institutions invest in IGI Global’s InfoSci-Books and/or InfoSci-Journals (185+ e-journals) databases, they can take advantage of IGI Global’s Open Access (OA) Fee Waiver Initiative. Through this initiative, IGI Global matches the library’s investment with a fund of equal value to go towards subsidizing the OA article processing charges (APCs) for their faculty patrons at that institution when their work is accepted under OA into an IGI Global journal.**

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of IGI Global.
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