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TM

Volume 5, Issue 1 January - March 2003

This issue is co-sponsored by:


Academy for Educational Development
and The World Bank

The contents of this Issue do not necessarily reflect the policies or the views of the co-sponsors or their affiliates

Thematic Focus: Technologies and Learning

5 Is Instructional Technology a Must for Learning?


Wadi D. Haddad, Editor

The integration of modern ICTs into the teaching/learning process has great potential to enhance learning. In
addition, ICTs, although expensive, may be the best investment to make acceptable levels of learning
affordable for all students anywhere.

7 Brain Research, Learning, and Technology


Laurence Wolff, Inter-American Development Bank

Brain research is beginning to shed light on fundamental questions about human learning. This article
highlights recent research on the brain and its implications for education, learning and technology.

10 Does This Stuff Work? A Review of Technology Used to Teach


J.D. Fletcher, Institute for Defense Analyses

This article reviews the effectiveness of technology-based instruction in terms of instructional effectiveness,
time savings, cost reduction, individualization, and student attitudes.

15 e-Learning - The New Frontier in the Developing World


Cheick Kante, COO, and Vishal Savani, Director of Business Initiatives, World Links

As technology becomes more and more ubiquitous and affordable, e-learning carries the greatest potential to
train masses in the developing world in anything and everything; e-learning can and will revolutionize learning
in the Southern Hemisphere.

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20 TechKnowNews
CD-ROM Teaching Tool is a Hit with Educator and EMMA Foundation ♦ Using ICTs for Networking
Youth Organizations ♦ Digital Partners Announces SEL Participants for 2002 - 2003 ♦ Classroom
Connect and ATG Provide Education to the Educators ♦ UNICEF Publishes New League Tables on
Education

23 Taming Science Models for Classroom Use


Boris Berenfeld, Dan Damelin, Amy Pallant, Barbara Tinker, Robert Tinker, and Qian Xie, Concord
Consortium

Modeling software that is sufficiently flexible and requires students to interact or construct their own models
can engage students in authentic scientific inquiry and reasoning.

28 Critical Thinking Curriculum Model


Bill Robertson, Project Leader, and Richard Alexander, Science Education Specialists, Los Alamos
National Laboratory

The Critical Thinking Curriculum Model utilizes a multidisciplinary approach that integrates computer
technology with effective learning and teaching practices and provides students and teachers with a process
and an opportunity to address current real world issues.

32 LessonLab: Evolving Teaching into a Profession


Ronald Gallimore and Jim Stigler, University of California, Loas Angeles and LessonLab

Teachers need and want a large, rich, easily accessible knowledge base for teaching that includes vivid
images of alternative teaching practices represented in lesson videos.

35 The West Virginia Story: Technology Advances Learning and Teaching


Soledad MacKinnon, Inter-American Development Bank

This article summarizes a report on the West Virginia Basic Skills/Computer program. This program marks
the first time that a long-term statewide learning technology program has been assessed for effectiveness.

38 Using Technology to Promote Critical Thinking through the Natural Sciences


Sarah S. Thompson, Outreach Coordinator, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Earth Odyssey is a field ecology outreach program in which students explore the biological diversity of their
environment. The goal of this program is to use technology to promote critical thinking through the natural
sciences.

40 Preserving Culture in a Technological Environment


Edna Aphek

The Intergeneration Program and the New Technologies is a program where young students tutor the older
generation at computer and Internet skills while at the same time learning from them a chapter of their
personal history.

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42 Raising Achievement and Lowering Costs with Technology in Higher Education
Gregg B. Jackson, Associate Professor of Education Policy, The George Washington University

The Pew Foundation has been funding a coordinated effort to see if universities can increase the
effectiveness of their large introductory courses while reducing the instructional costs. Three rounds of
grants have been awarded, with ten colleges and universities receiving awards in each round. Final reports
are in from the first round. What do the results indicate?

45 Benchmarking Science Education Software: Less than Meets the Eye


Abha Shrivastava, The George Washington University

This article summarizes the results of a study that examined how well the "best" English language
science education software measures up to the national standards for teaching of science as specified
by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

49 Interactive Television as an Educational Tool: Consumer Satisfaction and Effectiveness


Sonia Jurich, RMC Research Corporation

This article summarizes three research papers published in the past two years on the use of interactive
television for distance higher education. Two of the papers look at consumer satisfaction from the students'
and the faculty's perspective; the third, assesses course effectiveness.

52 Are We Connected? Miscommunication about Internet Connectivity between Countries


in North and in the South
Désiré Baartman, This is a Journey Project

This article is based on research carried out during the realization and implementation of two international
web-based projects for secondary schools in The Netherlands and Zimbabwe and describes the factors that
lead to success as well as pitfalls.

57 Evaluation of e-Learning Engineering Graduate Courses


Katia Tannous and Marta W. Donida, State University of Campinas, Brazil

This article investigates the introduction of a new methodology to evaluate participants in distance education
graduate courses in engineering at the University of Campinas, Brazil.

60 Complexities and Challenges of Integrating Technology into the Curriculum and


Examinations
Joanne Capper

There are a number of educational, economic and societal goals that are more likely to be accomplished with
the use of technology in the teaching and learning process. Such goals are unlikely to be achieved without
ensuring a broad range of conditions that enhance the likelihood of technology use, including the integration
of technology in the curriculum, and even into examinations.

! 3 ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org


64 RxGB: A Low-Tech Prescription for High-Anxiety Among Students and Writing Faculty
Jesse T. Airaudi, Senior Lecturer, Baylor University

This article discusses "RGBing," a method of integrating technology into a writing course. It is easy to do and
promotes effective thinking and writing.

68 Digital Education: The Use of Digital Cameras to Enhance the Learning Experience
Staff

Digital cameras offer teachers unlimited opportunities to engage students and to incorporate technology into
their curriculum. This article describes digital cameras, how they work, what to consider when purchasing
one, and ways to integrate their use into classroom teaching.

70 WorthWhileWebs
Joseph M. Baltrus, University at Albany, State University of New York

WorthWhileWebs focuses on Web sites that are dedicated to technologies and learning and how they affect
the attainment of learning at the various cognitive levels including problem-solving, creativity, critical thinking
synthesis, analysis, and application.

73 WiFi Technology: Creating Affordable Universal Internet Access


Alan Levy, Executive Vice President, Municipal Networks

WiFi technology, also known as Wireless Fidelity, can bring Internet access to a far greater number of
people than current wireless technology, and at a fraction of the cost. This article discusses WiFi technology
in detail and its implications for education and the community.

77 Lifelong Learning in the Global Knowledge Economy: Challenges for Developing


Countries
The World Bank, Human Development Network

This article describes ways by which developing countries and policy makers can reform education to equip
people to deal with the new challenges of a global knowledge-based economy.

! 4 ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org


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Brain Research,
Learning,
and Technology
By Laurence Wolff
Inter-American Development Bank

Advances in Brain Research Figure 2 shows the regions in the brain involved in language
processing and other tasks.
The human brain is perhaps the most complex entity in the
universe. The basic unit of information processing in the Implications for Education and Learning
brain is the neuron, a cell capable of accumulating and
transmitting electrical activity. There are approximately 100 Brain research is beginning to shed light on fundamental, as
billion neurons in a human brain, each of which may be well as, applied questions about human learning. While it is
connected to thousands of others. If mental states are still too early, eventually neuroscientists, educators, and
produced by patterns of neural activity, then “knowledge,” cognitive psychologists will develop a common language,
defined as whatever drives cognitive flow from one mental and a new multidisciplinary science will be born. Aware of
state to another, must be coded in the neural connections, or the importance of this process, the OECD recently
synapses. Figure 1 provides a schematic of the synapses on commissioned a series of meetings and a monograph on the
neuron. subject (OECD, Understanding the Brain). The experts
convened for these meetings predict that critical
The last decade has seen enormous strides in research on neuroscience concepts such as plasticity and periodicity will
how the brain works. Especially through magnetic resonance eventually find a place in education theory and practice.
imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), and Plasticity confirms that brains continue to develop, learn and
other tools, researchers can now identify how different parts change until advanced senility or death intervenes.
of the brain are involved in different mental processes. Periodicity refers to sensitive periods or windows of

! 7 ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org


opportunity when the developing brain is particularly
sensitive to certain stimuli and very ready to learn. Education
systems can be taking advantage of these sensitivities.

One approach to linking learning with neuroscience would be


to identify the serious sensitive periods (periodicity) for the
learning of a variety of subjects and to arrange educational
experiences in accordance with these sensitive periods. This
may be particularly appropriate for language learning. For
example, it has been shown that the sensitive period in which
the brain appears to be hard-wired for language acquisition
appears to be up to age 13. It is far more difficult to master
the grammar of a second language after that age. This result
is at odds with education policies in numerous countries
where second language learning starts at approximately 13
years of age. It suggests that the best way to learn a second
language would be through immersion at a lower age.

Children with dyslexia cannot use the normal brain regions


to decode letters, and have to rely on a different location of
the brain for decoding. Research has recently shown that the
rate of dyslexia in countries such as Italy is half that of the
USA (Dana Foundation, BrainWork, March 2001). This is
apparently a result of the fact that Italian has a "shallow
orthography," meaning that more often than not the same educational interventions, including enriched environments,
letter groups in Italian represent the same sound in the had to be timed with "synaptogenesis," since the more
written language. In contrast, English is considered one of synapses available, and the least pruning, the higher the
the most difficult written languages to master because of its potential for learning. It has now been shown that even in
irregular orthography. The (revolutionary) implication cases of extreme deprivation, such as Romanian orphans,
would be to abandon current English orthography and to rehabilitation is possible. The point of the critique is not to
create a written English language with a regular orthography. condemn early educational interventions but rather to
challenge the claim that the value of early educational
Brain research also confirms that life-long learning is not a intervention is based on a neuro-scientific consensus or brain
dream since it is embedded in the capacity of the brain to imperative.
respond throughout life to environmental demands.
Previously it was thought that brain neurons were lost from Other recent research with implications for learning includes,
birth onwards. Now it is clear that if one does not have a for example, the identification of a gene in mice that
specific disease, then most, if not all, of the neurons remain assembles a particular molecule in the brain that affects
healthy until death (USC). In fact, while the ability to master learning, and manipulation of this molecule to produce
grammar appears to accrue best at a younger age, vocabulary “brainier mice” (Tsien). Research has also shown that men
learning continues throughout life. and women display patterns of behavior and cognition that
reflect hormonal influences on brain development (Kimura).
Recent brain research has also served to disprove a number Another area of critical importance is that of emotional
of popular assumptions, or "neuro-myths," about the brain intelligence. When some areas of the brain critical for
and learning (OECD, Understanding the Brain, pp. 69-73). emotional and social judgments are compromised,
For example, it had been argued that the brain was plastic individuals can lose their social judgment even while
only or mainly during ages 1-3. This misconception is a keeping their IQ. The implications for schooling as well as
result of the fact that the number of synapses grows for society at a whole are potentially revolutionary.
enormously during this period, continuing and finally ending
around the time of adulthood. It has now been shown that Can "technology fixes" eventually improve learning? The
learning is a combination not only of increased neural simple answer is yes, since it is already happening. Within
connections but also "selective pruning," which is known to the next century there could well be a pill or a tiny implant
be a normal and necessary process of growth and that could be inserted into the brain and suddenly enable
development, explicitly designed to reduce the brain's energy someone to speak fluent French or do advanced calculus
requirements (R. Wolff). The "neuro-myth" was that (Dana Foundation, Brain Work, May-June 2002). There will

! 8 ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org


certainly be interventions to improve memory and there including even insights from quantum theory, in order to
already are many drugs that improve emotional functioning. understand better consciousness and the nature of ethical
Based on the above-mentioned research on mice, genetic behavior. It may be that “conscious experience” will
manipulation could create “brilliant” children. While these eventually be considered a “fundamental feature, irreducible
possibilities seem revolutionary, they are no different in to nothing more basic.” Perhaps “Psychophysical” laws will
principle from wearing glasses, which enables one to read be identified to show how physical systems are translated
and therefore learn more effectively, or sitting under electric into consciousness (Chalmers). In any event, the possibility
lights, which enables one to study more hours in the course of challenging free will must not preclude continuing basic
of the day. brain research.

Consciousness and Neuro-ethics Additional Information

The ethical issue underlying the approaches outlined above The Dana Foundation (www.dana.org) provides an on-line
lies in the fact that they will be available only to those who monthly magazine (Brain Work) on new findings in brain
can afford them and may further exacerbate social and research written for the lay reader. The International Brain
economic inequalities. But neuroscience faces a broader Research Organization (www.ibro.org) is an association
ethical issue: it could eventually rob mankind of the sense of dedicated to communication among brain researchers around
what makes us uniquely human, including the concept of free the world. It provides a variety of programs, workshops and
will. A conference on neuro-ethics (Dana Foundation, Brain publications. The National Institute for Mental Health
Work, May-June 2002) has examined these issues. (NIMH) (www.nimh.nih.gov) provides information from the
Conference participants argued that it would eventually be Federal agency that conducts and supports research on
possible to understand how people make decisions in mental illnesses. The National Institute of Neurological
ambiguous situations. It will also eventually be possible to Disorders and Stroke (www.ninds.nih.gov) conducts research
develop a simple test that could identify lesions in the brain, on disorders of the brain and nervous system. BrainNet
which lead towards criminal inclinations. The result will be (www.brainnet.org) is an alliance of associations that also
that the range of deviant behavior based on neurotic impulses seeks to distribute information on brain disorders. A special
that could be considered as exculpatory will expand, which issue of Scientific American (The Hidden Mind, Spring
could require rethinking the criminal justice system. 2002), provides both an overview of recent research and
Nevertheless, most experts believe that the complexity of the speculation on where the research will lead, and a recent
brain is so great that the notion of free will or personal publication by the OECD (Understanding the Brain)
responsibility will surely remain. Reductionist research will summarizes the results of a conference on the brain and
have to be linked with other disciplines, transcending the learning.
natural sciences, social science, and humanities, and

Bibliography

Chalmers, David, “The Puzzle of Conscious Experience,” The Hidden Mind, Scientific American, Spring 2002.

Dana Foundation, Brain Work, May-June 2002, www.dana.org.

Gazzaniga, Michael, "The Split Brain Revisited," The Hidden Mind, Scientific American, Spring 2002.

Hickock, Gregory, et. al., "Sign Language in the Brain," The Hidden Mind, Scientific American, Spring 2002.

Kimura, Doreen, “Sex Differences in the Brain," The Hidden Mind, Scientific American, Spring 2002.

OECD, Understanding the Brain, Towards a New Learning Science, OECD, 2002, Paris.

Tsien, Joe, “Building a Brainier Mouse,” Scientific American, April 2000.

University of Southern California (USC), USC Health Magazine, November 2002.

Wolff, Rebecca, "Synaptic Pruning," unpublished paper, Washington, DC., March 2002.

! 9 ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org


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e-Learning
The New Frontier in The Developing World

Cheick Kante, Chief Operating Officer, World Links


Vishal Savani, Director of Business Initiatives, World Links
Washington, DC

Introduction
At its most basic level, e-learning involves the use of some
form of electronic media to enhance the learning process.
Countries across the globe are at different stages of integrat- Sometimes confused with distance learning (a broader deliv-
ing information and communications technologies (ICTs) ery medium that would include text-based learning and
into everyday practice, including teaching and learning. courses conducted via written correspondence), courses are
While the debate over the true value-added of e-learning ver- delivered via “e-learning” when technology is used to bridge
sus face-to-face delivery of training content still rages, we all both an instructional and a geographical gap, often in concert
seem to agree that there is a tremendous opportunity for with face-to-face communication.2
technology to revolutionize learning, just as it did for busi-
ness. In this article, we will not attempt to compare e- On the content side (and for the purpose of this article), the
learning with other content delivery mechanisms. Rather, we British National Grid for Learning’s (NGfL) definition of e-
will focus our discussion on the educational potential of e- learning is sufficient: ‘a range of activities, from effective
learning, with a particular emphasis on the seemingly endless use of digital resources and learning technologies in the
opportunities associated with the use of e-learning in the de- classroom, through to a personal learning experience enabled
veloping world. We will elaborate on what we believe are through individual access at home or elsewhere. Combined
the caveats for any e-learning initiative to attain its expected with established learning experiences, it can provide indi-
objectives, and convey the possibilities for application of e- viduals with new and exciting opportunities to realize their
learning in the difficult context of the developing world. academic and creative potential at their own pace.”3 Thus, e-
learning is essentially the facilitation of teaching and learning
e-Learning - a shady concept? via the use of some electronic medium.

And if there still remains some confusion about the terminol-


Education systems have long lagged behind in terms of
ogy, there is little doubt about what is happening throughout
adopting technology as an alternative methodology for deliv-
the field of education: a progressive introduction of digital
ery of training. But the global economic downturn is
media as a complement or sometimes a substitute, to printed
prompting more attention towards education institu-
materials.
tions/schools. As businesses shy away from spending in
training, schools are poised to take advantage of the $6 bil-
lion in online education research and development since The challenge that e-learning can ad
ad-
1990.1 Ultimately, the availability of information and com- dress…
munication infrastructure in the developing world, coupled
with affordable pricing, will prove to be a powerful starting
point for providing the Southern Hemisphere access to new Training and capacity building are regarded as the pillars of a
learning. successful sustainable development regimen. Whether it is
training in new crop harvesting methods, in artisan marketing

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strategies, or in anti-corruption mechanisms, development
agencies invest millions of dollars a year in providing face-
to-face training to individuals around the world. Case Illustration
However, as any economist at a development agency can e-Learning can substantially reduce
attest, the difficulties inherent to mobilizing an already active Mali’s $1,400 annual unit cost per stu-
dent-teacher, by reducing face-to-face
workforce for face-to-face learning is intimidating, deterring, class time, and overall training cycle
and costly. Furthermore, there are many more people re- from 4 to 3 years
quiring training than experts to deliver the training, and the
logistics involved in coordinating face-to-face workshops can As in other parts of the Francophone world, the educa-
prove to be a nightmare, to say the least. Thus, the possibil- tional system of Mali inherited most of its principles
ity of delivering such crucial training remotely seems quite from the French colonial system. However, since inde-
appealing, and the most effective methodology for adminis- pendence, Mali’s education system has undergone a
tering remote training today is e-learning. series of reforms to meet the needs of the people. The
Ministry of Education is responsible for governing the
To take our argument one step further, there is no doubt that whole system and implementing the policy of the gov-
the world has evolved substantially over the last two dec- ernment. At the primary level, enrollments have in-
ades. The ubiquitous introduction of computers, accompa- creased dramatically over the past seven years, which in
nied by the onslaught of the Internet revolution has changed turn have increased enrollments at the secondary level.
the rules of the game. The world’s most successful econo- This presents Mali with a tremendous challenge: how to
mies are no longer powerhouses of industry, but rather pow- meet the demand for new teachers as the ongoing re-
erhouses of information. For developing countries to com- forms yield higher school enrollment rates at both the
pete in the new, knowledge-based economy, they must pro- primary and secondary levels.
vide their workers access to the latest information, regardless
of subject. Contrary to common perception, mere access to Currently, about 55,000 students graduate each year
computers and electronic networks is not enough to ensure from secondary education (senior high school) into
that developing counties will participate actively in the higher education. At this point students have the option
knowledge economy. Ongoing, systematic training and ca- of enrolling into pre-service teacher training programs,
pacity building, particularly of those responsible for educat- among other possibilities. Pre-service teacher training
ing the next generation of skilled workers, is crucial to any lasts three years for primary school, and four years for
long-lasting economic development strategy. To ensure that secondary school. With an average annual cost of
a developing country can compete in the new economy, un- $1,400 per trainee, this means it costs the Government a
limited availability of training content is becoming increas- minimum of $4,200 to produce a primary school
ingly important; workers must learn how to do anything and teacher, and $5,600 to produce a secondary school
everything. Such a complex sequence of skills-building is teacher (assuming the ideal scenario of no repetition or
nearly impossible with traditional training models; in this dropout). At these costs Mali simply cannot afford to
case, e-learning is the only solution. train all the teachers it needs using traditional, face-to-
face methods.
e-learning allows for efficient transfer of knowledge any e-Learning holds tremendous potential for a country
where and any time, regardless of subject matter. It opens up like Mali. Imagine instead a pre-service training pro-
a world of learning unavailable in most corners of the world, gram that offered two years of face-to-face training,
while at the same time empowering learners with the infor- during which time trainees also learned how to use new
mation technology awareness and skills crucial to succeed in technologies for ongoing pedagogical support. In their
today’s global knowledge economy. In fact, the efficient third year teacher trainees could be sent out to schools
transfer of knowledge via electronic means also endows a as "student-teachers," supported by CD-ROM and
tremendous opportunity for countries South of the Hemi- Internet-based pedagogical resources to pursue their
sphere to produce their own training content and make it teaching degree at a distance (with resources reallocated
available world-wide. Like never before, individuals in the to provide technology and Internet connections at the
most remote localities are accessing the Internet, researching school level). This "blended" approach would reduce
ideas, and disseminating perspectives. e-learning is truly the overall training costs by approximately 25%, while
solution to empower the people of the developing world. doubling the speed at which teachers are trained. In
addition, it would build capacity (human and techno-
For the education sector in particular, the adoption of new logical) for continuous on-line pedagogical support for
and emerging technologies by schools and classrooms (in- teachers throughout their careers.
cluding e-learning) offers tremendous potential for develop-

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ing countries to introduce new teaching tools, expand educa- implementation and changes in the ways teachers deliver
tional opportunities, and develop knowledge-economy skills instruction and the roles and activities of students. More and
increasingly demanded in the labor market. (See Mali case more, technology is starting to be viewed as a catalyst for
illustration in box) It is our argument that teachers consti- change in schools and the impact of the World Links pro-
tute the right group to pioneer new technologies, and e- gram has resulted in compelling outcomes within the school
learning in particular. With access, appropriate professional and also within the local community.4
development and support, teachers who themselves have
used technology to learn will be better able to help their stu- While face-to-face workshops are effective at fostering group
dents comprehend difficult-to-understand concepts, engage collaboration to generate contextual ideas and teaching
in new forms of learning, access information and resources, strategies, the downside of face-to-face training is scale – it
and learn according to their individual needs. is very hard to keep quality high and costs low as training
expands. For this reason, in 2003 World Links expects to
pilot an e-learning initiative to substantially expand its reach,
What about basic needs?
needs? while dispelling the “myth” that e-learning cannot work in
the developing world.
There is, of course, a broader debate that comes to mind
when thinking of the introduction of e-learning in the devel- Factors for successful implementation of e-
oping world: what comes first, information technology (in-
cluding e-learning) or addressing citizens’ basic needs? Our learning in developing countries
view is that development organizations need to continue to
focus on addressing the most basic needs, such as building Because it leverages new and emerging, simple and scalable
more classrooms and providing clean water. But, there is technologies, e-learning can provide an alternative teaching
growing evidence that information and communication tech- and learning solution, with the potential to simultaneously
nologies are part of the solution. Thus, if we all agree that reach thousands of learners in schools and communities
education and capacity building are critical steps for entering around the world. For e-learning to succeed in the develop-
into the new global economy, e-learning should also be con- ing world, it needs to build on three fundamental pillars: 1)
sidered a critical facet of basic development, an alternative existence of an established community of learners, 2) deliv-
medium of capacity building, and a means to people’s ery through a blended face-to-face/electronic mechanism,
empowerment. and 3) offering of learner incentives. All these three assume
the existence of infrastructure, along with some degree of
A good example of an organization that is succeeding in the connectivity.
application of the use of technology in the developing world
is World Links. The children of developing countries must The first prerequisite may sound unreasonable to some read-
be exposed to technology, and e-learning allows that to hap- ers. After all, why must one only target those affiliated with
pen, at a large scale. Left to traditional teaching and learning an affinity group? Yet, past experience has shown that al-
alone, the challenge of transferring digital literacy to millions ready established communities of learners, such as teacher
simply cannot be met. Started in 1997 within the World groups, professional associations, or government agencies,
Bank, and now an independent international non- are generally more willing to readily acknowledge the need
governmental organization, World Links has trained thou- for professional development. Without that sense of neces-
sands of teachers and students from 25 African, Asian, Latin sity, we are faced with the very ‘open wall’ nature of e-
American, and Middle Eastern nations in the use of technol- learning that encourages learner attrition, transforming what
ogy. was an opportunity to learn anytime and anywhere into a
‘laissez-aller.” After all, when adult learners don’t feel they
World Links differentiates itself from the many “computer should study they don’t study!
literacy” programs by empowering teachers not in the use of
desktop applications, but in the use of technology, the Inter- The second prerequisite for successful implementation of
net, and tele-collaboration, with the intent of improving training via e-learning in the developing world concerns the
classroom teaching and learning. In fact, World Links also delivery mechanism. Essentially, it is important to use a
ensures that teachers apply their skills through a course on delivery methodology that combines online instruction (in-
dissemination of innovation (Phase 3 level teacher profes- structor-learner interaction), a network of tutors (mentor-
sional development). Through the World Links program, learner interaction), and off-line course content (in the form
teachers and students have experienced improvements that of a CD-ROM, for example, so as to allow self-instruction).
resulted in noticeable changes in students’ practices and Furthermore, it is critical that the use of technology not deter
teacher pedagogical strategies. In countries like Uganda, participants from both peer-to-peer collaboration among the
Senegal and Ghana, for example, significant changes are learners and actual field-based application of the learning.
occurring in World Links schools as a result of high levels of For example, in a teacher training online course, in addition

! 17 ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org


to the self-paced learning component, teachers would be re- the provisioning of e-learning in difficult environments. In
quired to work on actual lesson plans directly related to their fact, the unreliable quality of phone lines dictates the adop-
curriculum. This is necessary both because of increasing tion of a set of ‘lowest common denominators’ that take into
evidence that e-learning alone does not motivate most learn- account critical factors such as poor/slow/expensive connec-
ers to learn, and because, in the developing world in particu- tivity environments and critical minimal download time.
lar, lack of familiarity with computers can pose a barrier to Such realities serve as large obstacles for any e-learning ef-
engaging most participants. Thus, a blended e-learning and fort, especially under the present-day scenario where e-
face-to-face approach allows for a more successful imple- learning infrastructure is geared towards North American or
mentation. European audiences. However, this too is expected to soon
change, as governments liberalize their telecommunications
The third key factor of a successful e-learning activity in the networks, as access to telecommunications increases, and as
developing world environment is the need for an incentive to technology evolves to allow cost-effective high speed Inter-
motivate learners. Again, while this may seem completely net access. And, until then, as e-learning infrastructure firms
inappropriate (after all learners should participate in a train- evaluate the developing world as a potential market, e-
ing course with the pure desire to learn), incentives are learning technologies will adapt to the bandwidth difficulties
nonetheless a necessary factor to prevent attrition. For pro- of the developing world.
fessional learners, one proven incentive is the conferring of a
degree or certification path, recognized as a step towards job One final note: while being alone at home on one’s own PC
promotion. For non-professionals, subsidized online time might be important for a learner in the Western Hemisphere,
has proven a good way to reduce attrition. In both of these the same may not be true in many parts of the developing
instances, the learner has expressed a desire to acquire new world, where a critical attraction to learning still remains tied
knowledge or skills, with the ultimate hope of attaining some to social interaction. In fact, getting together with peers at the
professional merit. community learning center is a powerful driver for enrolling
in courses. Thus, the combination of a blended e-learning
Potential Near-Term Obstacles approach, meshed with the use of community access points
for delivery of the training provides a social learning envi-
ronment, which merely increases the motivation of most
Some pundits may argue that the low-level of connectivity, learners.
or lack thereof, in the developing world remains a major ob-
stacle for sustainability of an e-learning exercise. Arguments
go even further to say that e-learning is especially attractive What about digital literacy as a prerequi
prerequi-
because people can log on in their homes, while in the devel- site?
oping world, the learners still need to go out of their homes,
and still pay too much for Internet access! In our opinion,
e-Learning can only build on a set of basic computer literacy
both arguments raise a fundamental question: can e-learning
skills. Indeed for learners to benefit from any form of tech-
be provided in the developing world under the same premises
nology based learning, they must be computer literate. For
and assumptions as in Western countries? The unequivocal
each program, learners must also have gone through intro-
answer is NO.
ductory sessions delivered face-to-face. For example, pro-
grams like World Links (http://www.world-links.org), which
While the PC-per-household ratio in developing countries focuses on teacher professional development in the use of
will remain low for many more years to come, innovative technology in the classroom, do not use e-learning as a me-
community-based access points are proving more and more dium of instruction until participating teachers have gone
successful. When owned and managed by communities through two phases (separated by at least six months of
themselves (trained, of course, to plan and manage such practice time) of face-to-face training. Learners are provided
centers), such public access centers allow for considerable with enough basics before they are left to navigate the maze
economies of scale both in terms of hardware and access of self-paced, independent learning. Hence, e-learning can-
costs. Thus, the community-owned telecenter movement has not serve as a substitute for computer literacy training.
gained momentum in many parts of the world recently. A Rather, e-learning will serve as a factor in motivating digi-
good example of this is Zimbabwe, where World Links tally illiterate individuals to pursue computer literacy educa-
(http://www.world-links.org) opened twelve Internet learning tion, while serving as a vehicle for deepening literacy skills.
centers in 1999. By 2001, that number almost quadrupled to
a total of 43 such centers. The growing ubiquity of commu-
nity telecenters globally will serve a critical role in the in- What lies ahead?
creasing demand for e-learning.
While e-learning will not (and should not) entirely replace
Bandwidth is the other major constraint that could impede traditional face-to-face delivery of training content by edu-

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cation institutions, it is our argument that it enhances the are not just replicated, but rather nurtured and adapted. e-
learning process, and increases reach (where reach would be Learning, just as any other technology transfer effort, should
both costly and logistically difficult). Regardless of the focus not on the pursuit of uniformity, but on an acceptance
country, traditional education is already an established sys- of difference.
tem and e-learning will commoditize education, making it
possible for learners to choose the type and level of course- For e-learning to truly be a successful means for training in
work. Equally, against the traditional controls of old educa- the developing world, it is imperative that implementation
tion (age limit, for example) which are exacerbated in the varies on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the unique
developing world by the lack of resources (both financial and conditions of the developing world. In the case of World
pedagogical), e-learning will offer learning for all. In other Links, adaptation to Africa has included the utilization of a
words, e-learning will deregulate learning. Finally, because combination of online and offline resources to account for
e-learning will appeal to the learners not as a qualification connectivity difficulties. Adaptation has also included the
provider (notwithstanding the use of e-learning at the pre- use of a support network to acclimate unfamiliar users to a
service level as illustrated in the Mali case above), but as a technology-driven learning environment.
learning and skills provider, we contend that the economic
rewards will drive more people to this method of learning. Relevant and meaningful content is also critical to deploy e-
learning in the developing world. Nations, especially be-
Conclusion cause those less endowed with the material riches, are proud
of their specificities and any attempt to alienate such specifi-
cities can constitute a barrier to a successful e-learning effort.
Regardless of where one lives, the future of learning cannot
be dissociated with information and communication tech- While barriers exist, and customization is inevitable, at pres-
nologies. As technology becomes more and more ubiquitous ent, there is no knowledge transfer mechanism more efficient
and affordable, e-learning carries the greatest potential to than e-learning. As we look to the future, the developing
train masses in the developing world in anything and every- world will see nothing but benefits from the use of technol-
thing; e-learning can and will revolutionize learning in the ogy in capacity building.
Southern Hemisphere. However, it is critical to ascertain
that when technology is transferred to host environments -
regardless of the medium- teaching and learning strategies

1
Source: The Wall Street Journal, March, 2001.
2
Another confusing term around the subject of e-learning is concerned with online or Internet-based learning -basically the
porting of a learning program on a web-based text and graphical medium with varying degrees of sophistication.
3
http://www.dfes.gov.uk/ictfutures
4
SRI International: World Links for Development: Accomplishments and Challenges – Monitoring and Evaluation Annual
Report 1999-2000 - http://world-links.org/english/html/sri.html

While barriers exist, and customization is inevitable, at present, there is no know-


ledge transfer mechanism more efficient than e-learning. As we look to the fu fu-
ture, the developing world will see nothing but benefits from the use of technol
technol-
ogy in capacity building.

