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Volume 5, Issue 1 January - March 2003
Themat i c Foc us: Tec hnol ogi es and Lear ni ng
5 55 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 7 7 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.
1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 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.
1 5 1 5 1 5 1 5 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.
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
! !! ! 2 ! !! ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
2 0 2 0 2 0 2 0 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
2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 Taming Science Models for Classroom Use
Boris Berenfeld, Dan Damelin, Amy Pallant, Barbara Tinker, Robert Tinker, and Qian Xie, Concord
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.
2 8 2 8 2 8 2 8 Critical Thinking Curriculum Model
Bill Robertson, Project Leader, and Richard Alexander, Science Education Specialists, Los Alamos
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.
3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 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.
3 5 3 5 3 5 3 5 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.
3 8 3 8 3 8 3 8 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
4 0 4 0 4 0 4 0 Preserving Culture in a Technological Environment
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
! !! ! 3 ! !! ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
4 2 4 2 4 2 4 2 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?
4 5 4 5 4 5 4 5 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.
4 9 4 9 4 9 4 9 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.
5 2 5 2 5 2 5 2 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.
5 7 5 7 5 7 5 7 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.
6 0 6 0 6 0 6 0 Complexities and Challenges of Integrating Technology into the Curriculum and
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.
! !! ! 4 ! !! ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
6 4 6 4 6 4 6 4 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.
6 8 6 8 6 8 6 8 Digital Education: The Use of Digital Cameras to Enhance the Learning Experience
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.
7 0 7 0 7 0 7 0 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.
7 3 7 3 7 3 7 3 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.
7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 Lifelong Learning in the Global Knowledge Economy: Challenges for Developing
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.
! !! ! 5 ! !! ! TechKnowLogia!"January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Ìnc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
Studies in cognitive psychology and brain science are
challenging the traditional model oI learning as mastery oI
Iacts and concepts. They have identiIied several principles
Ior eIIective learning:
♦ !"#$%&%'( "%'#'")( *+"( "%*&$"( ,+-)&./.'-. and some
aspects oI how the brain is wired are aIIected by
♦ !"#$%&%'(&)( &%0/1"%2"3( #%3( .$'#%&4"3( 5-( "6.*&.%) and
mind-sets based on expectancy. personal biases and
preiudices. degree oI selI-esteem. and the need Ior social
♦ 7"6.$-( &)( .$'#%&4"3( 5.*+( ),#*&#//- (allowing Ior
'instant¨ memory oI experiences which build upon one
another) and through a set oI systems Ior rote learning;
♦ 816#%)( ,.))"))( #( %""3( *.( 6#9"( )"%)"( .0( *+"
"%:&$.%6"%*. and understand and remember best when
Iacts and skills are embedded in natural. spatial memory.
or ordinary experiences. Further. the search Ior meaning
takes place by 'patterning¨ or attempts to meaningIully
organize and categorize inIormation;
♦ ;+"( 5$#&%( 3.<%)+&0*)( 1%3"$( ,"$2"&:"3( *+$"#*) and
learns optimally when appropriately challenged;
♦ =.%2",*)( #$"( /"#$%"3( 5")*( <+"%( *+"-( #$&)"( &%( #( :#$&"*-
.0( 2.%*">*). are represented in a variety oI ways. and
when students have a chance to use the concepts on
♦ !"#$%&%'(*.(3.(<"//(&%:./:")(,$#2*&2"(&%(3.&%'. Students
cannot learn to think critically. analyze inIormation.
communicate scientiIic ideas. make logical arguments.
work as part oI a team. and acquire other desirable skills
unless they are permitted and encouraged to do those
things over and over in many contexts;
♦ ?00"2*&:"( /"#$%&%'( $"@1&$")( 0""35#29. Students must be
able to Ieel Iree to express ideas and to receive analysis
and comment Irom their peers. Such Ieedback helps
students reIlect on their ideas and perIormance. and see
relationships among items oI knowledge and test their
The integration oI modern inIormation and communication
technologies (ICTs) into the teaching/learning process has
great potential to enhance the tools and environment Ior
learning. Research and experience have shown that ICTs.
<"//(1*&/&4"3(&%(2/#))$..6). enhance the learning process. in
the Iollowing ways:
♦ Allow materials to be presented in multiple media Ior
multi-channel learning. DiIIerent students learn
diIIerently and diIIerent concepts are acquired through
diIIerent paths oI learning.
♦ Motivate and engage students in the learning process.
The Iamous astronomer Carl Sagan used to say that all
children start out as scientists. Iull oI curiosity and
questions about the world. but schools eventually
destroy their curiosity. Research shows that students are
motivated only when the learning activities are
authentic. challenging. multidisciplinary and multi-
sensorial. Videos. television. and computer multimedia
soItware can be excellent instructional aides to engage
students in the learning process. In addition. sound.
color and movements stimulate the students` sensorial
apparatus and bring a sense oI enioyment to the learning
♦ Bring abstract concepts to liIe. Teachers have a hard
time teaching and students have a hard time learning
abstract concepts particularly when they go against
immediate intuition and common knowledge. Images.
sounds. movements. animations and simulations may
demonstrate an abstract concept in a real manner.
♦ Foster inquiry and exploration. The inquiry process is a
source oI aIIective and intellectual enioyment. This
sense oI adventure is taken away in a traditional
classroom. where questions and answers are established
a priori and are unrelated to students` interests. and
where research is reduced to a word in the textbook.
The problem Ior many educators is that inquiry and
exploration require resources that are unavailable in
traditional classrooms. such as large databases and well-
equipped laboratories. ICTs have the potential to let
students explore the world in cost-eIIective and saIe
ways. Videos and computer animations can bring
movement to static textbook lessons. Using these tools.
students can initiate their own inquiry process. develop
hypotheses and test them. In a virtual reality setting.
students can manipulate parameters. contexts and
environments. and can try diIIerent scenarios.
♦ Provide opportunities Ior students to practice basic skills
on their own time and pace.
! !! ! 6 ! !! ! TechKnowLogia!"January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Ìnc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
♦ Allow students to utilize the inIormation acquired to
solve problems. Iormulate new problems. and explain
the world around them. For instance. computer
applications have the potential to store massive amounts
oI data. plot curves. conduct statistical tests. simulate
real-liIe experiments. build mathematical models. and
produce reports all this with speed and accuracy.
♦ Provide Ior access to worldwide inIormation resources.
♦ Are the most cost-eIIective (and in some cases the only)
means Ior bringing the world into the classroom.
♦ OIIer (via Internet) teachers and students a platIorm
through which they can communicate with colleagues
Irom distant places. exchange work. develop research.
and Iunction as iI there were no geographical
ICTs. although expensive. may end up to be the best
investment to make acceptable levels oI learning aIIordable
Ior all students. anywhere. within reasonable time and
resources. A technology-enabled instructional system has
intertwined educational and economic advantages:
In many schools. teachers are not well qualiIied to translate
the curriculum into teaching/learning activities or to be the
chieI mediators between knowledge and the learners. To
bring them up to this level in all schools is not only
expensive but also not sustainable. Technology can empower
these teachers and enhance learning in an eIIicient and
sustainable manner. Few qualiIied and well-trained teachers
produce state-oI-the-art multimedia teaching/learning
materials. which are then distributed to all schools via the
Internet. by direct broadcast or as selI-standing packages.
Under-qualiIied or general teachers are empowered by these
high-quality educational soItware and videos. First. teachers
are no longer the sole providers oI inIormation a daunting
role even Ior specialists but Iacilitators oI the learning
process. Second. most educational soItware comes with
teacher`s guide and tutorials. and support can be also Iound
on the Internet. E-mail and Internet-related collaborative
environments provide teachers with individualized and
immediate help. regardless oI their geographical location.
Most importantly. this process enables students anywhere.
including poor schools in remote places. to 'attend¨ the best
course. prepared by the best teacher who lives miles away.
!"#$ !"#$ !"#$ !"#$%%&'%("##"# %&'%("##"# %&'%("##"# %&'%("##"#
Mindshifts. A Brain-Based Process for Restructuring
Schools and Renewing Education. by GeoIIrey Caine. Renate
Nummela Caine. and Sam Crowell. Tucson: Zephyr Press.
! !" "# #$ $% %& &' '( () )' '* *+ +, ,- -
Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.
Wadi D. Haddad. President. Knowledge Enterprise. Inc.
INTERNATIONAL ADVISORY BOARD:
1arl Bengtsson. Head. CERI. OEDC
Claudio Castro. Pres.. Advisorv Bd.. Faculdade Pitagoras
Gajaraj Dhanarajan. President & CEO.
The Commonwealth of Learning
Dee Dickenson. CEO. New Horizons for Learning
Alexandra Draxler. Director. Task force on Education for
the Twentv-first Centurv (UNESCO)
Pedro Paulo Poppovic. Secretarv of Distance Education.
Federal Ministrv of Education. Brazil
Nicholas Veliotes. President Emeritus.
Association of American Publishers
ADVISORY EDITORIAL COMMITTEE:
Anthony Bloome. Distance Ed. Specialist. World Bank
Institute. ICT for Education Program
1oanne Capper. Senior Consultant
Sam Carlson. Executive Director. WorldLinks
Mary Fontaine. LearnLink. AED
Kathleen Fulton. A#*B/(=.66C(.%(;"#2+&%'(D
Gregg 1ackson. Assoc. Prof.. George Washington Univ.
Sonia 1urich. Research Assoc.. RMC Research Corp.
Frank Method. Consultant. Former Director. UNESCO
Kurt Moses. Jice President. AED
Stephen Ruth. Prof.. George Mason Universitv
Laurence Wolff. Sr. Consultant. IDB
GENERAL QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS
FEEDBACK ON ARTICLES
ADDRESS AND FAX
Knowledge Enterprise. Inc.
P.O. Box 3027
Oakton. VA 22124
This Issue is Co-Sponsored By:
Academy for Educational Development (AED).
The World Bank
! !! ! 7 ! !! ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
Br ain Resear c h,
and Tec hno l o gy
By Laurence Wolff
Inter-American Development Bank
Advanc es in Br ain Resear c h
The human brain is perhaps the most complex entity in the
universe. The basic unit of information processing in the
brain is the neuron, a cell capable of accumulating and
transmitting electrical activity. There are approximately 100
billion neurons in a human brain, each of which may be
connected to thousands of others. If mental states are
produced by patterns of neural activity, then “knowledge,”
defined as whatever drives cognitive flow from one mental
state to another, must be coded in the neural connections, or
synapses. Figure 1 provides a schematic of the synapses on
The last decade has seen enormous strides in research on
how the brain works. Especially through magnetic resonance
imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), and
other tools, researchers can now identify how different parts
of the brain are involved in different mental processes.
Figure 2 shows the regions in the brain involved in language
processing and other tasks.
