The February/March issue of Innovate is now available at www.innovateonline.info
Bill Graves's interview with Carol Twigg, president and CEO of the National Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT), describes how course redesign can simultaneously reduce costs and improve the quality of education. Twigg outlines the main tenets of course redesign and gives us a glimpse into NCAT's ongoing projects and where they are headed next. See http://innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=218
Many educators have found that simple and inexpensive technologies can often result in meaningful learning experiences. Susana M. Sotillo examines the usefulness of instant messaging in teaching English as a Second Language. Her study outlines the different types of feedback available using the widely available technology and shows it to hold great potential for language learning. See http://innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=170
Pamela Taylor describes the use of hypertext webs in her art history class. A simple technology allows her students to graphically represent their critical thought processes and establish new, concrete connections between ideas. See http://innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=41
Video game technology can also be leveraged to allow both teachers and students to view their subject matter, the learning process, and technology itself in new ways. Sean Gouglas, Stéfan Sinclair, Olaf Ellefson, and Scott Sharplin describe a game authoring assignment that they used in their graduate humanities computing course. The authoring experience provided a rich medium to explore issues of narrativity and a rare opportunity for humanities students to produce the kinds of work that they study. See http://innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=41
P.G. Schrader, Dongping Zheng, and Michael Young examine student teachers' attitudes toward gaming and advocate the exploration of MMOGs (massively multiplayer online games) as educational tools in teacher preparation programs. See http://innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=125
Rich Van Eck sees games as a possible way to involve girls more in technology and perhaps even improve their attitudes toward math and science. See http://innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=209
Meanwhile, in settings where technological resources are limited, a strategic use of technology to promote new teaching practice can still establish a vital foundation for future innovations. Susan Crichton and Gail Kopp describe a distance education course for teacher training in Western China that utilizes multimedia to result in an interactive experience that brings together disparate groups spread across a vast nation into a supportive community of learning. See http://innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=39
Stephen Downes concludes this issue, continuing his series on open source course management software with an introduction to Sakai. He takes us on a guided tour of Sakai's Web site and the numerous resources available there. See http://innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=274
Finally, we now have a new section on special issues that features upcoming issues on open source software and ee-learning and a new section that alerts readers to upcoming conferences focusing on the use of information technology tools to enhance the educational process. This section will be continuously updated as conference material comes in.
Please forward this announcement to appropriate mailing lists and to colleagues who want to use IT tools to advance their work. Ask your organizational librarian to link to Innovate in their resource section for open-access e-journals.
James L. Morrison
Professor Emeritus of Educational Leadership