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TechKnowNews
CD-ROM Teaching Tool is a Hit To ensure that the program was compatible with National
with Educators and EMMA Content Standards and classroom friendly, Media Options
worked with a national network of educators. A 200-plus
Foundation page interactive Teacher’s Guide (in PDF format)
accompanies the game to show how the program can be
easily integrated into a variety of classroom subjects from
Via press release sent to TechKnowLogia: Science, Math and Consumer Education to Language Arts,
Economics, Social Studies and Civics. The guide links the
"Within seven weeks of its release this fall, the Building game and activities to required learning standards and
Homes of Our Own CD-ROM simulation teaching tool explains how these lessons apply to real-life situations. In
scored a double hit: It went into its second printing due to addition to supporting standard classroom subject areas, the
enormous teacher demand, and it was awarded a prestigious program exposes students to the vast array of career
2002 International EMMA (Electronic Multimedia Award), opportunities related to the home building industry, from
which recognizes “excellence in digital media content architecture, engineering, contracting, soil science,
creation through the acknowledgement of best practice and environmental consulting, and interior design to real estate,
ongoing educational programs.” banking and accounting. "

Building Homes of Our Own was designed from the ground For more information: http://www.homesofourown.org/
up to create an educational experience for the middle school
classroom that would also deliver the level of quality kids are
accustomed to in a game environment. Using ICTs for Networking Youth
Organizations
It provides a simulation of the entire home building
experience – from choosing a lot to selling the home to a
qualified buyer. As students work within a fixed budget to
design and build a home, they solve real-life problems, make An Internet portal for youth organizations, projects and
important decisions, and use time and money management volunteers providing youth related information, facilitating
skills—all in a fun, environment that reinforces math, exchange of volunteers in Eastern Europe and strengthening
science, social studies and language arts lessons. Just as in networking is now being developed by Eastlinks, a regional
real life, student “builders” can fail. They can “go bust” network of voluntary service organizations in Central and
before the house is complete if they don’t plan expenses Eastern Europe based in Warsaw, Poland, with UNESCO's
properly, or they can end up building a house no one wants support.
to buy if they don’t do proper research.
The portal that is supported by UNESCO within its
Building Homes of Our Own is free to educators through the INFOYOUTH program is expected to be online in May
web site www.HomesOfOurOwn.org. 2003.
Chicago-headquartered interactive developer Media Options Eastlinks, created in 1997, is a network of independent
created this unique program for the National Association of NGOs which are active in the field of youth voluntary
Home Builders (NAHB) in response to growing educator service. Youth voluntary service includes promotion of the
interest in technology-based teaching tools and increasing civil society, emergency and humanitarian aid, social aid,
curricular emphasis on reality-based learning experiences. rehabilitation, disaster preparedness and conflict prevention.

! 20 ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org


UNESCO's INFOYOUTH Network was initiated in 1991 by material/tools. E-Academy is a Tanzania -based e-learning
UNESCO in order to meet two main challenges: on the one initiative aiming to provide quality, affordable education
hand, the necessity to counteract the splintering of various through E-learning to facilitate greater reach while
and scattered information sources and networks on youth, establishing higher standards and creating Kiswahili content.
and on the other, the urgent need to implement appropriate E-Academy aims to take advantage of the mushrooming of
and coherent youth policies from local to global levels. cyber cafes throughout Tanzania to provide Internet
connectivity to subscribers of E-Academy, while CD ROM-
Source: UNESCO’s INFOYOUTH Programme, February based education will be available to reach those without an
12, 2002 http://www.unesco.org/webworld/infoyouth Internet connection. E-Academy requires development of a
business/project plan and assistance with its marketing
strategy.
Digital Partners Announces SEL
Participants for 2002 - 2003 Project Name: Lifelong Learning for Development
Organization Name: Fundacao CDI Pesamento Digital
Location: Brazil
Description: This proposal aims to develop a lifelong
Digital Partners' Social Enterprise Laboratory (SEL) learning culture in low-income communities, through the use
announced the social entrepreneurs who have been selected of computer labs already installed in these communities. This
to participate in their 2002 - 2003 cycle. Focused on project will use ICT infrastructure that already exists in some
mobilizing the potential of ICTs to stimulate markets in underserved Brazilian communities to develop a lifelong
service to the poor, SEL identifies and supports Social learning culture, changing the communities' computer labs
Entrepreneurs and NGOs using ICT to empower the poor and into community learning centers. Through the Fundação
the underserved communities in which they live. In this Pensamento Digital (FPD) web site, users will be provided
year's cycle, 10 projects were selected from 140 applicants. an environment where they can easily interact or create
These enterprises represent a geographically diverse group, content for the web, thereby building a Low Income
including Brazil, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Learning Community in Cyberspace. Participants will also
Tanzania, and Uganda. They are confronting a wide range of have access to "theme courses" that FPD will provide in
challenges in the communities in which they work, including partnership with specialists in that particular theme. Cost-free
health, education, and the economic empowerment of youth, access to the Internet for participants will be provided in
women, and communities. partnership with Brasil Telecom. FPD is looking for a team
to develop its business/project plan.
Proposals were reviewed by a blue ribbon panel comprised
of executives such as Ethan Zucherman of Geekcorp, Source: http://www.digitalpartners.org/sel.html and
Michael Best of MIT's Media lab, and Peter Cowhey, former Bytes for All, December 11, 2002.
Chief of the International Bureau of the FCC. Selected
projects had to meet Digital Partners' standards of
sustainability, replicability and grassroots impact. For each Classroom Connect and ATG
project, the aim is to take technology to the next level in Provide Education to the
helping the underprivileged help themselves. The selected Educators
social entrepreneurs will be matched with professionals from
selected graduate schools and industry who will serve as
mentors/advisers to help them create sustainable, fundable Via press release to TechKnowLogia:
business models and plans. Throughout the mentoring
process, Digital Partners will attempt to match these "ATG (Art Technology Group, Inc., Nasdaq: ARTG) today
entrepreneurs with appropriate sources of funding. announced that Classroom Connect has selected ATG Portal
as the core technology behind its new K-12 professional
Following are descriptions of the two selected projects development offerings. Classroom Connect's new portal
dealing with education: services are designed to provide K-12 teachers with online
courses and programs to develop and enhance their
Project Name: Demand-Driven Kiswahili Courseware instruction techniques, learn how to integrate Web and other
Organization Name: E-Academy Limited technology resources in the classroom environment, and then
Location: Tanzania use these resources to ultimately enhance student learning.
Description: Tanzania suffers from the high cost of
With state and local school districts as the target customer,
education, inadequate educational institutions, inadequate
Classroom Connect was looking for a technology that would
professional teachers and inadequate Kiswahili teaching

! 21 ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org


allow them to offer a personalized experience for the teacher America, Europe, and Asia. For more information about
and a customized portal for the subscribing state or school ATG, please visit our Web site at www.atg.com.”
district, yet still retain a single set of supporting code on the
back end. With ATG Portal, Classroom Connect is able to
meet that goal, providing areas branded to their clients' UNICEF Publishes New League
specific course catalogs and content. Additionally, clients are Tables on Education
able to manage lists and other content while the site remains
owned and hosted by Classroom Connect.

"The challenge within education today is that many states A new report from UNICEF provides the first "big picture"
and local school districts create their own curriculum and comparison of the performance of schools in the world's rich
teaching certification standards," explained Jim Bowler, vice industrialized nations. UNICEF's Innocenti Research Centre
president of marketing for Classroom Connect. "Our goal is has produced a new international league table by combining
to provide an easy-to-use portal environment where data from five separate tests covering reading literacy, math
educators can access the right information - either specific to and science. The tests were drawn from the Programme for
their district or more general - that would help them do their International Student Assessment (PISA) and Third in
jobs better and stay as current as possible with new teaching International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS).
techniques and certification requirements. ATG Portal allows
us to make that goal a reality." At the heart of the study is the issue of inequality in learning.
The report proposes an original view of educational
The state of Arizona launched its Arizona School Services performance - it presents an alternative league table that
through Educational Technology (ASSET) Education Portal ranks countries by the size of the gap that exists between low
in April and the company is currently in discussion with achievers and average students.
other states and large school districts nationwide to
implement similar offerings. In all cases, district officials are The report concludes that nowhere is there room for
searching for ways to make professional development easier complacency. Even in the best performing country, Finland,
for its teachers to participate in anytime, anywhere learning, low achieving 8th graders are approximately 3.5 years behind
while maintaining, or even lowering, costs. the average Finish 8th graders in math. Non-native children
are found to be particularly disadvantaged with poor
"Online learning is fast becoming the preferred method for performance in some countries more than three times higher
all types of professional development - and portals are the among children of immigrant families than among other
preferred way to access these programs," said Matt Price, children. As well, the data show no simple relationship
vice president, Portals at ATG. "Classroom Connect is a between national expenditures per pupil and success, nor is
perfect example of how ATG Portal can be deployed to there an obvious relationship between the average number of
create a robust, scalable and personalized online learning pupils per teacher and the national test results. A strong
environment." relationship does exist, however, between educational
achievement and the occupation, education and economic
ATG® (Art Technology Group, Inc.) is a leading developer status of the children's parents.
of online CRM applications that deliver an integrated,
personalized experience for customers, partners and The report argues that it is unacceptable that the social and
employees: the frontline of every business. Customers economic status into which a child happens to be born should
around the globe rely on ATG for the frontline applications influence his/her chances of success in school. Although it
that help build and manage mutually beneficial relationships. concludes that schools are proving more effective at
Deployed on the industry's most popular application servers, combating existing social inequality in some countries than
ATG's application suites for e-commerce, portals, and in others, the report also highlights the fact that educational
relationship management are ideal for integrated e-business disadvantage becomes established very early in life.
initiatives across the enterprise.
UNICEF therefore proposes that attempts to mitigate
Today, ATG has delivered e-business solutions to blue-chip educational disadvantage need to begin through good quality
companies worldwide including Aetna Services, Inc., early childhood care and education.
Alcatel, American Airlines, Barclays Global Investors, Best
Buy, BMG Direct, Eastman Kodak, Ford Motor Credit, Source and for more information: http://www.unicef-
HSBC, J.Crew, Sun Microsystems, Walgreen Company, and icdc.org/
WellsFargo. The company is headquartered in Cambridge,
Massachusetts, with additional locations throughout North

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TAMING SCIENCE MODELS FOR CLASSROOM USE

Boris Berenfeld, Dan Damelin, Amy Pallant, Barbara Tinker, Robert Tinker, and Qian Xie
The Molecular Workbench Team, Concord Consortium
http://workbench.concord.org
boris@concord.org

Model building is a fundamental part of science. Many scientists labor long hours adding small but important details to a
model. The excitement of science reaches a peak when new data confirms a proposed model, or forces the modification of
fundamental parts of a model. The image of Watson and Crick assembling the skeleton on the outside and pair bases inside the
DNA helix comes to mind, with their subsequent delight as parts of the model finally fit together.

Highly maneuverable computer-based models give students the opportunity to participate in exciting discoveries of their own.
The kinds of models used in research, however, rarely are found in education. In this article, we will consider the adaptation of
research-grade models for the classroom, and the importance of the accompanying instruction that allows students access to
and experimentation with models. Finally, we will present some research findings obtained in schools in which the use of our
dynamic molecular models was tested.

Why do scientists need models? Why does science education need com com-
The goal of one category of computational modeling in re- puter models?
search is to build a comprehensive model of a process or In our classrooms today, students rarely build and use even
phenomenon that mirrors reality so precisely that it has both physical models. When they do use models at all, they serve
explanatory and predictive value. Models of weather, plate largely to illustrate rather than expand upon the content on
tectonics, and the growth of a coral reef or cell are in this which students are working. They rarely work as a vehicle
category. for prediction and discovery. This is a waste.

In other cases, scientists build models that purposely strip out Models make for good education. Models can sup-
details so that the remaining, simplified components more plement hands-on experiments, and can do so economically.
clearly reveal the fundamental mechanism. Sometimes sim- In addition, their abstract nature furthers student learning of
plification is essential just to produce a model that can be new orders of analysis. Providing students with access to
computed. good models will assure that students have opportunities to
abstract essential principles, to explore relationships among
Models range from scale models, such as a model car, or a parts, and to experiment by manipulating variables.
ball and stick model of a molecule, to the purely mathemati-
cal. Most models are incomplete, growing as the scope of Today an emphasis on model-based reasoning fits in with the
experimental data expands, as in the case of modern models current view of science education. It appears that modeling
of carcinogenesis. Most theory can be represented by a software that is sufficiently flexible and requires students to
model, which has the power both to explain phenomena and interact or construct their own models can engage students in
to predict the impact of variations in values and relation- authentic scientific inquiry and reasoning. (Tinker, 2001,1
ships. Gobert and Clement 1994,2 1999,3 Sabelli, 1994,4 Linn &
Muilenberg, 19965). Interactive models can address core
Today Crick and Watson might well have created their ideas in a visually engaging way that makes them more ac-
model on a computer instead of constructing their beautiful cessible to students with vastly different learning styles.
DNA model from machined parts. Computer models have Research is showing that, as students are able not only to run
greatly improved the ease of trying new molecular configu- the models but also change key variables, they are more
rations, or exploring various forces applied to the structures. likely to remember and transfer their learning to new situa-
Investigators can easily ask "what if" questions such as: tions.
What if we change pressure? Increase the temperature?
Change elasticity? Change the angle of attachment, polarity, Computer power increases. During the last decade,
or distance between chemical groups? What if we try this the power of machines for student computing has increased
compound instead of that? almost a hundred-fold. Sometimes the question is asked:
Why do schools need power machines? While there is no
need for extremely powerful and fast machines to browse the

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web or edit text, in fact a lot of computer “horsepower” is The Concord Modeling Workbench software is an extremely
required to run a good dynamic model. These computer versatile set of modeling tools based on current research in
models allow investigators to calculate and display in real computational physics, which can be used to compute and
time interactions between significant number of components, visualize the motion of ensembles of atoms and molecules.
visualize objects that are too many and small to see, or move The motion of each entity is estimated using classical dy-
too fast, or are too big, and require visualization of interac- namics and applicable forces, from Van der Waals potentials,
tions with many other objects. These generally require many Coulomb interactions, and harmonic approximations, to
computational steps. bonds, external fields, and boundaries. Meso-scale objects
and their interactions are supported. (e.g. See Fig. 1)
Seeing the molecular world. The arrival of computer
models for the classroom is timely. The need for models of
the molecular world is particularly acute, as this world is out-
of view and different enough from the macroscopic world to
require special attention. Discoveries of atomic-molecular
phenomena, furthermore, are driving current research. A
good model addressing fundamentals of the molecular world
(e.g. thermal motion, conservation of energy, polar and non-
polar interactions), furthermore, can be called upon in many
science settings.

Computer models can help bridge the gap between profes-


sional science and classroom laboratory exploration, but the
pathway between the two needs to be walked with care. Re-
search-grade models are notoriously large, computationally
heavy, and assume much preexisting knowledge. It is easy to
overwhelm students with models that are too unappealing
and detailed. It is also easy to give students misconceptions
by oversimplifying them. Our challenge is to make models
that are both good teaching tools and that are scientifically
accurate. The resulting ensembles can illustrate energy conservation,
gas laws, pressure, phase transitions, chemical bonding,
The Molecular Workbench Project
chemical reactions, Maxwell velocity distribution, osmosis,
The goal of the Molecular Workbench Project
electrolysis, electrophoresis, liquid crystals, polymers, and
http://workbench.concord.org, funded by the U.S. National
more. Preexisting models can be used by high school and
Science Foundation (NSF), has been to research whether the
college students to explore a vast range of content, or stu-
use of atomic scale models can improve student reasoning
dents can use the Concord Modeling Workbench tools to
about atoms and molecules, and how atomic scale properties
develop their own models. Models for students at any spe-
relate to macroscopic phenomena. Not only physics, but also
cific level can be built using the strategies described below.
much of chemistry and modern biology is based on a “mo-
lecular view,” but this is seldom addressed in beginning We have taken several different approaches to 'taming' this
courses, largely because it is very difficult to learn from research-grade science model, which can work as is in a col-
static pictures and narratives, or even simple animations. It is lege classroom fairly comfortably. The first approach (A) has
the thesis of the Molecular Workbench research that, by en- been to develop ways for teachers and curriculum developers
gaging students in scaffolded model-based experiments with to work directly with the model, selecting and modifying the
interactive, dynamic models, they can obtain a deep concep- buttons and sliders, as well as text and pictures associated
tual understanding of atomic-scale phenomena and their re- with the models. The second approach (B) has been to use a
lationship to macroscopic phenomena. language for programmers, Pedagogica, developed by Paul
Horwitz's group at the Concord Consortium, which supports
How we have developed middle ground
closer control of a model and the user interface.
models: The Concord Modeling Workbench
software A. The Concord Modeling Workbench software is
The Molecular Workbench Project has developed an more than a single atomic/molecular program, however. It
atomic/molecular engine capable of being used in the class- provides you with a modeling engine integrated with a What-
room as an underpinning to teaching fundamental science. You-See-Is-What-You-Get (WYSIWYG) word processor
The Concord Modeling Workbench (v. 1.1) is freely available that can be used to write styled text, insert JPEG and GIF
at http://workbench.concord.org/modeler/index.html. images, import models and simulations, create/edit models,

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and hyperlink other Web resources. We will amplify this face, set up the initial conditions, define the interactions with
description below: the model, coordinate multiple applications, define text and
response windows, and record users' responses and use of the
model. (See Fig. 2) It generates records that can provide
With the Concord Modeling Work
Work- feedback to teachers and data for researchers. A branching
bench’s integrating software envi
envi- sequence of pages that include models can be scripted. Peda-
ronment, the user can easily create, gogica scripts, written in JavaScript, are currently being used
visualize, annotate, contextualize, to control some activities within the Molecular Workbench
cross-link and distribute dynamical Project.
models.

Interact with model at various levels of sophistication.


You can set up, interact with, or edit a molecular model us-
ing its original user interface, which usually has many hierar-
chies of menus and dialog windows for setting up a model,
changing a model’s states and controlling a simulation.

Design interfaces. You can design a simpler interface that


can be used to control the model with constrained degrees of
freedom. For example, for activities exploring a molecular
view of states of matter, changing temperature may be the
only thing that a teacher would require students to do. There-
fore, a slider that controls the temperature of the molecular
model, and the model itself, would be adequate in those par-
ticular activities. Teachers can select these tools from an ar-
ray of sliders, buttons, combo boxes and more.

Annotate and illustrate models. The Concord Modeling


Workbench enables you to create (or choose) these essential These two approaches provide a rich set of strategies for
elements, and annotate them with text and images, on a con- dealing with models, from the direct configurations of mod-
ventional document interface. els that most users will be able to do easily and simply with
Save models and documents. Once you have created such a only the Molecular Modeling Workbench, to the program-
document, everything on the workspace can be saved (in ming of key variables with the model-oriented scripting lan-
XML format). When a document is saved, the current states guage, Pedagogica.
of the embedded models are saved. When a document is Our modeling strategies have had to adjust to different con-
opened, those saved states will be the initial states of the tent. While Gas Laws and Phases of Matter required fairly
models. If you are particularly interested in saving interme- straight-forward manipulation of scientific formula, model-
diate states and analyzing patterns of particular molecular ing water has so far required a more "roll up the sleeves"
trajectories, the Concord Modeling Workbench allows you to approach, making rules for the model that are close approxi-
record a simulation. mations to the behavior of ions in water, and ions as they
Share over the Web. Any standard HTTP server can se- pass through membranes. Our model for DNA coding of
curely distribute documents you have created, which can be protein, however, has some of the simplicity of Gas Laws.
viewed/downloaded by any end user all of the World using These differences reflect science progress: the actual struc-
the Concord Modeling Workbench. Students, using only the turing of water is still a hotly disputed mystery. DNA to
Concord Modeling Workbench, therefore, can develop mo- protein, while unclear in many individual cases (there are
lecular dynamics models, annotate them and share them over after all, at least 60,000 proteins), is at least clear about the
the web with one another for discussion. codon-to-amino acid connection.

B. Pedagogica Our model can also be programmed for Case Example: States of Matter
use in middle and high school classrooms with the assistance Students completed a molecular dynamic activity in which
of a script, Pedagogica. Pedagogica is a scripted control they observed various macroscopic phenomena typical of the
environment developed to overlay models (Horwitz & three phases of matter, and then compared these properties to
Christie, 19996). A Pedagogica script can define a user inter- the microscopic properties depicted in the molecular model.
(See Fig. 3) By directly correlating observable macro scale

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properties to the micro scale behavior of atoms in matter, read, the more protein you get as one line codes another
students could develop their own kinetic atomic and mo- line;
lecular perspective of the particulate model of matter. In ad- 3. Code is written in codons without comas; and
dition, the activity had students highlight and observe two 4. Codons sit next to each other in line and each dictates
selected atoms or molecules in each phase and observe the the position of one amino acid in the chain;
relationship between them. 5. The genetic code is redundant.
We built a model based on these assumptions. The model
operates with a chain of amino acids linked to a genetic code
table. A codon representing three consecutive nucleotides, A,
T, C or G, controls the position of every amino acid. Each
nucleotide can be replaced by another three or deleted. Each
codon is linked to a specific amino according to the genetic
code. Our model also includes the concept of redundancy –
several codons can code the same amino acid. Working with
the model, students are able to observe changes in the protein
folding as a response to any alteration of the genetic code.

This model, though simple, allows students to explore the


value of two different types of mutation, substitution and
deletion of nucleotides, and the relative role of these muta-
tions in affecting the shape of a protein. (See Fig. 4) They
also can explore for themselves that some substitutions do
not affect the sequence of amino acids because of the redun-
dancy of the genetic code (or the location of the mutation).

The goal of the activity was to help students develop through


interaction with the model and observations of the macro and
microscopic behavior the following mental models:

• The atoms or molecules of a solid tend not to move very


quickly and are generally spaced as closely together as pos-
sible and vibrate in place where the distance between two
molecules do not change over time.
• The atoms or molecules of a liquid are also generally
spaced closely together. However, the atoms or molecules of
a liquid tend not to stay in one place. They slide by each
other, allowing the liquid to conform to its container.
• Finally, gasses have, comparatively, a great deal of space
between their atoms or molecules. Gases fill whatever con-
tainer in which they are. The distances between two mole-
cules change a great deal, sometimes they are close to one
another and sometimes they are far apart.

Case Example: DNA to Protein


In building a good science model, the curriculum developer This means that in principle they can rediscover the role of
and programmer should take into account known facts, pri- the redundancy of the genetic code in maintaining the rela-
oritized to emphasize critical aspects of the process or phe- tive stability of proteins.
nomena.
Educational Research Using Mini-modules
When experimenting with our DNA to Protein model, stu- The centerpiece of the Molecular Workbench research in-
dents discover first-hand that: cludes "mini-modules" lasting no longer than one week.
1. The genetic code is written as a linear sequence; Each one includes Molecular Workbench signature software
2. There is co-linearity between genetic code and the pro- that focuses on macro-to-micro connections and atomic-scale
tein sequence. The longer the portion of the code you models. The software was used to generate model-based ac-
tivities for the following content: The States of Matter, a

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module focused on the arrangements and motions of mole- given to students in every class to assess their content
cules in matter in its various states; Water in and Around our knowledge. For example, the following question was asked
Cells, a module that addresses the essential ability of water to in the pre-test of States of Matter to determine students’ un-
dissolve and transport some substances and not others, and derstanding about the relationship of macroscopic properties
the role of membranes in regulation of concentrations of dis- of matter to microscopic properties, as well as to learn about
solved substances; and Monomers to Polymers, a module that students conceptions or misconceptions about matter in its
explores the ways monomers can be assembled into key various states.
polymers: particularly proteins and the relationship between
the primary structure (the sequence of amino acids) and the Suppose you were the size of a water molecule, and could
shape of a protein. stand on a water molecule in a glass of water. Someone takes
that glass of water and puts it in the freezer. After a while the
While the mini-modules represent a focused effort of the water turns to ice. How does what you see and feel change?
research, student evaluation is also being done in classrooms
able to run the Molecular Workbench curriculum for a sig- If answered in an expert manner, this question would have
nificant part of a semester. The curriculum Atoms in Motion, students reasoning at both the macroscopic and microscopic
has students explore the science of molecular kinetic theory levels, and it would employ notions about the motions and
and characteristics of atomic behavior underlying macro- forces of the molecules. In the pretest, more than 2/3 of the
scopic phenomena. To draw students into a study of the ab- students either responded to this question with answers that
stract concept of invisible atoms, students are challenged to contained misconceptions regarding the bulk properties of
explain how and why a hot air balloon flies. In order to ex- atoms and molecules, or were unable to answer the question.
plain this fully, the curriculum addresses the following con- This includes some classes that had studied the subject be-
cepts: all substances are made of atoms and molecules; these fore using the curriculum. In the post-test, the misconcep-
particles move randomly; the temperature of atoms and tions appeared in less than 1/5 of the students. In all classes
molecules are directly related to their kinetic energy, which analyzed, students scored significantly higher on the post-test
is the energy of motion related to mass and velocity; and then they did on the pre-test.
pressure is due to the repeated impacts of molecules.
In addition, however, the research was looking at the ways
Using the above curriculum modules, students can learn that these environments, with interactivity and control over
about causation and emergent behavior that relate to the the stimuli, increase cognitive competencies. Can students
content from the National Science Education Standards such accurately reason about the microscopic world of interacting
as the structure and properties of matter, chemical reactions, atoms and molecules? Overall, our research has shown that,
motions and forces, interactions of energy and matter, bio- by learning through model-based experimentation, supported
molecules, form and function, and cell regulation. with guided interactions, students appear to have developed
sufficiently robust mental models of atomic-scale processes.
Approximately 500 students to date have participated in our These models have enabled the students to explain macro-
testing. These students were drawn from 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th scopic phenomena and predict new results by employing
grade classes in Massachusetts. A pre- and a post-test was atomic scale reasoning.