Impl ic at io ns f o r Educ at io n and Lear ning
Brain research is beginning to shed light on fundamental, as
well as, applied questions about human learning. While it is
still too early, eventually neuroscientists, educators, and
cognitive psychologists will develop a common language,
and a new multidisciplinary science will be born. Aware of
the importance of this process, the OECD recently
commissioned a series of meetings and a monograph on the
subject (OECD, Understanding the Brain). The experts
convened for these meetings predict that critical
neuroscience concepts such as plasticity and periodicity will
eventually find a place in education theory and practice.
Plasticity confirms that brains continue to develop, learn and
change until advanced senility or death intervenes.
Periodicity refers to sensitive periods or windows of
! !! ! 8 ! !! ! 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
letter groups in Italian represent the same sound in the
written language. In contrast, English is considered one of
the most difficult written languages to master because of its
irregular orthography. The (revolutionary) implication
would be to abandon current English orthography and to
create a written English language with a regular orthography.
Brain research also confirms that life-long learning is not a
dream since it is embedded in the capacity of the brain to
respond throughout life to environmental demands.
Previously it was thought that brain neurons were lost from
birth onwards. Now it is clear that if one does not have a
specific disease, then most, if not all, of the neurons remain
healthy until death (USC). In fact, while the ability to master
grammar appears to accrue best at a younger age, vocabulary
learning continues throughout life.
Recent brain research has also served to disprove a number
of popular assumptions, or "neuro-myths," about the brain
and learning (OECD, Understanding the Brain, pp. 69-73).
For example, it had been argued that the brain was plastic
only or mainly during ages 1-3. This misconception is a
result of the fact that the number of synapses grows
enormously during this period, continuing and finally ending
around the time of adulthood. It has now been shown that
learning is a combination not only of increased neural
connections but also "selective pruning," which is known to
be a normal and necessary process of growth and
development, explicitly designed to reduce the brain's energy
requirements (R. Wolff). The "neuro-myth" was that
educational interventions, including enriched environments,
had to be timed with "synaptogenesis," since the more
synapses available, and the least pruning, the higher the
potential for learning. It has now been shown that even in
cases of extreme deprivation, such as Romanian orphans,
rehabilitation is possible. The point of the critique is not to
condemn early educational interventions but rather to
challenge the claim that the value of early educational
intervention is based on a neuro-scientific consensus or brain
Other recent research with implications for learning includes,
for example, the identification of a gene in mice that
assembles a particular molecule in the brain that affects
learning, and manipulation of this molecule to produce
“brainier mice” (Tsien). Research has also shown that men
and women display patterns of behavior and cognition that
reflect hormonal influences on brain development (Kimura).
Another area of critical importance is that of emotional
intelligence. When some areas of the brain critical for
emotional and social judgments are compromised,
individuals can lose their social judgment even while
keeping their IQ. The implications for schooling as well as
for society at a whole are potentially revolutionary.
Can "technology fixes" eventually improve learning? The
simple answer is yes, since it is already happening. Within
the next century there could well be a pill or a tiny implant
that could be inserted into the brain and suddenly enable
someone to speak fluent French or do advanced calculus
(Dana Foundation, Brain Work, May-June 2002). There will
! !! ! 9 ! !! ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
certainly be interventions to improve memory and there
already are many drugs that improve emotional functioning.
Based on the above-mentioned research on mice, genetic
manipulation could create “brilliant” children. While these
possibilities seem revolutionary, they are no different in
principle from wearing glasses, which enables one to read
and therefore learn more effectively, or sitting under electric
lights, which enables one to study more hours in the course
of the day.
Co nsc io usness and Neur o -et hic s
The ethical issue underlying the approaches outlined above
lies in the fact that they will be available only to those who
can afford them and may further exacerbate social and
economic inequalities. But neuroscience faces a broader
ethical issue: it could eventually rob mankind of the sense of
what makes us uniquely human, including the concept of free
will. A conference on neuro-ethics (Dana Foundation, Brain
Work, May-June 2002) has examined these issues.
Conference participants argued that it would eventually be
possible to understand how people make decisions in
ambiguous situations. It will also eventually be possible to
develop a simple test that could identify lesions in the brain,
which lead towards criminal inclinations. The result will be
that the range of deviant behavior based on neurotic impulses
that could be considered as exculpatory will expand, which
could require rethinking the criminal justice system.
Nevertheless, most experts believe that the complexity of the
brain is so great that the notion of free will or personal
responsibility will surely remain. Reductionist research will
have to be linked with other disciplines, transcending the
natural sciences, social science, and humanities, and
including even insights from quantum theory, in order to
understand better consciousness and the nature of ethical
behavior. It may be that “conscious experience” will
eventually be considered a “fundamental feature, irreducible
to nothing more basic.” Perhaps “Psychophysical” laws will
be identified to show how physical systems are translated
into consciousness (Chalmers). In any event, the possibility
of challenging free will must not preclude continuing basic
Addit io nal Inf o r mat io n
The Dana Foundation (www.dana.org) provides an on-line
monthly magazine (Brain Work) on new findings in brain
research written for the lay reader. The International Brain
Research Organization (www.ibro.org) is an association
dedicated to communication among brain researchers around
the world. It provides a variety of programs, workshops and
publications. The National Institute for Mental Health
(NIMH) (www.nimh.nih.gov) provides information from the
Federal agency that conducts and supports research on
mental illnesses. The National Institute of Neurological
Disorders and Stroke (www.ninds.nih.gov) conducts research
on disorders of the brain and nervous system. BrainNet
(www.brainnet.org) is an alliance of associations that also
seeks to distribute information on brain disorders. A special
issue of Scientific American (The Hidden Mind, Spring
2002), provides both an overview of recent research and
speculation on where the research will lead, and a recent
publication by the OECD (Understanding the Brain)
summarizes the results of a conference on the brain and
Bibl io gr aphy
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.
! !! ! 10 ! !! ! TechKnowLogia!"January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Ìnc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
In the Iorty years or so that computer technology has been
used in education and training. three areas oI application
have emerged. We teach about computer technology to pro-
vide individuals with the technological literacy needed Ior
today`s computer-cluttered workplace. to help ensure success
in the global marketplace. and to advance the state oI the
technology itselI. We teach with computers to help perIorm
the administrative Iunctions needed to manage schooling.
instruction. and the growing competencies oI our students
and workIorce. Finally. we use computer technology directly
to teach. This paper brieIly reviews what success we have
had in this last activity. For brevity. education and training
are together termed instruction` in this paper. Technology`
here reIers to interactive computer-based technology. which
excludes worthy but passive technologies such as slide-tape
shows. motion pictures. and videotape instruction.
It should be emphasized. though. that computer technology
used to teach does not exclude humans Irom the teaching-
learning process. Properly applied. it Iorms the basis Ior a
partnership between humans and technology in which each
does what each does best. Allocating roles and responsibili-
ties to each remains a signiIicant. perennial issue in the de-
sign and implementation oI instructional environments. but it
is not discussed Iurther here.
Individuals or groups oI collaborating individuals can use
computer technology. It can be applied in local or remote
(distant) classrooms. and its capabilities can be distributed to
homes. workplaces. or other locations outside oI classroom
walls. independent oI time and place.
An argument Ior such technology-based instruction may be
roughly summarized as the Iollowing:
! Tailoring instruction to the needs oI individual students
remains an instructional imperative. Despite heroic eI-
Iorts to the contrary. in today`s classroom instruction
does not achieve this.
! Tailoring instruction to the needs oI individual students
requires very low teacher to student ratios speciIically
the one-to-one ratios Iound in individual tutoring. Ab-
sent dramatic changes in public policy. such individuali-
zation remains both an instructional imperative and an
! Technology-based instruction can make this imperative
aIIordable and Ieasible.
! Technology-based instruction is more eIIective than
current instructional approaches across many subiect
matters because oI its intense interactivity and indi-
! Technology-based instruction is generally less costly
than current instructional approaches. especially when
many students and/or expensive equipment or instru-
mentation is involved.
! Technology-based instruction will become increasingly
aIIordable and instructionally more eIIective.
The argument Ior technology-based instruction usually be-
gins with an issue that is separate Irom the use oI technology.
It concerns the eIIectiveness oI classroom instruction. in-
volving one instructor Ior 20-30 students. compared to indi-
vidual tutoring. involving one instructor Ior each student.
Bloom (1984) combined Iindings Irom three empirical stud-
ies comparing one-on-one tutoring with one-on-many class-
room instruction. That such comparisons would show the
tutored students learning more is not surprising. What was
surprising was the size oI the diIIerence. Overall. it
amounted to two standard deviations oI diIIerence in
achievement. This Iinding means Ior example (and roughly)
that. with instructional time held Iairly constant. one-on-one
tutoring raised the perIormance oI mid-level 50th percentile
students to that oI 98th percentile students. These and simi-
lar empirical research Iindings suggest that diIIerences be-
tween one-on-one tutoring and typical classroom instruction
are not only likely. but very large.
Why then do we not provide these beneIits to all students?
The answer is straightIorward and obvious. With the excep-
tion oI a Iew critical skills. such as aircraIt piloting and sur-
! !! ! 11 ! !! ! TechKnowLogia!"January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Ìnc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
gery. we cannot aIIord it or choose not to. The primary
issue is cost.
Can computer technology help Iill the gap between what we
need and what we can aIIord? To answer this question it
may be well to examine what accounts Ior the success oI
one-on-one tutoring. Fundamentally. its success appears to
be due to two capabilities.
! Tutors and their students can engage in many more in-
teractions per unit oI time than is possible in a class-
! Tutors can adapt (individualize) their presentations and
interactions on demand and in real time to the needs oI
Interactive. computer-based technologies can provide both oI
With regard to the Iirst tutorial capability (intensity oI in-
structional interaction). Graesser and Person (1994) reported
! average number oI questions by a teacher oI a class in a
classroom hour: 3
! average number oI questions asked by a tutor and an-
swered by a student during a tutorial hour: 120-145
! average number oI questions asked by any one student
during a classroom hour: 0.11
! average number oI questions asked by a student and
answered by a tutor during a tutorial hour: 20-30
These data show great diIIerences in interactivity accompa-
nying great diIIerences in instructional eIIectiveness. This
level oI interactivity. by itselI. may account Ior much oI the
success oI tutorial over classroom instruction.
Is this level oI interactivity Iound in technology-based in-
struction? One study Iound that students taking reading and
arithmetic instruction were answering 8-10 questions a min-
ute (Fletcher. in press). This level oI interactivity extrapo-
lates to 480-600 such questions an hour. iI students were to
sustain this level oI interaction Ior 60 minutes. These stu-
dents worked with the computer-based materials in 12-
minute sessions. which extrapolates to 96-144 individually
selected and rapidly assessed questions the students received
each day Ior each subiect area. This level oI interactivity is
certainly comparable to what they would receive in one-on-
one tutorial instruction. Similar Iindings have been reported
Tutors can and do adiust the content. sequence. and diIIiculty
oI instruction to the needs oI their students. These adiust-
ments aIIect pace the rate or speed with which students are
allowed to proceed through instructional material.
