About the Encyclopedia

This encyclopedia is a living volume that provides an entry point for learning about the educational technology field and that evolves over time with additional contributions and resources. Representing the perspectives of educational technology researchers, instructors, designers, developers, and practitioners throughout the world, it includes short, focused articles on foundational topics ranging from learning and design concepts to emerging technologies to policies shaping the future of educational technology. Each article is peer-reviewed and intended to provide an expert and up-to-date understanding of the topic, while also providing a space for community contributors to share helpful resources related to the topic.

Call for Proposals

EdTechnica is currently accepting proposals for new encyclopedia articles on topics of interest to the educational technology community. This is an open and living volume intended to have wide impact and broad reach to practitioners and scholars throughout the world.


In this encyclopedia, we use the term “Educational Technology” broadly and inclusively to encompass any professional practices, research projects, areas of inquiry, or professional communities that work at the intersection of teaching/learning and technology.

Organizational Structure

EdTechnica seeks to be a democratic, efficient, egalitarian, and ethical organization that allows educational technology professionals to harmoniously work together for the common good. It also seeks to be an open and transparent organization that welcomes individuals with diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

Author Guide

This encyclopedia utilizes a blend of traditional and new approaches to editing and publishing. Contributing authors should leverage diverse expertise to create a resource that is of the greatest possible value to the field.

As a peer-reviewed volume, the encyclopedia is designed to ensure the publication of articles of the highest quality and practical use to the field. As an open encyclopedia, the educational technology community should continually suggest improvements to existing articles in the form of revisions, updates, and supplements. And as a living resource, editors and authors should seek to continuously improve content, processes, and user experiences.

Graphics and Styling

This encyclopedia seeks to provide a uniform aesthetic and user experience and uses a basic style guide to ensure that visuals follow a common theme between articles. Beyond generic APA 7 formatting required of all submissions, the Editorial Board employs the efforts of graphic designers and other professionals to make all visual content elements follow the EdTechnica Style Guide. This provides a sense of unity and an important level of production quality to all materials published in the encyclopedia.

Submit a Manuscript

EdTechnica uses an open call for submissions. However, to help authors to know what topics we are interested in receiving and to facilitate collaboration between prospective authors, we provide this Article Planning Sheet for anyone to view. Additionally, if you would like to propose a term/topic or would like to commit to writing an article, please contact the editors at editor@edtechnica.org.

Reviewer Guide

This page provides guided instructions on how reviews should be conducted on new submissions and major revisions that are being considered for the encyclopedia. Submissions are only sent out for review after an initial editorial review has been conducted to ensure general content and stylistic alignment with the encyclopedia.

Policy Information

The information on this page is provided primarily for the benefit of Editorial Board members to assist in the administration and future development of the encyclopedia.

Author List

This page provides a list of all authors who have published entries in the encyclopedia.

Author Demographics

One of EdTechnica's goals is to ensure that knowledge about educational technology is informed by diverse voices and perspectives. As part of this goal, we seek to ensure that our articles include the perspectives of historically marginalized groups in the field, such as women and professionals outside the U.S. This dashboard provides a quick, up-to-date view of author demographic information across all of our articles to help ensure transparency and track our progress.


The educational technology field relies upon many abbreviations (e.g., acronyms, initialisms) in both technical literature and common language that may be difficult for novices to decipher. This page provides a simple key for interpreting many common abbreviations that community members are likely to encounter.

Blended Teaching

Blended teaching involves the strategic combination of instruction in two different modalities: online and in-person (Graham, 2021). This article addresses the question of why instructors choose to teach in a blended modality. It also addresses seven common challenges to student engagement that intentional blended strategies can help to overcome. A few practical examples of strategic blends are provided. Finally, two research-based competency frameworks are shared to help blended instructors increase their awareness and self-evaluation of core pedagogical skills for effective blended teaching.

Decision-based Learning

Decision-based learning (DBL) is a teaching method that organizes instruction around the conditional knowledge that guides experts’ decision-making processes. An expert unpacks how they make decisions in the given domain to create an expert decision model, which can be represented visually. Students use the model to guide them through real-world problems or scenarios. Instruction is available at each decision point. Soon, students must perform without the model’s help. Appropriate use of DBL helps students function in the domain and lays a necessary foundation for understanding and applying underlying theories of the discipline.