1
Tinker, R (2001) Molecular Dynamic Hypermodels; Supporting Student Inquiry across the Sciences. Gordon Conference; Science Educa-
tion and Visualization; International Mt. Holyoke College, So. Hadley, MA [Accepted for publication in the International Journal for Science
Teaching.]
2
Gobert, J. and Clement, J. (1994) Promoting causal model construction in science through student-generated diagrams. Presented at the
Annual Meeting of the American Research Association, April 4-8 (New Orleans, LA).
3
Gobert, J. and Clement, J. (1999) The effects of student-generated diagrams on conceptual understanding of causal and dynamic knowledge
in science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 36(1), 39-53.
4
Sabelli, N. (1994). On using technology for understanding science. Interactive Learning Environments, 4(3), 195-198.
5
Linn, M. C., & Muilenburg, L. (1996). Creating lifelong science learners: What models form a firm foundation? Educational Researcher,
25(5), 18-24.
6
Horwitz, P. and Christie, M. (1999). Hypermodels: Embedding Curriculum and Assessment in Computer-Based Manipula-
tives, Journal of Education, 181(2), pp. 123.

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Bill Robertson, Ph. D., Project Leader
Richard Alexander, MS, MBA, Science Education Specialist
Los Alamos National Laboratory

Introduction Selected topics deal with issues that are global in nature and
are naturally controversial. It would be easy to deliver con-
The Critical Thinking Curriculum Model (CTCM) uses a tent from a singular perspective, but as the intent of the
multidisciplinary approach that integrates computer technol- model is to foster critical thinking, it is best to refrain from
ogy with effective learning and teaching practices. The such traditional content delivery methods. The intent is for
CTCM approach provides students and teachers with a proc- students to investigate the issues through research, both
ess and an opportunity to address current real-world issues. through traditional resource materials and through the Inter-
The model is designed to be flexible, an example for teachers net. The teacher wants students to ask probing questions, to
to follow as they develop integrated curriculum focusing on differentiate between differing perspectives while consider-
their own critical issues. ing the impact that political, economic, and social decisions
have on the world, not just a nation. By doing so, students
A CTCM based curriculum involves teams of teachers and gain a better understanding of the position that our national
students in a constructive approach to critical thought and leaders take within the world community.
on-line research. CTCM curriculum features open-ended and
collaborative activities to arrive at solutions for current real- The Critical Thinking Curriculum Model allows for a deeper
world concerns delivered through a collaborative, distance search into a topic, whether it is terrorism, the future of
learning process. The program design features a student con- "things nuclear," volcanoes in the universe, or macro-
ference as the culminating activity of the program. invertebrate analysis in local streams and rivers. The teacher
guides students in developing questions for further investi-
As implemented in the Critical Issues Forum (CIF), an edu- gation, recommending resource sites, and probing student
cational program administered by Los Alamos National understanding of a given topic. (Wasley, 1991) The teacher
Laboratory (LANL), the CTCM embraces the political, so- becomes a colleague, as students give direction to the re-
cial/cultural, economic, and scientific realms in the context search. (Duffy et al. 1986) Collaboration, whether it be in
of a current global issue. Through the use of a CTCM-based person or through telecommunications, is vital to motivating
curriculum, students realize the importance of their schooling students and providing relevance to their classroom activi-
by applying their efforts to an endeavor that ultimately will ties.
affect their future.
CTCM based curriculum is designed to provide a collabora-
The CTCM - A Model for Curriculum tive research experience where teams of students gather di-
verse information about a current real world issue and begin
The Critical Thinking Curriculum Model consists of four
equal and important organizational components that form the to make sense of it. To ensure that research teams have a
backbone of the model. (See Figure 1 – CTCM Design) The conceptually correct understanding of the content, the cur-
four parts of the model are the educational components, the riculum is designed to include a series of thought provoking
technology components, the assessment components and the task assignments that foster a multidisciplinary study of the
community components. The model can be utilized with a topic (Brophy, 1988). The tasks are designed from a Con-
great number of topics, but hinges on the preparation and structivist approach, building knowledge from previous and
willingness of the instructor to modify the traditional role of discovered information. Students are expected to find defini-
content delivery. tions, names for acronyms, and meanings of statements or
actions. They are expected to organize, evaluate, synthesize,
and develop understanding of the material they are discov-

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ering. Teacher developed activities are included to help stu- an audience that includes fellow students, teachers, scientists
dents and teachers achieve the task goals. Examples of the and educators (as well as anyone with Internet access) helps
use of a CTCM-based curriculum can be found by looking at to increase the intrinsic motivation of the students to produce
the Critical Issues Forum web site a well-researched and well-thought out position on a given
(http://set.lanl.gov/programs/cif/) and exploring the LANL task assignment.
developed curriculum in such topics as "The Future of the
Nuclear World" and "Terrorism in the Nuclear Age." The CTCM and the CIF program use a student-centered
Internet-based research approach. A networld, a collaborative
The task assignments include three parts. The "Task Over- area where students exchange information and resources, is
view" section describes the four domains that students are vital to this design. "Students in the networld engage in
asked to consider while researching and compiling their data. group learning projects with peers from other regions and
The four domains (the scientific, the political, the so- countries. They share ideas and resources, access information
cial/cultural, and the economic) are considered important in on current events or historical archives, and interact with
helping students make sense of the issue being investigated. experts" (Harasim, 1993). Teachers involved in the CTCM-
Students are instructed to weave these four domains into based CIF program report that this approach enhances the
their thinking process as they attempt to understand complex learning opportunities for their students.
global issues. The tasks address objectives in critical think-
ing, research skills, communication skills, the scientific pro- As a culminating activity in the CIF program, the student
cess, interdisciplinary curriculum, and community involve- teams attended a conference at Los Alamos National Labo-
ment. The "Task Introduction" sections are the "hooks" for ratory and presented their findings in multi-media presenta-
the assignments. They bring a sense of relevancy to the issue. tions. The presentation is an example of a task that requires
The introduction areas start with a literary/historical quote higher order thinking skills. It shows the students’ develop-
relevant to the task topic followed by preliminary back- ment and application of conceptual understandings
ground information. These provide the students and teachers (Hoffman, 1990). Students applied to present their findings
a base from which to start their research. The "Tasks" sec- at the conference, and used a variety of formats including
tions are the actual assignment areas. Students are given dif- poster sessions, Web page presentations, position papers,
fering types of tasks to complete. These tasks drive the re- video, or other types of presentation media. This contrasts
search and classroom activity phases. Students compile their with traditional classroom assessment in which students are
work, and prepare final documents that are then submitted given tests that may ignore or avoid the underlying concepts
for publication on the class web site. Students are given ap- and skills (Shepard, 1989). In the CTCM approach, students
proximately three weeks to complete each task assignment. receive evaluation and comments on each presentation
through an evaluation rubric. “The act of verbalizing material
Each task engages the student teams in research, critical is thought to lead to cognitive restructuring on the part of the
thinking, communicating thoughts, and making connections. students who are attempting to explain different points of
Each subsequent task builds upon the student’s previous view” (Levin, 1986). The ability to hypothesize, conclude,
skills and knowledge base. The task assignments also pro- and explain is linked to the evaluation stage, the sixth and
vide a mechanism for assessment, both for the participants highest level of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objec-
and for the classroom teacher. Each team's work is published tives (Livingston, 1992).
in the form of an electronic portfolio, which appears on a
class web site. The fact that the student teams are writing for

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The Model in Practice prior knowledge in order to address misconceptions and de-
velop concepts in the manner of real scientists.
The framework for the Critical Thinking Curriculum Model
centers on the students taking responsibility for their own In an effective classroom, learning requires more than con-
learning, and that the learning experiences should build upon necting new material to old ways of thinking, but far better,
previous knowledge (Dewey, 1970). The learning environ- to new ways of understanding. "Students come to school
ment in a constructivist educational approach is one that with their own ideas, some correct and some not, about al-
fosters thinkers who ask questions, and look for their own most every topic they are likely to encounter" (Rutherford
answers. The teacher takes the role of facilitator, guiding and Alhgren, 1990). Students need experiences that help
students as they encounter new subject matter through their them to develop new views and make better sense of their
research of the topical issue. A CTCM-based curriculum world. Learning is the responsibility of the learner, but the
engages the learner actively, requires cooperation and col- teacher guides the student toward developing meaning from
laboration, and is not fundamentally built upon grades and content material and classroom experience. Communication
competition (Shepard, 1989). The differences of others be- from and between multiple peoples and perspectives is im-
come valuable during group activities, as the teacher matches portant and vital to learning. In describing and explaining
the tasks to the variety of learners present in the class (Apple, ideas to others, the learner synthesizes material in a way that
1993). requires higher-order thinking. A person who successfully
explains a body of knowledge to others may be said to have
Just as scientists constantly communicate with one another in mastered this knowledge.
order to solve problems, students should be engaged in the
higher order thinking skills that include synthesis, evaluation Research scientists cross over the barriers between disci-
and application of information, not memorization (Shepard, plines all the time, and seldom operate solely on science
1989). Situations in the real world are unique and often re- content, but integrate the use of language, knowledge and
quire new methods or techniques to solve them. Problem process application. Research-based programs give students
solving strategies often change along with the underlying the ability to retain facts through critical thinking by working
concepts (Bruner, 1962). through problems logically and making connections to the
real world. In The Process of Education, Jerome Bruner
Students should be encouraged to publish their work on the writes; "Students should know what it feels like to be com-
World Wide Web (WWW), and the Internet should be a pletely absorbed in a problem. They seldom experience this
comprehensive part of the research and dissemination of stu- feeling in school" (Bruner, 1962).
dent products. Informal evaluations have shown that students
who publish their work on the web increase their reading and The textbook is a classroom resource, but not the only re-
writing abilities (Herman, Osmundson, Pascal, 1996). One source, and the nature of knowledge should incorporate mul-
reason may be that their work is available for all the world to tiple viewpoints and sources that include textbooks, the
see at any time. It stands to reason that a student who knows Internet, multimedia and other sources of current informa-
this will prepare their work to a greater degree, and in effect tion. Knowledge is as much about process as it is about con-
increase their writing and reading abilities. tent, and the two must be integrated effectively so that the
learner sees the value of the content in a conceptually correct
Ultimately, students should be engaged and participating context (Hoehn, 1990). Students should explore multiple
both in and outside of class, as this is crucial to learning and examples from many cultures and time periods, and be given
the construction of purposes and meanings (Wiggins, 1989). the time to make sense of it all. The goal is to engage the
The teacher should actively promote and encourage positive learner in higher-order thinking that includes analysis, syn-
group interactions and cooperative behaviors that foster the thesis and evaluation of material and information (Hoehn,
types of thinking interactions that enhance the learning proc- 1990).
ess (Bossert, 1989). The CTCM design incorporates this ap-
proach and provides a method for understanding the content. Technology can be an ally to the modern teacher, and should
be effectively integrated into the presentation and demon-
Curriculum Approach stration of the curriculum. This takes a different style of
teacher, one who learns from students and also models the
Meaning is a human construction interacting with a social
situation; we are defining it for ourselves. Yet, one must be- use of technology in the classroom (Duffy et al. 1986). To-
ware of regarding the child's point of view as "finally signifi- day’s student needs to be stimulated, and since technology is
cant in themselves" (Dewey, 1970). Each learner understands an integral feature of the modern world, not to use it in the
content and concepts differently based on their previous ex- classroom is a real disservice to the student. In science,
periences. The students need opportunities to address their "technology provides the eyes and ears of science - and some
of the muscle too" (Rutherford and Alhgren, 1990). Technol-

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ogy, whether it is a computer or a calculator, is vital to the educational and technology components of the CTCM in
teaching the concepts associated with data collection, com- their instruction. The results of the tests were analyzed using
putation and measurement. It is also something that is rec- SPSS in a MANOVA format in order to determine the sig-
ommended by educators in such volumes as the National nificance of the between and within-subjects effects. A com-
Science Standards and the National Mathematics Standards. parison ANOVA was done for each two-way MANOVA to
It is at this point that the Internet is most powerful, and the see if the comparison groups were equal. Significant findings
motivation to do good work becomes intrinsic and not driven were validated using the Scheffé test in a Post Hoc analysis.
by the pursuit of a grade. It is one thing to do a project and Demographic information for the sample population was
turn it into a teacher in your school, it is quite another to recorded and tracked, including self-assessments of computer
publish your work on the Internet for anyone with access use and availability. Of the forty null hypothesis statements
around the world to read and consult. posed in this study, five were determined to have statistical
significance. Three were in the area of content understanding
Evaluation and two in the area of problem solving.
The CTCM, as manifested in the Critical Issues Forum Overall, immersion in the CTCM did not change students’
(CIF), featured open-ended activities that dealt with current attitudes toward learning computer technology or science.
concerns that leaders are attempting to solve. This format Students in the sample exhibited relatively positive attitudes
utilized a multidisciplinary approach for engaging students in toward both computers and science that were consistently
collaborative research activities that centered on the study of maintained over the evaluation period. On average, students
real world issues. This model was designed to encompass involved in the CTCM increased the amount of time they
effective pedagogical techniques and to integrate computer spent on the computer. The results indicated that the CTCM
technologies within a flexible curriculum format. Evaluation did help to increase science content understanding and prob-
of the effectiveness of CTCM-based curriculum was con- lem-solving skills for students, thereby positively impacting
ducted as part of the research for Dr. Robertson’s doctoral critical thinking. Scores in the concept maps and problem-
degree program. The purpose of this evaluation was to de- solving tests increased continually over the semester for the
termine if high school students who engaged in a CTCM- sample, and showed significance in both cases. In other
based science curriculum gained in their attitudes toward words, no matter if the students liked science or not, enjoyed
science and technology, science content understanding and computers or not, the CTCM approach helped to increase
problem solving skills. science content understanding and problem-solving skills.
The CTCM has clearly provided an educational framework
A sample population of 24 students participated in class- that can aid all students in the development of critical think-
rooms at two separate high schools. The students involved in ing skills.
the CTCM evaluation study were given tests throughout the
spring 2000 semester. The participating teachers integrated

References
Apple, M.W. (1993). Official Knowledge, New York: Routledge.
Bossert, S. (1989). Cooperative Activities in the Classroom, Review of Research in Education, Vol. 15, pp. 225-250.
Brophy, J. (1988). Research on Teacher Effects: Uses and Abuses, Elementary School Journal, Volume 88, Number 1, pp. 3-22.
Bruner, J. (1962). The Process of Education, Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Dewey, J. (1970). The Child and the Curriculum, Chicago: Chicago University Press.
Duffy, G., Roehler, L., Meloth, M. and Vavrus, L. (1986). Conceptualizing Instructional Explanation, Teaching and Teacher Education, Vol-
ume 2, Number 1, pp. 1-18.
Harasim, L. (1993). Global Networks: Computer and International Communication. Cambridge: The MIT Press.
Herman, J. Osmundson, E., and Pascal, J. (October,1996). Los Alamos National Laboratory Critical Issues Forum Final Evaluation Report,
Center for the Study of Evaluation, UCLA Graduate School of Education.
Hoehn, R. G. (1990). Encouraging Your Students to Think, Science Activities, Volume 27, Number 2, pp. 8-11.
Hoffman, J. ed. By J. Zutell and S. McCormick (1990). The Myth of Teaching, Literacy Theory and Research: Analysis from Multiple Para-
digms, National Reading Conference, pp. 1-12.
Levin, J. A. (1986). Flexibility in Joint Problem Solving, Interactive Technology Laboratory Final Report, University of California San Di-
ego.
Livingston, J. B. (1992). The Science Activity Evaluation Form, Science Activities, Volume 29, Number 3, pp. 14-16.
Rutherford, J. and A. Ahlgren (1990). Science For All Americans, New York: Oxford University Press.
Shepard, L. A. (April,1989). Why We Need Better Assessments, Educational Leadership, pp. 4-9.
Wasley, P. A. (May,1991). From Quarterback to Coach, From Actor to Director, Educational Leadership, pp. 35-40.
Wiggins, G. (1989, April). Teaching to the (Authentic) Test, Educational Leadership, pp. 41-47.

! 31 ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org


LESSONLAB
LESSONLAB:
LAB Evolving Teaching into a Profession

Ronald Gallimore and Jim Stigler


University of California, Los Angeles and LessonLab

Images of Alternative Practices U.S. follow a fairly standard script no matter what part of the
country they were recorded. For the first time these teachers
Practitioners face rising expectations. Not only must they realized how much they take for granted about how to teach,
teach to new standards, they must learn to teach in ways and that the American style of teaching is a choice, not an
most have never seen or imagined. In response, teachers are inevitability.
now asking for and getting new kinds of professional devel-
opment opportunities. Those with the most appeal are long- The reaction of teachers to the TIMSS videos is a reminder
term, involve active learning, and are coherently related to of reactions to the commercial introduction of video tape
ongoing school activities (Garet, Porter, Desimone, Birman, recorders. Thirty-five years ago, there was a surge of opti-
& Yoon, 2001). mism that the then new video tape technology would move
teaching from a profession that described its practices in
However, even new forms of professional development fall words to one that demonstrated them with vivid images
short when teachers have no access to images of alternative (Tharp & Gallimore, 1989). Today, video technology does
practice. For example, many are now required to teach play a role in some teacher preparation and development, but
mathematical problem-solving, scientific inquiry, critical the potential of this technology has never been fully realized.
thinking, and other high-level student competencies thought Many teachers tell us that having a lesson videotaped and
essential to the nation’s future. Unfortunately, because such reviewed with a coach or colleague was among the most
teaching has not been common in the United States, there are memorable professional development experiences they ever
few opportunities to see it in action. To learn the new and had. Sadly, most say it was a single opportunity, or occurred
complex teaching practices many are now expected to use, long ago when they were in college. Even more surprising is
teachers need and want to see lessons being taught, with stu- the number of teachers who tell us how seldom they get to
dents like those they teach, in classrooms like their own. observe lessons of any kind as part of their professional
Reading about or hearing someone describe teaching for work, and that this has been true since the beginning of their
“problem-solving” or “scientific inquiry” is a poor substitute careers.
for seeing it reasonably well implemented.
Not surprisingly, we are frequently asked for access to the
Seeing is Realizing lesson videos that were collected by the TIMSS studies. The
term most often used is “demonstration lessons.” Teachers
want to see examples of how teachers in other cultures teach
Teacher response to seeing alternative approaches was strik-
mathematics and science. They want to see more than just
ing when we began reporting the results of an international
“stars” whose virtuosity is as unquestioned as it is uncom-
study of teaching in different countries. The TIMSS (Third
mon. They want to see multiple examples of ways to teach
International Mathematics and Science Study) Video Study
concepts and skills, demonstrations of the lessons they are
compared teaching in 3 countries (see TechKnowLogia, No-
increasingly being asked to teach, linked to the curricula for
vember/December 2000) and the TIMSS-R (Third Interna-
which they are responsible.
tional Mathematics and Science Study-Repeat)Video Study,
conducted by LessonLab, included 7 countries (Stigler &
Hiebert, 1999; Stigler, et al., 2000). Teachers who saw ex- Digital Library
amples of teaching in other countries were astonished that
familiar subject matter was taught in very different ways. Teachers need and want a large, rich, easily accessible
They realized, just as the TIMSS results indicated, that there knowledge base for teaching that includes vivid images of
is not nearly as much variation among American teachers as alternatives represented in lesson videos. This is the purpose
was commonly believed. In fact, mathematics lessons in the of a new effort in which we at LessonLab are involved, the
building of digital libraries in which to accumulate and share

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a rich storehouse of professional knowledge–a library of pro- 70-30 split. LessonLab Courses are typically carried out
fessional knowledge easily accessible to teachers over the 100% online and include online facilitation. A similar learn-
Internet. ing model is used to generate both Coach and Course pro-
grams. Both product lines are built in modules, with each
A very large part of the professional knowledge base is les- module providing approximately 10 hours of work for par-
son videos, available online to all teachers, pre-, early-, and ticipants.
in-service. But videos are not enough. They need to be linked
to standards and assessment documents, examples of student The core of each module is one or more video cases, typi-
work, and other resources. They need to have commentaries cally a classroom lesson. The module engages teachers in a
by the teacher of the lesson and other experts–comments series of activities that engage them in studying the case. The
linked to specific parts of the lesson video to avoid the global learning model that guides the building of LessonLab Coach
generalities that too often characterize talk about teaching. and Course modules includes four phases:
All sorts of knowledge should be in the digital library, all
linked to practice. 1. Identify Problem of Practice - each module is
motivated by a problem of practice. Learning to define
Building on our work in TIMSS video studies, LessonLab such problems is an important skill for teachers, and
built a technology platform that permits easy accumulation, teachers in this part of the module are given opportuni-
storage, and sharing of knowledge. LessonLab is building ties to make the problem that motivates the module their
two professional development product lines on its technology own by linking it and calibrating it with their own prac-
platform: LessonLab Course and LessonLab Coach. Each of tice.
these is based on a clear, research-based learning model,
LessonLab’s “Learning from Practice” model. 2. Analyze Practice - each module then provides op-
(www.lessonlab.com/software) portunities for teachers to analyze artifacts of practice
(such as classroom video) within the context of the
LessonLab Coach products are integrated offerings that pro- problem they have identified. Activities include the
vide both online and face-to-face components, generally in a analysis of content, student learning, and pedagogical
strategies, all in relation to the problem that moti-
vates the module.

3. Link to Practice - in this phase teachers


engage in activities designed to link the results of
their analyses to their own practice, through plan-
ning, implementing, and reflecting on their own
practice in the classroom.

4. Assess Learning - finally, teachers are


given opportunities to assess their own learning in
the module, and/or to be assessed by a facilitator or
peer.

New Grounds

Several thousand teachers in four dozen different


projects around the USA are using the LessonLab
software platform. Some are participating in the
building of digital libraries, and others are bor-
rowing those developed elsewhere. The TIMSS-R
Video Study will release sometime in 2003 a pub-
lic–use library of 8th grade mathematics and sci-
ence lessons. For teachers interested in learning
about algebra teaching, LessonLab and the Intel
Corporation will shortly release an online course
that provides an option to earn UCLA graduate
credits. Some textbook publishers are providing
small libraries of demonstration lessons to accom-

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pany their published materials. Local school systems are us- available can help make teaching a profession defined by its
ing locally built lesson libraries to implement standards- knowledge base, which will allow it to improve its practices
based instruction, support in-service programs, and to induct over time (Yinger, 1999). Over the past 100 years, medicine
new teachers into the profession. Institutes of higher educa- has changed greatly – not because smarter people became
tion are building video cases into online courses to augment doctors, but because medicine found a way to accumulate
traditional programs. and share knowledge and to update and improve it over time.
If we begin now and take advantage of the new technologies,
For digital lesson libraries to function as envisioned, educa- perhaps in a generation the same can be true of teaching.
tors will need to find a way to agree on what constitutes LessonLab hopes to be a part of this evolution by its com-
standard practice. Standard practices, according to Al Shan- mitment to teaching research and creating technologies that
ker, the American union leader, distinguish a profession, and support teacher professional development.
are its proper aim, provided there is a means of improving
them over time. In medicine, failure to follow the standard
practice is malpractice. The new technologies that are now

References

Garet, M.S., Porter, A.C., Desimone, L., Birman, B.F., & Yoon, K.S. (2001). What makes professional development effective?
Results from a National Sample of Teachers. American Educational Research Journal, 38, 4, 915-945.

Hiebert, J., Gallimore, R., and Stigler, J.W. (2002). A Knowledge Base for the Teaching Profession: What Would It Look Like,
and How Can We Get One? Educational Researcher, 31, 5, 3-15.

Stigler, J. W., Gallimore, R. and Hiebert, J. (2000). Using video surveys to compare classrooms and teaching across cultures:
Examples and lessons from the TIMSS video studies. Educational Psychologist, 35, 2, 87-100.

Stigler, J. W., Hiebert, J. (1999). The teaching gap: Best ideas from the world’s teachers for improving education in the class-
room. New York: Free Press.

Tharp, R. G. & Gallimore, R. (1989). Rousing minds to life: Teaching, learning, & schooling in social context. Cambridge:
Cambridge Univ. Press.

Yinger, R. (1999). The role of standards in teaching and teacher education. In G. Griffin (Ed.), The education of teachers:
Ninety-eighth yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education (pp. 85-113). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago
Press.

Over the past 100 years, medicine has changed greatly – not because
smarter people became doctors, but because medicine found a way to accu
accu-
mulate and share knowledge and to update and improve it over time. If we
begin now and take advantage of the new technologies, perhaps in a genera
genera-
tion the same can be true of teaching.