Many classroom instructors have been struck by the diIIer-
ences in the pace with which their students learn. Research
conIirms their observations. For instance. consider some
Iindings on the time it takes Ior diIIerent students to reach
the same instructional obiectives.
! Ratio oI time needed by individual students to reach
mathematics obiectives: 4 to 1 (Fletcher. in press)
! Overall ratio oI time needed by K-8 individual students
to reach obiectives in a variety oI subiects: 5 to 1 (Get-
! Ratio oI time needed by undergraduates in a maior re-
search university to learn a programming language: 7 to
1 (Private communication. Corbett. 1998)
DiIIerences in the speed with which students learn are not
surprising. but (as with tutoring) the magnitudes oI the diI-
Ierences are. These diIIerences do not necessarily stem Irom
ability. The students in Corbett`s research university average
well above the 80th percentile in their admission tests. yet
the diIIerences in time they require to learn a programming
language remain large. Instead. research has Iound that the
speed with which diIIerent students reach instructional ob-
iectives is largely determined by prior knowledge (Tobias.
1989). The older students are. the more likely they are to
bring with them a variety oI backgrounds and liIe experi-
ences. The ability to adiust the pace oI instruction to their
individual needs may be especially important Ior them.
The challenge this diversity presents to classroom instructors
is daunting. Typically they Iocus on their slower students
and leave the Iaster students to Iend Ior themselves. It has
long been noted that technology-based instruction allows
students to proceed as rapidly or as slowly as needed (e.g..
Atkinson and Fletcher. 1972). Each student can skip what he
or she already knows and concentrate on what is yet to be
learned. (Whether or not they actually do so may be key on
the quite separate issue oI incentive management an im-
portant topic that can only be mentioned here.) In short. by
individualizing pace we can ensure that: (a) many students
using interactive technology will reach their instructional
obiectives sooner. and (b) Iewer students will be leIt behind.
One oI the most stable Iindings in comparisons oI technol-
ogy-based instruction with conventional instruction using
lecture. text. and experience with equipment concerns in-
struction time savings. !"#$%&' presents these Iindings.
! !! ! 12 ! !! ! TechKnowLogia!"January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Ìnc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
TabIe 1. Percent Time Savings for TechnoIogy-Based Instruction
String (1977) (MiIi-
KuIik (1994) (AduIt
As the table shows. Orlansky and String (1977) reported that
reductions in time to reach instructional obiectives averaged
about 54 percent in their review oI technology used in mili-
tary training. Fletcher (1991) reported an average time re-
duction oI 31 percent in 6 assessments oI interactive video-
disc instruction applied in higher education. Kulik reported
time reductions oI 34 percent in 17 assessments oI technol-
ogy used in higher education and 24 percent in 15 assess-
ments oI adult education (Kulik. 1994). All these reviews
concerned diIIerent sets oI evaluation studies. Overall. it
seems reasonable to expect technology-based instruction to
reduce the time it takes students to reach a variety oI obiec-
tives by about 30 percent.
Obviously. such time savings reduce expenditures Ior in-
structional resources. instructors` time. and. when students
are being paid to learn as they are in military and industrial
training. student pay and allowances. These cost savings can
For instance. the United States military spends about $4 bil-
lion a year on residential. specialized skill training. Person-
nel receive this "schoolhouse" training aIter 'basic¨ or acces-
sion training. It is the training that qualiIies them Ior the
many technical iobs (e.g.. wheeled vehicle mechanics. radar
operators. avionics technicians. medical technicians) needed
to perIorm military operations. Analysis suggests that iI we
were to reduce by 30 percent the time to train 20 percent oI
the personnel undergoing specialized skill training. it would
save over $250 million per year (Fletcher. in press). II it
were to do so Ior 60 percent oI the personnel undergoing
specialized skill training. it would save over $700 million per
year. Even in the scale oI military budgets. these saving are
It turns out that a 30 percent reduction in instructional time
may be Iairly conservative. Commercial enterprises that
develop technology-based instruction Ior the Department oI
DeIense (DoD) oIten base their bids on the expectation that
they can reduce instructional time by 50 percent. Addition-
ally. and perhaps more importantly Ior military and industrial
applications. technology-based instruction prepares individu-
als more quickly Ior productive work. In this way. it acts to
increase eIIectiveness and productivity without increasing
It is harder to assign dollar values to the time that K-12 stu-
dents spend in educational settings. but time so spent is not
without cost and value. Aside Irom the obvious motivational
issues oI keeping students interested and involved in learning
activities. using their time well will proIit both them and any
society that depends on their eventual competency and
achievement. The time savings oIIered by technology-based
instruction in K-12 education may prove to be more signiIi-
cant and oI more value than those obtained later.
Do these savings in time come at the expense oI instructional
eIIectiveness? Research data suggest the opposite. Noia`s
1987 Iindings are representative. In comparing conventional
instruction in electronics with technology-based instruction
Ior Italian Air Force technicians. he Iound a reduction Irom 8
to 5 weeks in training time. equivalent student achievement
Ior electronic theory. and substantial improvements in stu-
dent ability to apply what they had learned to technical
A single study does not provide Iinal answers. but many
studies can be aggregated to suggest conclusions. This ag-
gregation is usually done using 'meta-analysis¨ (analysis oI
analyses) with an estimation oI eIIect sizes. Roughly. eIIect
sizes are normalized measures Iound by subtracting the mean
Irom one collection oI results (e.g.. a control group) Irom the
mean oI another (e.g.. an experimental group) and dividing
the resulting diIIerence by an estimate oI their common stan-
dard deviation (Hedges and Olkin. 1985). Because they are
normalized. eIIective sizes can be averaged to give an overall
estimate oI eIIect Irom many separate studies undertaken to
investigate the same phenomenon. ()*+,%& - shows eIIect
sizes Irom several reviews oI studies that compared conven-
tional instruction with technology-based instruction.
In ()*+,%&- Computer-based instruction` summarizes results
Irom 233 studies that involved straightIorward application oI
computer presentations that used text. graphics. and some
animationas well as some degree oI individualized inter-
action. The eIIect size oI 0.39 standard deviations suggests.
roughly. an improvement oI 50th percentile students to the
perIormance levels oI 65th percentile students.
! !! ! 13 ! !! ! TechKnowLogia!"January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Ìnc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
Interactive multimedia instruction` involves more elaborate
interactions adding more audio. more extensive animation.
and video. These added capabilities evidently increase
achievement. They show an average eIIect size oI 0.50 stan-
dard deviations. which suggests an improvement oI 50th per-
centile students to the 69th percentile oI perIormance.
Intelligent tutoring systems` involve a capability that has
been developing since the late 1960s (Carbonell. 1970). but
has only recently been expanding into general use. In this
approach. an attempt is made to directly mimic the one-on-
one dialogue that occurs in tutorial interactions. The impor-
tant component oI these systems is that computer presenta-
tions and responses are generated in real-time. on demand.
and as needed or requested by learners. Instructional design-
ers do not need to anticipate and pre-store them.
This approach is computationally more sophisticated and
more expensive to produce than standard computer-based
instruction. However. its costs may be iustiIied by the in-
crease in average eIIect size to 0.84 standard deviations.
which suggests. roughly. an improvement Irom 50th to 80th
percentile perIormance. In 5 empirical comparisons involv-
ing a single intelligent tutoring system. SHERLOCK. Gott.
Kane. and Lesgold (1995) Iound an average eIIect size oI
1.05 standard deviations. which suggests an improvement oI
the perIormance oI 50th percentile students to the 85 percen-
The more extensive tailoring oI instruction to the needs oI
individual students that can be obtained with generative. in-
telligent tutoring systems can be expected to increase. Such
systems will raise the bar Ior the ultimate eIIectiveness oI
The attitudes oI students toward instruction can aIIect in-
structional eIIectiveness and eIIiciency. Many evaluations oI
technology-based instruction simply ask students iI they pre-
Ier it to more conventional classroom approaches. Greiner
(1991) reviewed these evaluations and Iound that typically
70-80 percent oI students who were polled preIerred technol-
ogy-based approaches over others. When students reported
that they do not preIer technology-based instruction. the rea-
sons given usually cited implementation or technical prob-
lems with the technology. not the instructional approach it-
McKinnon. Nolan. and Sinclair (2000) completed a thorough
three-year study oI student attitudes toward the use oI tech-
nology-based learning and productivity tools such as spread-
sheets. databases. graphics. desktop publishing. and statisti-
cal processing. The attitudes oI the students toward technol-
ogy use slackened as the novelty oI the technology wore oII.
However. their attitudes remained positive and signiIicantly
more positive than those oI students who did not use tech-
nology throughout the three years oI the study.
The above research data along with other Iindings. suggest a
conclusion that has been called the rule oI 'thirds.¨ This
conclusion states that technology-based instruction will re-
duce the costs by about a third and either increase achieve-
ment by about a third or decrease time to reach instructional
obiectives by a third.
It is not unreasonable to view technology-based instruction
as a third revolution in learning. The Iirst oI these occurred
! !! ! 14 ! !! ! TechKnowLogia!"January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Ìnc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
with the invention oI written language. It made the content
oI knowledge available anytime. anywhere. to anyone who
could obtain written records. It was no longer necessary to
seek in person the sage who was the source oI the knowl-
edge. The second occurred with the development oI move-
able type and books. Not only did books make the learning
oI sages (among others) available anytime and anywhere.
they also (eventually) made it aIIordable. The third revolu-
tion may be based on technology-based instruction. which
makes both the content oI learning and the interactions oI
high-quality (and other) instruction aIIordable and available
anytime. anywhere. Whatever the scale oI the eIIect. we
may be on the threshold oI a new age in the teaching-
In sum. the above review suggests the Iollowing:
! Technology-based instruction can increase instructional
! Technology-based instruction can reduce time and costs
needed Ior learning.
! Technology-based instruction can make individualiza-
tion aIIordable and thereby help ensure that all students
The arguments in Iavor oI technology-based instruction are
credible but incomplete. More research. evaluations. and
data are needed. However. the evidence now available may
be suIIicient to shiIt the issue Irom 'Why should we under-
take technology-based instruction?¨ to 'Why should we not
undertake technology-based instruction?¨
Atkinson. R.C. and Fletcher. J.D. (1972) Teaching children to read with a computer. The Reading Teacher. 25. 319-327.
Bloom. B.S. (1984). The 2 sigma problem: The search Ior methods oI group instruction as eIIective as one-to-one tutoring. Educational
Researcher. 13. 4-16.
