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Educational technologists usually appeal to psychological theories rather than technological opportunity to motivate the introduction of new approaches to support learning. In this paper we list key developments over the past fifty years and distinguish approaches that have a convincing theoretical base from those that were really driven by ease of access to interactive computing facilities. We then look at the recent impact of new technologies on individual and group student learning. We take a strong position that we now have new topologies for learning which have no direct analogues in past educational practice. These positive educational developments are occurring because of relatively cheap access to almost ubiquitous computing and because of the maturity of a range of artificial intelligence derived search and indexing mechanisms that are now easy to use. We consider the barriers to effective deployment of these new approaches by educational institutions, paying particular attention to the need to devise new approaches to formative and summative assessment.
Date of Conference: 18-20 July 2007