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WEB-ASSISTED-ASSESSMENT  1998

WEB-ASSISTED-ASSESSMENT 1998

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Subject:

Discussion: Old vs. New Technology in Education

From:

"Rossen Rashev" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Tue, 17 Nov 1998 17:38:10 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (116 lines)

Apologies for cross posting
Please forward it to whoever may be interested
----------------------------------------------

New formal discussion is starting on 23 November in IFETS forum on the topic:

"The 'next generation', like tomorrow, never comes"

(Shouldn't we be learning how to make tried and tested 'old' technologies work
for us and our students, in reliable and pedagogically effective ways, instead
of being seduced by the blandishments of the technocrats?)

Moderator: Chris O'Hagan
Dean of Learning Development, University of Derby, United Kingdom

Summariser: Karen Allnutt
Instructional/training software developer, University of Iowa, USA

(Pre-discussion summary below)


------------------------------------------------------------------

"International Forum of Educational Technology and Society (IFETS)"

                 http://zeus.gmd.de/ifets/

The forum aims to bring together the developers of educational systems,
and the educators who implement and manage such systems.

If you have not joined the forum yet, but would like to do so, please
follow these steps:

1. Please subscribe to the forum discussion mailing list by
sending a message to [log in to unmask] with the
following in the body of the message (no subject needed):

subscribe ifets-digest

2. Please fill out registration form at forum's website

http://zeus.gmd.de/ifets

------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------------------

* Pre-discussion summary

"The next generation, like tomorrow, never comes"

With each successive generation of new educational technologies the dawn of a
revolution in teaching and learning is heralded. There have been many such dawns
in the last 30 years, during which the desktop computer and the Internet have
been developed; but there have been similar dawns throughout the century - film,
radio, records, broadcast television, audiotape, videotape, programmed learning
machines etc. Each time enthusiasts have announced the transformation or even the
end of the school/college/university. In fact, the impact on the bulk of teaching
and learning has been minimal. Developments in paper/printing technologies have
had far more influence, with the consequence that face-to-face discussion and
paper resources still dominate public education. Audio-visual media have been
treated more as an icing-on-the-cake than as something at the very heart of
learning - and likewise their long-suffering support services (though the new
media, particularly video, have fared somewhat better in the development of
corporate training programmes).

Is the current information and communication technology (ICT) revolution
different from earlier audio-visual `revolutions'? Possibly. Probably. But its
success in public education may be compromised (yet again) by a failure to learn
from past mistakes. As usual we have the problems of compatibility, standards
changes, reliability, portability, flexibility, costs of access, obsolescence,
inappropriate use etc. These are probably not insoluble. More deeply entrenched
we have next-generationitis (hang on in, the solution is just round the corner)
which impedes proper investment and embedding; we have failure to empower
teachers (with those who provide and support technologies manoeuvring to retain
their control, often only interested in working at the next technological
frontier) which impedes autonomous use and wide diffusion; we have teaching
staff who cannot use an overhead projector effectively, never mind use text-based
cmc or combine text and images in a computer package (and who have never even
learned to design reliable multiple choice tests on paper, for example) - which
discredits change through poor quality and failed effort.

I exaggerate for effect - but not much. There is, of course, excellent practice
around on a continuum from the use of paper-based technologies through to today's
frontiers on the Internet. There has always been excellent practice, but it has
tended to remain, stubbornly, in limited pockets of expertise - often widely
acknowledged, but still pockets nonetheless.

My question is, will we ever make ICT work for us ubiquitously in education - not
just for interpersonal communication and data transfer, but in core teaching and
learning - if we fail to make `old' technologies work ubiquitously first? In other
words, is in-depth pedagogical experience using old technologies (text, graphics,
audio, film, video etc) a precondition for effective use of today's ICT? After all,
multimedia is itself a mixture of all these old technologies, combining familiar
methods with an unfamiliar rigour. And what implications for strategy, for
investment, for staff development, for implementation, emerge from the different
ways this question is answered?

------------------------------------------------------------------
More details about other forthcoming discussions in the forum are available
at forum website:
http://zeus.gmd.de/ifets/

--------------------------------
==============================================================
Rossen Rashev                     E-mail: [log in to unmask]
                http://zeus.gmd.de/hci/pages/rossen.rashev.html
                Phone: +49 2241 14 28 70, FAX +49 2241 14 20 65
GMD FIT  Forschungszentrum Informationstechnik GmbH
German National Research Center for Information Technology
D-53754 Sankt Augustin, GERMANY  (near Bonn)




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