Carbonell. J. R. (1970) AI in CAI: An artiIicial intelligence approach to computer-assisted instruction. IEEE Transactions on Man-Machine
Systems. 11. 190-202.
Fletcher. J.D. (1991) EIIectiveness and cost oI interactive videodisc instruction. Machine Mediated Learning. 3. 361-385.
Fletcher. J.D. (in press) Technology. the Columbus eIIect. and the third revolution in learning. In M. Rabinowitz. F. C. Blumberg. and H.
Everson (Eds.) The Impact oI Media and Technology in Instruction. Mahwah. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Gettinger. M. (1984) Individual diIIerences in time needed Ior learning: A review oI the literature. Educational Psychologist. 19. 15-29.
Gott. S. P.. Kane. R. S.. & Lesgold. A. (1995) Tutoring Ior TransIer oI Technical Competence (AL/HR-TP-1995-0002). Brooks AFB. TX:
Armstrong Laboratory. Human Resources Directorate.
Graesser. A. C.. & Person. N. K. (1994). Question asking during tutoring. American Educational Research Journal. 31. 104-137.
Greiner. J.M. (1991) Interactive multimedia instruction: What do the numbers show? In Proceedings oI the Ninth Annual ConIerence on
Interactive Instruction Delivery (pp. 100-104) Warrenton. VA: Society Ior Applied Learning Technology.
Hedges. L.V. and Olkin. I. (1985) Statistical Methods Ior Meta-Analysis. Orlando. FL: Academic Press.
Kulik. J.A. (1994) Meta-Analytic Studies oI Findings on Computer-Based Instruction. In E.L. Baker and H.F. O'Neil. Jr. (Eds.) Technology
Assessment in Education and Training. Hillsdale. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
McKinnon. D. H.. Nolan. C. J. P.. Sinclair. K. E. (2000) A longitudinal study oI student attitudes toward computers: Resolving an attitude
decay paradox. Journal oI Research on Computing in Education. 32. 325-335.
Noia. G.P. (1987) New Frontiers Ior Computer-Aided Training. In R.J. Seidel and P.D. Weddle (Eds.) Computer-Based Instruction in Mili-
tary Environments. New York: Plenum Press.
Orlansky. J.. & String. J. (1977). Cost eIIectiveness oI computer-based instruction in military training (IDA Paper P-1375). Arlington. VA:
Institute Ior DeIense Analyses.
Tobias. S. (1989) Another look at research on the adaptation oI instruction to student characteristics. Educational Psychologist. 24. 213-227.
Institute for Defense Analvses. Alexandria. JA 22311. Iletcher(ida.org
! !! ! 15 ! !! ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
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Vishal Vishal Vishal Vishal Savani, Direc t o r o f Business Init iat ives, Wo rld Links Savani, Direc t o r o f Business Init iat ives, Wo rld Links Savani, Direc t o r o f Business Init iat ives, Wo rld Links Savani, Direc t o r o f Business Init iat ives, Wo rld Links
Washingt o n, DC Washingt o n, DC Washingt o n, DC Washingt o n, DC
Int ro d uc t io n Int ro d uc t io n Int ro d uc t io n Int ro d uc t io n
Countries across the globe are at different stages of integrat-
ing information and communications technologies (ICTs)
into everyday practice, including teaching and learning.
While the debate over the true value-added of e-learning ver-
sus face-to-face delivery of training content still rages, we all
seem to agree that there is a tremendous opportunity for
technology to revolutionize learning, just as it did for busi-
ness. In this article, we will not attempt to compare e-
learning with other content delivery mechanisms. Rather, we
will focus our discussion on the educational potential of e-
learning, with a particular emphasis on the seemingly endless
opportunities associated with the use of e-learning in the de-
veloping world. We will elaborate on what we believe are
the caveats for any e-learning initiative to attain its expected
objectives, and convey the possibilities for application of e-
learning in the difficult context of the developing world.
e- Learning - a shad y c o nc ep t ? e- Learning - a shad y c o nc ep t ? e- Learning - a shad y c o nc ep t ? e- Learning - a shad y c o nc ep t ?
Education systems have long lagged behind in terms of
adopting technology as an alternative methodology for deliv-
ery of training. But the global economic downturn is
prompting more attention towards education institu-
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
Ultimately, the availability of information and com-
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
At its most basic level, e-learning involves the use of some
form of electronic media to enhance the learning process.
Sometimes confused with distance learning (a broader deliv-
ery medium that would include text-based learning and
courses conducted via written correspondence), courses are
delivered via “e-learning” when technology is used to bridge
both an instructional and a geographical gap, often in concert
with face-to-face communication.
On the content side (and for the purpose of this article), the
British National Grid for Learning’s (NGfL) definition of e-
learning is sufficient: ‘a range of activities, from effective
use of digital resources and learning technologies in the
classroom, through to a personal learning experience enabled
through individual access at home or elsewhere. Combined
with established learning experiences, it can provide indi-
viduals with new and exciting opportunities to realize their
academic and creative potential at their own pace.”
learning is essentially the facilitation of teaching and learning
via the use of some electronic medium.
And if there still remains some confusion about the terminol-
ogy, there is little doubt about what is happening throughout
the field of education: a progressive introduction of digital
media as a complement or sometimes a substitute, to printed
The c hallenge t hat e- learning c an a The c hallenge t hat e- learning c an a The c hallenge t hat e- learning c an a The c hallenge t hat e- learning c an ad dd d - -- -
d ress… d ress… d ress… d ress…
Training and capacity building are regarded as the pillars of a
successful sustainable development regimen. Whether it is
training in new crop harvesting methods, in artisan marketing
e- Lear ni ng e- Lear ni ng e- Lear ni ng e- Lear ni ng
The New Fro nt ier in The New Fro nt ier in The New Fro nt ier in The New Fro nt ier in The Develo p ing Wo rld The Develo p ing Wo rld The Develo p ing Wo rld The Develo p ing Wo rld
! !! ! 16 ! !! ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
Case Illust rat io n Case Illust rat io n Case Illust rat io n Case Illust rat io n
e-Learning can substantially reduce
Mali’s $1,400 annual unit cost per stu-
dent-teacher, by reducing face-to-face
class time, and overall training cycle
from 4 to 3 years
As in other parts of the Francophone world, the educa-
tional system of Mali inherited most of its principles
from the French colonial system. However, since inde-
pendence, Mali’s education system has undergone a
series of reforms to meet the needs of the people. The
Ministry of Education is responsible for governing the
whole system and implementing the policy of the gov-
ernment. At the primary level, enrollments have in-
creased dramatically over the past seven years, which in
turn have increased enrollments at the secondary level.
This presents Mali with a tremendous challenge: how to
meet the demand for new teachers as the ongoing re-
forms yield higher school enrollment rates at both the
primary and secondary levels.
Currently, about 55,000 students graduate each year
from secondary education (senior high school) into
higher education. At this point students have the option
of enrolling into pre-service teacher training programs,
among other possibilities. Pre-service teacher training
lasts three years for primary school, and four years for
secondary school. With an average annual cost of
$1,400 per trainee, this means it costs the Government a
minimum of $4,200 to produce a primary school
teacher, and $5,600 to produce a secondary school
teacher (assuming the ideal scenario of no repetition or
dropout). At these costs Mali simply cannot afford to
train all the teachers it needs using traditional, face-to-
e-Learning holds tremendous potential for a country
like Mali. Imagine instead a pre-service training pro-
gram that offered two years of face-to-face training,
during which time trainees also learned how to use new
technologies for ongoing pedagogical support. In their
third year teacher trainees could be sent out to schools
as "student-teachers," supported by CD-ROM and
Internet-based pedagogical resources to pursue their
teaching degree at a distance (with resources reallocated
to provide technology and Internet connections at the
school level). This "blended" approach would reduce
overall training costs by approximately 25%, while
doubling the speed at which teachers are trained. In
addition, it would build capacity (human and techno-
logical) for continuous on-line pedagogical support for
teachers throughout their careers.
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.
However, as any economist at a development agency can
attest, the difficulties inherent to mobilizing an already active
workforce for face-to-face learning is intimidating, deterring,
and costly. Furthermore, there are many more people re-
quiring training than experts to deliver the training, and the
logistics involved in coordinating face-to-face workshops can
prove to be a nightmare, to say the least. Thus, the possibil-
ity of delivering such crucial training remotely seems quite
appealing, and the most effective methodology for adminis-
tering remote training today is e-learning.
To take our argument one step further, there is no doubt that
the world has evolved substantially over the last two dec-
ades. The ubiquitous introduction of computers, accompa-
nied by the onslaught of the Internet revolution has changed
the rules of the game. The world’s most successful econo-
mies are no longer powerhouses of industry, but rather pow-
erhouses of information. For developing countries to com-
pete in the new, knowledge-based economy, they must pro-
vide their workers access to the latest information, regardless
of subject. Contrary to common perception, mere access to
computers and electronic networks is not enough to ensure
that developing counties will participate actively in the
knowledge economy. Ongoing, systematic training and ca-
pacity building, particularly of those responsible for educat-
ing the next generation of skilled workers, is crucial to any
long-lasting economic development strategy. To ensure that
a developing country can compete in the new economy, un-
limited availability of training content is becoming increas-
ingly important; workers must learn how to do anything and
everything. Such a complex sequence of skills-building is
nearly impossible with traditional training models; in this
case, e-learning is the only solution.
e-learning allows for efficient transfer of knowledge any
where and any time, regardless of subject matter. It opens up
a world of learning unavailable in most corners of the world,
while at the same time empowering learners with the infor-
mation technology awareness and skills crucial to succeed in
today’s global knowledge economy. In fact, the efficient
transfer of knowledge via electronic means also endows a
tremendous opportunity for countries South of the Hemi-
sphere to produce their own training content and make it
available world-wide. Like never before, individuals in the
most remote localities are accessing the Internet, researching
ideas, and disseminating perspectives. e-learning is truly the
solution to empower the people of the developing world.
For the education sector in particular, the adoption of new
and emerging technologies by schools and classrooms (in-
cluding e-learning) offers tremendous potential for develop-
! !! ! 17 ! !! ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
ing countries to introduce new teaching tools, expand educa-
tional opportunities, and develop knowledge-economy skills
increasingly demanded in the labor market. (See Mali case
illustration in box) It is our argument that teachers consti-
tute the right group to pioneer new technologies, and e-
learning in particular. With access, appropriate professional
development and support, teachers who themselves have
used technology to learn will be better able to help their stu-
dents comprehend difficult-to-understand concepts, engage
in new forms of learning, access information and resources,
and learn according to their individual needs.
What ab o ut b asic need s What ab o ut b asic need s What ab o ut b asic need s What ab o ut b asic need s? ?? ?
