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The idea of student-centered learning is not a recent idea. In early 20 th
century, educational educators such as John Dewey argued for highly active and
individualized pedagogical methods which place the student at the center of the
teaching-learning process.

The Traditional Classroom

It may be observed that classroom are usually arranged with neat columns
and rows of student chairs, while the teacher stands in front of the classroom or
sits behind his desk. This situation is necessitated by the need to maintain
classroom discipline, also to allow the teacher to control classroom activities
through lecture presentation and teacher-led discussion.
However, after spending so many minutes in lesson presentation and class
management, students can get restless and fidgety. The teacher has also to
management misbehavior in class as students start to talk among themselves or
simply stare away in lack of attention. To prevent this, teachers often make
students take time individually on worksheets can help the situation.

The SCL Classroom

John Dewey described traditional learning as a process in which the
teacher pour information to student learners, much like pouring water from a jug
into cups. This is based on the long accepted belief that the teacher must
perform his role of teaching so that learning can occur. This approach is
generally known as direct instruction.

The problem with direct instruction approach to learning is that the worlds
societies have began to change. This change may not be strongly felt in many
countries in which economy longer depends primarily on the job. The traditional
classroom and the direct instruction approach to learning conform to this kind of
In individualized societies we find knowledge-based economies in which
workers depend on information that can be assessed through information and
communication technologies (ICTs). To gain effectiveness, efficiency and
economy in administration and instruction, schools in these developed
economies have also adopted the support of ICTs. Students have now become
active not passive learners, who can interact with other learners, demonstrating
independence and self-awareness.
The new school classroom environment is characterized by student
individually or in groups:
Performing computer word processing for text or graph presentation.
Preparing power-point presentation.
Searching for information on the internet
Brainstorming on the ideas, problems and project plans.
As needed, the teacher facilitating instruction, also giving individualized
instruction to serve individual needs.
Observably, there is a departure from traditional worksheet, read-and-answer,
drill-and-practice activities. Students also no longer need to mark the tests of
peers since the computer has programs for test evaluation and computerized
scoring of result.
Given this new trend in teaching-and-learning, it must be pointed out, the
traditional classroom activities-especially in less developed countries-will
continue to have a strong place in the classroom.



Singapore has a set the global pace for student-centered learning with a
2:1 (2 pupils with 1 computer) ratio in its master plan for IT in Education. This
shows that even in other progressive countries, the 1:1 pupil-computer ratio is
still an ideal to be achieved. Reality therefore dictates that schools face the fact
each classroom, especially in public or government schools, may not be
equipped with the appropriate number of computers.

Defining Cooperative Learning

Cooperative or collaborative learning is learning by small groups of students
who work together in a common learning task. It is often called group learning
but to be truly cooperative learning, 5 elements are needed:
1. A common goal
2. Interdependence
3. Interaction
4. Individual accountability
5. Social skills
From several studies made on cooperative learning, it is manifested that
cooperative learning in its true sense is advantageous since it:
a. Encourages active learning, while motivating students
b. Increases academic performance
c. Promotes literacy and language skills
d. Improves teacher effectiveness

In addition, there are studies which show that cooperative learning

enhances personal and social development among students of all ages, while
enhancing self-esteem and improving social relations between racially and
culturally different students.

Cooperative Learning and the Computer

Researchers have made studies on the learning interaction between the
student and the computer. The studies have great value since it has been a long
standing fear that the computer may foster student learning in isolation that
hinders the development of the students social skills.
Now this mythical fear has been contradicted by the studies which show
that when students work with computers in groups, they cluster and interact
with each other.
The students generally wish to work together is computer-based and noncomputer-based activities. Psychologists think the computer fosters this
positive social behavior due to the fact that it has display monitorjust like
television setthat is looked upon as something communal.
Therefore researchers agree that the computer is a fairly natural learning
vehicle for cooperative (at times called promotive) learning.

Components of Cooperative Learning

Educators are still vary about the computers role in cooperative learning.
They pose the position that the use of computers do not automatically result in
cooperative learning. There therefore assign the teacher several tasks in order to
ensure collaborative learning. These are:
Assigning students to mixed-ability teams
Establishing positive interdependence
Teaching cooperative social skills

Insuring individual accountability, and

Helping groups process information
These are in addition to assigning a common work goal in which each
member of the group will realize that their group will not succeed unless
everyone contributes to the groups success. It is also important for the teacher
limits learning group clusters so that there can be closer involvement in thinking
and learning.