Two Washington State University professors have won the Society of Professors of Education’s outstanding book award for 2020.

Last year, A.G. Rud, a distinguished professor of cultural studies and social thought in education, and Sola Adesope, a professor of educational psychology, released Contemporary Technologies in Education: Maximizing Student Engagement, Motivation, and Learning, published by Palgrave McMillan.

Rud said the book aims to outline various technologies and how they are used in education including the flipped classroom, social media, Massive Open Online Course, Serious Educational Games and wikis, along with other subject areas.

The Society of Professors of Education has a stated purpose “to provide a forum for consideration of major issues, tasks, problems, and challenges confronting professional educators.”

Closeup of A.G. Rud
A.G. Rud

Adesope said that the topics in the book aligned well with SPE’s purpose. These included identifying common areas of research and then building on them to advance the use of technologies for facilitating student engagement, motivation, and learning.

Rud said the book also provides an overview of the current state of learning analytics as an emerging technology in education and discusses the central theoretical, methodological, and practical issues in the field.

“It’s not just the new technologies that come along, though they are very important,” Rud said. “One of the things that the thinkers in this book do is try to come up with methodological ways of understanding how we can benefit from those technologies.”

Educational technologies are always evolving.

A point that stood out in the book is that technologies in and of themselves can’t help students learn.

Closeup of Sola Adesope
Sola Adesope

“When you walk into a grocery store, and you see the grocery delivery vehicles, it doesn’t make your diet nutritious by just looking at the delivery vehicle,” Adesope said. “You have to get into the grocery store and pick those vegetables, mix the good foods together in the right way, to have really good food on your table.

“That’s the mistake many people make: the thought that they can just get the latest advances in technology and then students will learn. No! We have to have the right tools, but we also have to have the right pedagogy, the right methods, and the right learning strategies behind those technologies to actually help students learn.”