Matt Bower’s new book, Design of Technology-Enabled Learning: Integrating Research and Practice, published by Emerald, is an excellent introductory text on educational technology theory, research, and scholarly practice. The book provides an excellent grounding in theory, drawing on foundational learning theories, ideas from cognitive psychology, seminal taxonomies and key concepts such as technology affordances. However, the stance on theory is inherently practical, with explicit connection to the practice of educational design and teaching in a technology rich context.
The publication of the book is timely, as it includes a comprehensive and critical coverage of many of the ideas that have occupied the attention of researchers and experienced practitioners in recent years, including the TPACK framework, the ‘digital natives’ debate, and the idea of connectivism as a new learning theory. Many of the applications of new technologies given attention within the book are those predicted by futurists to be important in coming years, including mobile, social media and virtual world technologies.
The book contains citations to key relevant literature throughout, including seminal theoretical publications and key research publications providing the evidence base for the design ideas presented. The reference list alone would make the book a vital source for any new research students in educational technology.
In addition to providing an excellent summary of the key educational technology research and implications for practice, the book also contains numerous original categorisations, taxonomies, visual representations and abstractions of ideas which will provide an excellent scaffold for learning designers trying to digest the material for use within their practice. Most importantly, the later chapters also provide explicit advice drawn from key learning design theorists to help teachers and designers to navigate a pathway from educational objectives to contemporary technology-enabled learning designs.
I would recommend this book as a foundational text for anybody commencing educational technology research, scholarly reflection on technology-enabled teaching, or learning design practice.