Guest editorial

Publication Date11 November 2019
AuthorNaresh Kumar Agarwal,Kathleen Campana
SubjectLibrary & information science,Librarianship/library management,Library & information services
Guest editorial
Insights into learning in low-tech, information-rich environments: editorial
Technology has brought about immense benets to learning, pedagogy and human
communication andconnectivity. Countries across the world have been expendingresources
to infuse their learning environments across colleges, universities, schools and other
institutions with information and communication technologies. In this process, the term
high-tech has become prevalent as a desirable facet when applied to different aspects,
including in learning and pedagogy. However, high-tech may not always be possible, and
may not always be desirable either. In such cases, the term low-tech comes to the forefront.
Low-tech refers to environmentsthat incorporate mostly analog, non-digital materialsalong
with limited digital technologies for use (Knudson and Wallace, 2019;Nicol et al., 2018). In
many developing as well as in some developedcountries, there is a high prevalence of digital
divide, with a portion of the population left out of the technological and infrastructure
growth. Many schools, colleges and universities in these regions may lack even basic
infrastructure, with little to varying degrees of effective technological infrastructure.
Internet connections may be slow or even non-existent. Computers, even if present, may not
have been updated in several years. Even in cases where the latest technological
infrastructure is present e.g. in countries such as Japan, USA, South Korea, Germany and
Singapore, people might struggle with too much technology use, where a lot of people are
constantly glued to their phone or computer screens. In such environments and to ght
technology addiction, some people are advocating creating technology free zones in their
school, home, workor meeting spaces (Powers, 2010;Turkle, 2016).
This special issue presents articles focused on research in the area of learning and
pedagogy in low-tech environments. This special issue emerged from the Asia-Pacic
Regional Conference of the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T)
in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in January 2019that focused on Effective Learning in Low-Tech
Information Environments.We wanted to transform this topic into a special issue because of
the importance of low-tech environments for learning in many developing countries, rural
areas, and with specic populations. Also, as discussed above, low-tech learning
environments may become more important in the futurebecause of the emerging pushback
against the pervasivenessof high-tech in our daily lives. We sought high-quality,innovative
articles that addressed conceptual, empirical, and theoretical issuesaround learning in low-
tech, information-rich environments. We would like to thank John Marino from the
University of North Texas who was a great collaboratorat this stage, and Sam Chu from the
University of Hong Kong and Rebecca Reynoldsfrom Rutgers University for inviting us to
edit the special issue. Topicsof interest includedin the call for papers were:
The current landscape of learning in low-tech information environments;
Implementation of high-tech information and technological strategies in low-tech
Pedagogical approaches, models, and theories for effective learning in low-tech
Learning in formal and informal low-tech settings;
Strategies and challenges for learning in low-tech information environments;
Evaluation and assessment of learning in low-tech environments;
Guest editorial
Informationand Learning
Vol.120 No. 11/12,
pp. 681-686
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/ILS-11-2019-141

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