There is, of course, a broader debate that comes to mind
when thinking of the introduction of e-learning in the devel-
oping world: what comes first, information technology (in-
cluding e-learning) or addressing citizens’ basic needs? Our
view is that development organizations need to continue to
focus on addressing the most basic needs, such as building
more classrooms and providing clean water. But, there is
growing evidence that information and communication tech-
nologies are part of the solution. Thus, if we all agree that
education and capacity building are critical steps for entering
into the new global economy, e-learning should also be con-
sidered a critical facet of basic development, an alternative
medium of capacity building, and a means to people’s
A good example of an organization that is succeeding in the
application of the use of technology in the developing world
is World Links. The children of developing countries must
be exposed to technology, and e-learning allows that to hap-
pen, at a large scale. Left to traditional teaching and learning
alone, the challenge of transferring digital literacy to millions
simply cannot be met. Started in 1997 within the World
Bank, and now an independent international non-
governmental organization, World Links has trained thou-
sands of teachers and students from 25 African, Asian, Latin
American, and Middle Eastern nations in the use of technol-
World Links differentiates itself from the many “computer
literacy” programs by empowering teachers not in the use of
desktop applications, but in the use of technology, the Inter-
net, and tele-collaboration, with the intent of improving
classroom teaching and learning. In fact, World Links also
ensures that teachers apply their skills through a course on
dissemination of innovation (Phase 3 level teacher profes-
sional development). Through the World Links program,
teachers and students have experienced improvements that
resulted in noticeable changes in students’ practices and
teacher pedagogical strategies. In countries like Uganda,
Senegal and Ghana, for example, significant changes are
occurring in World Links schools as a result of high levels of
implementation and changes in the ways teachers deliver
instruction and the roles and activities of students. More and
more, technology is starting to be viewed as a catalyst for
change in schools and the impact of the World Links pro-
gram has resulted in compelling outcomes within the school
and also within the local community.
While face-to-face workshops are effective at fostering group
collaboration to generate contextual ideas and teaching
strategies, the downside of face-to-face training is scale – it
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,
while dispelling the “myth” that e-learning cannot work in
the developing world.
Fac t o rs fo r suc c essful imp lement at io n o f e- Fac t o rs fo r suc c essful imp lement at io n o f e- Fac t o rs fo r suc c essful imp lement at io n o f e- Fac t o rs fo r suc c essful imp lement at io n o f e-
learning in d evelo p ing c o unt ries learning in d evelo p ing c o unt ries learning in d evelo p ing c o unt ries learning in d evelo p ing c o unt ries
Because it leverages new and emerging, simple and scalable
technologies, e-learning can provide an alternative teaching
and learning solution, with the potential to simultaneously
reach thousands of learners in schools and communities
around the world. For e-learning to succeed in the develop-
ing world, it needs to build on three fundamental pillars: 1)
existence of an established community of learners, 2) deliv-
ery through a blended face-to-face/electronic mechanism,
and 3) offering of learner incentives. All these three assume
the existence of infrastructure, along with some degree of
The first prerequisite may sound unreasonable to some read-
ers. After all, why must one only target those affiliated with
an affinity group? Yet, past experience has shown that al-
ready established communities of learners, such as teacher
groups, professional associations, or government agencies,
are generally more willing to readily acknowledge the need
for professional development. Without that sense of neces-
sity, we are faced with the very ‘open wall’ nature of e-
learning that encourages learner attrition, transforming what
was an opportunity to learn anytime and anywhere into a
‘laissez-aller.” After all, when adult learners don’t feel they
should study they don’t study!
The second prerequisite for successful implementation of
training via e-learning in the developing world concerns the
delivery mechanism. Essentially, it is important to use a
delivery methodology that combines online instruction (in-
structor-learner interaction), a network of tutors (mentor-
learner interaction), and off-line course content (in the form
of a CD-ROM, for example, so as to allow self-instruction).
Furthermore, it is critical that the use of technology not deter
participants from both peer-to-peer collaboration among the
learners and actual field-based application of the learning.
For example, in a teacher training online course, in addition
! !! ! 18 ! !! ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
to the self-paced learning component, teachers would be re-
quired to work on actual lesson plans directly related to their
curriculum. This is necessary both because of increasing
evidence that e-learning alone does not motivate most learn-
ers to learn, and because, in the developing world in particu-
lar, lack of familiarity with computers can pose a barrier to
engaging most participants. Thus, a blended e-learning and
face-to-face approach allows for a more successful imple-
The third key factor of a successful e-learning activity in the
developing world environment is the need for an incentive to
motivate learners. Again, while this may seem completely
inappropriate (after all learners should participate in a train-
ing course with the pure desire to learn), incentives are
nonetheless a necessary factor to prevent attrition. For pro-
fessional learners, one proven incentive is the conferring of a
degree or certification path, recognized as a step towards job
promotion. For non-professionals, subsidized online time
has proven a good way to reduce attrition. In both of these
instances, the learner has expressed a desire to acquire new
knowledge or skills, with the ultimate hope of attaining some
Po t ent ial Near-Term O b st ac les Po t ent ial Near-Term O b st ac les Po t ent ial Near-Term O b st ac les Po t ent ial Near-Term O b st ac les
Some pundits may argue that the low-level of connectivity,
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
because people can log on in their homes, while in the devel-
oping world, the learners still need to go out of their homes,
and still pay too much for Internet access! In our opinion,
both arguments raise a fundamental question: can e-learning
be provided in the developing world under the same premises
and assumptions as in Western countries? The unequivocal
answer is NO.
While the PC-per-household ratio in developing countries
will remain low for many more years to come, innovative
community-based access points are proving more and more
successful. When owned and managed by communities
themselves (trained, of course, to plan and manage such
centers), such public access centers allow for considerable
economies of scale both in terms of hardware and access
costs. Thus, the community-owned telecenter movement has
gained momentum in many parts of the world recently. A
good example of this is Zimbabwe, where World Links
(http://www.world-links.org) opened twelve Internet learning
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-
creasing demand for e-learning.
Bandwidth is the other major constraint that could impede
the provisioning of e-learning in difficult environments. In
fact, the unreliable quality of phone lines dictates the adop-
tion of a set of ‘lowest common denominators’ that take into
account critical factors such as poor/slow/expensive connec-
tivity environments and critical minimal download time.
Such realities serve as large obstacles for any e-learning ef-
fort, especially under the present-day scenario where e-
learning infrastructure is geared towards North American or
European audiences. However, this too is expected to soon
change, as governments liberalize their telecommunications
networks, as access to telecommunications increases, and as
technology evolves to allow cost-effective high speed Inter-
net access. And, until then, as e-learning infrastructure firms
evaluate the developing world as a potential market, e-
learning technologies will adapt to the bandwidth difficulties
of the developing world.
One final note: while being alone at home on one’s own PC
might be important for a learner in the Western Hemisphere,
the same may not be true in many parts of the developing
world, where a critical attraction to learning still remains tied
to social interaction. In fact, getting together with peers at the
community learning center is a powerful driver for enrolling
in courses. Thus, the combination of a blended e-learning
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
What ab o ut d igit al lit erac y as a p rereq u What ab o ut d igit al lit erac y as a p rereq u What ab o ut d igit al lit erac y as a p rereq u What ab o ut d igit al lit erac y as a p rereq ui ii i- -- -
sit e? sit e? sit e? sit e?
e-Learning can only build on a set of basic computer literacy
skills. Indeed for learners to benefit from any form of tech-
nology based learning, they must be computer literate. For
each program, learners must also have gone through intro-
ductory sessions delivered face-to-face. For example, pro-
grams like World Links (http://www.world-links.org), which
focuses on teacher professional development in the use of
technology in the classroom, do not use e-learning as a me-
dium of instruction until participating teachers have gone
through two phases (separated by at least six months of
practice time) of face-to-face training. Learners are provided
with enough basics before they are left to navigate the maze
of self-paced, independent learning. Hence, e-learning can-
not serve as a substitute for computer literacy training.
Rather, e-learning will serve as a factor in motivating digi-
tally illiterate individuals to pursue computer literacy educa-
tion, while serving as a vehicle for deepening literacy skills.
What lies ahead ? What lies ahead ? What lies ahead ? What lies ahead ?
While e-learning will not (and should not) entirely replace
traditional face-to-face delivery of training content by edu-
! !! ! 19 ! !! ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
cation institutions, it is our argument that it enhances the
learning process, and increases reach (where reach would be
both costly and logistically difficult). Regardless of the
country, traditional education is already an established sys-
tem and e-learning will commoditize education, making it
possible for learners to choose the type and level of course-
work. Equally, against the traditional controls of old educa-
tion (age limit, for example) which are exacerbated in the
developing world by the lack of resources (both financial and
pedagogical), e-learning will offer learning for all. In other
words, e-learning will deregulate learning. Finally, because
e-learning will appeal to the learners not as a qualification
provider (notwithstanding the use of e-learning at the pre-
service level as illustrated in the Mali case above), but as a
learning and skills provider, we contend that the economic
rewards will drive more people to this method of learning.
Co nc lusio n Co nc lusio n Co nc lusio n Co nc lusio n
Regardless of where one lives, the future of learning cannot
be dissociated with information and communication tech-
nologies. 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 every-
thing; e-learning can and will revolutionize learning in the
Southern Hemisphere. However, it is critical to ascertain
that when technology is transferred to host environments -
regardless of the medium- teaching and learning strategies
are not just replicated, but rather nurtured and adapted. e-
Learning, just as any other technology transfer effort, should
focus not on the pursuit of uniformity, but on an acceptance
For e-learning to truly be a successful means for training in
the developing world, it is imperative that implementation
varies on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the unique
conditions of the developing world. In the case of World
Links, adaptation to Africa has included the utilization of a
combination of online and offline resources to account for
connectivity difficulties. Adaptation has also included the
use of a support network to acclimate unfamiliar users to a
technology-driven learning environment.
Relevant and meaningful content is also critical to deploy e-
learning in the developing world. Nations, especially be-
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.
While barriers exist, and customization is inevitable, at pres-
ent, there is no knowledge transfer mechanism more efficient
than e-learning. As we look to the future, the developing
world will see nothing but benefits from the use of technol-
ogy in capacity building.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, March, 2001.
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.
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 b arriers exist , and c ust o miz at io n is inevit ab le, at p resent , t here is no kno w - While b arriers exist , and c ust o miz at io n is inevit ab le, at p resent , t here is no kno w - While b arriers exist , and c ust o miz at io n is inevit ab le, at p resent , t here is no kno w - While b arriers exist , and c ust o miz at io n is inevit ab le, at p resent , t here is no kno w -
led ge t ransfer mec hanism mo re effic ient t han led ge t ransfer mec hanism mo re effic ient t han led ge t ransfer mec hanism mo re effic ient t han led ge t ransfer mec hanism mo re effic ient t han e- learning. A s w e lo o k t o t he f e- learning. A s w e lo o k t o t he f e- learning. A s w e lo o k t o t he f e- learning. A s w e lo o k t o t he fu uu u- -- -
t ure, t he d evelo p ing w o rld w ill see no t hing b ut b enefit s fro m t he use o f t ec hno t ure, t he d evelo p ing w o rld w ill see no t hing b ut b enefit s fro m t he use o f t ec hno t ure, t he d evelo p ing w o rld w ill see no t hing b ut b enefit s fro m t he use o f t ec hno t ure, t he d evelo p ing w o rld w ill see no t hing b ut b enefit s fro m t he use o f t ec hno l ll l- -- -
o gy in c ap ac it y b uild ing. o gy in c ap ac it y b uild ing. o gy in c ap ac it y b uild ing. o gy in c ap ac it y b uild ing.
