Bulletin of the Technical Committee on Learning Technology (ISSN: 2306-0212)
Volume 21, Number 1, 1 (2021)
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Authors: Maiga Chang, Rita Kuo, Jun Chen Hsieh, Jerry Chih-Yuan Sun, Danial Hooshyar, Ahmed Tlili

COVID-19 pandemic is the challenge for all of us in 2020. It also makes the learning technology important to help teachers and students overcome this crisis while most of the schools were shut down from March 2020. After a year passes, the technology has been proved for supporting teachers teaching the courses online or in hybrid mode as well as students interacting with their friends.

The Bulletin of Technical Committee on Learning Technology was resumed last year during the pandemic. The editorial board was reformed in June 2020 and published the first issue in September 2020. The current submission statistics show that authors receive the first decision notification in average 23.91 days, and for the accepted articles the authors get the acceptance notification in average 43.04 days. The accepted articles are published online in average 70.75 days after they were submitted. The associate editors and executive reviewers have worked hard in recruiting articles that can help teachers and provide high-quality reviews for them; the managing editors monitor the submission process and ensure all articles following the guidelines and publish the articles for open access in both PDF and Web forms in a timely manner. Without their efforts, the bulletin cannot resume and publish high quality articles as valuable resource for teachers and researchers and help them during the pandemic.

In 2021, the bulletin aims to keep serving as a channel and reliable resource to deliver the most up-to-date information in learning technology area. After the rigorous review process, six articles were selected to publish in this issue, including two articles in Emerging Learning Technology, one article in Book & Report Reviews, one article in Collaboration Opportunities, and two articles in Event Info & Call for Event Host.

The first article, entitled “A historic site and museum guide system based on wearable mixed reality: effects on students’ situational interest,” in Emerging Learning Technology was written by Chin and Wang. This work presents a mixed reality (MR)-based wearable guide system which helps students learn MR virtual materials about a historic site in northern Taiwan. With the wearable guide system, students can use hand gesture to control, such as switch screens and dragging materials, in their learning pace. The results indicated that the proposed system positively increased learners’ situational interest.

The second article in the Emerging Learning Technology section is “Smartzoos – Learning through creating artifacts with mobile learning application,” written by Mettis and Väljataga. The article presents the design of the SmartZoos, a mobile application for creating outdoor learning tracks. Students can follow a premade learning track by solving the tasks retrieved from the repository; they can also create a new track by selecting activities from repository or design new activity items to form a meaningful track. The authors evaluated students’ and teachers’ experiences with activities that were carried out at the zoo, using the proposed mobile application. Both articles provide innovative applications for learning through technologies, which are useful for the relevant researchers.

In Book & Report Reviews section, the article reviews the content of a book, entitled “Blockchain Technology Application in Education,” and discusses the connection between chapters of the book. It offers a very interesting and educational overview of the book, followed by assessment of its content and some suggestions. Such brief review on the emerging technology of Blockchain could help readers in the field of education to have a clear vision on how such technology can be employed to improve education.

The article published in the Collaboration Opportunities section aims to increase the students’ interaction and immersiveness through the use of Virtual Reality (VR). Specifically, it develops virtual immersive experiences using real-world content (360-degree media), synthetic content (computer-generated), or a mix of these two to help Indian students learn about historical areas, such as Great Buddha Statue Raj Ghat Smadhi of Mahatma Gandhi. The authors further call for collaborations to increase the usability of their applications by making it a cross-platform or by also using it with different learning scenarios, including while using digital open textbooks.

Two important international events are introduced in the Event Info & Call for Event Host section. The first one is the 21st IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT 2021), an annual conference organized by IEEE Computer Society and IEEE Technical Committee on Learning Technology. The conference aims to bring together people interested in the design, development, use and evaluation of technologies that could be potential foundations for future e-learning systems and technology enhanced learning environments. Being held online (July 12-15, 2021 in GMT), ICALT 2021 features 13 tracks as well as Doctoral Consortium on various thematic topics and serves as an effective venue for researchers around the world to get inspired.

As an annual international forum for researchers, practitioners and policy makers in the Chinese communities for the worldwide dissemination, Global Chinese Conference on Computers in Education (GCCCE) provides a channel aiming at sharing of research ideas addressing computers in education. GCCCE 2021, jointly organized by The Education University of Hong Kong, Beijing Normal University, National Taiwan Normal University, and National Institute of Education, Singapore, will be held in a blended mode on September 11-15, 2021 in GMT+8. With nine theme-based sub-conferences, GCCCE 2021 welcomes submission (full paper, short paper, and poster) in English as well as Chinese in the field of computers in education.

Finally, the editorial board wishes the readers and their family stay safe and healthy. We will maintain the article quality of the bulletin and deliver the most recent learning technology information to our readers in 2021.