! 34 ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org


The West Virginia Story:
Technology Advances Learning and Teaching

Soledad MacKinnon
Inter-American Development Bank

Putting hardware in a room without training teachers or oth- dor provide assistance to schools in developing plans for
erwise supporting the integration of technology into the implementation of systems and services.
classroom is not enough for the advancement of learning and
teaching. It is the collective effect of the several variables County and school plans take into consideration the technol-
that compose the model that make a difference. West Vir- ogy already in place at the schools and the curriculum needs
ginia’s Basic Skills/Computer Education (BS/CE) program of the schools. Existing technology is integrated where it is
marks the first time that a long-term statewide learning tech- compatible and cost-effective to do so. Legacy technology
nology program has been assessed for its effectiveness. The coexists with new technology as long as it reasonably can do
program aimed at using the computer as a tool for improving so. Counties and schools are responsible for determining the
basic skills and for providing comprehensive teacher training hardware, software, and services to be procured from the
in using computers in the classroom. The effective use of contract for each school based upon a plan approved by the
learning technology has led directly to significant gains in WVDE.
math, reading, and language arts skills in West Virginia.
However, educators and policymakers need to interpret re- The program consists of three basic components.
sults cautiously.
(1) Software that focuses on the State’s basic
This article is based on the report The West Virginia Story: skills goals in reading, language arts, and
Achievement Gains From a Statewide Comprehensive In- mathematics. The project provides computers for
structional Technology Program commissioned by the both classroom and lab use with instructional software
Milken Exchange on Education Technology to Professor D. aligned to instructional goals and objectives. The tech-
Mann from Teachers College at Columbia University, Pro- nology is delivered as a turnkey solution that is stan-
fessor C. Shakeshaft from Hofstra University, and a team of dardized across the state.
education researchers.
(2) Enough computers in the schools so that all
students will be able to have easy and regular
Description of the Program access to the basic skills software. Funds for the
BS/CE program are currently allocated to counties on a
The Basic Skills/Computer Education (BS/CE) program was net enrollment basis. Since 1990, West Virginia's BS/CE
authorized in 1989-90 and, beginning with the kindergarten has placed more than 29,000 computers in K-6 class-
class of 1990-91. Schools installed hardware and software, rooms. Each year and beginning with kindergarten, at a
and teacher training began. cost of about $ 7 million per year, the State of West Vir-
ginia provided every elementary school with enough
A solid planning effort was vital to the success of this pro- equipment so that each classroom serving the grade co-
gram. The creation and approval of county and school tech- hort of children targeted that year might have three or
nology plans, based on input from School Technology four computers, a printer and a school-wide, networked
Teams, is the first requirement for a county’s eligibility to file server. Schools could choose to deploy the comput-
spend project funds. The West Virginia Department of Edu- ers in labs and centers or distribute them directly to
cation (WVDE) Office of Technology and the contract ven- classrooms. As the 1990-91 kindergarten class went up

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the grades, so did the teachers and software chosen from (b) attitudes toward computers, and
either IBM or Jostens Learning.
(c) teacher professional development and involvement in
(3) Professional development for teachers in the technology basic skills implementation decisions.
use of the software and the use of computers
in general. Teachers have the availability of statewide With the student as the unit of analysis, the researchers ex-
support through both a statewide help desk and the sup- amined the relationship between how much of each of the
port services of the RESAs. Teachers can control the model variables that student had experienced and her or his
delivery of the content from their classrooms while ac- gain scores on the Stanford-9.
cessing reporting options that allow decision-making
across all parts of their instruction, not just the use of
technology. The Internet and standard productivity tools Findings
enhance and broaden the application of technology. On-
going staff development allows teachers to set improve- West Virginia’s Basic Skills/Computer Education program
ment goals specific to technology. However, the pro- has had a positive impact on student achievement, as detailed
gram has changed delivery of instruction to a different in the study released by the researchers. The program was
model that is center-based, constructivist in nature, and cited for its effective use of technology that led directly to
open to growth and enhancement. significant gains in math, reading and language arts skills.
Eleven percent of the gain score increase of fifth graders can
be attributed to their participation in the BS/CE program.
Research Methods
The study also noted that educational gains through technol-
Data were collected from all fifth graders (n=950) in 18 ele- ogy were cost-effective and increased socio-economic and
mentary schools that were selected to represent the range of gender equity. BS/CE was found more cost-effective than
variables that might influence technology use and student other interventions, including class-size reduction. In addi-
achievement, e.g., intensivity of BS/CE use, software vendor, tion, the study found that the BS/CE program was successful
student prior achievement and sociodemography. The 1996- in equalizing opportunity for low-income and rural students,
97 fifth graders had the most complete test score records and particularly for those children who do not have computers at
were the first cohort to have had the consistent availability of home. Further, the study found, in opposition to other widely
BS/CE across their entire school experience. The sample size reported observations, that girls and boys had equal access to
supports generalization at the 95% level of statistical confi- computers, thus promoting gender equity.
dence. Data were both quantitative (state and publisher’s test Additional outcomes of the sustained implementation of in-
files, survey results) and qualitative (on-site field documen- struction technology include: participant schools' ability to
tation, case analysis, interview results). try out new productivity tools; improvement of public atti-
tude to schools; positioning of West Virginia's children as
Student test data were scaled scores on the Stanford-9 "knowledge workers" in a technologically demanding econ-
achievement test. Because scaled scores are normed against a omy and workforce.
nationally representative group they are appropriate for com-
parison purposes and for the computation of gain scores. The West Virginia Story: Achievement Gains from a State-
wide Comprehensive Instructional Technology Program
Researchers used factor analysis to search for input phenom- documents the following reasons for the success of the
ena that were grouped both conceptually and in terms of re- BS/CE program:
spondent perceptions and that also were related to variation
in student test scores. The three components of this empiri- • Clear, defined focus on the teaching of the basic skills
cally-derived model—access, attitude, and training—are
similar to what leaders in instructional technology advocate. • Implementation of a critical mass of computers to ensure
student access
To examine the relationship between the BS/CE experience
and student achievement, gain scores on the Stanford-9 were • Standardization of computer hardware and software
computed for each student from 1996-97 to 1997-98. Addi-
tionally, for each student, data were gathered for each of the • Turnkey approach to providing hardware, software, ca-
regression model components, which measured bling, professional development, installation, and sup-
port
(a) software and computer availability and use,

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The Basic Skills program, which is part of a larger systemic for BS/CE’s success is the defined focus of its implementa-
reform in education in the State of West Virginia, is gaining tion.
even greater acceptance as time goes on. The growth in stu-
dent achievement to which it contributes continues. BS/CE also has a particular feature that should not be disre-
garded and it is that the choice of software from a fixed set of
two vendors departs from the conventional ceding of choice
Conclusions among hundreds of vendors to hundreds of schools (and of-
ten, to thousands of teachers).
“ The BS/CE program deserves our scrutiny because of its
scale, consistency, and focus,” said Cheryl Lemke, executive Despite the results, the Milken Exchange urged that educa-
director of the Milken Exchange. “The issues of system de- tors and policymakers cautiously interpret the West Virginia
sign, training, technology capacity, technical support, and findings for these reasons.
means of measurement are all powerfully present in the West
Virginia experience, and provide important lessons for other • BS/CE was launched before powerful computers, high
states making investments in learning technology.” Addi- speed transmission lines and the Internet were available
tionally, the researchers believe that part of the explanation in schools. Today’s technology can support a much
wider array of instructional applications.

• BS/CE was designed to accommodate the learning and


“The issues of system design, train- teaching realities of West Virginia. That may not make it
ing, technology capacity, technical appropriate for every district or state where the charac-
support, and means of measurement teristics of learners and teachers may be quite different.
are all powerfully present in the West
As other states consider instructional technology as an agent
Virginia experience, and provide im- of improvement, it would also be interesting to add the fol-
portant lessons for other states making lowing question: Is it possible that, in addition to test score
investments in learning technology.” gains, educational innovations can help position children for
a technologically demanding economy, society, and polity?

References
Mann, D., Shakeshaft, C., Becker, J., & Kottkamp, R. (2002). West Virginia story: Achievement gains from a statewide com-
prehensive instructional technology program. http://www.mff.org/pubs/ME155.pdf

Mann, D. & Shakeshaft, C. (2002). In God we trust: All others bring data.
http://www.interactiveinc.org/Publications/InGodWeTrust052302.pdf

Milken Family Foundation (2002). West Virginia study results.


http://www.mff.org/edtech/article.taf?_function=detail&Content_uid1=127

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Using Technology to Promote Critical Thinking
Through the Natural Sciences
Sarah S. Thompson, Outreach Coordinator
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
sthompso@nhm.org

“Look at him! He’s carrying a nut in his mouth!” One of the and similarities in birds to get an idea of the number of spe-
students is gesturing wildly above his head. I look over just cies, rather than identifying the bird by name. If children
in time to catch an acorn woodpecker flashing by, an acorn cannot identify a bird, he or she is encouraged to describe the
tucked securely in its beak. Another 10 year old boy raises bird’s size, shape, color and behavior on the data sheet.
his binoculars one second too late to see the boldly patterned
bird. “Don’t worry,” I tell him. “I know which tree he’s go- After observing birds,
ing to. I’ll show you in a minute.” This exchange takes place students collect inver-
while hiking in Griffith Park in Los Angeles, an oasis of tebrates in the school-
green in the middle of concrete sprawl. Fourth grade stu- yard. Even on play-
dents from McKinley Avenue Elementary School are partici- grounds that seem to
pating in Earth Odyssey, bird watching and seeing all urban consist solely of con-
wildlife in a whole new way. crete, there are bushes
or a garden in which
Earth Odyssey is a field ecology outreach program, devel- we can search for tiny
oped by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County creatures. Students
and supported by the American Honda Corporation, in which working in cooperative
students explore the biological diversity of their environ- groups place spiders,
ment. By documenting the bird, invertebrate and plant ladybugs, aphids, and
populations in two different habitats, students begin to un- the occasional honeybee into plastic collecting vials and rec-
derstand the importance of scientific research in protecting ord the invertebrate’s exact location. A visitor to the school-
and preserving natural spaces. Earth Odyssey maintains a yard would see groups of children swinging nets through
web site, www.earth-odyssey.org, at which teachers and stu- grassy areas, shaking bushes to dislodge spiders, and scoop-
dents not only enter their own information, but also analyze ing up fistfuls of earth to find pillbugs and earwigs. They
information collected by other students from other schools in reluctantly return to the classroom to complete scientific il-
Los Angeles. Students realize that they are part of a citywide lustrations of the invertebrates. Having students collect the
program and that the sharing of information is an integral insects and spiders is the easy part; getting them to think
part of science. deeply about the role of invertebrates in natural systems is
more challenging. This is accomplished through drawing
and observing live invertebrates and consulting the Internet
In the Schoolyard and in the Field and field guides to learn more about them. Every schoolyard
In the first step of this month long program, a museum in- is different: some have well-watered gardens, while others
structor visits a classroom to teach students how to collect are home only to those invertebrates which can survive in the
and record information on living things. The instructor also driest of conditions. After the visit, the invertebrates are re-
gives the students the password and school code they will leased back into the area where they were collected.
need to access the Earth Odyssey web site (any visitor can
register as a guest to view the data, but to add or change data A week or two after the students have conducted their
requires a password.) The rest of the visit is spent in the schoolyard investigations, they join museum instructors on a
schoolyard, pointing at a western gull circling overhead or field trip to Griffith Park, the largest park in the city of Los
house sparrows pecking under the lunch tables. Each student Angeles and home to many native animal and plant species.
receives a field notebook containing data sheets on which The goals of this field trip are to collect a set of biodiversity
they write their own observations of bird species and their data from a second location, but also to expose students to
behavior. In schoolyards in Los Angeles, we have observed the nature found in open spaces. Museum instructors lead
as many as twelve different kinds of birds, illustrating that both directed activities, such as observing and identifying
many bird species have been able to adapt to the rigors of birds and invertebrates, but also open-ended activities such
urban existence. Because identifying birds by children is an as an interpretive nature hike. They capitalize on those
inexact science, (“eagles” are often reported flying over the "teachable moments" in which they see a western fence liz-
school) we concentrate our efforts on noticing differences ard darting into a burrow or some seed-filled “scat” on the

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trail. Some of the students have never been to parks, beaches, into the central database of the website. They enter envi-
or other open spaces in the city. Those who may have visited ronmental data such as temperature and weather, and of
the park for a family picnic or to play basketball now see a course the date and time. Students may enter a bird or insect
wilderness area, teeming with birds and snakes. species name or their description of that animal. Because
multiple students from the same cooperative group may be
During their field trip, students engage in some of the same entering the same data, the web site randomly selects one set
data collection activities that they did in their schoolyard, of data from each named group to display. For example, if
enabling them to get started immediately and cutting down there are 4 sets of data from the ‘mockingbirds,’ only one
on “the newness factor.” Instructors then add a third activity, student’s data will be used to generate the bar graph.
helping students lay a 30 meter transect line and counting the
diversity of plants they observe along that line. They use After submitting their data, students are encouraged to com-
brightly colored hula-hoops in place of square meter pare and contrast their findings with their student colleagues
quadrats, and use symbols to plot the diversity and density of across town and in the future, across the country. Looking at
plant species on a map of their hoop. Before and after this bar graphs of species richness, students explore how seasons,
activity instructors ask students about the relationship be- weather, urban growth, and geographic location affect bird,
tween plants and birds and invertebrates, and about the non- invertebrate and plant populations as they compare their
local plants that are found on most school campuses. Stu- findings with the findings of others. Students in east Los
dents make the connection between green plants and healthy Angeles may report mockingbirds in their schoolyard, as will
habitats. students in west Los Angeles, 20 miles west. Students may
see red tail hawks throughout the year, but meadowlarks only
After a tiring morning of hiking and observing and writing, a few months per year. Students’ critical thinking skills are
students break for lunch. Some of the lunch tables are right honed by examining these comparisons, leading them to
under sycamore trees used as acorn ‘granaries’ by wood- think in a more holistic manner. We are currently working to
peckers, and across a field filled with pocket gopher holes. complete an ‘electronic field guide’ for students to use as a
After lunch, students complete another set of insect drawings resource for species commonly seen in Los Angeles when
to document their catch and share data and trip highlights entering data into the web site, adding another level to their
with each other. experience as scientists. We hope that students will realize
that their actions and the actions of society as a whole do
Back at School have an impact on the populations of organisms such as
Perhaps the most important component of the Earth Odyssey birds, invertebrates and plants, and should make informed,
outreach program is our second visit to the classroom to help responsible choices when they are adults.
the students compare the two sets of data they have collected,
and in some cases to enter data into the web site (not every Technology makes the data from diverse sources and geo-
classroom has internet access). During this step, students graphic locations for students available through this data-
expand their learning by employing scientific analysis: stu- base-driven web site. Without computers and the Internet,
dents look critically at the environmental conditions present students would not be able to access information from
when they observed birds and collected invertebrates. Mu- around Los Angeles and compare the data with their own.
seum instructors ask open-ended questions to get the students The data collected by this web site are not directly used by
thinking about factors that might influence the amount of scientists, but are instead for the benefit of students, and
biodiversity in the two habitats, such as sun, open space, therefore more geared toward student sensibilities and level
water and the presence of people. Students can analyze of comprehension. The data are in terms that students easily
similarities and differences in the data sets, and then write understand, mostly because they themselves have gone
about their findings. Students calculate the "species rich- through the process of collecting similar information.
ness" by adding up the species they observed in the school-
Educators across the country may sign up for this free pro-
yard and the park, and comparing those two numbers. Most
gram via an on-line form to gain full access to the web site,
often, the species richness, or biodiversity, of the field site is
teaching materials and lesson plans, and student-submitted
higher than the school site, but not always. Throughout the
data for use with their classrooms. It is hoped that through
school year, the conditions of the field sites vary and every
this technology-based component of the Earth Odyssey pro-
visit to the school is different, so instructors are trained to
gram, students will gain critical thinking skills and a holistic
discuss seasonality, migration patterns and any other variable
mindset. These are important goals of the Natural History
that affects animal populations.
Museum of Los Angeles County, and such goals should be
If the students are not able to enter data in the classroom with on every educator’s mind, for today’s students are tomor-
the instructor, they do this step in the computer lab or at row’s scientists.
home. Students transfer the data from their field notebooks

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Preserving Culture in a Technological Environment
Edna Aphek
edna@telhi.co.il

From the Ice Age to The technological revolution, so it seems, has passed over
the older members in our society, and mainly the Third
High-Tech Agers.

I belong to the “Ice Age” gen- Whereas the older members seem to be living in a “waste
eration. When I was a child, land” as far as technology is concerned, the young ones seem
there was no refrigerator in our to be born holding the “mouse cord” in their hand. They
home. We had an icebox. We speak “high-tech” as their mother tongue and their natural
used to carry ice blocks in a environment is a technological one.
Utah cloth, up to the third floor where we lived. My genera-
tion did not grow up with such developed technologies as
today’s youngsters. A telephone was a rare thing and a tele- The Intergeneration Program
phone conversation- a happening.
and the New Technolo
Technologies
Even when I grew up, a telephone line was hard to get. One
In this situation, the meeting between the two polaric groups
had to wait for years to get one. When we were Bar Mitzvah
- the young ones, the speakers of “High- Tech” and the much
or Bat Mitzvah, we usually got a watch. My four-year-old
older ones for whom the world of computer and the Internet
grandchild has a few watches. Only those who were rich, in
is an unknown land and the language of this land is foreign
those days, could afford a transistor radio. I got one the other
and difficult - is most appropriate. In this meeting, between
day buying a 4-liter Coca-Cola bottle.
the young and the old, it is the young ones who teach the
language of the new country - the land of technology - to the
I watched television for the first time when I arrived in the
old ones.
USA; I was twenty-five, then. Until now, I do not know how
to program a VCR and I became acquainted with a PC only
For the last 5 years, I have been implementing a program I
ten years ago.
initiated and started called The Intergeneration Program and
the New Technologies. In this program, young students,
The tremendous technological changes that flooded our lives
grades 5-9, tutor seniors at computer and Internet skills and
in the last fifty or sixty years are very quick and significant.
learn from their older students a chapter in the latter’s per-
When a new technology and especially one that has to do
sonal history. Together they write a digital version of the
with communications is created and becomes wide spread, it
story; they scan
brings about changes in tools, in ways of thinking, in social
pictures, albums,
processes and in social structures. The “invasion” of comput-
ers into our lives opens new possibilities and gives room for
documents; they An African proverb
social mobility.
search for informa-
tion on the net as says that when an
Computer usage and mastery is mainly in the hands of the
well as in other old person dies an
sources and soon
young generation, whose status in society has undergone
much change with the introduction of the new technologies.
will upload these entire library is set
stories to a desig-
nated site, on the on fire.
Internet.

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An African proverb says that when an old person dies an
entire library is set on fire.
A Meeting of Cultures
This meeting between these two
In the intergeneration program, we preserve whole libraries,
groups, very apart age-wise, is
treasured in the minds of the elderly, by means of the new
also a meeting between two
technologies. Concurrently with the rapidly changing tech-
cultures: it’s a meeting between
nological-cultural reality, the demographic reality of the
a linear-sequential culture of the
Third Agers changes as well. The senior population is ever
Third Agers, and an associative,
on the rise. On the one hand, our society admires youth, but
multi- directional, skipping and
it also yearns for something that used to be and is gone. One
surfing culture of the young
could understand this yearning against the background of the
ones.
ever changing technology and the incessant innovations.
There is a yearning for ever lasting values: there is a feeling
The difference between these
of weariness from this rapidity of technological changes and
two cultures is also the differ-
there is a dire desire for holding on to a meaningful narrative,
ence between a “real,” “here,"
one that will last, that won’t change in front of our eyes. It is
concrete culture and a virtual one. The Third Agers are
the Third Agers who could supply us with this narrative that
members of the “Concrete- Here” culture, whereas the cul-
connects between the past and the present - between what
ture of the youngsters is somewhere out there, in Cyberspace
used to be, what is, and what is going to be.
- sitting on a chair in a small limited physical environment,
while the spirit roams in the unlimited space of the cyber:
The Intergeneration Program started in one school, the Alon
visiting museums, meeting people, going on expeditions and
School at Mate Yehuda in Israel. Now, almost five years
much more.
later, it has expanded and many middle schools across the
country are implementing it. I must admit that each time I
This meeting is also a meeting between cultures that treat
watch the bond created between the new generation and the
time differently: The information age is an age of immedi-
Third Agers moves me very much. These meetings endow
acy, constant updating and simultaneity. I can hardly do one
the two generations with interest and meaning; the postmod-
thing at a time. Today’s youngsters use the computer, watch
ern society is a society in which relationships and connec-
television, listen to music and prepare their homework, and
tions are loose. However, a society draws its strength from
all that simultaneously.
the bond between its members: in the Intergeneration Pro-
gram: Preserving Heritage in a Technological Environment,
The meeting between the seniors and the young ones, miti-
we strengthen intergeneration connections and existing heri-
gates the franticness of the young, refutes prejudice, and en-
tage knowledge and create new connections, where they are
courages and fosters patience and tolerance. As for the older
lacking. In other words, the program aims at connecting the
members in our society, it energizes and stimulates their
various sectors and generations in Israeli society and at pre-
minds and zest for life, opens new worlds and brings back
serving the stories of the past of its senior members by the
the joy of life as well as a feeling of belonging.
new technological skills of its young members.

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Raising Achievement and Lowering Costs
with Technology in Higher Education

Gregg B. Jackson
Associate Professor of Education Policy
The George Washington University

Many have argued that technology can be a tool for raising “readiness” for success. Institutional readiness was deter-
educational achievement. Several have argued that technol- mined by the following eight criteria:
ogy can cut educational costs. Only a few visionaries have
seriously suggested that it can do both. 1. Institution must really want to increase achievement and
reduce cost;
The Pew Foundation has been funding a coordinated effort to
see if universities can increase the effectiveness of their large 2. It should be committed to using technology strategically,
introductory courses and reduce the instructional costs. rather than just making it available to all faculty;
Three rounds of grants have been awarded, with ten colleges
and universities receiving awards in each round. Final re- 3. It must have made computing part of the campus culture;
ports are now in from the first round. What do the results
indicate?1 4. It needs a mature information technology infrastructure;

Why Aim for Both? 5. It should have a substantial number of faculty who al-
ready have some experience integrating computer-based
instruction into existing courses;
The Pew Foundation became convinced that increasing
achievement while simultaneously lowering costs was criti- 6. It should be committed to learner-centered education;
cal to sustained change. Most public colleges and universi-
ties in the United State have been under pressure to expand 7. It must be preparing students to use technology in edu-
enrollments, improve the quality of education at the under- cation; and
graduate level, and to do so with level and sometimes de-
clining budgets. Similar pressures exist in many European 8. It must be prepared to forge partnerships among the fac-
countries and in developing countries. In addition, the Foun- ulty, IT staff, and administrators for the planning and
dation observed that many innovations in higher education execution of the course redesign.
that require higher operating costs than traditional instruction
are not retained for long. The Foundation decided to target its support for large intro-
ductory classes such as English, Mathematics, Psychology,
What Was Pew’s Strategy? Sociology, Biology, Chemistry, and Statistics. Those
courses generally have the largest enrollments; they tend to
The Pew Foundation began the effort by synthesizing what have a standardized curriculum; the learning outcomes tend
was already known about improving instruction and about to be more easily delineated; they provide a foundation for
education technology utilization. students’ subsequent study; and there is often dissatisfaction
among the faculty with how well students do in these
The Foundation decided to select applicant universities that courses. Other course readiness criteria included the fol-
not only had promising ideas for improving instructional lowing:
productivity, but also had institutional and target course

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1. There must be good potential for substituting technology used so it is not clear whether they were entirely comparable.
for part of the normal instructor time; In addition, it is not reported whether the differences were
statistically significant. Costs were reduced by a dramatic 77
2. The course redesign must be decided collectively by a percent.
program, department, or school, rather than one faculty
member; and Indiana-Purdue University at Indianapolis redesigned 13
classes of introductory sociology, combining them into one
3. The IT enhanced course must be able to use existing super class of about 2,000 students. Formerly, a faculty
materials (either in use at the institution or available member, sometimes with the aid of teaching assistants had
from elsewhere) to avoid devoting considerable time to taught each class. Discussions of the course content were
material development. conducted on-line. Extensive interactive quizzes were de-
veloped so students could assess their understanding of the
The Foundation sought to steer the course redesign away course content. The course was modified to include the con-
from merely presenting recorded lectures by computer and duct of a survey study of the participating students, and the
toward interactive learning, hands-on learning (even if students participated in designing the study, conducting it,
simulated), and collaborative learning among the students. and analyzing the data. They do that partly by working indi-
They wanted self-paced instruction adapted to different vidually and partly by working collaboratively. This allows
learning styles, frequent assessments with feedback so that for the application of sociology concepts in an engaging
students would know what they had and hadn’t mastered, manner, as well as hands-on experience with doing socio-
and extra help when students needed it. logical research. The results, compared with prior semesters
of traditional teaching, with regression controls for possible
What Did the Grantees Do? differences in students, showed statistically significant im-
provements in achievement for only one of three demonstra-
And Were They Successful? tion semesters. Course dropout rates declined from 39 per-
cent before the course redesign to 33, 30, and 25 percent
The University of Southern Maine redesigned its Introduc- during the three demonstration semesters. Costs per student
tory Psychology course, which enrolls about 850 students were reduced 20 percent.
annually. It was formerly taught in lecture sections of about
75 students with no recitation or discussion sessions. The Of the 10 Pew demonstrations that are now complete, five
failure rate had been about 30 percent. The redesigned showed significant improvements in learning, four showed
course replaced half of the lecture time with Web-based in- no significant differences, and the results of one were incon-
struction. There were interactive learning modules, quizzes clusive. Five showed decreased withdrawal rates and flunk-
with immediate feedback, and various activities centered on ing rates. All 10 institutions showed reduced costs per stu-
a research study that collected data from students in the dent—an average of 35 percent. All reported that they would
course. Teaching assistants interacted with students online. retain the new instructional approach, but some intended to
There was a statistically significant 10 percent increase in refine it some.
pre-post test scores compared to traditional instruction. The
percentage of students who failed, withdrew or received an It should be noted that the reported cost savings were some-
incomplete declined from 28 percent to 19 percent. Students what over-estimated, although most would have been notable
reported spending about two hours more time studying for even with appropriate estimates. The estimates did not in-
the course each week and indicated greater satisfaction with clude a share of the IT infrastructure at each university, but
the course. Costs per student were reduced by 22 percent. rather only expenditures for the additional hardware, soft-
ware and IT personnel acquired specifically for course re-
Virginia Tech redesigned its Linear Algebra course replacing design and delivery. That is not consistent with standard
the forty face-to-face sections with computer delivered in- cost-accounting practices. While it is true that modest use of
struction in its 500-station computer center that serves the under-utilized IT resources does not impose additional costs,
entire student body. The instructional aids include an elec- many universities have been experiencing rapidly increasing
tronic textbook, interactive tutorials, computation examples, demands for IT that outstrip their resources, and there is no
and online quizzes with immediate feedback. This large evidence that underutilization preceded any of these demon-
computer lab is staffed for long hours by several rotating strations. In addition, any attempt to scale up these demon-
faculty members and teaching assistants who are available to strations to many courses on a campus would require more
assist students when they are having difficulties. Scores on hardware, additional IT staff, and perhaps higher software
the final exam increased modestly from 63.5 percent correct licensing fees.
for the traditional instruction to 68.1 percent for the redes-
igned course, but some changes had been made in the exams

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Implications reason to think they will foster learning more than the same
activities in classroom settings.
The cost savings of these demonstrations are impressive, but
Second, several of the demonstrations used quizzes
the learning gains are disappointing.
that provide students with immediate feedback on
The Pew Foundation had planned these demonstrations care-
their understanding and skill mastery, but this is
fully in hopes of maximizing their success. It limited grants already widely provided by textbook quizzes that are
to universities that were already technology-rich and ap- accompanied by an answer key. Computer assisted
peared to be technology-wise. The grant awardees were instruction could go beyond the capabilities of texts if it pro-
asked to follow the guidelines several experts thought would vided the following: debriefing on why a given answer is
optimize learning and minimize costs. Awardees were given correct, explanation of the mistakes commonly made when
about a year to redesign the courses before starting to teach reaching each of the wrong answers, references to the in-
them and evaluating them. structional materials that covered a given matter, and addi-
tional references to supplemental instructional materials that
A pessimistic interpretation of the disappointing achievement students might want to consult if the primary materials con-
gains would be that despite favorable circumstances, these tinue to be inadequate for them. Preparing such debriefings,
demonstrations merely added to the large body of literature however, requires considerable time by content specialists,
on technology mediated distance learning suggesting it is no and this would somewhat reduce the cost savings.
more or less effective than traditional instruction.2 A opti-
mistic interpretation of the results would be that this is only Finally, the Pew Foundation’s prohibition against
the first of three rounds of grants that Pew has made, and that extensive development of instructional materials,
lessons can be learned from the mixed results of the first was wise, in one sense, because such material de-
round to help improve the results of the 20 demonstrations velopment often takes more time and effort than
currently under way. One should also note that the cost sav- originally anticipated, but the prohibition also pre-
ings are impressive, even if somewhat overestimated. cluded the development of intelligent tutoring sys-
tems, which have proven capable of accelerating
What might be done to increase the chances of improving and enhancing learning. See "Intelligent Tutoring Sys-
learning and cutting costs? The following are three possi- tems" in the January-March 2002 issue of TechKnowLogia.
bilities. These systems, however, currently are expensive to develop,
and probably will not achieve cost savings unless many uni-
First, using computers to allow students and versities use a given system.
teachers to do at a distance what they can do face-
to-face is not likely to improve learning. Several of Boosting learning substantially while dramatically reducing
these demonstrations made use of online discussions and costs is an appealing vision. It remains to be seen if applica-
electronically mediated project-based collaborative learning. tions of IT technologies will achieve the vision.
Those may be less expensive at a distance, but there is no

1
This article is based on several sources posted on the “Pew Grant Program in Course Redesign” web site at
http://www.center.rpi.edu/PewGrant.html, including a substantial paper by Carol A. Twigg titled “Improving learning & re-
ducing costs: Redesigning large-enrollment courses.” Further details on the first ten completed demonstrations and the twenty
still under way are available at the site.
2
Russell, T. L. (1999). The no significant difference phenomena. Montgomery, AL: IDECC.