! !! ! 20 ! !! ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
CD-ROM Teaching Tool is a Hit
with Educators and EMMA
Via press release sent to TechKnowLogia:
"Within seven weeks of its release this fall, the Building
Homes of Our Own CD-ROM simulation teaching tool
scored a double hit: It went into its second printing due to
enormous teacher demand, and it was awarded a prestigious
2002 International EMMA (Electronic Multimedia Award),
which recognizes “excellence in digital media content
creation through the acknowledgement of best practice and
ongoing educational programs.”
Building Homes of Our Own was designed from the ground
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.
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
important decisions, and use time and money management
skills—all in a fun, environment that reinforces math,
science, social studies and language arts lessons. Just as in
real life, student “builders” can fail. They can “go bust”
before the house is complete if they don’t plan expenses
properly, or they can end up building a house no one wants
to buy if they don’t do proper research.
Building Homes of Our Own is free to educators through the
web site www.HomesOfOurOwn.org.
Chicago-headquartered interactive developer Media Options
created this unique program for the National Association of
Home Builders (NAHB) in response to growing educator
interest in technology-based teaching tools and increasing
curricular emphasis on reality-based learning experiences.
To ensure that the program was compatible with National
Content Standards and classroom friendly, Media Options
worked with a national network of educators. A 200-plus
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
Science, Math and Consumer Education to Language Arts,
Economics, Social Studies and Civics. The guide links the
game and activities to required learning standards and
explains how these lessons apply to real-life situations. In
addition to supporting standard classroom subject areas, the
program exposes students to the vast array of career
opportunities related to the home building industry, from
architecture, engineering, contracting, soil science,
environmental consulting, and interior design to real estate,
banking and accounting. "
For more information: http://www.homesofourown.org/
Using ICTs for Networking Youth
An Internet portal for youth organizations, projects and
volunteers providing youth related information, facilitating
exchange of volunteers in Eastern Europe and strengthening
networking is now being developed by Eastlinks, a regional
network of voluntary service organizations in Central and
Eastern Europe based in Warsaw, Poland, with UNESCO's
The portal that is supported by UNESCO within its
INFOYOUTH program is expected to be online in May
Eastlinks, created in 1997, is a network of independent
NGOs which are active in the field of youth voluntary
service. Youth voluntary service includes promotion of the
civil society, emergency and humanitarian aid, social aid,
rehabilitation, disaster preparedness and conflict prevention.
! !! ! 21 ! !! ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
UNESCO's INFOYOUTH Network was initiated in 1991 by
UNESCO in order to meet two main challenges: on the one
hand, the necessity to counteract the splintering of various
and scattered information sources and networks on youth,
and on the other, the urgent need to implement appropriate
and coherent youth policies from local to global levels.
Source: UNESCO’s INFOYOUTH Programme, February
12, 2002 http://www.unesco.org/webworld/infoyouth
Digital Partners Announces SEL
Participants for 2002 - 2003
Digital Partners' Social Enterprise Laboratory (SEL)
announced the social entrepreneurs who have been selected
to participate in their 2002 - 2003 cycle. Focused on
mobilizing the potential of ICTs to stimulate markets in
service to the poor, SEL identifies and supports Social
Entrepreneurs and NGOs using ICT to empower the poor and
the underserved communities in which they live. In this
year's cycle, 10 projects were selected from 140 applicants.
These enterprises represent a geographically diverse group,
including Brazil, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Sri Lanka,
Tanzania, and Uganda. They are confronting a wide range of
challenges in the communities in which they work, including
health, education, and the economic empowerment of youth,
women, and communities.
Proposals were reviewed by a blue ribbon panel comprised
of executives such as Ethan Zucherman of Geekcorp,
Michael Best of MIT's Media lab, and Peter Cowhey, former
Chief of the International Bureau of the FCC. Selected
projects had to meet Digital Partners' standards of
sustainability, replicability and grassroots impact. For each
project, the aim is to take technology to the next level in
helping the underprivileged help themselves. The selected
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
business models and plans. Throughout the mentoring
process, Digital Partners will attempt to match these
entrepreneurs with appropriate sources of funding.
Following are descriptions of the two selected projects
dealing with education:
Project Name: Demand-Driven Kiswahili Courseware
Organization Name: E-Academy Limited
Description: Tanzania suffers from the high cost of
education, inadequate educational institutions, inadequate
professional teachers and inadequate Kiswahili teaching
material/tools. E-Academy is a Tanzania -based e-learning
initiative aiming to provide quality, affordable education
through E-learning to facilitate greater reach while
establishing higher standards and creating Kiswahili content.
E-Academy aims to take advantage of the mushrooming of
cyber cafes throughout Tanzania to provide Internet
connectivity to subscribers of E-Academy, while CD ROM-
based education will be available to reach those without an
Internet connection. E-Academy requires development of a
business/project plan and assistance with its marketing
Project Name: Lifelong Learning for Development
Organization Name: Fundacao CDI Pesamento Digital
Description: This proposal aims to develop a lifelong
learning culture in low-income communities, through the use
of computer labs already installed in these communities. This
project will use ICT infrastructure that already exists in some
underserved Brazilian communities to develop a lifelong
learning culture, changing the communities' computer labs
into community learning centers. Through the Fundação
Pensamento Digital (FPD) web site, users will be provided
an environment where they can easily interact or create
content for the web, thereby building a Low Income
Learning Community in Cyberspace. Participants will also
have access to "theme courses" that FPD will provide in
partnership with specialists in that particular theme. Cost-free
access to the Internet for participants will be provided in
partnership with Brasil Telecom. FPD is looking for a team
to develop its business/project plan.
Source: http://www.digitalpartners.org/sel.html and
Bytes for All, December 11, 2002.
Classroom Connect and ATG
Provide Education to the
Via press release to TechKnowLogia:
"ATG (Art Technology Group, Inc., Nasdaq: ARTG) today
announced that Classroom Connect has selected ATG Portal
as the core technology behind its new K-12 professional
development offerings. Classroom Connect's new portal
services are designed to provide K-12 teachers with online
courses and programs to develop and enhance their
instruction techniques, learn how to integrate Web and other
technology resources in the classroom environment, and then
use these resources to ultimately enhance student learning.
With state and local school districts as the target customer,
Classroom Connect was looking for a technology that would
! !! ! 22 ! !! ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
allow them to offer a personalized experience for the teacher
and a customized portal for the subscribing state or school
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'
specific course catalogs and content. Additionally, clients are
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
and local school districts create their own curriculum and
teaching certification standards," explained Jim Bowler, vice
president of marketing for Classroom Connect. "Our goal is
to provide an easy-to-use portal environment where
educators can access the right information - either specific to
their district or more general - that would help them do their
jobs better and stay as current as possible with new teaching
techniques and certification requirements. ATG Portal allows
us to make that goal a reality."
The state of Arizona launched its Arizona School Services
through Educational Technology (ASSET) Education Portal
in April and the company is currently in discussion with
other states and large school districts nationwide to
implement similar offerings. In all cases, district officials are
searching for ways to make professional development easier
for its teachers to participate in anytime, anywhere learning,
while maintaining, or even lowering, costs.
"Online learning is fast becoming the preferred method for
all types of professional development - and portals are the
preferred way to access these programs," said Matt Price,
vice president, Portals at ATG. "Classroom Connect is a
perfect example of how ATG Portal can be deployed to
create a robust, scalable and personalized online learning
ATG® (Art Technology Group, Inc.) is a leading developer
of online CRM applications that deliver an integrated,
personalized experience for customers, partners and
employees: the frontline of every business. Customers
around the globe rely on ATG for the frontline applications
that help build and manage mutually beneficial relationships.
Deployed on the industry's most popular application servers,
ATG's application suites for e-commerce, portals, and
relationship management are ideal for integrated e-business
initiatives across the enterprise.
Today, ATG has delivered e-business solutions to blue-chip
companies worldwide including Aetna Services, Inc.,
Alcatel, American Airlines, Barclays Global Investors, Best
Buy, BMG Direct, Eastman Kodak, Ford Motor Credit,
HSBC, J.Crew, Sun Microsystems, Walgreen Company, and
WellsFargo. The company is headquartered in Cambridge,
Massachusetts, with additional locations throughout North
America, Europe, and Asia. For more information about
ATG, please visit our Web site at www.atg.com.”
UNICEF Publishes New League
Tables on Education
A new report from UNICEF provides the first "big picture"
comparison of the performance of schools in the world's rich
industrialized nations. UNICEF's Innocenti Research Centre
has produced a new international league table by combining
data from five separate tests covering reading literacy, math
and science. The tests were drawn from the Programme for
International Student Assessment (PISA) and Third in
International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS).
At the heart of the study is the issue of inequality in learning.
The report proposes an original view of educational
performance - it presents an alternative league table that
ranks countries by the size of the gap that exists between low
achievers and average students.
The report concludes that nowhere is there room for
complacency. Even in the best performing country, Finland,
low achieving 8
graders are approximately 3.5 years behind
the average Finish 8
graders in math. Non-native children
are found to be particularly disadvantaged with poor
performance in some countries more than three times higher
among children of immigrant families than among other
children. As well, the data show no simple relationship
between national expenditures per pupil and success, nor is
there an obvious relationship between the average number of
pupils per teacher and the national test results. A strong
relationship does exist, however, between educational
achievement and the occupation, education and economic
status of the children's parents.
The report argues that it is unacceptable that the social and
economic status into which a child happens to be born should
influence his/her chances of success in school. Although it
concludes that schools are proving more effective at
combating existing social inequality in some countries than
in others, the report also highlights the fact that educational
disadvantage becomes established very early in life.
UNICEF therefore proposes that attempts to mitigate
educational disadvantage need to begin through good quality
early childhood care and education.
Source and for more information: http://www.unicef-
! !! ! 23 ! !! ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
TAM ING SCIENCE M ODELS FOR CLASSROOM USE
Bor i s Ber en f el d, Dan Dam el i n , Am y Pal l an t , Bar bar a Ti n ker , Rober t Ti n ker , an d Qi an Xi e
Th e M ol ecu l ar Wor kben ch Team , Con cor d Con sor t i u m
h t t p: //w or kben ch .concor d.or g
bor i s@con cor d.or g
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.
