Betül C. Czerkawski
Managing Editor, ITET
Starting in September 2012 and continuing to the present, the Deep Play Research Group at Michigan State University (MSU), led by Punya Mishra, has published a series of columns in TechTrends. This series, "Rethinking Technology, Creativity & Learning in the 21st Century", discusses a new way of thinking about educational technology and our field's contribution to creativity as a an essential 21st century thinking skill. The Deep Play Research Group frames its discussions with the trans-disciplinary nature of STEM disciplines, emerging 21st century learning environments and the imperatives of technology (Mishra & Henriksen, 2013). We find their perspective refreshing, solidly grounded in theory and highly needed. Issue after issue we have waited for them to submit their perspective on various aspects of creativity as trans-disciplinary habits of mind. Our intention here is not to inform you about another journal's contents but rather to inspire thought about research groups and their roles in advancing educational technology research.
The Deep Play Group and their work at MSU remind us of the Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt (CTGV), which developed The Jasper Woodbury Problem Solving Series of interactive videodisc programs in the late 1990s. Following Seymour Papert's (1980) seminal book, Mindstorms: Children, Computers and Powerful Ideas, which popularized educational computing as a field, CTGV's Jasper series were a milestone in intelligent learning environments using the power of digital educational technologies. We find the Deep Play Research Group's creativity-centered research exciting because of its potential to become another milestone in the field as we as we transition from teaching 20th century to 21st century skills.
MSU is not the only university that has invested seriously in assembling such research groups. Arizona State University's Center for Games and Impact, SRI International's Center for Technology in Learning and Athabasca University's Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute are also conducting important research in educational technology using research groups. As individual scholars, we connect with our colleagues to conduct more comprehensive and powerful research while also closely following larger research groups' work. We strongly hope that ITET will become a publishing and discussion platform for both individual and group researchers.
Betül and Gene
Mishra, P. & Henriksen, D. (2013, September/October). Rethinking technology & creativity in the 21st century. TechTrends. 57 (5). 10-13.
Papert, S. (1980). Mindstorms: Children, Computers and Powerful Ideas. New York, NY: Basic Books