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Benchmarking Science Education Software:
LESS THAN MEETS THE EYE
Abha Shrivastava1

INTRODUCTION THE AAAS BENCHMARKS


Many countries are expanding the use of computers in The American Association for the Advancement of Science
schools in an effort to improve instruction. The hopes for (AAAS) is the premier association of American scientists.
benefits from computers for the teaching of science are per- Its Science for All Americans indicates what all students
haps greatest where a shortage of well-qualified teachers is should know and be able to do in science, mathematics, and
often greatest and where the need for laboratories and technology by the time they graduate from high school, and
equipment make the subject expensive to teach. its Benchmarks for Science Literacy specifies learning goals
and desirable pedagogy for grades K–12. These documents
Instructional technology has evolved from simple CAI (com- are the result of years of research by a vast team of scientists
puter-aided instruction) to interactive multimedia CD-ROMs. and science educators.
Currently, there are more than 10,000 English language
software products intended for instructional or educational The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Develop-
use with microcomputers in schools and in homes. Un- ment (OECD) has these documents as key to "single most
doubtedly there are thousands more titles in other languages. visible attempt at science education reform in American his-
tory" (OECD, 1996 as cited in AAAS, n.d.). AAAS’s sci-
How good is this software? Does it cover well the most im- ence education efforts have attracted the interest of several
portant content? Does it use pedagogical strategies that are other countries. For instance, fifteen mentor teachers from
likely to enhance real understanding? And do students and Panama attended a professional development workshop
teachers easily use it? This article will briefly summarize the hosted by AAAS, as the first step in an ongoing relationship
results of a study that examined how well the allegedly best between Panama and the Association (AAAS, 1999).
English language science education software measures up to
the national standards for the teaching of science as specified The AAAS Benchmarks indicate that a coherent set of
by the American Association for the Advancement of Sci- well-understood facts and concepts provides a solid base for
ence [AAAS]. further learning. It urges that science instruction focus be
limited in number of facts and concepts that are of lasting
Deciding which curricular materials to use is one of the most significance. Quality, not quantity, is the priority. The
important professional judgments that educators make. In premises of the AAAS science education reform efforts are
nations around the world, Ministries of Education, State de- as follows:
partments, and local district advisory committees review and
recommend textbooks. Their decisions influence instruction • AAAS promotes literacy in science, mathematics, and
for years to come. technology in order to help people live interesting, re-
sponsible, and productive lives. In a culture increasingly
Some science education journals have published reviews of pervaded by science, mathematics, and technology, sci-
individual software packages and some science education ence literacy requires understandings and habits of mind
resource centers have provided similar information. These that enable citizens to grasp what those enterprises are
reviews, however, have rarely judged the software by nation- up to, to make some sense of how the natural and de-
ally established standards for science education. signed worlds work, to think critically and independ-
ently, to recognize and weigh alternative explanations of
events and design trade-offs, and to deal sensibly with

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problems that involve evidence, numbers, patterns, logi- THE EVALUATION OF SCIENCE EDU-
cal arguments, and uncertainties.
CATION SOFTWARE
• Curriculum reform should be shaped by our vision of the AAAS had previously developed a multi-step procedure for
lasting knowledge and skills we want students to acquire judging textbooks against its Benchmarks. That procedure,
by the time they become adults. This ought to include with a few small modifications, was applied to ten widely
both a common core of learning—the focus of Bench- used science instruction CD-ROMs that were chosen from a
marks—and learning that addresses the particular needs sampling frame comprising 17 bestsellers and 30 highly rec-
and interests of individual students. ommended software packages. Two investigators worked
independently applying the procedure to the same software,
• If we want students to learn science, mathematics, and and then met to reconcile the few differences in their code.
technology well, we must radically reduce the sheer
amount of material now being covered. The overstuffed Details on the study procedures and the adequacy of the
curriculum places a premium on the ability to commit content, pedagogy and usability of each of the ten software
terms, algorithms, and generalizations to short-term packages analyzed in this study are available in another
memory and impedes the acquisition of understanding. source (Shrivastava, 2002). The general findings are summa-
Goals should be stated to reveal the intended character rized below:
and sophistication of learning to be sought. Although
goals for knowing and doing can be described sepa-
rately, they should be learned together in many different
Content Findings
contexts so that they can be used together in life outside
of school. (AAAS, 1993, pp. xi-xii). The entire sample of ten software packages addressed only
53 of the approximately 270 benchmarks for the targeted
The Benchmarks are intended help educators decide what to grade level. On an average, each software title addressed 6.7
include and exclude from a core curriculum, when to teach it, benchmarks. It is not desirable for a given software package
and why. The Benchmarks are divided into the following to address many benchmarks, because that could require do-
sections: the nature of science, the nature of mathematics, the ing so superficially. However, the limited number of
nature of technology, the physical setting, the living envi- benchmarks covered by the sample of 10 software packages
ronment, the human organism, human society, the designed suggests that educators may have difficulty finding software
world, the mathematical world, historical perspectives, that addresses some important science topics.
common themes, and habits of mind. Within each section are
separate benchmarks for grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12. On an average, only 25 percent of the software content was
found to align with the grade-appropriate AAAS bench-
The sequence of benchmarks for any given topic reflects a marks. The alignment for each of the ten software titles
logical progression of ideas, with benchmarks for earlier ranged from 0-65 percent. Additionally, five out of ten CD-
grades anticipating the more advanced benchmarks for later ROMs were found to contain some benchmark-related con-
grades (Nelson, 1998). For instance, the benchmarks for tent (12- 45 percent) pertaining to lower grades than the ones
“The Physical Setting” in the elementary grades (K-2, 3-5), mentioned in the titles. This suggests that widely used sci-
include “the earth is one of several planets that orbit the sun, ence education software is focusing largely on content that is
and the moon orbits the earth” and “… the rotation of the considered unimportant by AAAS.
earth on its axis every 24 hours produces the night- and-day
cycle… .” Then the benchmarks for the middle grades (6-8) Even when the software did address a benchmark, it often
indicate that “because the earth turns daily on an axis that is covered only some of the important ideas within the bench-
tilted relative to the plane of the earth’s yearly orbit around mark. The average coverage of a given bench was rated 1.8
the sun, sunlight falls more intensely on different parts of the on a four point scale where 1 = minimal coverage, 2 = me-
earth… .” Finally, the benchmarks for grades 9-12 include “ dium-well, 3 = moderately well and 4 = full coverage.
weather and climate involve the transfer of energy in and out
of the atmosphere… ." Pedagogy
Many nations specify the educational content to be taught in
the schools, in all discipline areas. The AAAS has gone be- The ratings of various pedagogical criteria varied considera-
yond that and also defined seven criteria for the quality of bly. High ratings were achieved by two of the criteria, “en-
instruction. These have been derived from research on gaging students with relevant phenomena” and “developing
learning and teaching and on the craft knowledge of experi- and using scientific ideas.” Those ratings were 2.1 and 2.8
enced educators. respectively on a four-point scale with 0 = none, 1 = poor, 2

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= satisfactory, and 3 = excellent. This indicates that most of 1994), and indeed educational software has become a big and
the sample software was successful in providing a variety of still growing industry.
phenomena to support benchmark ideas. The phenomena The results of this study indicate that current widely avail-
chosen were on target in addressing the content of the able English-language science education CD-ROMs are by
benchmark and were explicitly linked to the relevant bench- no means adequate as the primary source of science educa-
mark ideas. Much of the sample was also successful in pro- tion. The software falls way short in its coverage of priority
viding practical experiences that, although not firsthand, pro- knowledge and skills, and it has some serious pedagogical
vided students with a vicarious sense of the phenomena shortcomings. Other evidence has also suggested that this
through multimedia presentations. software is not a substitute for conventional curricula (Fen-
nimore, 1997; Harris, 1998).
Satisfactory ratings were achieved by the criteria “introduc-
ing terms meaningfully.” This indicates that most of the This software, however, can be useful as a supplement to
software fairly often introduced technical terms in conjunc- good textbooks and teachers. It is particularly adept at en-
tion with relevant experience, rather than just having students gaging students in science and helping them to develop and
memorize definitions of terms. use scientific ideas.

Low ratings were earned by the four other pedagogical crite- The results of this study strongly suggest that prior means of
ria: “attending to prerequisite knowledge and skills,” “pro- identifying good science education software have been in-
moting student thinking about phenomena,” “assessing prog- adequate. Five of the CD-ROMs analyzed in this study were
ress,” and “enhancing the learning environment.” Scores for drawn from a small number that have been highly recom-
all ten software packages indicate that none strove to help mended, and the other five were drawn from among best
teachers or students identify prerequisite knowledge and sellers. Despite that, all had serious shortcomings in content
skills needed by students to learn the content being ad- coverage and pedagogy.
dressed. Likewise, there was little scope for students to re-
fine their understanding and interpretation—to do some Education planners and administrators could make big mis-
thinking and wondering about the science content with which takes in purchasing software if they rely on traditional re-
they just dealt. There was also very little assessment (or views and market popularity. They would be much better
none, in some CD-ROMs) to test and gauge whether the stu- served having some organization scrutinizing the software
dents achieved the benchmark ideas. There was a severe lack using procedures similar to those used in this study (Shri-
of appropriate and adequate problems and exercises, either at vastava, 2002). If their curriculum guides align well with the
the end of the lesson or embedded within the lesson. AAAS Benchmarks, the procedures could be used without
modification. If their curriculum guides do not align well
Usability with the Benchmarks, then the procedures should be modi-
fied to address the priority content of the guides. A univer-
sity group, an NGO, or a private contractor might conduct
The CD-ROMs were relatively problem-free in installation the reviews. Once prepared, the reviews could be shared
and running. The CD-ROMs rated “satisfactory” to “high” widely with parents, libraries, and others who make inde-
on interface and on creativity, reflecting the technological pendent decisions about software purchases.
advances that have made software much more user-friendly
and imaginative in the use of color and animation. They fol- Policy makers may also wish to consider spurring software
lowed a logical and sequential format. Most of the CD- developers to produce better science education software.
ROMs, however, did not allow students to save their work or That could be done in several ways. If a country or state
to modify parameters for individual needs. were to publicize that future purchases of software would be
based on a rigorous review of the content and pedagogy, and
if they provided the developers with the evaluation criteria,
IMPLICATIONS the software is likely to improve. National organizations
might bring together software developers, science educators,
Use of computers in schools and homes has become com-
scientists, and policy makers for an exchange of ideas and to
monplace in many industrialized countries and several de-
forge common understandings, much as has been done some
veloping countries have made large investments in comput-
in the past with textbook publishers (AAAS, 2002).
ers for public schools. Many educational professionals have
believed that multimedia software would play a large part in
educational reform (Galbreath, 1992; Jost & Schneberger,

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REFERENCES
American Association for the Advancement of Science. (1989). Science for all Americans. New York: Oxford University
Press.

American Association for the Advancement of Science. (1993). Benchmarks for science literacy. New York: Oxford Univer-
sity Press.

American Association for the Advancement of Science. (1999). Professional Development in Panama. 2061Today. 9(1). p.6.
[Electronic Version] Retrieved November 2002 from from http://www.project2061.org/newsletter/archive.htm.

American Association for the Advancement of Science. (2002). Policymakers join curriculum designers and publishers at May
15-17 conference hosted by AAAS’s Project 2061. Retrieved July 2002 from
http://www.project2061.org/newsinfo/press/rl020508.htm.

American Association for the Advancement of Science. (n.d.). About Project 2061. Retrieved November 2002 from
http://www.project2061.org/about/default.htm.

Childress, M., Lee, G., Sherman, G. (1999). Reviewing software as a means of enhancing instruction. Information Technology
in Childhood Education. pp. 255-61.

Fennimore, T. (1997, August). Study shows that educational software doesn’t make the grade. Eurekalert News. Retrieved
from http://www.eurekalert.org/releases/ software-grade.html

Galbreath, J. (1992). The educational buzzword of the 1990’s: Multimedia, or is it hypermedia or interactive multimedia, or…?
Educational Technology. 32(4), pp. 15-19.

Jost K.L. & Schneberger, S.L. ( 1994). Educational technology adoption and Implementation. Learning from information sys-
tems research. Canadian Journal of Educational Communication. 23 (3), 213-230.

Harris, J. (Ed.). (1998). SSRP: Software for problem solving and inquiry in grades K-4 (Ohio SchoolNet. ENC Focus. Report
No. ENC/SSRP-97-001). Columbus, OH: Eisenhower National Clearinghouse for Mathematics and Science Educa-
tion. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED413182)

Nelson, G. (1998). Science literacy for all: An achievable goal? Optics and Photonic News, 9(9), 42.

Shrivastava, A. (2002). Evaluation of science instructional software.[Doctoral dissertation, The George Washington University,
(2002). To be available through Dissertation Abstracts International in spring 2003.]

1
Abha Shrivastava recently completed her doctoral studies in Education Policy at The George Washington University. She
can be reached at abha@gwu.edu

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INTERACTIVE TELEVISION AS AN EDUCATIONAL TOOL:
CONSUMER SATISFACTION AND EFFECTIVENESS
Sonia Jurich
RMC Research Corporation

Distance education has used two-way interactive television (ITV) for at least two decades and research in this area is growing.
ITV associates the analog technology of traditional television with the power of network connectivity. Analog signals are con-
verted to digital and stored in highly compressed format before being sent to an ITV-enabled setting that includes the TV
monitor, interactive keypad, and the set-top box with required software. Signals are sent to the user via satellite, broadband,
wireless systems or even regular telephone lines.1 This article summarizes three research papers published in the past two
years on the use of ITV for distance higher education. Two of the papers look at consumer satisfaction from the student’s and
the faculty’s perspectives; the third paper assesses course effectiveness.

The effect of interactive television courses on student Faculty perceptions of interactive television instruc-
satisfaction (Jan/Feb 2002) by Lorraine P. Ander- tion (Nov/Dec 2001) by Robert Seay, Holly R.
son, Steven R. Banks and Paul A. Leary. Journal of Rudolph, and Don H. Chamberlain. Journal of
Education for Business, 77 (3): 164-168. Education for Business, 77 (2): 99-105.

Focus: To assess differences in course satisfaction between Focus: To examine instructors’ attitudes regarding ITV as a
students attending traditional on-campus classes and those means of delivering instruction, including their teaching ex-
being instructed through distance learning using ITV. perience and their perceptions about students and faculty
performance.
Methods: Review of student satisfaction surveys regarding
business courses provided by a North-American university
Methods: Survey of faculty members in a rural U.S. uni-
between autumn 1997 and summer 1999. The review in- versity who had taught at least one distance education course
cluded surveys from 3,282 students. Of these, 2,812 had via ITV from autumn 1990 through summer 1997. The sur-
received traditional (face-to-face) instruction, 315 attended vey was sent to 65 instructors for a response rate of 85%.
ITV-mediated classes at a host site (on-campus) and 155 Approximately half of the participants had a doctoral or
attended ITV classes at a remote site (off-campus). The comparable degree. The “typical” instructor had on average
authors report that the groups did not differ demographically. 17 years of experience as full time instructor and had taught
Student satisfaction was analyzed using the Purdue Rating via ITV for three semesters. The survey included 22 ques-
Scale, an instrument with established validity and reliability. tions regarding perceptions of faculty preparation and per-
formance as ITV instructors, student preparation and per-
formance, classroom participation and interaction, and deliv-
Findings: Statistical analyses showed that the off-campus ery/instruction issues.
students had satisfaction levels significantly lower than the
other two groups, with students in traditional classrooms
showing the highest levels of satisfaction with their courses.
Findings: Of the 55 instructors who responded to the sur-
Differences were significant with 99% certainty level. De- vey
spite the fact that the same instructors taught the traditional
and the ITV classes, low satisfaction ratings from ITV off- • 78% preferred to teach a traditional course rather than an
campus students were given to both the delivery system and ITV-mediated class and 47% strongly opposed teaching
the quality of instructor. via ITV when a traditional course was an option

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• 83% agreed that an ITV course requires significantly CCTST was given to the two groups at the beginning of the
more preparation time than a traditional course does semester. No significant difference was found between the
(this perception was stronger among instructors of busi- groups within a 95% level of confidence.
ness classes)
Findings:
• 30% believed that they can adapt their personal teaching
styles to ITV with relative ease • No statistically significant differences were found be-
tween on-campus and ITV students in
• 56% were comfortable dealing with course management
issues at a distance (coordinating and controlling exams, ♦ scores in the midterm examination
quizzes, homework, class handouts and classroom as-
signments) but overall, faculty members reported that ♦ However, ITV students were more likely than face-
ITV teaching was more time-consuming than in-person to-face students to complain about
teaching
♦ technological problems (difficulty hearing the in-
• 47% believed that they were not covering as much mate- structor, low-quality transmission, outages etc)
rial in an ITV class as in a traditional course and tech-
nology failures were mostly responsible for this problem ♦ condition of their viewing sites

• 2/3 believed that students prefer a traditional course (this ♦ lack of interaction
response was significantly higher among business in-
structors and those with only one semester of ITV expe- Conclusions:
rience)
The three studies above were randomly selected in a search
• 58% believed that ITV significantly restricts student of journals regarding technology and education. As it hap-
classroom participation but a similar proportion indi- pens with most educational research, the studies have limita-
cated that they were changing their teaching style to in- tions related to sample size, lack of randomization, and the
corporate more group work and presentation to increase inherent difficulty of matching groups that are different from
ITV students' engagement (business instructors were less the onset. Not surprisingly, the articles reflect what is fre-
likely to use these strategies) quently found in the literature, and that is lower levels of
consumer satisfaction when distance education is compared
A comparison study of live instruction versus inter- to traditional education, but similar levels of achievement.
active television for teaching MSW students critical These findings raise some issues about research and distance
thinking skills (Jul 2000) by Marie T. Hielk. Re- education that are worthy of exploring.
search on Social Work Practice, 10 (4): 400-416.
First, the factors influencing a student’s choice to enroll in a
distance education course, rather than the more traditional
Focus: To compare the acquisition of critical thinking skills face-to-face course may be an important variable that is
between social work students enrolled in graduate-level tra- rarely mentioned in research. Although students in the ITV-
ditional (face-to-face) classes and those enrolled in ITV- mediated and the face-to-face groups may have similar char-
mediated distance education classes. acteristics regarding gender, age, ethnicity, and socio-
economic status, they may significantly differ as a group in
Methods: Critical thinking in this study is defined as “the factors such as motivation or perspective about learning. For
process of purposeful, self-regulatory judgment. Critical instance, it is known that distant education attracts students
thinking, so defined, is the cognitive engine which drives who work full time, in contrast to traditional on-campus edu-
problem-solving and decision-making.”2 The initial sample cation where full time students predominate. This factor will
for the study included 73 students in a social work master’s certainly influence students’ demands regarding instruction
program. The students were enrolled in one graduate social and, therefore, their perceptions on course quality. All three
policy course in a large, public university in the autumn se- papers assume (as most research on distance education does)
mester of 1997. Critical thinking was measured with the that the two groups are the same and comparisons are made
California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST). Sixty-two based on this assumption. Researchers may need to expand
students completed the pre and post-tests. Of these, 38 were the concept of demographics when dealing with technology-
distance education students and 24 received their instruction mediated classes to describe better their populations.
in traditional, face-to-face classes. To ensure that the two
groups were matched in their critical thinking skills, the

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Second, the data suggests that the quality of technology is an tions can improve satisfaction with their distance education
essential factor to determine consumer’s satisfaction, and this courses by
is still a shortcoming in many institutions. It is highly prob-
able that students in a face-to-face class that has no books, • allowing more course preparation time for instructors
blackboards or transparencies will be unhappy with their who are new to distance teaching,
instruction. Since traditional education has been around for
too long, we rarely find such a class in universities. Like- • providing comprehensive training that incorporates a
wise, an ITV-mediated class where the audiovisual equip- better understanding of the technology to be used (par-
ment is of low quality and the technology is unreliable is ticularly when the technology is not one easily mastered,
doomed for failure. When distance education is the focus, such as ITV) and on how to prepare effective courses
the equation is no longer a dyad (teacher – student) but a that use the technology at its fullest,
triad (teacher – student – technology). The three studies re-
ported here were careful to analyze responses in relationship • ensuring the quality of the technical components to re-
to demographic variables, but none looked at how the quality duce hardware/software failures, and
of the technology employed in the course affected student
and faculty satisfaction. • maintaining a system of technical and pedagogical sup-
port, particularly for new instructors so that they feel
Third, the influence of adaptability and experience appear to better prepared and less threatened.
be greater in technology-mediated classes. The two first
studies highlight greater resistance to ITV-mediated classes ITV-mediated courses require large up-front investments and
among business instructors and students. The second article ongoing maintenance. Higher education institutions may
states (not mentioned in this synthesis) that business in- want to improve satisfaction with these courses (thus in-
structors are required to make more changes in their courses creasing the probability of better outcomes) to obtain better
to adapt them to the ITV system than instructors from other cost to benefit ratios. For administrators and instructors, the
areas. It can be assumed that as more work and time is con- question is whether educational institutions are willing, or
sumed in course preparation, the level of instructors' satis- able to make the investment in equipment and technical sup-
faction with the course decreases. An upset instructor will port necessary to provide high quality distance education.
hardly promote a climate of satisfaction in his or her class, For researchers, the question is whether the frequently found
thus creating a kind of discontent cycle. Although these are dissatisfaction is inherent to the method (technology-
only conjectures, the second article shows that experience mediated) or a reflection of latent problems that are not being
brings adaptation and with that, more positive instructors’ captured in their studies, such as failing equipment, unpre-
views of ITV-mediated distance education. pared instructors, inadequate lessons, or students’ different
demands about instruction.
The three issues point to the role of administrators in the suc-
cess of technology-mediated education. Education institu-

1
A detailed but easy-to-understand explanation of ITV can be found at http://www.itvdictionary.com/itv.html
2
Definition based in Facione, P.A. & Facione, N.C. (1994). The California Critical Thinking Skills Test: Test Manual, Mil-
brae, CA: California Academic Press.

WHEN DISTANCE EDUCATION IS THE FOCUS, THE EQUATION IS


NO LONGER A DYAD (TEACHER – STUDENT) BUT A TRIAD
(TEACHER – STUDENT – TECHNOLOGY).

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ARE WE CONNECTED?
Miscommunication about Internet connectivity between countries in the North and in the South1

Désiré Baartman
deespol@teledata.mz

Introduction
The paper is based on research carried out during the realization and implementation of two international web-based projects
for secondary schools in The Netherlands and Zimbabwe. The paper describes the factors that lead to success as well as the
pitfalls that are responsible for possible failure.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Internet connection are established at most educational institutions in
the developed countries (the North). Researchers and teachers report on the great possibilities, the educational value and use-
fulness, as well as on the challenges that ICT and in particular the Internet offer. The integration of ICT and the use of Internet
in education is being realized at a steady pace (Collis & Moonen, 2001; Stephenson, 2001; Voogt & Plomp, 2001).

Many people realize that access to information through ICT and the Internet is crucial for education. However, a digital gap or
digital divide between the developing countries (the South) and the Northis already observed. Many organizations strive to
minimize this gap and search for solutions to make connectivity affordable for educational institutions in the South (Hudson,
2002; Knight, 2002; Schofield, 2002). At the same time schools, colleges, and universities in the North wish to communicate
with partners in the South. Most of the times, the participants do not realize how big the digital gap already is and how differ-
ent the situation is in terms of hardware and Internet connection at both ends. Many users do not realize what the implications
and options are when using web technology (Morris and Morrison, 2000). Communication problems occur and often cause
frustration with the participants and lead to unnecessary failure of projects.

education. This is a Journey Online was carried out in Zim-


Why investigate Internet connec
connectivity? babwe, Indonesia and The Netherlands, focused on environ-
mental issues and sustainable development, and related these
Participating Zimbabwean and Dutch teachers and lecturers issues to topics within the subjects of the school curriculum.
consider the use of computers and the Internet in education ZimQuest was a website offering a communication platform
of high importance. However, the available resources, for tasks to be carried out and e-mail messages to be ex-
knowledge and skills differ widely. In the Netherlands, all changed. Journey Online was a database-driven website with
colleges and secondary schools have Internet connection. In a lot of information on the participating countries and an
Zimbabwe, some of the schools with computers have Internet additional option to exchange information through e-mail.
connection. These institutions seem to qualify as centers that
communicate with each other and develop ICT within their At all schools, computers were available, Internet connection
education. They are likely to be chosen as partners in inter- was established and the content of the websites was dis-
national projects, which involve the use of e-mail and/or cussed at length with all participating schools. Nevertheless,
Internet. An example is the schools in Zimbabwe chosen to in the South participants were frustrated because the project
participate in two web-based projects, This is a Journey On- required them to be on-line. In the North, the lack of infor-
line and ZimQuest. Secondary schools in Zimbabwe, Indo- mation coming from the South frustrated the participants.
nesia and The Netherlands carried out the two different
Internet projects. Both projects involved the exchange of What accounts for the discrepancy between the great enthu-
information using e-mail and the access of information using siasm of a group of teachers in the South and the poor com-
a website. ZimQuest was carried out in Zimbabwe and The munication and little use of the Internet?
Netherlands and focused on cultural exchange and global

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connection leads to misconceptions. The situations on both
Communication sides differ considerably.

Are we talking about the same issues: Internet Fast connection, slow connection or no
connection and networked computers?
connection?
In The Netherlands and other affluent countries, the fact that
a school or college has Internet connection implies that they What exactly are the constraints that limit
can connect to the Internet at basically any time and from a
number of PC’s. The Internet connection is fast enough to
Internet connection? Can some of the constraints
browse the web. Staff-members have access to computers be eliminated?
that are connected to the Internet and they have their own e-
mail address. A teacher or lecturer can use a computer room The constraints that are met in the South are related to many
during lessons or give the students an assignment whereby aspects of the Internet and the use of the Internet. Factors
they have to use the Internet after lesson hours. playing a role in Internet connection are the (1) technical and
infrastructure matters, (2) training, knowledge and attitude,
In Zimbabwe and other developing countries having Internet (3) presentation, design and structure of the content, (4) or-
connection means at best that there are a few or there is just ganizational structure, administration, finance and security,
one computer connected to the Internet for a few hours a and (5) culture, psychology, pedagogy and teaching method-
week. The computer is likely to be in the room of a principal, ology. In this article we will only address the issue of train-
deputy or an expatriate teacher and thus access is very lim- ing, knowledge and attitude and summarize the issue of tech-
ited. When a computer-lab has one computer connected to nique and infrastructure. (See Baartman, March 2002). Be-
the Internet, this computer is usually not widely accessible to sides a description, possible solutions or workarounds and
students, but only to some staff-members. Connection to the examples of best practices will be given.
Internet is often allowed not more than a few hours a week.
Many times staff-members have been proudly told that their
school or college now has Internet connection, though they Technical and Infrastructure Mat
Matters
do not have access to it. Sometimes a group of students has
been shown the Internet on a computer and they spread the Why do people in the South meet so many more
news that the school “is now on the Internet.” Most of the
time the computer is there, the software has been installed, technical constraints than people in the North?
the phone-line and possibly the subscription to an Internet
service provider (ISP) have been acquired. This implies that Although there are huge differences in the amount of re-
in theory Internet connection would be possible, though is sources in the schools, the hardware is usually not the bottle-
often not established. neck that causes slow Internet connection in the South.

