For three decades and more, we’ve heard educators and technologists making a case for the transformative power of technology in learning. However, despite the rhetoric, in many sites and many ways education is still relatively untouched by technology. Even when technologies are introduced, the changes sometimes seem insignificant and the results disappointing. If the print textbook is replaced by an e-book, do the social relations of knowledge and learning necessarily change, at all or even for the better? If the pen-and-paper test is mechanized, does this change the nature of our assessment systems?
Technology, in other words, need not necessarily bring significant change or even represent a step forward in education. We propose ‘seven affordances’ of e-learning ecologies which open out genuine possibilities for what we call a ‘New Learning’ – transformative, twenty-first century learning. These affordances, if recognized and harnessed, will prepare learners for success in a world that is increasingly dominated by digital information flows, and tools for communication in the workplace, public spaces and personal life.