W h y do sci en t i st s n eed m od el s? W h y do sci en t i st s n eed m od el s? W h y do sci en t i st s n eed m od el s? W h y do sci en t i st s n eed m od el s?
The goal of one category of computational modeling in re-
search is to build a comprehensive model of a process or
phenomenon that mirrors reality so precisely that it has both
explanatory and predictive value. Models of weather, plate
tectonics, and the growth of a coral reef or cell are in this
In other cases, scientists build models that purposely strip out
details so that the remaining, simplified components more
clearly reveal the fundamental mechanism. Sometimes sim-
plification is essential just to produce a model that can be
Models range from scale models, such as a model car, or a
ball and stick model of a molecule, to the purely mathemati-
cal. Most models are incomplete, growing as the scope of
experimental data expands, as in the case of modern models
of carcinogenesis. Most theory can be represented by a
model, which has the power both to explain phenomena and
to predict the impact of variations in values and relation-
Today Crick and Watson might well have created their
model on a computer instead of constructing their beautiful
DNA model from machined parts. Computer models have
greatly improved the ease of trying new molecular configu-
rations, or exploring various forces applied to the structures.
Investigators can easily ask "what if" questions such as:
What if we change pressure? Increase the temperature?
Change elasticity? Change the angle of attachment, polarity,
or distance between chemical groups? What if we try this
compound instead of that?
W h y does sci en ce edu cat i on n eed co W h y does sci en ce edu cat i on n eed co W h y does sci en ce edu cat i on n eed co W h y does sci en ce edu cat i on n eed com mm m - -- -
p u t er m od el s? p u t er m od el s? p u t er m od el s? p u t er m od el s?
In our classrooms today, students rarely build and use even
physical models. When they do use models at all, they serve
largely to illustrate rather than expand upon the content on
which students are working. They rarely work as a vehicle
for prediction and discovery. This is a waste.
M odel s m ake f or good edu cat i on M odel s m ake f or good edu cat i on M odel s m ake f or good edu cat i on M odel s m ake f or good edu cat i on . Models can sup-
plement hands-on experiments, and can do so economically.
In addition, their abstract nature furthers student learning of
new orders of analysis. Providing students with access to
good models will assure that students have opportunities to
abstract essential principles, to explore relationships among
parts, and to experiment by manipulating variables.
Today an emphasis on model-based reasoning fits in with the
current view of science education. It appears that 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. (Tinker, 2001,
Gobert and Clement 1994,
). Interactive models can address core
ideas in a visually engaging way that makes them more ac-
cessible to students with vastly different learning styles.
Research is showing that, as students are able not only to run
the models but also change key variables, they are more
likely to remember and transfer their learning to new situa-
Com pu t er pow er i n cr eases Com pu t er pow er i n cr eases Com pu t er pow er i n cr eases Com pu t er pow er i n cr eases. During the last decade,
the power of machines for student computing has increased
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
! !! ! 24 ! !! ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
web or edit text, in fact a lot of computer “horsepower” is
required to run a good dynamic model. These computer
models allow investigators to calculate and display in real
time interactions between significant number of components,
visualize objects that are too many and small to see, or move
too fast, or are too big, and require visualization of interac-
tions with many other objects. These generally require many
Seei n g t h e m ol ecu l ar w or l d Seei n g t h e m ol ecu l ar w or l d Seei n g t h e m ol ecu l ar w or l d Seei n g t h e m ol ecu l ar w or l d. 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
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
Th e M ol ecu l ar Wor kben ch Pr oj ect Th e M ol ecu l ar Wor kben ch Pr oj ect Th e M ol ecu l ar Wor kben ch Pr oj ect Th e M ol ecu l ar Wor kben ch Pr oj ect
The goal of the Molecular Workbench Project
http://workbench.concord.org, funded by the U.S. National
Science Foundation (NSF), has been to research whether the
use of atomic scale models can improve student reasoning
about atoms and molecules, and how atomic scale properties
relate to macroscopic phenomena. Not only physics, but also
much of chemistry and modern biology is based on a “mo-
lecular view,” but this is seldom addressed in beginning
courses, largely because it is very difficult to learn from
static pictures and narratives, or even simple animations. It is
the thesis of the Molecular Workbench research that, by en-
gaging students in scaffolded model-based experiments with
interactive, dynamic models, they can obtain a deep concep-
tual understanding of atomic-scale phenomena and their re-
lationship to macroscopic phenomena.
How w e h av e d ev el oped m i ddl e g r ou n d How w e h av e d ev el oped m i ddl e g r ou n d How w e h av e d ev el oped m i ddl e g r ou n d How w e h av e d ev el oped m i ddl e g r ou n d
m odel s: Th e m odel s: Th e m odel s: Th e m odel s: Th e Con cor d M od el i n g Wor kb en ch Con cor d M od el i n g Wor kb en ch Con cor d M od el i n g Wor kb en ch Con cor d M od el i n g Wor kb en ch
sof t w ar e sof t w ar e sof t w ar e sof t w ar e
The Molecular Workbench Project has developed an
atomic/molecular engine capable of being used in the class-
room as an underpinning to teaching fundamental science.
The Concord Modeling Workbench (v. 1.1) is freely available
The Concord Modeling Workbench software is an extremely
versatile set of modeling tools based on current research in
computational physics, which can be used to compute and
visualize the motion of ensembles of atoms and molecules.
The motion of each entity is estimated using classical dy-
namics and applicable forces, from Van der Waals potentials,
Coulomb interactions, and harmonic approximations, to
bonds, external fields, and boundaries. Meso-scale objects
and their interactions are supported. (e.g. See Fig. 1)
The resulting ensembles can illustrate energy conservation,
gas laws, pressure, phase transitions, chemical bonding,
chemical reactions, Maxwell velocity distribution, osmosis,
electrolysis, electrophoresis, liquid crystals, polymers, and
more. Preexisting models can be used by high school and
college students to explore a vast range of content, or stu-
dents can use the Concord Modeling Workbench tools to
develop their own models. Models for students at any spe-
cific level can be built using the strategies described below.
We have taken several different approaches to 'taming' this
research-grade science model, which can work as is in a col-
lege classroom fairly comfortably. The first approach (A) has
been to develop ways for teachers and curriculum developers
to work directly with the model, selecting and modifying the
buttons and sliders, as well as text and pictures associated
with the models. The second approach (B) has been to use a
language for programmers, Pedagogica, developed by Paul
Horwitz's group at the Concord Consortium, which supports
closer control of a model and the user interface.
A. A. A. A. Th e Con cor d M odel i n g Wor kben ch Th e Con cor d M odel i n g Wor kben ch Th e Con cor d M odel i n g Wor kben ch Th e Con cor d M odel i n g Wor kben ch software is
more than a single atomic/molecular program, however. It
provides you with a modeling engine integrated with a What-
You-See-Is-What-You-Get (WYSIWYG) word processor
that can be used to write styled text, insert JPEG and GIF
images, import models and simulations, create/edit models,
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and hyperlink other Web resources. We will amplify this
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
elements, and annotate them with text and images, on a con-
ventional document interface.
Save models and documents. Once you have created such a
document, everything on the workspace can be saved (in
XML format). When a document is saved, the current states
of the embedded models are saved. When a document is
opened, those saved states will be the initial states of the
models. If you are particularly interested in saving interme-
diate states and analyzing patterns of particular molecular
trajectories, the Concord Modeling Workbench allows you to
record a simulation.
Share over the Web. Any standard HTTP server can se-
curely distribute documents you have created, which can be
viewed/downloaded by any end user all of the World using
the Concord Modeling Workbench. Students, using only the
Concord Modeling Workbench, therefore, can develop mo-
lecular dynamics models, annotate them and share them over
the web with one another for discussion.
B. B. B. B. Pedagogi ca Pedagogi ca Pedagogi ca Pedagogi ca Our model can also be programmed for
use in middle and high school classrooms with the assistance
of a script, Pedagogica. Pedagogica is a scripted control
environment developed to overlay models (Horwitz &
). A Pedagogica script can define a user inter-
face, set up the initial conditions, define the interactions with
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
feedback to teachers and data for researchers. A branching
sequence of pages that include models can be scripted. Peda-
to control some activities within the Molecular Workbench
These two approaches provide a rich set of strategies for
dealing with models, from the direct configurations of mod-
els that most users will be able to do easily and simply with
only the Molecular Modeling Workbench, to the program-
ming of key variables with the model-oriented scripting lan-
Our modeling strategies have had to adjust to different con-
tent. While Gas Laws and Phases of Matter required fairly
straight-forward manipulation of scientific formula, model-
ing water has so far required a more "roll up the sleeves"
approach, making rules for the model that are close approxi-
mations to the behavior of ions in water, and ions as they
pass through membranes. Our model for DNA coding of
protein, however, has some of the simplicity of Gas Laws.
These differences reflect science progress: the actual struc-
turing of water is still a hotly disputed mystery. DNA to
protein, while unclear in many individual cases (there are
after all, at least 60,000 proteins), is at least clear about the
codon-to-amino acid connection.
Case Ex am pl e: St at es of M at t er Case Ex am pl e: St at es of M at t er Case Ex am pl e: St at es of M at t er Case Ex am pl e: St at es of M at t er
Students completed a molecular dynamic activity in which
they observed various macroscopic phenomena typical of the
three phases of matter, and then compared these properties to
the microscopic properties depicted in the molecular model.
(See Fig. 3) By directly correlating observable macro scale
Wi t h t h e Con cor d M odel i n g Wor Wi t h t h e Con cor d M odel i n g Wor Wi t h t h e Con cor d M odel i n g Wor Wi t h t h e Con cor d M odel i n g Wor k kk k- -- -
ben ch ’ s i n t egr at i n g sof t w ar e en v ben ch ’ s i n t egr at i n g sof t w ar e en v ben ch ’ s i n t egr at i n g sof t w ar e en v ben ch ’ s i n t egr at i n g sof t w ar e en v i ii i - -- -
r on m en t , t h e user can easi l y cr eat e, r on m en t , t h e user can easi l y cr eat e, r on m en t , t h e user can easi l y cr eat e, r on m en t , t h e user can easi l y cr eat e,
vi su al i ze, an n ot at e, vi su al i ze, an n ot at e, vi su al i ze, an n ot at e, vi su al i ze, an n ot at e, cont ex t u al i ze, cont ex t u al i ze, cont ex t u al i ze, cont ex t u al i ze,
cr oss- l i n k an d di st r i bu t e dyn am i cal cr oss- l i n k an d di st r i bu t e dyn am i cal cr oss- l i n k an d di st r i bu t e dyn am i cal cr oss- l i n k an d di st r i bu t e dyn am i cal
m odel s. m odel s. m odel s. m odel s.
