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Intelligent classrooms and smart software: Teaching and learning in today’s university


The use of information and communication technologies in higher education is surrounded by contradictory, yet interrelated themes, that suggest that education is either experiencing a revolution or approaching its own demise. Undoubtedly, technologies are becoming embedded in academic life but patterns of adoption are more complex and nuanced than polarized themes suggest. The extreme polarity of a ‘promises and fears’ spectrum is unable to fully account for why this is the case; neither can it be explained by economics, demographics, or the technology. This article argues that one of the most significant variables in the deployment of and adaptation to information technologies in the university is academic culture. In other words, unless we consider academic culture we cannot fully capture the relationship of technologies to education.

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  1. See, for example, Stacey and Gerbic 2007

  2. Some of these activities students would do on their own (read an article or take a quiz) and some in groups (wikis, Facebook) The inclusion of these online activities would allow class time to be spent on dialogue and quizzes can improve the learner’s completion rates for advanced readings (Siemens and Tittenberger 2009:16).

  3. For a discussion on proposed taxonomies for learning see for example, LaSere and Strommer 1991.

  4. The measure for relational capital included four responses that students chose from: “The forum owner is my friend, The forum owner acknowledges my contribution, The forum owner offers to contribute in my forum in return for my contribution, I was personally invited to contribute” (Cheung et al. 2008:38)

  5. This is a classroom that is used in conventional teaching but operates in a similar fashion as a reactive video conferencing room, where presentation technologies are installed and augmented with sensors and computers for processing and controlling. For full details see∼jer/research/eclass

  6. For an general introduction to Web 2.0 and how it relates to learning, see for example,. E-learning 2.0 By Stephen Downes, National Research Council of Canada

  7. Emphasis is in the original email response from the respondent after the face-to-face interview.

  8. See for example, Huntsberger & Stavitsky (2007)

  9. I for one am saying “enough”. I suggest that it is time for us to reclaim control of our lives from intrusive technology and the obvious starting point for me is email. As such, I provide here, my email policy: I check my incoming email at most once per day, usually in the morning, and then turn it off. Since I receive anywhere from 20 to 100 messages per day, I cannot read every one in detail and will likely respond to very few. If you have not received a reply from me within about a week, you probably will not receive one at all. This does not mean I don’t value your communication, but am simply overwhelmed, and this is my coping mechanism.

  10. see

  11. For a description and explanation of levels of learning and appropriate instructional strategies see for example, Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (Bloom 1956) and “A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy: An overview”. Theory into Practice, Vol. 41, N. 4, pg. 212–218.

  12. Interview conducted in French and English, this quote was translated from the French by the author.

  13. For an extended development of the constructivist view of knowledge from an education perspective see, for example, Windschitl, M. 2002. “Framing constructivism in practice as the cultural negotiation of dilemmas: an analysis of the conceptual, pedagogical, cultural and political challenges facing teachers”. Review of Educational Research, 72 (20), 131–175.


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Correspondence to Maria José M. Ferreira.

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Ferreira, M.J.M. Intelligent classrooms and smart software: Teaching and learning in today’s university. Educ Inf Technol 17, 3–25 (2012).

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