Michael Spector, Regents Professor











PhD, University of Texas, 1978

  • Major: Philosophy
  • Degree Specialization: Epistemology
  • Dissertation Title: Skepticism in Modern Philosophy

BS, United States Air Force Academy, 1967

  • Major: International Affairs

Research Interests

J. Michael Spector's recent research is in the areas of intelligent support for instructional design, system dynamics based learning environments, assessing learning in complex domains, distance learning, and technology integration in education. Dr. Spector served on the International Board of Standards for Training, Performance and Instruction (IBSTPI) as Executive Vice President; he is on the Executive Committee of the IEEE Learning Technology Technical Committee and is Past-President of the Association for Educational and Communications Technology (AECT). He has been the editor for over a decade of the Development Section of Educational Technology Research & Development, and he serves on numerous other editorial boards. He co-edited the third and fourth editions of the Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology, is the lead editor of the Encyclopedia of Educational Technology, and has more than 125 journal articles, book chapters and books to his credit. Dr. Spector helped develop memoranda of understanding and now serving as a visiting research professor from UNT at three international universities: Beijing Normal University-Smart Learning Institute, East China Normal University-Department of Education Information Technology, and the India Institute of Technology-Kharagpur-Centre for Educational Technology. His current research project with the NetDragon Digital Research Centre at UNT uses games and mobile devices to support the development of inquiry and critical thinking skills of young children.



Notable Publications

  • Recent Books​

    • Motivation, Learning, and Technology: Embodied Educational Motivation (2018). Published by Routledge - New York.
      Summary: Motivation, Learning, and Technology is a fresh, thorough, and practical introduction to motivational research, theories, and applications for learning and instruction. Written for both instructional designers and teachers, this foundational textbook combines learning design and learning technologies, synthesis of current research and models, and practical advice for those looking to improve how they motivate learners. Building from existing models in an interactional, holistic approach, J. Michael Spector and Seung Won Park guide readers through all steps of educational motivation, from designing a motivation plan through implementation and assessment.

    • The SAGE Encyclopedia of Educational Technology (2015). Published by Sage Publications - Thousand Oaks, CA.
      Summary: The SAGE Encyclopedia of Educational Technology examines information on leveraging the power of technology to support teaching and learning. While using innovative technology to educate individuals is certainly not a new topic, how it is approached, adapted, and used toward the services of achieving real gains in student performance is extremely pertinent. This two-volume encyclopedia explores such issues, focusing on core topics and issues that will retain relevance in the face of perpetually evolving devices, services, and specific techniques. As technology evolves and becomes even more low-cost, easy-to-use, and more accessible, the education sector will evolve alongside it. For instance, issues surrounding reasoning behind how one study has shown students retain information better in traditional print formats are a topic explored within the pages of this new encyclopedia.

    • Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology (4th Ed.) (2014)Published by Springer - New York. 
      Summary: The 4th edition of the Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology expands upon the previous 3 versions, providing a comprehensive update on research pertaining to new and emerging educational technologies. Chapters that are no longer pertinent have been eliminated in this edition, with most chapters being completely rewritten, expanded, and updated Additionally, new chapters pertaining to research methodologies in educational technology have been added due to expressed reader interest. Each chapter now contains an extensive literature review, documenting and explaining the most recent, outstanding research, including major findings and methodologies employed.    The Handbook authors continue to be international leaders in their respective fields; the list is cross-disciplinary by design and great effort was taken to invite authors outside of the traditional instructional design and technology community.     

  • Recent Journal Article​

    • The Potential of Smart Technologies for Learning and Instruction (2018). Published by the International Journal of Smart Technology & Learning.
      Abstract: The field of artificial intelligence has been influencing learning and instruction since the 1980s with the introduction of intelligent tutoring systems. Since then, advances in artificial intelligence, cognitive psychology, instructional design, and learning science have occurred along with the introduction of powerful new technologies, including dynamic assessment and feedback mechanisms, highly interactive mobile devices, and internet-based repositories of resources to support learning and instruction. This paper provides an overview of smart technologies in education and their potential for the future.