Microcredentials (or micro-credentials) are the records of the learning outcomes that a learner has acquired following a small volume of learning, which is assessed against transparent and clearly defined criteria (European Commission, 2022). While there is no global consensus on the definition of a microcredential, the above definition adopted by all EU Member States goes beyond the bottom-up movement of issuing open badges. It distinguishes microcredentials as (digital) proofs of meeting defined learning outcomes that are assessed, quality-assured, and verified by a trusted body. Moreover, microcredentials are expected to provide metadata transparently showing the learner’s identity, awarding body, date of issue, study hours needed to achieve the learning outcomes (including credit value and level if applicable), type of assessment, and form of participation. While other terms are often used interchangeably to refer to microcredentials (e.g., digital badges, digital credentials, online certificates, alternative credentials, nano-degrees, micromasters, master tracks, and specializations), they do not always meet the above requirements. Importantly, the definition in this paper, which draws on contemporary international developments in the area, positions microcredentials as a core feature of the 21st-century credentialing ecosystem where they can be stackable or combinable with other verified qualifications or used on their own as evidence of learning.

Open Educational Resources

Open educational resources (OER) are copyrightable works useful for educational purposes that exist in the public domain or under a copyright license that provides free and perpetual permission to retain, revise, remix, reuse, and redistribute (collectively known as the “5R Activities''). The term “Open Educational Resources” was originally coined at a 2002 Forum on Open Courseware organized by the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO; UNESCO, 2002). OER comprise the foundational component of the broader concept of Open Education and may include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, videos, tests, and any other copyrightable physical or digital tools or materials used to support access to knowledge (Hewlett Foundation, 2022). Creative Commons provides the most commonly used legal schema for granting an open license to a copyrightable educational resource (Creative Commons, 2020a, 2020b; Kimmons, 2018). Instructional techniques that utilize or rely on OER are generally classified as Open Educational Pedagogy, Open Educational Practices, or OER-Enabled Pedagogy (Wiley, 2013, 2015, 2017).

Open Pedagogy

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Open pedagogy is a set of teaching practices built on the foundation of the open education community’s shared values, including but not limited to student agency, sharing, diversity and inclusion, peer learning, renewable assignments, co-creation/collaboration, and active/experiential learning. Though there is a lack of consensus around the definition of open pedagogy, it most often refers to student involvement in the development of course content in the form of renewable assignments or the creation or adaptation of open educational resources (OER). The practice of open pedagogy may result in or overlap with OER-enabled pedagogy and open educational practices.

Personalized Learning

Personalized learning is an instructional strategy that tailors instruction to learners’ unique backgrounds, interests, abilities, or needs, and commonly includes the prescription that learners have some voice and choice (i.e., agency) in such tailoring. Personalized learning is not a new strategy, though it has seen a rise in popularity in research and practice since the turn of the 21st century. Personalized learning has also seen a variety of descriptions and implementations since the turn of the 21st century. Various definitions of personalized learning have required the pedagogy to include some semblance of mastery-based learning, strong connections between learners or others included in the instruction, engaging instruction, and/or individual learning plans for each learner. There has also been a demand to describe personalized learning by including a more detailed awareness of what learning is being personalized, how it is being personalized, who controls the personalization, and what data informs the personalization.


Phenomenology is the contemplative study of human experience. It refers to a philosophical framework as well as a methodology that can inform educational practice and research. It seeks to reveal and understand how phenomena may be experienced as they are actually lived in the everyday world, or what some phenomenologists refer to as the lifeworld. Phenomenological philosophy suggests that everything in the lifeworld is inextricably connected in a social context, and so phenomenology aims to be more attentive to such meaningful connections—or intentional relations—within lived experiences and to illuminate them as a means to deeply understand the experience of the phenomenon under focus. Phenomenology can support all aspects of education by increasing sensitivity toward the many processes and practices it involves. When used as a naturalistic research methodology with qualitative methods of data collection and analysis, it can provide authentic insight for educators to use educational technologies in ethical and socially responsible ways.