Participants from the North in international projects ask for However, it is important to minimize the amount of active
information about the infrastructure in the South. The offi- programs while on-line. The most common and affordable
cials of a school or college in the South often mention that Internet connection in the South is a PC with a modem con-
some of their computers are networked. This network is a nected to a fixed telephone line. The reasons for slow Inter-
network because the PCs are connected to each other with net reside within the limited capacity of the phone-lines,
cables (often UTP-cables). However, in most cases there is which are often copper. Another reason is the limited capac-
no server assigned, no transfer of data between the computers ity of the ISP server. ISPs tend to oversubscribe their capac-
in the network, no shared resources besides a printer and no ity, which leads to major slow-downs or even the inability to
back-up facilities. make a connection at all. Even if these problems have been
overcome, the limited bandwidth of the ISP to the backbone
The above situation leads to misinterpretations. People in the of the Internet is a fact in developing countries. Besides these
North receive information that an institution has Internet technical limitations, which are hard to tackle, the costs of
connection and that some computers are networked. The ISP subscription and telephone three to five times higher in
northerners interpret this as: “the institution has Internet con- the South. Add to this the slower connection and the costs
nection available to more computers in a network.” The con- per Megabyte, information becomes many times more ex-
clusion is easily drawn that an Internet-based project, either pensive in the South than in the North (Baartman, March
within the country in the South or across the borders, can be 2002).
established. It turns out that communicating about Internet

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computers at all, many rural schools do not even have elec-
Training, Knowledge and Atti
Attitude tricity. Therefore, the table compares institutions with com-
puters and does not give a ratio for the country.
Are computers only valuable because of the
Table 1: Average number of students per PC at institu-
ability to access the Internet? Is Internet con- tions for tertiary and secondary education (student-PC
nection the solution to the lack of other re- ratio)

sources? Is Internet connection really wide- The Netherlands Zimbabwe


10 * 60 ∆
spread in the classroom practice in the North? Tertiary Education
12 * 80 ∆
How crucial is permanent Internet connection? Secondary Education

* Sources: ten Brummelhuis, 2000 and Min OC&W, 2002


Training ∆ Sources: Baartman, 2001
First, we will discuss differences in training. In the Nether-
lands, 40 % of staff-members are skilled computer users (ten Knowledge
Brummelhuis, 2000; Min. OC&W, 2002). In Zimbabwe, a Knowledge is related to the training received and the avail-
reasonable proportion of the teachers and lecturers (15%) in ability of computers, though more factors play a role. In the
urban areas have received training in more than just basic North more technical support is available and nationwide
computer skills (Baartman, 2001). In the Netherlands, all programs initiated by the government encourage the use of
colleges, secondary and primary schools have access to com- ICT in education. Information, hardware and software are
puters. In Zimbabwe, all tertiary education institutions and available to schools and colleges. The knowledge of staff-
approximately 5 % of the secondary schools have access to members in the South is more limited due to many factors:
computers. Teachers and students in the North have been financial constraints, little technical support and knowledge,
exposed to computers intensively and they all have access to and few examples of institutions with good practice on ICT
computers at school, in public libraries and often at home as in education. Exposure to ICT and interaction with other
well. Forty percent of the students in the Netherlands have institutions is an important factor. This exposure is widely
access to a computer at home and have been exposed to present in the North and rare in the South.
computers from primary school onwards. In Zimbabwe, very
few people have access to computers at home. Most students Attitude
do not have access to computers at primary or secondary
Besides training and knowledge, attitude plays a major role.
school level. Even if the school has computers, access is of-
Attitude is partly related to training and knowledge and
ten limited. Consequently, computer literacy is a widely used
partly cultural. Teachers and students in the North often take
term in Zimbabwe, as basic computer skills have to be taught
permanent Internet connection for granted. If the equipment
in a formal way at school or college. Most schools in Zim-
does not function well, or if the infrastructure fails, people
babwe that obtained computers start teaching the subject of
complain and they expect the problem to be solved within a
Computers Studies. Computers in these secondary schools
few hours. The underlying concept is that not using the com-
are the topic of interest and the object and subject of learning
puters is a waste of resources. ICT has become part of the
instead of a tool or a means to reach some other goal. The
school’s infrastructure and should therefore be in place and
school system focuses on a limited group of students who
functioning. For many teachers in the South, computers are
prepare for an exam in Computer Studies. This automatically
still “strange” and expensive. Computers often are guarded
limits the use of computers by all students, as the resources
against possible damage or ill use, thereby gathering dust and
in the South are limited. In Zimbabwe, 60 % of the new first-
becoming obsolete within no time. The idea prevails that the
year students of Computer Science at tertiary level have no
computers should be preserved. It is common practice and
basic computer skills (Baartman, 2001). In the Netherlands,
accepted that repair and maintenance takes up to six months
basic computer skills are seldom taught in a formal class-
or will never happen. In the South, the idea that computers
room situation and computers are considered merely a means
equal Internet is widespread. Internet connection is consid-
and a tool to support other subjects and activities. In the
ered of great importance and if there is no connection this
Netherlands, only at tertiary level do students have the option
often serves as an excuse not to use computers and not to use
to choose Information Technology as a study area. By then
the information from the Internet. Computers are a luxury,
they are already skilled and experienced users.
costly and not yet integrated in the educational environment.
Therefore, to step back to a school without functioning com-
In Table 1 information on the student-PC ratio in the two
puters and Internet connection is easier and cheaper than to
countries is presented. The student-PC ratio is the number of
worry about repairs and technical support.
students per PC at an institution. The figures are hard to
compare, because in Zimbabwe many schools do not have

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Is Internet connection the solution to lack of and Internet. On the other hand, 80% of teachers use com-
other resources? puters every week, though mainly outside the classroom and
Herewith we come to the myths related to Internet connec- for lesson preparation and administrative tasks. Many stu-
tion: first, that Internet connection is the solution to the lack dents use computers every day, though often not as part of
of other resources, such at textbooks and other printed infor- their schoolwork (ten Brummelhuis, 2000). Figure 1 shows
mation in the South; second, that Internet connection is a the activities by students on the computer.
daily practice in classrooms in the North; and third, that
Internet connection is a requirement and a solution to fill the How crucial is permanent Internet connection?
information gap between the North and the South. For the two web-based projects This is a Journey Online and
ZimQuest, Internet connection seemed crucial in the North,
Why do we label these common ideas myths? First, comput- while for the South it was the main problem. Both websites
ers and Internet connection are another source and not a re- required Internet connection for more than just a few min-
placement of existing sources, which have proven their value utes. After a pilot, adjustments and changes were made to
for centuries, namely printed books. In the past decade, stu- ZimQuest: the construction of the website was adjusted to
dents in the Netherlands have required more, rather than make access faster and a shift from web based e-mail to non-
fewer, textbooks. Computers are not cheaper than printed web based e-mail was made. However, the ZimQuest website
matter. Therefore, it is doubtful if computers and Internet remained frustrating for students and teachers in the South.
will fill the information gap between the North and the South
as long as the huge differences in infrastructure and national After the first try-outs it was decided to make the This is a
income remain. Possibly, the top-layer of the society in the Journey Online website available on CD-Rom for Zimbab-
South will benefit from the Internet. For the time being, wean schools. Only after this step was made were they able
Internet connection in the South is far more expensive than in to fully participate in the project at low cost and at high
the North. The Internet will not solve large-scale poverty, speed. The experience of a website off-line made the project
poor education and lack of information for the masses. successful. This way the technology available in the North
was beneficial to schools in the South. Many constraints in
Is Internet connection really widespread in the the South were overcome: unreliable Internet connection,
unreliable phone lines, high costs of Internet connection,
classroom practice in the North? high telephone costs, slow access to websites due to narrow
In the North, Internet connection is not common practice in bandwidth, limited number of computers connected to the
the classroom. Despite the fact that Internet connection is Internet and limited experience and skills in using the Inter-
considered part and parcel of the school infrastructure, only net.
very few teachers actually use computers in the classroom
and even fewer access the Internet during the lessons. Ap- In the North, most activities on the computers do not require
proximately 10% of the teachers in the North use computers Internet connection and most activities are not carried out in
in the classroom once a week. Students use computers at the classroom. A lot of software is available off-line and
school for half an hour up to an hour only. A mere 15% of teachers use information gathered from the Internet or pro-
the time spent on computers in education is used on e-mail

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duce information on the computer (with or without the Inter- that the truth and practice all over the world is far from that
net) during lesson preparation. The information or material is perception.
used later in the classroom often without actually making use
of computers in the classroom. The information is sometimes
molded into a suitable format by the teachers and copied to a Websites
file on the PC (possibly in web page format on an Intranet) • www.thisisajourney.org: international educational proj-
or printed out for the students. Teachers also use the infor- ect of “This is a Journey Online.”
mation to upgrade their own knowledge and incorporate the • www.zimsurf.nl/zimquest: international school linking
information in sheets or handouts. When computers are used project “ZimQuest.”
in the classroom indeed, most of the times the work does not • www.dotforce.org: Digital Opportunity Task Force, ad-
require Internet connection, because the software is available dressing the global digital divide.
on CD-ROM, diskettes or standard software packages such • www.uneca.org: United Nations Economic Commission
as word processors and spreadsheet programs are used. For for Africa, the Development Information Services Divi-
schools in the South, it is even more important to have access sion is an integrated information service and resource
to digital information that does not require (permanent) centre for Africa.
Internet connection. • www3.sn.apc.org/africa/infra.htm: Jensen, M. (1999).
ICT Infrastructure in Africa.
When pilot schools in the North initiate international proj- • programs to download websites including links, pictures,
ects, they are far ahead of any school in the South in terms of animations etc. http://www.internet-soft.com/extract.htm
equipment, infrastructure, training, experience and other re- (shareware: Website Extractor)
sources. The South thereby gets the impression that as soon • www.httrack.com/index.php (freeware: WINHTTrack
as they have computers they should work on the Internet. Website Copier)
Both the North and the South should recognize and admit

References
Baartman, D. (2001). Evaluation Report VVOB-intervention informatics education Zimbabwe. Brussels, Belgium: Vlaamse
Vereniging voor Ontwikkelingssamen-werking en Technische Bijstand.

Baartman, D. (March 2002). What is the Bottleneck of the Internet Connection? Amsterdam: Alice-O.

Bakia, M. (2002), The Costs of Computers in Classrooms: Data from Developing Countries. TechKnowLogia, 4(1).

Brummelhuis, A.G.J. ten et.al.(2000). ICT Monitor. Enschede, Netherlands: University of Twente.

Collis, B. & Moonen, J. (2001). Flexible Learning in a Digital World, Experiences and Expectations. London: Kogan Page.

Hudson, H.E. (2002). Solving the Connectivity Problem. TechKnowLogia, 4(1), 13-15.

Knight, P.T. (2002). The Global Service Trust Fund, Bridging the Digital Divide for Education and Health. TechKnowLogia,
4(1), 44-48.

Ministerie van Onderwijs Cultuur en Wetenschappen. (2002). ICT Monitor 2000-2001. http://www.ict-onderwijsmonitor.nl
Morris, M. & Morrison, J. (2000), Database-Driven Web Sites. Canada: Thomson Learning.

Schofield, T. (2002). Bridging the Digital Divide ....A Vision. TechKnowLogia, 4(2), 72-74.

Stephenson, J. (2001). Teaching and Learning Online, New Pedagogics for New Technologies. London: Kogan Page.

Voogt, J. & Plomp, Tj. (2001). Innovative Didactics with Information and Communication Technology. Enschede, Nether-
lands: University of Twente.
1
South will be used to refer to developing countries in general and North will be used to refer to affluent countries. Literature
and research show that Zimbabwe is among the countries in the South with a relatively good infrastructure and that the Neth-
erlands is among the countries in the North with a good infrastructure.

! 56 ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org


EVALUATION OF E-LEARNING ENGINEERING
GRADUATE COURSES
Katia Tannous and Marta W. Donida1
Thermal-Fluid-Dynamics Department
School of Chemical Engineering
State University of Campinas, Brazil
katia@feq.unicamp.br

This work investigates the introduction of a new methodology to evaluate participants in distance education (e-learning) gradu-
ate courses in engineering. The investigation considered the discipline Fundamentals and Applications of Fluidization, offered
in the School of Chemical Engineering at the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), whose subjects focus on several in-
dustrial chemical processes involving fluidized beds. The methodology associated with distance education tools, promoted the
development of technical abilities, the interaction among participants, and the possibility to access remotely the course mate-
rial. The participants evaluated the course through specific forms.

a great advancement in e-learning, there is a great lack of


INTRODUCTION evaluating tools for this educational process [Tannous and
Rodrigues 2001, 2002].
Innovation has numerous definitions in the technical litera-
ture. Novel educational experiences introduce changes in an The subject of this investigation regarded the discipline Fun-
established culture by using new procedures. These changes damentals and Applications of Fluidization, which is a one
should be carried out through a logical sequence of steps in term graduate course offered by the School of Chemical En-
order to reach definite targets. Not every innovation is classi- gineering at UNICAMP. The discipline topics cover many
fied as a novel experience, and not every novelty can be clas- chemical processes that employ fluidized beds in the phar-
sified as innovation. Innovation is defined as a process of maceutical, petrochemical and food industries. The students
change based on intention, history, sedimentation and com- are required to search the Internet in order to obtain informa-
pleteness [Leite 2000]. tion for the course, which is mostly available in journals and
proceedings. Written material is also supplied to participants,
The Internet provides new ways to learn, to teach and to which guides them to find supplementary readings necessary
evaluate. It might be considered as an aid in the process of to carry out the assignments. The use of educational software
redefining the teaching and learning environment. To better provided a convenient interface that decreased the need of
understand the evaluation process, mostly the one involved meetings between the instructor and the participants. Most
in distance education courses, it is required to understand participants were working while taking the course.
how education deals with assessment, with its different
branches: traditional, technical, libertarian and progressive The objective of this work was to use an e-learning tool in an
[Tarouco 2002]. engineering graduate course to help with the course teaching
and mostly promote a greater contact with the instructor.
The integration of educational and interactive techniques Furthermore, it aimed at the development of a new tool to
trigger the appearance of the so-called Distance Education assess the participants through specially designed projects.
Mediated by Computers (DEMC), which renders asynchro-
nous educational activities, without the need of learners and
instructors to get together in the same room at the same time, COURSE ORGANIZATION
replacing the traditional classroom by a virtual one.
Course structure and e-learning tool
It is a great challenge to study and implement methodologies,
The course Fundamentals and Applications of Fluidization
which should be dynamic and interactive, to evaluate dis-
(IQ602) was presented to participants through the software
tance education course participants. Although there has been

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WebCT, available from the UNICAMP Computer Center. ♦ Project elaboration, in which the students will develop
(www.ead.unicamp.br:8900). It provides links to several their own technical and computational knowledge
options. through practical assignments, which will be available to
all participants. This process may be also carried out in
♦ General information about course and instructor groups.
♦ Course schedule and calendar which is updated continu-
ously ♦ Self-assessment, in which the students will apply their
♦ Course notes knowledge to a specific assignment, chosen by them-
♦ Communication tools like e-mail, chat and group discus- selves, from the course subjects. The students will pres-
sion ent their work to the instructor and to other participants
♦ Participant grades in a seminar. A conclusive, integrated project ends the
♦ Individual area, available for each participant knowledge assessment.

The software monitors how frequently each participant ac- ♦ Chat and discussion list, in which a special topic is
cessed the page. This information is available to registered submitted for discussion at the end of every convenient
students, but requires a password. set of chapters. A deadline is set providing enough time
for discussion among students. The same happens with
chat, but with a stricter schedule.
Methodology
Interaction:
The proposed methodology encompasses three steps: techni- The interaction among participants is assessed during the
cal knowledge, interaction and finally collaboration and deci- course. Motivation, creativity and autonomy are observed
sion making. The methodology builds upon an available and marked. Interactivity is associated with the course dy-
method applied to the course Groupware from The Federal namics. As the students advance in the course, their progress
University of Rio Grande do Sul [Tarouco 2002]. Figure 1 can be observed. The tools used in this step are the chat, the
shows a scheme of the activities undertaken during the discussion list and the login records.
course.
The course required an amount of time equivalent to 25% of
Technical Knowledge: total lectures for all people involved in the course to be to-
At this step the acquired knowledge and abilities were evalu- gether. These meetings provided ground for discussions
ated. The instructor should master the technical knowledge about the course content to strengthen the acquired knowl-
and tools that are used, including computational ones (For- edge, to develop the communication among participants and
tran, Pascal, Matlab). The tools that might be used to assess instructor, as well as to help to assess the participation of
this step are as follows: each member.

Collaboration and Decision Making:


To assess these features, the students'
contributions and suggestions to solve
the assignments is taken into account.
The students are also evaluated for their
participation in the interactive projects
and in the individual assignments.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS

Student Profile
Most students registered in the
discipline Fundamentals and
Applications of Fluidization, live and
work in the Campinas region. They are
27 - 40 years old and work in industries.
They register as special students, a
distinct classification from the regular

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graduate students, who are involved full time with their information, although most learning was accomplished indi-
graduate course activities. The participants usually learned vidually.
about the course from the Internet. All meetings, whenever
necessary, happened in the evenings.
CONCLUSIONS
Software Assessment ♦ The new technological tool was well accepted and raised
interest in the learning process.
The software WebCT was well praised by the participants ♦ The inherent flexible online access to the course material
who judged it for ease of use. The course home page was was a plus.
accessed from the university, work place and home with
♦ The Internet provided a convenient means to find the
equal frequency, and mostly during the evenings (75% of the
information for which they were searching.
time). Students accessed the home page once or twice a
♦ It is important for the instructor to promote motivation
week. They used it primarily to access the course materials
and stimulus in the e-learning process.
and secondarily to contact the instructor.
♦ Regular meetings are important to offer opportunities for
personal interactions among students and instructor.
Interactions between student and interface, course con-
tent, instructor and another student: ♦ The students were yet accustomed to a teacher-guided
regular course.
Student/Interface ♦ The methodology and the distance learning tools pro-
The students found it easy to deal with the software WebCT, vided a dynamic learning process.
as well as to find information from there. ♦ The methodology requires great dedication from the
students, for they must work more independently.
Student/Course Content
The interaction between students and course content were not
complex, although some remarks should be made.
REFERENCES
Leite, D., Conhecimento Social na Sala de Aula Universitária
♦ The students did the assignments close to the deadline of
e a Auto-formação Docente, Professor do Ensino Superior-
handing them, and expected guidelines from the in-
Identidade, Docência e Formação, INEP/MEC, abril, 2000.
structor.
♦ The students contributed little with literature, practical Tannous, K., Rodrigues, S. Innovation in Regular Under-
cases and case studies. graduate Courses by Introduction of Distance Learning
♦ Half the students found they learned the same as in a Tools, in XXIX Engineering Learning Brazilian Congress of
regular course, and the other half learned more. 2001, Porto Alegre. Proceedings in Portuguese. ISBN 85-
♦ The reference material available on the Internet was 7430-217-1
easily searched by specific software.
Tannous, K., Rodrigues, S. The Use of Distance Learning
Student/Instructor (Professor and Teaching Assistant) Tools as Support for Undergraduate Course Teaching in
An important aspect in this methodology is the ability, from Chemical Engineering, in XIV Engineering Learning Brazil-
the instructor and the teaching assistant, to motivate and ian Congress of 2002, Natal. Proceedings in Portuguese.
stimulate the participants, which was considered excellent.
The high interest was indicated by 100% presence in the Tarouco, L., Groupware Course, Webfolioead UFRGS,
meetings. www.pgie.ufrgs.br, May 22, 2002.

Student/Student Tarouco, L., The Process of Assessing Distance Learning,


There was good interaction among the students, both through Webfolioead UFRGS, www.pgie.ufrgs.br, May 22, 2002. (In
e-mail messages and through telephone. The personal contact Portuguese)
was judged important to assure fast and precise exchange of

1
The authors are grateful to the participants in the course for their helpful comments and to PED/CAPES for financial support.

! 59 ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org


Complexities and Challenges of Integrating Technology
Into the Curriculum
By Joanne Capper
Jocapper@att.net

Educational and Instructional Goals and learning. Riel (1992) found that students who
K-12 education systems that make a commitment to participated in Internet-based learning networks showed
introduce multimedia technology into schools and increased motivation, a deeper understanding of concepts,
classrooms are likely to face the decision regarding whether and an increased willingness to tackle difficult questions.1 A
to integrate formally technology into the curriculum. review of over 100 studies found that use of computer and
Although it is unlikely that this choice would be made at Internet technology in schools and classrooms
early stages of introducing technology into schools, there
will likely come a point when policymakers and stakeholders ! improves students’ attitudes and confidence and is
agree that dissemination and use of the technology is especially beneficial for ‘at risk’ students,
sufficiently widespread within a system to justify its ! provides instructional opportunities otherwise not
articulation in the curriculum, and perhaps in examinations, available,
particularly if the system is intent on achieving academic ! increases student collaboration on projects,
goals that can be accomplished more effectively with the use ! significantly improves student problem-solving skills,
of technology. Educational goals for which the use of ! increases the preparation of students for most careers
technology is considered supportive include the following: and vocations, and
! tends to shift teaching styles from traditional direct
! Improve teaching and learning in content areas;
approaches to a more student-oriented approach. 2
! Develop students’ skills considered to be essential in the
modern working environment, including the ability to
♦ communicate using a variety of media and formats, To Integrate or not to Integrate
♦ access and exchange information in a variety of There are a number of reasons that education systems may
ways, decide not to integrate the use of technology into the
♦ compile, organize, analyze, and synthesize curriculum, and especially not to hold teachers and students
information, accountable for using technology in the teaching and learning
♦ draw conclusions and make generalizations based process. The most significant reasons are limited and/or
on information gathered, unequal access to computers and the Internet, and unprepared
teachers. Few education systems at this point can guarantee
♦ know discipline content and be able to locate
that all students have adequate and equal access to computers
additional information as needed,
and the Internet to accomplish stated goals; a status that
♦ be self-directed learners,
requires considerable resources for hardware, software,
♦ collaborate and cooperate in team efforts, connectivity, technical assistance and teacher development.
♦ interact with others in ethical and appropriate ways; However, the downside of not integrating technology
! Increase motivation for teaching and learning; formally into the curriculum is that the costly investment in
! Change the social organization of classrooms to be more technology will be underutilized and valuable resources will
student centered; be wasted. Many teachers who have access to the
! Enrich interaction among students, teachers and other technology will not use it, either because they don’t know
schools; how, are satisfied with their current approach to teaching,
! Stimulate creativity and collaboration. feel that using technology is too fraught with technical
difficulties, or that they don’t have sufficient time to devote
Table 1 provides examples of such goals as articulated by to the types of lessons best supported by technology.
six countries that have introduced computers and, in some Moreover, Kerr (1996) argues that integrating technology
cases the Internet, into their schools. into classroom practice requires “a radical shift in both
teaching style and the teacher’s vision of what classroom life
Research studies have found that some of these goals are is all about. This new vision is one that changes the
indeed accomplished by integrating technology into teaching

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Table 1: Goals for School-based Computer Use in Six Countries

COUNTRY GOALS

Barbados • To provide better motivation for both teachers and students;


• To enable schools to provide better educational management;
• To assist students in mastering the requisite skills and competencies of a computerized
world; and
• To enhance the teaching of subject matter of the various curricula offered.
Chile • To promote cooperative learning, higher-level thinking skills, data management, and
communication skills.
Costa Rica • To contribute to the improvement in the quality of education;
• To provide access to technology to children in rural and marginal urban areas;
• To stimulate creativity, cognitive skills and collaborative work;
• To rekindle teachers' interests in teaching; and
• To provide students with new learning environments and opportunities.
Egypt • To improve the quality and relevance of education through improved access to information
for teachers and students and work-related skills; and
• To provide a means of communication within the education system.
Jamaica • To integrate technologies into the curriculum;
• To foster literacy and numeracy acquisition through computer-assisted instruction in
primary schools;
• To electronically network rural schools; and
• To expand software available to educators.
Turkey • To promote active involvement of students in individual and collaborative work;
• To enrich institutional activities through various kinds of multimedia instructional software
and web-based materials;
• To enrich the interaction among students, teachers and other schools;
• To promote multidisciplinary and authentic tasks, covering more than one course and real-
life applications; and
• To integrate of IT skills into the existing curriculum.

teacher’s role in basic ways, reducing the importance of in the curriculum, we would have more time to engage the
‘chalk and talk’, increasing the need for sensitivity to children in thinking, but now we avoid asking questions that
individual students’ problems and achievements, shifting might require any extra time."4 In countries that have high-
how classrooms are laid out, how evaluation is conducted, stakes examinations, the pressure to “cover the curriculum”
how teachers relate to their colleagues, and a hundred other is exacerbated, and anything that does not support students’
particulars of daily life in schools” (p. 24).3 success on exams is likely to be neglected, including the use
of technology.
Even teachers who are facile with technology and
enthusiastic about using it confront another obstacle – overly Many of the more effective uses of computers and the
packed curricula. For some time now teachers, educational Internet require larger blocks of time and integrate numerous
researchers and others have been arguing that most curricula topics, subjects and skills. They often engage students in
cover far too many topics at a superficial level, and seldom more real-life types of projects than are typically found in
address topics in sufficient depth to promote deep-level textbooks and often involve students in collecting their own
understanding. Studies show that students learn isolated data, extracting information from the Internet, and interacting
facts for a test and forget them soon after, a practice that runs with a broader range of expertise than teachers and
counter to most systems’ stated goals for education. textbooks. Teachers will be reluctant to engage their
Teachers who sincerely want to adopt more child-centered, students in such projects if they are not consistent with what
constructivist approaches bemoan their need to cover the is being measured on high-stakes examinations. Roschelle et
overly full curriculum. “We don’t do what SIP [a long-term al (2000) argue that, “Time spent preparing students to do
teacher development project in Kenya] wants because we well on numerical calculation tests, vocabulary, or English
need to cover the syllabus and we only have 35-minute mechanics cannot be spent on learning about acceleration,
periods. If they cut back on the amount of material covered the mathematics of change, or the structure of Shakespeare’s

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plays. Moreover, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to The ISTE standards are organized around the curriculum
demonstrate the contribution of technologies in developing areas of English language arts, foreign language,
students’ abilities to reason and understand concepts in depth mathematics, science, and social studies and include a set of
without new kinds of assessments” (p. 91).5 sequenced learning activities arranged by grade level range,
performance indicators, learning activities, references to
Resources national (US) standards, and information on related
For those education systems that do choose to integrate resources. Some abbreviated examples of the standards
technology into the curriculum, several resources may be follow:
useful. The International Society for Technology in
Education (ISTE: http://www.iste.org) has spent considerable Chaos and Beyond, Mathematics, Grades 9-12
time addressing the issue of integrating technology into the
K-12 curriculum. In collaboration with a number of Purpose of the Lesson:
education and discipline-based professional associations in ! Introduce students to nonlinear models and dynamic
the U. S., they have developed the National Educational chaos
Technology Standards and a number of supportive ! Provide an example of mathematics that is possible only
documents, including: NETS•T— Preparing Teachers to Use because of technology
Technology; NETS Curriculum Series—Multidisciplinary ! Introduce students to the ideas of self-similarity,
Units for Grades 3–5; and Making Technology Work for recursion and fractals
You—A Guide for School Administrators. Upcoming NETS
books (early 2003) will focus on multidisciplinary units for Description: The notion of chaos and the beauty of fractals
Grades PK–2 and teacher assessment. come together in this learning activity as it relates to the real
issues of population growth and stability of population
The ISTE standards acknowledge that there are a number of models. The real-world tie to current issues makes this
essential conditions “required to create learning activity seem mathematically complex and motivates
environments conducive to powerful uses of technology, students. Students use graphing technology to investigate
including nonlinear phenomena and create bifurcation diagrams. From
an examination of the self-similarity of a bifurcation
! vision with support and proactive leadership from the diagram, students look at fractals and ideas of self-similarity.
education system,
! educators skilled in the use of technology for learning, Activities:
! content standards and curriculum resources, ! Using a spreadsheet or graphing calculator, students plot
! student-centered approaches to learning, and discuss simple linear population models where the
! assessment of the effectiveness of technology for change in population is represented by a simple birth and
learning, death rate. Investigate the idea of a stable population
! access to contemporary technologies, software and (and that most populations are not stable). Obtain
telecommunications networks, population models from sites on the Internet (see Tools
! technical assistance for maintaining and using and Resources).
technology resources, ! Introduce students to the Verhulst population model.
! community partners who provide expertise, support and Plot and discuss it using a spreadsheet or graphing
real-life interactions, calculator. It is generally useful and not too time-
! ongoing financial support for sustained technology use, consuming to plot the first 100 to 1,000 generations
and using a spreadsheet.
! policies and standards supporting new learning ! The Verhulst model is closely related to the logistic
environments (ISTE, 2000, p. 4). 6 equation. Students make graphs of the logistic equation
using different control parameters and initial conditions.
ISTE defines and explains curriculum integration as “the ! By changing the control parameter, r, and the initial
infusion of technology as a tool to enhance the learning in a population xo, students investigate (A) stability of
content area or multidisciplinary setting.” And adds that, solutions, (B) bifurcations, and (C) chaos.
“Effective integration of technology is achieved when ! For some values of the control parameter, such as 3.6, it
students are able to select technology tools to help them appears that the population never settles down to one or
obtain information in a timely manner, analyze and a few alternating values. Such populations are known as
synthesize the information and present it professionally.” chaotic, and students may wish to search for chaotic
(ISTE, 2000, p. 6) values of the control parameter. (ISTE, 2000, pp. 122-
124)

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Earth Movement in Real Time: Science, Grades 6-8 Another useful resource to support integrating technology
into the K-12 curriculum is The Information Technology (IT)
Purpose of the lesson: Students collect current data to make Pathway/Pipeline Model, which proposes a progression of
generalizations and conjectures about the location of the skills and knowledge that links educational technology skills
earth’s tectonic plates while exploring the nature of the for learning with IT skills needed for success in high skilled,
earth’s dynamic crust. The access to current data and instant high wage careers.7
maps in an environment of collaborative learning places
students in a simulated scientific research setting. A valuable resource is a revealing description of one school
district’s deliberate and very successful effort to integrate
Description: Students access current information on technology into the curriculum and assessment as part of a
earthquakes that have recently taken place around the world. collection of OECD-sponsored studies on the use of
Data is collected over a period of time that, when graphed technology in schools. 8
and mapped, will crudely show the boundaries between the
earth’s tectonic plates. Students monitor earthquake and Conclusion
volcanic activity and produce generalizations about the There are a number of particularly worthwhile educational,
changing nature of the earth. economic and societal goals that are more likely to be
accomplished with the use of multimedia technology in the
(Selected) Activities: teaching and learning process. Such goals are unlikely to be
Students access the U.S. Geological Survey’s earthquake achieved without ensuring a broad range of conditions that
web site and look at recent activity in selected geographic enhance the likelihood of technology use, including the
areas. They plot the longitude and latitude of regionally integration of technology into the formal, articulated
selected earthquakes on a physiographic map available on the curriculum, and perhaps even into high-stakes examinations.
Internet. They map both active and inactive volcanoes However, establishing sanctions associated with high-stakes
around the world and assess the relationship between active examinations cannot be justified until access to the resources
volcanoes and locations of the tectonic plates. They check required to achieve the goals is equitably distributed. On the
sites weekly for recent data and after a few weeks, plot a other hand, many teachers are unlikely to devote the time and
graph to show changes in the data. They collect additional energy required to use technology if its use is not formalized
data on earthquakes and volcanoes from other web sites, and in system statements of expected learning outcomes.
develop a mini-lesson on the structure of a volcano, Education policymakers and stakeholders that choose to
including the dynamics of how volcanoes erupt, using photos pursue technology-related goals will have a fine line to walk
gathered from the Internet to increase comprehension. They between encouraging technology’s effective use in
prepare multimedia presentations of their studies for various classrooms and ensuring that the conditions for equitable
geographic regions and link various regional presentations access are in place.
into a worldwide presentation and site. Students discuss the
dynamic nature of the earth’s crust. (ISTE, 2000, pp. 156-
157)

Endnotes
1
Reil, M. (1992) A Functional Analysis of Educational Telecomputing. Interactive Learning Environments, Vol. 2, pp. 15-30.
2
Cradler, J. and Bridgeforth, E. (1997) Recent Research on the Effects of Technology on Teaching and Learning. (Online at
http://www.wested.org/techpolicy/research.html)
3
Kerr, S.T. (Ed.) (1996) Technology and the future of schooling: Ninety-fifth Yearbook of the National Society of the Study of Education,
part 2, pp. 131-171. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
4
Capper, J., Nderitu, S. and Ogula, P. (2002) Conflict Between National Curriculum Standards and Efforts to Improve Teaching, in S. E.
Anderson (Ed.) Improving Schools Through Teacher Development: Case Studies of the Aga Khan Foundation Projects in East Africa.
The Netherlands: Swets & Zeitlinger.
5
Roschelle, J., Kaput, J., & Stroup, W. (2000). SimCalc: Accelerating student engagement with the mathematics of change. In M.J. Jacobsen
& R.B. Kozma, Innovations in science and mathematics education: Advanced designs for technologies of learning. Hillsdale, NJ:
Earlbaum. pp. 47-75.
6
ISTE (2000) National Educational Technology Standards for Students: Connecting Curriculum and Technology. Agate, OR.
7
Malyn-Smith, J., Donaldson, J., Spera V., Wong, J., Kimboko, R., Llorente, C., Miller, M., Bredin, S. and Guilf, V. (1999) IT Pathway
Pipeline Model: Rethinking Information Technology Learning in Schools, EDC: Newton, MA.
(https://secure.edc.org/publications/prodView.asp?1182)
8
Kozma, R. and Espinoza, C. (2001) Integrating Technology into the Curriculum to Support Standards-based Achievement in a Middle
School. OECD. http://www.oecd.org/EN/documentation/0,,EN-documentation-4-nodirectorate-no-no-no-4,00.html

! 63 ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org


RXGB: A Low-Tech Prescription for High-Anxiety
Among Students and Writing Faculty
1
Jesse T. Airaudi
Senior Lecturer in English
Baylor University

Introduction ers include moving their Freshman-level students more


quickly into the more analytical mode required in college,
Many writing teachers have a dilemma: anxious about inte- while helping to build skill in interdisciplinary thinking and
grating technology into their writing courses on the grounds reporting that will serve them in their other college courses,
that it is too complicated, too time consuming. Yet they com- and beyond.
plain that they spend much time responding to student analy-
ses and essays, often with poor returns on their time invest- Content in Student Papers:
ment. Moreover, they often claim, technological integration Not King on Campus, Either
means a loss of face-to-face contact with their students (even
though contact, when it involves discussing grades and bases Most student reports and analyses are woefully inadequate
of evaluation, is often awkward and, at times, confronta- because they are short, or sometimes because they are too
tional). A simple teaching and evaluation technique, long, rambling in hopes of finding what the instructor
"RGBing," requiring a minimal knowledge of word process- “wants.” As I was composing this article, a colleague came
ing, can save time and improve the thinking and writing skills into my office distressed that his “best student” had given
of their student writers. him just such an inadequate analysis: “It didn’t even have
paragraphs!” my colleague exclaimed, echoing Coleridge's
"Digital Content: Not King on Campus"2 complaint about the writing of his time as being like "a bag
of marbles." Of course, the length of the response in itself is
In her TechKnowLogia article "Technology Integration in the not the problem, nor the number of paragraphs, nor even the
Classroom: Is There Only One Way to Make It Effective?" length of time it takes the instructor to read the response.
Soledad MacKinnon asserts that although "technology inte- The time and effort it takes the instructor to think of and
gration is talked about a lot in education," there are "very few write out a useful response (merely revising the student’s
educators [who] have a clear vision or philosophy of what work is the easier--but counterproductive--way out) is the
technology integration is all about. Moreover, if you ask real problem. Add to that most students’ opinion that “every
educators how to integrate technology into the curriculum, English teacher has a different way of grading essays” and
very few will know how to go about doing it in a meaningful the teaching of writing becomes a tug-of-war with student
and purposeful way."3 My experience in a college English expectations either fulfilled or disappointed. The colleague I
Composition program supports MacKinnon's view (based mentioned above told me of a student who responded to “D”
partly on a Department of Education study): most of my col- on a very short paper with an adamant, “This grade is unac-
leagues say they wouldn't venture into integrating computer ceptable.” Multiply all the directionless but hopeful papers
technology because it is too complicated and time consuming by a hundred responses a semester, and you have stress
(and, I gather, anxiety producing). Some faculty members problems for both teachers and students.
stay away from computer instruction because, as one profes-
sor recently reported in AAUP's Footnotes, they "regretted Cognition Theory and the
the loss of face-to-face contact that results from online deliv-
ery."4 For these teachers, such a simple application would
Teaching of Writing
result in more -- and better -- face-to-face contact with their
students. The payoff thus would be a non-threatening tech- As the saying goes, “Hope is not a plan.” But, beginning in
nology integration for faculty combined with a non- the mid-80s, theorists like Diane Halpern sought to solve the
confrontational interaction with their students. The simple problem of thinking and writing in circles (what Francis
technique of "RGBing" would serve for any level or kind of Christensen long ago called a "lack of 'register' between the
writing instruction, but I speak from the experience of logical and the visual")5 in paragraphing by examining the
teaching at the college level. The benefits for college teach- relationship of cognitive skills and memory in making “ab-

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stract information meaningful,” that is, “encoding” meaning professor, Louis Agassiz, again and again asks the even more
into a “retrievable form.” Her subsequent studies for (as the exasperated student, “Do you see it yet?" as Scudder wracks
title of her series had it) Changing College Classrooms: New his brain and attempts every kind of reporting strategy he can
Teaching and Learning Strategies for an Increasingly Com- muster. Of course the key to what the professor wants him to
plex World expanded and exploited the learning/memory “see,” the “it,” is the main point about the fish (he eventually
connection including the role of “cognitive theory in design sees the “bilateral symmetry on his own, since the professor
of multimedia instruction” (Applying the Science of Learn- won’t tell him what that is: "look again, look again!")"9 It is
ing),6 but it wasn’t until Judith Boettcher of the Corporation a bit easier for our students to find the "it" of the fish because
for Research and Educational Networking asked the key all they need do is open the Word version, Ctrl+F, and type
question “What Does Knowledge Look Like (And How Can in the word "point" to jump to that word and see where the
We Help It Grow?)”7 a few years ago that I began to see how author says what the “it” is. To report the main point, the
theory could be applied to practice and, with the aid of the top-level generalization, students simply select over it and
computer (thanks to administrative imperatives now avail- change the font to red. The sub-points could be marked in
able to all), could be applied quite easily. We all see in green and blue according to their place in the generative hi-
RGB, the color components of our computer screens (you erarchy to graphically “show” what the piece’s knowledge
will notice that the icon for Images on word-processing pro- “looks like.” Thus, Francis Christensen’s old but highly use-
grams such as Microsoft WordTM are geometric shapes col- ful idea can be enhanced with computer technology, and not
ored red, green, and blue, and the "generative" application just to show the outline of the author’s thinking but the spe-
InspirationTM uses a logo of a red, a green, and a blue star cific development, the supporting details (or lack of them,
suggesting its method of generatively [that is, by "genera- which is just as instructive). Though as Christensen admitted,
tions" or levels of specificity] "con-stellating" or "con- it "is difficult to gauge the relative generality or abstractness
sidering" data). Thus, through marking "knowledge" as it is of the sentences of a paragraph . . . [yet the] trend of the
conventionally arranged for transmission so it can be seen in added sentences is toward the concrete and specific," and
RGB, means that knowledge can be objectively discussed completing this movement "is a natural way to help students
and fairly evaluated. Though such a method may seem feel their way through the paragraphs they are writing and
"elementary," it may be exactly what students and teachers give them the density of texture, the solidity of specification,
need to stop wasting time and energy -- and resources -- so many of them woefully lack."10 Students can instantly see
when students continue to guess at what the teacher wants. if their writing has the necessary assertions, and if these are
As Paul O'Dea long ago advised, "It is not enough to give adequately developed, or not.
students sufficient time to practice writing; without guidance
they will simply write in circles. Nor is it enough to give An RGB Exercise
them one unrelated exercise after another; that would merely Consider the anxiety of a student faced with the task of
compound the problems already inherent in present slapdash "analyzing" even the briefest of essays for the main idea,
methods of teaching writing."8 sub-ideas, writing strategies, effectiveness, and so forth.
Here is a specific example of how "RGBing” helps the stu-
Method dent to analyze writing and saves me time checking on the
quality of the analysis. The assignment is chosen to "show"
I was reminded of the simple method I have been success- students what Diane Halpern means when she speaks of
fully using in my writing classes when MacKinnon reported "Macrostructure," and also to show, by its absence, what is
that although many teachers are increasingly integrating all too often missing, as Christensen said, in student writing,
technology into their classroom teaching, that fact doesn't density of development:
necessarily mean that learning is being advanced, "for exam-
ple," she writes, "the case … when students spend most of Pain by W. S. Maugham
their time selecting fonts and colors for reports instead of
planning, writing, and revising their ideas." In my method, No more stupid apology for pain has ever been devised
selecting fonts and colors, or more precisely font colors, is than that it elevates. It is an explanation due to the ne-
the essence of planning, writing, and revising their ideas. cessity of justifying pain from the Christian point of
The object of RGBing is to show instantly “what knowledge view. Pain is nothing more than the signal given by the
looks like” in a piece of reading, rather than allow the student nerves that the organism is in circumstances hurtful to
to explain that knowledge (read: "ramble"). it: it would be as reasonable to assert that a danger
signal elevates a train. But one would have thought that
RGBing and Reading the ordinary observation of life was enough to show
An essay in their Freshman Composition reader entitled that in the great majority of cases, pain, far from refin-
“Take This Fish and Look At It” by Samuel Scudder pro- ing, has an effect which is merely brutalising. An exam-
vides students an instructive parallel: Scudder's exasperated ple in point is the case of hospital in-patients: physical

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pain makes them self-absorbed, selfish, querulous, im- sheet on a stack of papyrus documents): "label your stuff
patient, unjust and greedy; I could name a score of with informative labels. . . . Not cute, or tricky, or ones with
petty vices that it generates, but not one virtue. Poverty vague references."12 And to finish the exercise, the student
also is pain. I have known well men who suffered from could mark the absence of specific examples, since, as
that grinding agony of poverty which befalls persons Christensen reported in the article cited, "the paragraphs our
who have to live among those richer than themselves; it students write are likely to be as thin-textured as their sen-
makes them grasping and mean, dishonest and un- tences, teachers can use this structural analysis of the para-
truthful. It teaches them all sorts of detestable tricks. graph to generate paragraphs of greater depth"). This is ac-
With moderate means they would have been honourable complished simply by anchoring after the blues and hitting
men, but ground down by poverty they have lost all the enter key (I mark just one set):
sense of decency.11
An example in point is the case of hospital in-patients:
Typical reports on Maugham's piece are either too short to be physical pain makes them self-absorbed,
of any use ("He talks about how awful pain is") or they are
wordy meanderings, searching for "what the instructor [specific example needs to go here]
wants," and so on. By using "RGB" (and borrowing loosely
from Christensen's "generative" or "generational" ordering of selfish,
mother, daughter, grand-daughter statements), the student
can see (and report quickly) the macrostructure of the piece, [and so on]
as follows:
querulous,
No more stupid apology for pain has ever been devised than
that it elevates. It is an explanation due to the necessity of impatient,
justifying pain from the Christian point of view. Pain is
nothing more than the signal given by the nerves that the unjust, and
organism is in circumstances hurtful to it: it would be as
reasonable to assert that a danger signal elevates a train. greedy
But one would have thought that the ordinary observation of
life was enough to show that in the great majority of cases, Here, for both student and teacher to see on the computer
pain, far from refining, has an effect which is merely brutal- screen, is what Maugham's "knowledge looks like," and the
ising. An example in point is the case of hospital in-patients: student, if he or she were to develop the macrostructure, or if
physical pain makes them self-absorbed, selfish, querulous, it were the student's own composition (See
impatient, unjust and greedy; I could name a score of petty http://www3.baylor.edu/~Jeremy_Wiley/english/1302E6/proj
vices that it generates, but not one virtue. Poverty also is ect2/brutalizing_pain.htm), would see where to "help it
pain. I have known well men who suffered from that grinding grow." The necessary "completeness," what was in the
agony of poverty which befalls persons who have to live writer's mind, now "in-formed" in the reader's, would here be
among those richer than themselves; it makes them grasping seen as black font, and proportionately than the RGB. The
and mean, dishonest and untruthful. It teaches them all amount of black font following the lowest-level blue markers
sorts of detestable tricks. With moderate means they would is a sure sign that the student has not been merely counting
have been honourable men, but ground down by poverty they words to get a "long enough" paper but has been brain-
have lost all sense of decency. storming and developing (adding “completeness” to) the
macrostructure. In more advanced courses where students
RGBing and Writing too often summarize what they read or fill the pages with
Another common problem in student writing (whether pré- "background" details instead of useful analysis, writers can
cising other writers’ work or presenting their own) can use the word-processing application's font-color feature to
quickly be remedied at this point. The "guessing-game" title, take away color. Since, as I tell my students, I don't really
which names the topic [X] but not the "aboutness" of the "see" such non-essential data in a report, they should likewise
topic [Y ] can be made fully expository by copying the not see it by selecting all text which merely summarizes the
missing part and pasting it into the title: thus, instead of just reading and then change the font color via the menu bar to
the X = Pain, both X and Y: Brutalising Pain. Sheridan "gray 40%" (like this).
Baker's old trick of supplying a proper title by visiting the
thesis statement and dropping the verb and making necessary RGBing and Grade Conferencing
adjustments is visually and digitally updated. Or as Bob A student’s own, original composition can thus be discussed
Horn has recently advised in his work on webpage links and and evaluated on-screen easily, with the student writer
other “protocols” (originally referring to the first, or top, pointing out the macrostructure in RGB and the instructor or

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peer evaluation group (for which RGBing works very well) assignments.) I can think of only one objection to RGBing,
agreeing or disagreeing, offering praise or advice for effec- and that is the assumption that teaching and learning “struc-
tive revision. Typical peer comments in such "looking" con- ture” inhibits student "creativity." The best way I know how
ferences are: "Where is your support for the blue statement, to answer is by returning to Paul O'Dea:
'Procrastination can also get you in trouble'? All I see is
another blue statement right after that," and "Why do you It is nonsense to believe, as a great many teachers with
have three reds -- isn't an essay supposed to have just one vaguely artistic notions about writing unfortunately do
main point?" and so on. The monitor screen becomes pretty believe, that structure restricts thought or inhibits the
smudged up in one of these sessions, but everyone agrees budding imagination. The only thing structure restricts
that we have, or have not, seen knowledge and how it was (or is the area of thought, thus bringing mind and imagi-
was not) grown. I have yet to have a single dispute over an nation into full play in relation to a single idea. Para-
evaluation in the eight or so years that I have been using doxically, it frees by restricting….
RGBing to teach and evaluate thinking and writing. And in
that time, it has saved me countless hours I would have oth- Step by step, they move from the structure of the essay
erwise spent in reading, commenting, and justifying grades. as a whole to the structure of its successively smaller
parts, writing as they go, moving smoothly and simulta-
Conclusion neously with each step toward the marriage of structure
and style, constantly writing, examining, rethinking,
RGBing may seem to be too easy, too effective to be true, rewriting -- doing, in short, what every writer does in-
but it really is easy to do and it does work to promote effec- stinctively every time he sits down to work.13
tive thinking and writing. The scant illustration I have given
does not adequately testify to the wide variety of analytical We need not apologize for integrating “old” ideas into our
and writing assignments to which RGBing can be applied, teaching with new methods, if it works. Although my lim-
but I am confident that teachers who try the RGB method ited illustration of the simplicity and ease of “RGBing” can-
will find that it is not only a simple, easy-to-use tool, it is not suggest the great potential it holds for many kinds of
powerful as well. And (administrators take note) it's a lot writing assignments and their evaluation, I am confident that
cheaper than InspirationTM. (An aside: I tell my students to even a brief trial by teachers will reveal RGB’s usefulness,
RGB their papers for their other classes, but if they are “friendliness,” and, in these frantic days of increased class
turning in papers electronically, to "select all" with Ctrl+A sizes, its time-saving (and stress-relieving) capabilities.
and change the text back to all-black font before they turn in

1
Jesse T. Airaudi received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, and teaches in the English Department at Baylor University in
Waco, Texas. He may be contacted at Jesse_Airaudi@baylor.edu
2
Issue title of the Syllabus: Technology for Higher Education number for May 2002.]
http://www.syllabus.com/mag.asp?month=5&year=2002
3
Soledad MacKinnon, "Technology Integration in the Classroom: Is There Only One Way to Make It Effective?" TechKnowLogia 4.4 (Oc-
tober - December 2002) http://www.techknowlogia.org.
4
"Conference Looks at Pros and Cons of Technology," Footnotes: Newsletter of the American Association of Professors 23 (2002-03): 7.
For related discussions, access A.A.U.P.'s Footnotes online: http://www.aaup.org/publications/Footnotes/index.htm
5
Francis Christensen, "A Generative Rhetoric of the Paragraph," The Sentence and the Paragraph (Urbana, Il: National Council of Teachers
of English, 1978): 21.
6
Diane Halpern, Thought and Knowledge: An Introduction to Critical Thinking. Mahwah, N.J.: 1984; Diane Halpern and Associates,
Changing College Classrooms: New Teaching and Learning Strategies for an Increasingly Complex World. Mahwah, N.J.: 1994; Diane
Halpern and Milton D. Hakel. Applying the Science of Learning to University Teaching and Beyond. San Francisco: 2002.
7
Judith V. Boettcher, "What Does Knowledge Look Like and How Can We Help It Grow?" Syllabus Magazine Aug. 1999: 64+.
8
Paul O' Dea, "Teaching Students to Write," A Writer Teaches Writing: A Practical Method of Teaching Composition, ed. Donald M.
Murray (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1968): 217.
9
Samuel Scudder, “Take This Fish and Look At It,” The Rinehart Reader, eds. Jean Wyrick and Beverly J. Slaughter (Forth Worth: Harcourt
College Publishers), 271-72.
10
Francis Christensen, "A Generative Rhetoric of the Paragraph," ed. W. Ross Winterowd, Contemporary Rhetoric: A Conceptual Back-
ground with Readings (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1975): 234.
11
William Somerset Maugham, "Pain," eds. Jo Ray McCuen and Anthony C. Winkler, Readings for Writers, 5th ed. (San Diego: Harcourt
Brace Jovanovich, 1974): 181.
12
Bob Horn. "Visual Language: Conveying Information in Instruction and on the Web," an interview with the author, Bob Horn, in Syllabus:
New Directions in Educational Technology, May 1999: 24+.
13
O’Dea, 217-18.

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The Use of Digital Cameras to Enhance the Learning Experience

Digital Cameras: Overview night? Will I be taking mostly portraits or landscape shots?
Action or still?
It is likely that by now most people know what a digital
camera is - or at least have heard of one. However, it is most With these questions in mind, here are several things to
unlikely that people would associate digital cameras with consider when buying a digital camera:
education. With the technology present today, nothing
seems out of the realm of use for any activity, be it fun or 1. Resolution: this refers to the number of dots or
learning. Video games traditionally were only thought of as pixels per an image. The more pixels there are the better
kid distractions, but today they are being used as a teaching the resolution and the quality of the image. Older
tool. Computers and the Internet are probably the most cameras offered 1- to 2-mexapixels. Newer ones are
central components of the use of technology in education. offering up to 4- and even 5-megapixels. As a rule of
And now, the advent of digital cameras makes learning fun. thumb, a 2-megapixel camera can produce a good 5-by-7
print; a 3-megapixel camera, an 8-by-10; and a 4-
Digital cameras are similar to conventional ones in that they megapixel one, an 11-by-17 print. The way a camera
range in quality and cost. Both have a lens that focuses an will be used will help determine the amount of
image onto a Charge Coupled Device (CCD), which then resolution you will need.
converts the image into electrical pulses. Both then store the 2. Size, Weight and Design: Cameras range in
image onto a "storage medium." However, the similarities size from 6.8 ounces to 2.6 pounds. If portability is
stop here. important, consider the size and weight of the camera.
Smaller cameras are convenient, but also have smaller
Digital cameras differ from conventional cameras in the way dials and buttons that could make using them more
they function. Similar to a conventional camera, when a difficult.
picture is taken, the shutter opens, allowing light to enter the 3. Zoom Lens: Some cameras offer optical zoom,
camera and strike the CCD. Where a digital camera differs is while others have digital zoom. Optical zoom moves the
that once light strikes the CCD, it is then sent to the internal lens to magnify the subject, while digital zoom only
memory of the camera, called the buffer. After the image captures fewer pixels and magnifies them. This clearly
information reaches the buffer, it is then compressed into would jeopardize the quality of the image. It is
JPEG format. The completed image is then transferred to the recommended that for best results, to go with at least a
memory card on the camera (the storage device). For some 2X optical zoom.
cameras, this process causes a lag time, and therefore one 4. Focus: Digital cameras often offer automatic focus,
cannot take another picture immediately. Others have which for most of us is sufficient. For the few cases
enough of an internal buffer to allow for multiple pictures to where in a close up shot the camera cannot get a focus
be taken in a row, called burst shooting. lock, a manual focus would help.
5. Storage: In lay terms, storage refers to the medium
What to Consider When Buying where pictures are stored once taken. In a conventional
camera, that would be the film. In digital cameras, it
When buying a digital camera, ask yourself a few questions. ranges from floppy disks, to compact disks, to memory
How will I be using the camera? Will I be emailing pictures, cards. Floppy disks are the least expensive but storage
or doing a lot of printing? Will I be publishing on the web? on them is slow and the disks can only hold one or two
Will it be for home use, or will I be doing professional high-resolution images. Compact disks store more
layouts? Will I be using it indoors our out? Daytime or at images, but the cameras that use them are bulky.
Memory cards are the most expensive, but allow the

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most flexibility in camera size as well as storage sure they know the difference between what is
capacity. While most cameras have onboard storage, appropriate and what is not.
investing in additional removable storage allows for 3. Keep in mind privacy when publishing photographs and
expansion of storage capacity. be aware of your school's policy regarding pictures and
6. Movies and Sound: Some cameras offer the publication of pictures.
option of video capture. This is handy if you do not have 4. Let students work with the images, cropping, editing,
a video camera, but since video takes up more storage etc. so they can learn to optimize images for the web.
than images, the clip is usually no more than 30 seconds. 5. Have at least one computer that has Photoshop Elements
7. LCD Screen: Probably one of the most compelling or a similar type image editor.
reasons to purchase a digital camera is that you can see
the image right away and decide whether or not you like Some Projects for Digital Cameras
it and want to keep it. To do so, however, you need an
LCD screen on the camera. Low-end models often omit Digital cameras offer teachers unlimited opportunities to
this option, thus taking away one of the most exciting engage students and to incorporate technology into their
features. This is one feature you should not go without. curriculum. Here are some examples:
However, be sure to try the camera before you buy it -
some screens wash out in the sunlight, making it 1. Assign pairs of students to go on a walk through the
difficult to see. school to find examples of geometric shapes (circles,
8. Memory Card Readers: These are similar to triangles, parallel lines, obtuse angles, etc.)
external hard drives that attach to your PC. These allow 2. Create a "School Rules" or "Class Rules" book complete
you to download pictures directly from the storage with illustrations of acceptable behaviors with students
medium, which saves time as well as battery life. posing in appropriate activities.
3. Have teams of students take pictures of everyday things
Using Digital Cameras in the Classroom and put into KidPix/Powerpoint with English and
Spanish/French vocabulary. Print out for a classroom
Teachers are using digital cameras to enhance education "Pictionary."
inside and outside of the classroom and from all accounts, 4. Use student photos for "Student of the Week" displays,
the students love them as much if not more than the teachers special certificates and awards.
do. In addition to the above mentioned advantages offered 5. Take photos on a class field trip. In the classroom, each
by digital cameras, teachers believe that digital cameras help student can choose a picture to label with a short
students to become more involved with the subject at hand. description of what was happening or why this was
With any project, the use of a digital camera becomes a important. Print a copy for everyone.
cognitive process as the students reason and plan what
pictures to take and why those pictures are needed. As Craig These are but a minute list of the vast number of ways to use
Nansen, technology coordinator for Minot (N. Dakota) cameras in the classroom. Here are some sources where
Public Schools, put it: "One of the main goals of students teachers have shared their ideas:
using technology is to become creators of content. Pictures
of field trips or area events, local historical or geographical Science Teacher Stuff (this page contains links to other
sites of the school and city, documentaries of athletic and sources)
cultural events, and artistic photography all are great http://www.scienceteacherstuff.com/techdigcam.html
examples of students creating content." Additionally, Using a Digital Camera in the Elementary Classroom:
cameras enhance the skill of "purposeful observation," as put http://agassizsd.mb.ca/centennial/camera.html
by another Minot Public School teacher. 1001 Uses for a Digital Camera:
http://pegasus.cc.ucf.edu/~ucfcasio/qvuses.htm
Some tips on using a digital camera in the classroom include
the following: Sources and References:
http://aolsvc.pcworld.aol.com/computercenter/aol/bguide/0,g
1. Purchase an inexpensive camera for the students to use uid,12,page,1,00.asp
and a more expensive one for the teacher. Consider the http://bmrc.berkeley.edu/articles/9612-01.html
potential for damage and do one-on-one training http://www.sony-digitalcamera.com/howwork.html
sessions with the students to ensure proper usage of the http://www.education-world.com/a_tech/tech147.shtml
camera. http://www.education-world.com/a_tech/tech148.shtml
2. Ensure that students take appropriate photographs. Go http://www.tech4learning.com/services/teachingwithdigitalca
over basic photography rules with the students and make meras.htm
http://www.wacona.com/digicam/digicam.html

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In this Issue we focus on
Web sites that are
dedicated to
technologies and
learning and how they
affect the attainment of learning at the various
cognitive levels including problem-solving,
creativity, critical thinking synthesis, analysis, and
application.

Selected by Joseph M. Baltrus

Taxonomy of Technology Integration


http://education.ed.pacificu.edu/aacu/workshop/reconcept2B.html

This site compiled by the Berglund Center for Internet Studies at Pacific University, makes a valiant effort towards linking
ICT (information and communication technologies) to learning via Bloom's Revised Taxonomy of Educational Objectives
(Anderson, et. al., 2001). The taxonomy presented on this site is designed to represent the varying cognitive processes that
can be facilitated by the integration of ICT into the teaching and learning process.