Professional Learning Networks

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Professional learning networks (PLNs) are uniquely crafted and dynamic learning ecosystems, consisting of people, spaces, and tools that meet an educator’s professional needs, interests, and goals (Trust et al., 2016). They serve as a means through which people grow in aspects of their professions. The people within a PLN are individuals who provide career-based feedback, advice, ideas, emotional support, and/or mentoring (Krutka et al., 2017; Trust et al., 2016). The spaces within a PLN are physical, digital, and hybrid places that support or enable professional knowledge building with and from others, such as conferences, workshops, webinars, Twitter chats, unconferences, Reddit forums, and massive open online courses (Trust & Prestridge, 2021). The tools within a PLN are physical resources (e.g., books, curriculum materials) and digital technologies (e.g., Internet search databases, social bookmarking tools, blogs) that are used to access, curate, construct, and disseminate professional knowledge (Trust et al., 2018). Taken together, the people, spaces, and tools within a PLN can support ongoing professional learning and growth for individuals in any academic or organizational context.


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PICRAT is a technology integration model for teacher education intended to assist teachers in improving their classroom practices. PICRAT (Kimmons et al., 2020; see Figure 1) has two parts representing two guiding questions: PIC and RAT. The PIC part responds to the question “What is the student’s relationship to the technology” with one of three responses: Passive, Interactive, or Creative. The RAT (Hughes et al., 2006) part responds to the question “How is the use of technology influencing the teacher’s existing practice” with one of three responses: Replacement, Amplification, or Transformation. Answers to these two questions are organized into a 3x3 visual matrix (with PR on the bottom left and CT on the top-right; see Figure 1). Practices are interpreted hierarchically with more active, more effective, and better-justified classroom technology practices generally occurring at the top-right of the matrix.


The Replacement, Amplification, Transformation (RAT) framework is a technology integration model and assessment tool that instructors can use to critically consider how their integration of technology in their classrooms serves their students and themselves. Originally developed by Dr. Joan Hughes in 1998, the RAT model aimed to study how teachers developed and integrated technology for teaching, learning, and curriculum development (Hughes, 2022). Hughes, Thomas, & Scharber (2006) further positioned the model as a framework for self-assessing technology integration "as a means to some pedagogical and curricular end." In her RAT Question Guide (2022), Hughes provides suggestions for extending this self-assessment to the school/district level. There are three primary purposes for technology integration outlined within the framework: to Replace existing, often non-digital, practices; to Amplify existing practices; and to Transform teaching, learning, and curricular goal development through digital practices.


Self-Efficacy is grounded in Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory (1977, 1986) and is the belief that motivation to learn as a student, or acquire new teaching strategies as a teacher, is based on two variables: (1) the belief that one can successfully learn and apply the subject and (2) the belief that there is a positive outcome from the learning. Self-efficacy theory is robust in that it applies to all disciplines and behaviors. To achieve maximum student learning, educators must be attuned to the self-efficacy levels of their students as well as their own levels. Research by Hickman (1993, 2019), DeMoulin (1993), and Ashton (1985) have drawn clear correlations between levels of self-efficacy and student achievement. For faculty, self-efficacy is related to openness in acquiring new strategies, adopting technological innovations, avoiding burnout, and remaining current in their fields (Hickman & Sherman, 2019).


The Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) Framework describes the types of knowledge required by teachers for the successful and effective integration of technology in teaching. The most current representation of the framework is in the form of a three-circle Venn diagram within a larger circle. At the center are three partially overlapping circles representing three key knowledge domains: Content Knowledge (CK), Pedagogical Knowledge (PK) and Technological Knowledge (TK). The fourth circle (typically shown as a dotted line) encompasses the three overlapping circles and represents Contextual Knowledge (XK). Most importantly, the TPACK framework proposes that effective integration of technology in teaching requires the integration of the four TPACK knowledge domains—a form of knowledge greater than the knowledge of each of these domains in isolation. It is, instead, a recognition and deep understanding that these knowledge domains exist in tension with each other and that effective technology integration requires finding the right balance that connects the affordances of the technology with the requirements of the content and the pedagogical approaches given a particular educational context.