Critical and Creative Thinking - Bloom's Taxonomy


http://eduscapes.com/tap/topic69.htm

Part of Eduscape.com, this site is just one topic under their Teacher Tap resource list. Teacher Tap is a free, professional
development resource that helps educators address common technology integration questions by providing practical, online
resources and activities. A definitive overview of critical and creative thinking is articulated as well as how Bloom’s
domains of learning can be reflected in technology-rich projects.

Introduction to CSILE
http://csile.oise.utoronto.ca/intro.html

This is the home site for CSILE (Computer Supported Intentional Learning Environments), a collaborative-networked
software program…"designed to help students achieve extraordinary learning by providing supports for thinking and
understanding." CSILE has been utilized for nearly 2 decades and has a strong body of research to support its claims.

! 70 ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org


Connecting Student Learning and Technology (SEDL)
http://www.sedl.org/pubs/tec26/flash.html

Published by the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL), this comprehensive report bridges the gap
between ICT and constructivist theory. A valuable reference for educators as this theory is translated into actual educational
practice. Several classroom case studies are provided along with pedagogical strategies to effectively integrate technology
into the classroom.

Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE)


http://www.aace.org/default.htm

AACE (Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education) is an “international, educational and professional not-
for profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the knowledge, theory, and quality of learning and teaching at all
levels with information technology.” This site is a significant gateway of educational research on ICT.

The Center for Research on Learning and Technology


http://crlt.indiana.edu/

CRLT, the Center for Research on Learning and Technology, at Indiana University is an organization dedicated to helping
educators find the appropriate application of ICT to improve teaching and learning in diverse settings. Several useful
references on student learning with ICT are linked off this site.

The Regional Technology in Education Consortia (R*TEC)


http://www.rtec.org/

This is the home site for the Regional Technology in Education Consortia, R*TEC, a compilation of 10 US regional centers
funded by the US Dept. of Education. The centers focus specifically on underserved student populations and work toward
equitable access to technology for all schools and communities, making sure new technologies have a positive impact on
teaching and learning.

International Conference on Technology and Education (ICTE)


http://www.icte.org/

ICTE is a global annual Conference on ICT application in education. The conference alternates each year between a location
in North America and Europe. For those seeking an international perspective on ICT in education, this conference is a must.

TeacherUniverse
http://www.teacheruniverse.com/news/research.html

Part of Riverdeep Interactive Learning, TeacherUniverse offers a suite of Professional Development tools for teachers and
school administrators geared towards effective instructional ICT applications. Contained off this site is a compendium of
educational research on the effects of ICT on student achievement.

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The Big6
http://www.big6.com/

This site is home to the Big6, a widely-known and used approach by thousands of K-12 schools and higher education
institutions for teaching ICT skills that facilitate problem-solving skills. The Big6TM describes the six thinking steps a person
goes through any time there is an information problem to solve. The Big6 is especially designed for library media specialists
and classroom teachers interested in the curriculum integration of information literacy.

JOURNALS

T.H.E. Journal
http://www.thejournal.com/

Technological Horizons in Education Journal (T.H.E. Journal) is “the longest running, most widely read education
technology publication, serving educators for over 30 years”…plus it is free. T.H.E. is also sponsor of EduHound, an online
gateway to education resources on the Internet.

Electronic Journal for the Integration of Technology in Education (EJITE)


http://ejite.isu.edu/

EJITE, Electronic Journal for the Integration of Technology in Education, features research findings, practical articles on
technology integration, book and software reviews, and commentary on topics of interest to educators (PK-16). The journal
is published electronically twice each year (Winter and Spring).

The Journal of Technology, Learning and Assessment (JTLA)


http://www.bc.edu/research/intasc/jtla.html

The Journal of Technology, Learning and Assessment (JTLA) is a peer-reviewed, scholarly on-line journal. The JTLA was
established in response to a growing interest in the intersection of computer-based technology, learning, and assessment.

! 72 ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org


Creating Affordable Universal Internet Access

Alan Levy1
Executive Vice President, Municipal Networks
air4wan - WiFi Group
alanlevy@air4wan.com

Why Aren’t More People Using the Internet?


When we look at the numbers of people who use the Internet, it is glaringly clear that there still are a far
greater number of people who do not. If using the Internet increases the quantity of information avail-
able, and provides immediate access to information even while lowering its cost, why aren’t more people
using the Internet?

The Internet Protocol (IP) is a method to exchange, to send and to receive all types of information. It can
be used for telephone calls, playing games or watching movies. The Internet Protocol is a process for
combining information into packets, and sending these from one point to another. It can operate faster,
and send more information, because it groups large quantities of information into small packets that are
faster to transmit and subsequently less expensive to send.

We should always remember that the real benefit derived from the Internet is the lower cost for commu-
nications –- and a more rapid exchange of information. Anything we do that degrades this benefit is
not only counter-productive, but will necessarily eliminate its adoption by a set of potential users.

No matter what effort is made to develop services, applications and content, if the Internet is difficult to
enter, if passing through the gateway is troublesome, fewer people will seek access or discover value in
adopting the use of IP-based communications. The first and primary barrier therefore is the gateway.
This barrier changes with advances in technology. As technology advances it becomes easier and less
expensive to overcome technical barriers. And so, the original question remains. Why aren’t more peo-
ple using the Internet?

Today, most people access the Internet through the Public Switched Telephone Network, or PSTN, which
is simply the telephone line. Many users also access the Internet through their cable television service,
and some through direct satellite service. Even cellular telephone service providers are deploying new
technologies that provide access to the Internet.

The technologies behind all of these methods of access are advancing, and there is no technical reason
why they cannot continue to do so. The decision regarding which type of service to select seems to de-
pend on cost. Of course, this would only be true if all services were equally available. But this is not the
case. Let us not forget that government regulates the deployment of these services. Government, through
various mechanisms, chooses who can or cannot deploy Internet access technology. And poorly funded
regulatory agencies in developing countries are often challenged and limited in their action by very pow-
erful incumbent operators.

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WiFi: Around the Barriers the WiFi network, described as a high bandwidth “cloud,” is
primarily an outdoor experience. Signals are sent back to
A new situation has recently emerged that may overcome the servers at the university, which houses the network hub. The
technological and regulatory barriers. It was created through city has provided use of the top of the nine light poles, and a
the continuing evolution in IP technology. It’s a new wire- small amount of electric power to operate each antenna.
less-based technology called WiFi, an abbreviation for
Wireless Fidelity. WiFi technology operates in an unregu- This WiFi broadband “cloud” is far more powerful than what
lated band of radio spectrum designated 802.11. This is an cellular service providers offer, and transmits data at a speed
unlicensed band of spectrum that is shared and available for of 11 Mbps, which is sufficient for all types of multimedia.
use by anyone. Up to now it was most commonly used for It is accessible 24-hours a day. Anyone can join or connect
personal appliances, such as a microwave oven or a cordless to the network, even install a WiFi antenna inside a structure
home phone, and for specialized purposes such as the radar for indoor access.
“gun” used by law enforcement to read the speed of a mov-
ing vehicle.

Unlike today’s wired network, a WiFi network requires little


more than an Access Point (AP). We all understand that
access to a wireless-based service does not require an expen-
sive connection to each user -– there is no need for running
wires to each building, or for the installation of a satellite
dish. WiFi technology is also far less expensive to deploy
than the limited wireless technologies of currently existing
cellular service providers. And, because in most countries it
operates in an unregulated spectrum, anyone can deploy a
WiFi Access Point. Basically, a WiFi AP is nothing less
than a broadband network.2

Current regulations hinder deployment of IP communications


applications over lower cost WiFi technology. Still, many of
the IP applications anticipated from the technologies of ex-
isting communications service providers operate better when
operated with the greater bandwidth capacity available Cost Options
through WiFi networks. This is not to say that current wire-
less technologies are no longer beneficial. They are neces- A cellular service provider is unable to deploy a small net-
sary, but clearly insufficient to serve an increasing quantity work because of the type of technology relied upon. A small
of diverse communications requirements. part of a larger network designed to cover only several miles
might cost 10 million dollars.

Example of a WiFi Network In comparison, a WiFi network not only has a much greater
bandwidth capacity, but is also far less expensive. And as
Let us look at one example of a WiFi network. I have chosen WiFi technology rapidly advances, costs are being reduced
the new network in the city Athens, Georgia, in the USA, regularly. Here are some current options for a small WiFi
because it is supported in part by the local government and network, including equipment, costs and distance of cover-
the local university. Athens is a small city with a little more age.
than 100,000 residents. A Wireless Athens Group (WAG)3
was formed to develop the WiFi network. The network cur- In this example, a node represents an Access Point, which is
rently covers a few city blocks downtown, but will soon ex- a box-like antenna and supporting equipment. A large net-
pand to twenty-four city blocks.4 work uses both nodes and less expensive repeaters to extend
range of coverage.
Whether from a park bench or an outdoor cafe, a student,
office worker, or tourist can access the Internet if they're in Wired Node (low cost)
range of the small WAG antennas, really nothing more than
small boxes mounted on top of nine light poles around the ⇒ Linksys BEFW11S4 (wireless router and hub) ($200), or
city. The signals do not penetrate most walls or buildings, so Agere RG-1000 or RG-1100 (optional, but recom-
mended) ($170-$220)

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⇒ ComputerRouter (free, or higher) ⇒ 3-4, 6-8 sector antennas ($200-$700/ea)

Total out of pocket cost can be as little as $200 or less. ⇒ 1+ mid-gain Omni directional antenna, e.g. 8-dBi (op-
However, the range is limited to a few hundred feet. For tional) ($100)
more range, you need an antenna and/or amplifier.
⇒ Several mid-to-high gain patch or parabolic antennas
Wired Node (mid-cost) ($50-$200/ea)

⇒ Linksys BEFW11S4 (wireless router and hub), or Ori- ⇒ High quality self supporting or guyed antenna ($500-
noco RG-1000 (residential gateway), or RG-1100 $1,000+)
(broadband gateway) ($170-$220) ⇒
⇒ Misc. cables (optional, but recommended) ($200-$500+)
⇒ Cables, adapters (depending on the length) ($100)
⇒ ComputerRouter (free, or higher)
⇒ 8 to 15-dBi Omni directional antenna (optional, but rec-
ommended) ($100- $200) This is a truly powerful full IP-capability node costing be-
tween $5,000 and $10,000+, and capable of serving thou-
⇒ ComputerRouter (free, or higher) sands of users.

For less than $400 you can establish an access point with an The options for a wired access point, or node, as shown
Omni directional antenna. If mounting the Omni outside, above indicate that the cost for a ten square mile WiFi
anticipate paying another $100-$200 for a lightning arrestor network “cloud” is approximately US$ 150,000 or more.
and a mast. This is sufficient to cover many metropolitan areas, and is
affordable by many municipal governments.
Wired Node (deluxe)
Benefits For Education
⇒ Orinoco RG-1000 (residential gateway), RG-1100, or
Cisco AP or bridge ($200-$500+) IP-based applications for education are dramatically en-
hanced when deployed over WiFi broadband networks.
⇒ Cables, adapters (depending on the length) ($100-$200) WiFi networks are basically local-loop networks providing
last-mile connectivity. Local-loop networks are where indi-
⇒ Amplifier ($300-$500) viduals, schools, businesses, hospitals, libraries and govern-
ments connect to the Internet. In essence, they are commu-
⇒ 8 to 15-dBi Omni directional antenna ($100-$200) nity networks; they both serve and operate within the local
community. Education applications can reside on the local
⇒ Mast or guyed antenna (optional, but recommended) network and empower a community like never before. The
($100+) community becomes capable to direct and determine its own
requirements and processes, maintain and strengthen local
⇒ ComputerRouter (free, or higher) standards, enhance collaboration between individuals and
institutions, and develop an economy capable to compete
This is a high quality node capable to cover a large area, if with other communities.
the antenna is mounted sufficiently high, and costs approxi-
mately $800-$1,500. Many if not all, amplifiers provide As an example, local schools with access to broadband can
integrated lightning protection; a separate lightning arrestor control the dissemination of their own local initiatives. Stu-
may not be necessary. This node covers a square mile dents can practice all media forms and processes through
area, or more in certain circumstances. actual hands-on experience. Local television and radio sta-
tions can distribute, even produce, unique media content.
Wired Node (cost no object)
Benefits for the Community
⇒ 3-4+ Orinoco business AP, or Cisco AP, or bridge
($500-$1,000/ea) A WiFi network can provide local hospitals, schools, gov-
ernment offices, emergency services, utilities, and everyone,
⇒ 3-4 amps ($300-$500/ea) with low cost 24-hour access to full broadband services –-

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seamlessly bundled into a single dents, such as to make payments
low cost community platform. and to transfer information or
This powerful network can de- documents.
liver movies and telephone serv-
We should always remember that
ice, allows instant interaction the real benefit derived from the A public access VPN is a com-
with organizations and govern- Internet is the lower cost for munity platform for ubiquitous
ment, and provides for equitable communications –- and a more broadband IP communications,
participation in e-commerce –- it including voice, media, educa-
equally benefits all citizens
rapid exchange of information. tion, e-commerce, web comput-
within a community. A WiFi Anything we do that degrades ing, e-government, health, and
network dramatically lowers the this benefit is not only counter- more. It provides an ideal
cost for communications and productive, but will necessarily method for micro, small and me-
media. dium-sized businesses and or-
eliminate its adoption by a set of ganizations to participate in e-
E-Mexico provides a good ex- potential users. commerce. It can save time,
ample. Its current plans are to lower processing costs, speed
provide Internet access through revenue collection, reduce inap-
thousands of local community centers and schools. If de- propriate activity, and speed both the dissemination and col-
ployed in the traditional manner, each computer will need it’s lection of information.
own dialup connection –- a slower, less powerful and more
costly type of access point that, even when connected to a A public access VPN can be designed using open source
desktop network, can serve no more than a few computers at architecture. There is no need for public agencies to engage
one time. A single WiFi access point can provide service to in the production of VPNs themselves –- this may and should
thousands of users, and at a much lower individual cost. be left to the private sector. But for the Internet to be useful,
VPNs that are accessible to everyone at a low cost must be de-
The Next Great Leap veloped, and public funding will be a critical element.

The importance for deploying a programmed platform over a Conclusion


WiFi network cannot be emphasized enough. This platform
should take the form of a “public access” Virtual Private WiFi is simply very easy, and costs very little to deploy.
Network (VPN). None currently exist. However, a public Independent WiFi networks are already springing up in cities
access VPN is the most appropriate applications/content plat- throughout the USA and around the world, as if by magic.
form for a community-based WiFi broadband network. It There are more than seventy cities with fledgling WiFi net-
would allow residents to choose between local services, or to works that offer free Internet access, and the numbers are
browse the World Wide Web (WWW). With a public access growing rapidly. Technology and high investment costs no
VPN, local government would still have online travel and longer offer a reasonable excuse for the digital divide. In
trade promotions accessible from anywhere around the fact, thanks to continuing advances in WiFi technologies, the
world, but could limit access to certain services to legal resi- digital divide may now be better described as an advocacy
divide.

1
The author gratefully acknowledges valuable comments by Francisco J. Proenza, FAO Investment Centre Economist
2
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/24/nyregion/24FEAT.html?ex=1039158120&ei=1&en=fad7c117f52e2583
3
http://www.nmi.uga.edu/research/wag
4
http://www.cnn.com/2002/TECH/science/07/31/coolsc.wireless.cloud

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Lifelong Learning in the
Global Knowledge Economy:
Challenges for Developing Countries1

A knowledge-based economy relies primarily on the use of ideas rather than physical abilities and on the application of tech-
nology rather than the transformation of raw materials or the exploitation of cheap labor. Knowledge is being developed and
applied in new ways. Product cycles are shorter and the need for innovation greater. Trade is expanding worldwide, increas-
ing competitive demands on producers.

The global knowledge economy is transforming the demands of the labor market in economies throughout the world. It is also
placing new demands on citizens, who need more skills and knowledge to be able to function in their day to day lives.

Equipping people to deal with these demands requires a new model of education and training, a model of lifelong learning. A
lifelong learning framework encompasses learning throughout the life cycle, from early childhood to retirement. It encom-
passes formal learning (schools, training institutions, universities), nonformal learning (on-the-job and household training), and
informal learning (skills learned from family members or people in the community). It allows people to access learning oppor-
tunities as they need them rather than because they have reached a certain age.

Lifelong learning is crucial to preparing workers to compete in the global economy. However, it is important for other reasons
as well. By improving people’s ability to function as members of their communities, education and training increase social
cohesion, reduce crime, and improve income distribution.

Developing countries and transition economies risk being further marginalized in a competitive global knowledge economy
because their education and training systems are not equipping learners with the skills they need. To respond to the problem,
policymakers need to make crucial changes. They need to replace the information-based, teacher-directed rote learning pro-
vided within a formal education system governed by directives with a new type of learning that emphasizes creating, applying,
analyzing, and synthesizing knowledge and engaging in collaborative learning throughout the lifespan. This article describes
several different ways in which they can do this.

Creating a Labor Force Able to The private sector is playing a growing role
Compete in the Global Economy in education throughout the world
Traditionally, the public sector provided most education
In traditional industries most jobs require employees to learn services. Today that is changing. In many middle-income
how to perform routine functions, which, for the most part, countries, the private education sector is growing, fostered by
remain constant over time. Most learning takes place when a the poor quality and coverage of public education and the
worker starts a new job. In the knowledge economy, change need to relieve fiscal burdens and promote innovation. In
is so rapid that workers constantly need to acquire new skills. Brazil, since 1995 the number of students enrolled in higher
Firms can no longer rely solely on new graduates or new education has grown more than 70 percent, with most of this
labor market entrants as the primary source of new skills and growth occurring in private colleges and universities, which
knowledge. Instead, they need workers who are willing and now account for 71 percent of higher education enrollment.
able to update their skills throughout their lifetimes. Coun- In China, 500 new institutions of higher learning were estab-
tries need to respond to these needs by creating education lished between 1995 and 1999.
and training systems that equip people with the appropriate
skills. The private education sector is growing rapidly in transition
economies as well. Poland alone has 195 private higher edu-
cation institutions, which educate more than 377,000 stu-

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dents. Private business schools—unheard of in Eastern Developing countries and transition econo-
Europe 10 years ago—are also thriving: in 1998 there were mies have not been very successful in provid-
91 private business schools in Poland, 29 in the Czech Re- ing people with the knowledge and compe-
public, 18 in Romania, and 4 in Bulgaria. tencies they need
Education is inadequate in most developing countries. Cov-
At the same time, new providers—private sector training, erage is insufficient, access is inequitable (especially in terti-
virtual universities, international providers, corporate univer- ary education and in employee and adult training), and the
sities, educational publishers, content brokers, and media quality of education is poor. Adult literacy rates are low, and
companies—have arisen to complement and challenge tradi- too few children complete basic education. International as-
tional institutions. This growth of the private sector reflects sessments of secondary school students in mathematics and
the rising demand for more and better education as well as science show developing and transition economies trailing
dissatisfaction with the traditional education and training significantly, especially when students are tested on their
system. ability to apply and use knowledge. In the transition econo-
mies of Europe and Central Asia, the quality of education is
Spending on training has increased dramati- inadequate and the education system is too rigid. Rote
cally learning, exam-driven schooling, and the soaring cost of pri-
Corporations are spending more and more on training to be- vate education have long been policy concerns in some Asian
come or remain competitive in the global knowledge economy. countries.
Worldwide, corporate training expenditures will increase to $28
billion by the end of 2002, up from $18 billion in 1997. The Traditional education methods are ill suited
corporate training market in China alone is estimated at $1 bil- to providing people with the skills they need
lion and is estimated to grow to $5 billion by 2004. to be successful in a knowledge economy
The traditional learning model differs from lifelong learning
methods in important ways. (Shown by the table below)
Transforming Learning to Meet
Learners’ Lifelong Needs Teacher training needs to change
This new learning context implies a different role for teach-
Being successful in the knowledge economy requires mas- ers and trainers. Teachers need to learn new skills and be-
tering a new set of knowledge and competencies. These in- come lifelong learners themselves to keep up to date with
clude basic academic skills, such as literacy, foreign lan- new knowledge, pedagogical ideas, and technology. As
guage, math, and science skills and the ability to use infor- learning becomes more collaborative, so too must teachers’
mation and communication technology. Workers must be professional development, which needs to promote profes-
able to use these skills effectively, act autonomously and sional networks and learning organizations within schools
reflectively, and join and function in socially heterogeneous and institutions.
groups.

Traditional learning model Lifelong learning


• The teacher is the source of knowledge. • Educators are guides to sources of knowledge.
• Learners receive knowledge from the • People learn by doing.
teacher.
• Learners work by themselves. • People learn in groups and from each other.
• Tests are given to prevent progress until • Assessment is used to guide learning strategies
students have completely mastered a set of and identify pathways for future learning.
skills and to ration access to further learning.
• All learners do the same thing • Educators develop individualized learning plans.
• Teachers receive initial training plus ad hoc • Educators are lifelong learners. Initial training
in-service training. and on-going professional development are
linked.
• “Good” learners are identified and permitted • People have access to learning opportunities
to continue their education. over a lifetime.

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New information and communication tech- ties, and mechanisms for certifying the achievements of
nologies (ICTs) can support these changes in learners, monitoring institutional and system performance,
pedagogy and teacher training—given the ap- and promoting learning pathways. Within this framework,
propriate policy framework the role of incentives is critical.
ICTs can facilitate learning by doing (through computer
simulations, for example). They can vastly increase the in- The public sector can no longer be the sole
formation resources available to learners, thereby changing provider of education
the relationship between teacher and student. They can fa- The state will have to cooperate much more with the private
cilitate collaborative learning and provide rapid feedback to sector and civil society. The private sector can provide edu-
learners. cation in both traditional ways (owning and operating private
schools and providing inputs, such as books, materials, and
These outcomes do not emerge simply by introducing com- equipment) and newer ways (operating public schools under
puters into the learning setting, however. An appropriate contract). Enterprises also provide training and increasingly,
policy framework is needed in which ICTs are used to tackle for example, are involved in developing occupational stan-
educational problems, significant investment is made in dards and curricula.
training teachers and managers to change their knowledge
and behavior, qualified technicians and support staff are Government ministries need to coordinate
available, and funding for maintenance, access to the Inter- their activities
net, and upgrading is sustainable. These conditions are rarely Nationally negotiated agreements and ongoing collaboration
met, especially in developing countries. between central, regional, and local governments in imple-
mentation are needed. In some countries, including Germany
Formal education institutions need to be- and the Republic of Korea, coordination has been promoted
come more flexible by merging the departments responsible for education and
Increasingly tertiary institutions are offering part-time, eve- training. In contrast, in many developing countries, many
ning, weekend, and summer courses to meet the needs of ministries, including industry-specific ministries, oversee,
working adults. In Finland, the number of adults enrolled in manage, and finance training. Competition for scarce re-
continuing education programs at the tertiary level exceeds sources in these countries prevents collaboration, promotion
the number of young people enrolled in traditional degree of high-quality training, and the development of a continuum
courses. of training opportunities.

Distance education is one way in which countries can offer Certification and quality assurance systems
more flexible learning opportunities. Many countries use are needed to assess learners and inform
interactive radio instruction in basic education. Mexico uses them about providers
television to educate about 15 percent of its lower secondary The outcomes of learning must be monitored effectively.
school students. In the 1990s the National Teachers Institute Quality assurance systems need to recognize the range of
in Nigeria graduated more teachers through its distance settings, both formal and informal, in which learning takes
learning program than all other programs in the country place, and they need to provide opportunities for learners to
combined. The Internet is beginning to transform higher edu- demonstrate their newly acquired skills and knowledge.
cation and corporate training. In 1999, for example, 92 per- Quality assurance systems also need to provide prospective
cent of large corporations in the United States piloted Web- learners with information about the offerings and perform-
based training programs. ance of providers.

Governing a Lifelong Quality assurance systems can also make it easier for learn-
Learning System ers to move between different types and levels of learning
environments. Namibia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the
To create effective lifelong learning systems, countries need United Kingdom have national qualification systems, which
to make significant changes to both the governance and fi- assign qualifications from different institutions to a set of
nancing of education and training. In many OECD countries levels, with each level linked to competency standards. Stu-
governments that once focused exclusively on public fi- dents at colleges and universities in the United States can
nancing and public provision of education and training are transfer credits from one institution to another. In addition,
now trying to create flexible policy and regulatory frame- the Bologna process is moving toward Europe-wide agree-
works that encompass a wider range of institutional actors. ment on equivalence and quality assurance mechanisms.
These frameworks include legislation and executive orders,
arrangements for ensuring coordination across ministries and
other institutions involved in education and training activi-

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Policymakers need to rethink accreditation egy for how to move forward in a systematic and sequenced
of institutions fashion. An important step is to identify where a country
The OECD and some developing countries are beginning to stands, particularly with respect to its international peers.
accredit institutions on the basis of output or performance
measures (such as graduation rates) rather than on input National systems of lifelong learning need
measures (such as the number of faculty or books in the li- to be benchmarked
brary). In Bangladesh, for example, private secondary One way in which countries could move forward would be
schools must achieve certain pass rates on the university en- by establishing national benchmarks for measuring lifelong
trance examination to remain accredited (although this regu- learning outcomes. Such measures are underdeveloped. Tra-
lation is rarely enforced). In Armenia, private (but not pub- ditional measures of educational progress, such as gross en-
lic) higher education institutions must achieve a certain per- rollment ratios and public spending as a proportion of GDP,
centage of passes in the final examination (currently 50 per- do not capture important dimensions of lifelong learning.
cent). Increasingly, funding of institutions is also based on Gross enrollment ratios measure inputs rather than achieve-
performance. ment of core or other competencies. Total education spend-
ing includes more than just public spending. Traditional
Financing Lifelong Learning indicators also fail to capture learning in the nonformal and
informal sectors, which is becoming increasingly important.
More and higher-quality education and training opportunities
over a lifetime will require increased expenditures, although A Different Approach to Education Reform
resources will also need to be used more efficiently and in Is Needed
Continuous reform is needed not only to accelerate the pace
different ways. These expenditures cannot be met solely
of reform but also to deepen the extent to which fundamental
from public sources, but a menu of options is required that is
transformations of learning are carried out. The traditional
sustainable and equitable.
model of education reform, however, is not amenable to con-
stant change: a stream of initiatives and policy changes are
The private and public sectors need to work
together to finance learning beyond the ba- seen as overwhelming to education stakeholders and reform
sic competencies fatigue and then resistance sets in. Institutions must, there-
Governments need to finance lifelong learning for which fore, build reform and change into their own processes. In
social returns exceed private returns (for example, basic edu- addition, policy changes need broad support and dialogue to
cation). The private sector needs to play a role in financing facilitate ongoing adjustments during implementation.
investments for which private returns are high (for example,
most higher and continuing education). Government inter- The World Bank will Continue to Deepen its
vention beyond the basic skills and knowledge should be Understanding and Help Countries Develop
targeted to learners from low-income or socially excluded Concrete Strategies
There is a need to engage national policymakers and
groups and others with high barriers to learning.
stakeholders worldwide in a dialogue on lifelong learning,
No single financing system can serve the helping governments formulate visions and concrete action
needs of all learners plans for establishing both lifelong learning and innovation
Policymakers need to consider a range of financing options, frameworks appropriate to their country contexts. The World
including subsidies, mortgage-type loans, human capital Bank can help in this effort by working toward deepening the
contracts, graduate taxes, income-contingent repayment understanding of the implications of the knowledge economy
schemes, entitlement schemes, asset-building schemes, and for education and training systems and disseminating ana-
individual learning accounts. Whatever mechanisms are lytical and policy documents on education for the knowledge
used, financing of learning beyond the basic competencies economy.
should include both cost-sharing and subsidy components.
Subsidies could be the main source of financing for low- Further Information
income learners. For higher-income groups, most financing http://www1.worldbank.org/education/
could take the form of income-contingent loans at market
interest rates. 1
This article is an Executive Summary of a forthcoming World
Bank Report that was prepared by a team led by Toby Linden and
Agenda for the Future Harry Anthony Patrinos, who worked under the general direction of
Ruth Kagia and the immediate supervision of Jamil Salmi. Team
The demands of a lifelong learning system are enormous, and members included David Herbert Fretwell, Richard Hopper, Kyria-
most countries will not be able to implement all elements of kos Georgiades, Gwang-Jo Kim, Yoshiko Koda, Kathrin Plange-
the system at once. Countries must therefore develop a strat- man, Shobhana Sosale, Masako Uchida, and Ayesha Vawda.

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