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properties to the micro scale behavior of atoms in matter,
students could develop their own kinetic atomic and mo-
lecular perspective of the particulate model of matter. In ad-
dition, the activity had students highlight and observe two
selected atoms or molecules in each phase and observe the
relationship between them.
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 Ex am pl e: DNA t o Pr ot ei n Case Ex am pl e: DNA t o Pr ot ei n Case Ex am pl e: DNA t o Pr ot ei n Case Ex am pl e: DNA t o Pr ot ei n
In building a good science model, the curriculum developer
and programmer should take into account known facts, pri-
oritized to emphasize critical aspects of the process or phe-
When experimenting with our DNA to Protein model, stu-
dents discover first-hand that:
1. The genetic code is written as a linear sequence;
2. There is co-linearity between genetic code and the pro-
tein sequence. The longer the portion of the code you
read, the more protein you get as one line codes another
3. Code is written in codons without comas; and
4. Codons sit next to each other in line and each dictates
the position of one amino acid in the chain;
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).
This means that in principle they can rediscover the role of
the redundancy of the genetic code in maintaining the rela-
tive stability of proteins.
Ed u cat i on al Resear ch Usi n g M i n i - m odu l es Ed u cat i on al Resear ch Usi n g M i n i - m odu l es Ed u cat i on al Resear ch Usi n g M i n i - m odu l es Ed u cat i on al Resear ch Usi n g M i n i - m odu l es
The centerpiece of the Molecular Workbench research in-
cludes "mini-modules" lasting no longer than one week.
Each one includes Molecular Workbench signature software
that focuses on macro-to-micro connections and atomic-scale
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-
cules in matter in its various states; Water in and Around our
Cells, a module that addresses the essential ability of water to
dissolve and transport some substances and not others, and
the role of membranes in regulation of concentrations of dis-
solved substances; and Monomers to Polymers, a module that
explores the ways monomers can be assembled into key
polymers: particularly proteins and the relationship between
the primary structure (the sequence of amino acids) and the
shape of a protein.
While the mini-modules represent a focused effort of the
research, student evaluation is also being done in classrooms
able to run the Molecular Workbench curriculum for a sig-
nificant part of a semester. The curriculum Atoms in Motion,
has students explore the science of molecular kinetic theory
and characteristics of atomic behavior underlying macro-
scopic phenomena. To draw students into a study of the ab-
stract concept of invisible atoms, students are challenged to
explain how and why a hot air balloon flies. In order to ex-
plain this fully, the curriculum addresses the following con-
cepts: all substances are made of atoms and molecules; these
particles move randomly; the temperature of atoms and
molecules are directly related to their kinetic energy, which
is the energy of motion related to mass and velocity; and
pressure is due to the repeated impacts of molecules.
Using the above curriculum modules, students can learn
about causation and emergent behavior that relate to the
content from the National Science Education Standards such
as the structure and properties of matter, chemical reactions,
motions and forces, interactions of energy and matter, bio-
molecules, form and function, and cell regulation.
Approximately 500 students to date have participated in our
testing. These students were drawn from 8
grade classes in Massachusetts. A pre- and a post-test was
given to students in every class to assess their content
knowledge. For example, the following question was asked
in the pre-test of States of Matter to determine students’ un-
derstanding about the relationship of macroscopic properties
of matter to microscopic properties, as well as to learn about
students conceptions or misconceptions about matter in its
Suppose you were the size of a water molecule, and could
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
water turns to ice. How does what you see and feel change?
If answered in an expert manner, this question would have
students reasoning at both the macroscopic and microscopic
levels, and it would employ notions about the motions and
forces of the molecules. In the pretest, more than 2/3 of the
students either responded to this question with answers that
contained misconceptions regarding the bulk properties of
atoms and molecules, or were unable to answer the question.
This includes some classes that had studied the subject be-
fore using the curriculum. In the post-test, the misconcep-
tions appeared in less than 1/5 of the students. In all classes
analyzed, students scored significantly higher on the post-test
then they did on the pre-test.
In addition, however, the research was looking at the ways
that these environments, with interactivity and control over
the stimuli, increase cognitive competencies. Can students
accurately reason about the microscopic world of interacting
atoms and molecules? Overall, our research has shown that,
by learning through model-based experimentation, supported
with guided interactions, students appear to have developed
sufficiently robust mental models of atomic-scale processes.
These models have enabled the students to explain macro-
scopic phenomena and predict new results by employing
atomic scale reasoning.
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
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).
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.
Sabelli, N. (1994). On using technology for understanding science. Interactive Learning Environments, 4(3), 195-198.
Linn, M. C., & Muilenburg, L. (1996). Creating lifelong science learners: What models form a firm foundation? Educational Researcher,
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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Bi l l Robertson, Ph. D., Proj ect Leader
Ri chard Al ex ander, MS, MBA, Sci ence Educ ati on Speci al i st
Los Al amos Nati onal Laboratory
Int roduc ti on
The Critical Thinking Curriculum Model (CTCM) uses a
multidisciplinary approach that integrates computer technol-
ogy with effective learning and teaching practices. The
CTCM approach provides students and teachers with a proc-
ess and an opportunity to address current real-world issues.
The model is designed to be flexible, an example for teachers
to follow as they develop integrated curriculum focusing on
their own critical issues.
A CTCM based curriculum involves teams of teachers and
students in a constructive approach to critical thought and
on-line research. CTCM curriculum features open-ended and
collaborative activities to arrive at solutions for current real-
world concerns delivered through a collaborative, distance
learning process. The program design features a student con-
ference as the culminating activity of the program.
As implemented in the Critical Issues Forum (CIF), an edu-
cational program administered by Los Alamos National
Laboratory (LANL), the CTCM embraces the political, so-
cial/cultural, economic, and scientific realms in the context
of a current global issue. Through the use of a CTCM-based
curriculum, students realize the importance of their schooling
by applying their efforts to an endeavor that ultimately will
affect their future.
The CTCM - A Model for Curri c ul um
The Critical Thinking Curriculum Model consists of four
equal and important organizational components that form the
backbone of the model. (See Figure 1 – CTCM Design) The
four parts of the model are the educational components, the
technology components, the assessment components and the
community components. The model can be utilized with a
great number of topics, but hinges on the preparation and
willingness of the instructor to modify the traditional role of
Selected topics deal with issues that are global in nature and
are naturally controversial. It would be easy to deliver con-
tent from a singular perspective, but as the intent of the
model is to foster critical thinking, it is best to refrain from
such traditional content delivery methods. The intent is for
students to investigate the issues through research, both
through traditional resource materials and through the Inter-
net. The teacher wants students to ask probing questions, to
differentiate between differing perspectives while consider-
ing the impact that political, economic, and social decisions
have on the world, not just a nation. By doing so, students
gain a better understanding of the position that our national
leaders take within the world community.
The Critical Thinking Curriculum Model allows for a deeper
search into a topic, whether it is terrorism, the future of
"things nuclear," volcanoes in the universe, or macro-
invertebrate analysis in local streams and rivers. The teacher
guides students in developing questions for further investi-
gation, recommending resource sites, and probing student
understanding of a given topic. (Wasley, 1991) The teacher
becomes a colleague, as students give direction to the re-
search. (Duffy et al. 1986) Collaboration, whether it be in
person or through telecommunications, is vital to motivating
students and providing relevance to their classroom activi-
CTCM based curriculum is designed to provide a collabora-
tive research experience where teams of students gather di-
verse information about a current real world issue and begin
to make sense of it. To ensure that research teams have a
conceptually correct understanding of the content, the cur-
riculum is designed to include a series of thought provoking
task assignments that foster a multidisciplinary study of the
topic (Brophy, 1988). The tasks are designed from a Con-
structivist approach, building knowledge from previous and
discovered information. Students are expected to find defini-
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-
dents and teachers achieve the task goals. Examples of the
use of a CTCM-based curriculum can be found by looking at
the Critical Issues Forum web site
(http://set.lanl.gov/programs/cif/) and exploring the LANL
developed curriculum in such topics as "The Future of the
Nuclear World" and "Terrorism in the Nuclear Age."
The task assignments include three parts. The "Task Over-
view" section describes the four domains that students are
asked to consider while researching and compiling their data.
The four domains (the scientific, the political, the so-
cial/cultural, and the economic) are considered important in
helping students make sense of the issue being investigated.
Students are instructed to weave these four domains into
their thinking process as they attempt to understand complex
global issues. The tasks address objectives in critical think-
ing, research skills, communication skills, the scientific pro-
cess, interdisciplinary curriculum, and community involve-
ment. The "Task Introduction" sections are the "hooks" for
the assignments. They bring a sense of relevancy to the issue.
The introduction areas start with a literary/historical quote
relevant to the task topic followed by preliminary back-
ground information. These provide the students and teachers
a base from which to start their research. The "Tasks" sec-
tions are the actual assignment areas. Students are given dif-
fering types of tasks to complete. These tasks drive the re-
search and classroom activity phases. Students compile their
work, and prepare final documents that are then submitted
for publication on the class web site. Students are given ap-
proximately three weeks to complete each task assignment.
Each task engages the student teams in research, critical
thinking, communicating thoughts, and making connections.
Each subsequent task builds upon the student’s previous
skills and knowledge base. The task assignments also pro-
vide a mechanism for assessment, both for the participants
and for the classroom teacher. Each team's work is published
in the form of an electronic portfolio, which appears on a
class web site. The fact that the student teams are writing for
an audience that includes fellow students, teachers, scientists
and educators (as well as anyone with Internet access) helps
to increase the intrinsic motivation of the students to produce
a well-researched and well-thought out position on a given
The CTCM and the CIF program use a student-centered
Internet-based research approach. A networld, a collaborative
area where students exchange information and resources, is
vital to this design. "Students in the networld engage in
group learning projects with peers from other regions and
countries. They share ideas and resources, access information
on current events or historical archives, and interact with
experts" (Harasim, 1993). Teachers involved in the CTCM-
based CIF program report that this approach enhances the
learning opportunities for their students.
As a culminating activity in the CIF program, the student
teams attended a conference at Los Alamos National Labo-
ratory and presented their findings in multi-media presenta-
tions. The presentation is an example of a task that requires
higher order thinking skills. It shows the students’ develop-
ment and application of conceptual understandings
(Hoffman, 1990). Students applied to present their findings
at the conference, and used a variety of formats including
poster sessions, Web page presentations, position papers,
video, or other types of presentation media. This contrasts
with traditional classroom assessment in which students are
given tests that may ignore or avoid the underlying concepts
and skills (Shepard, 1989). In the CTCM approach, students
receive evaluation and comments on each presentation
through an evaluation rubric. “The act of verbalizing material
is thought to lead to cognitive restructuring on the part of the
students who are attempting to explain different points of
view” (Levin, 1986). The ability to hypothesize, conclude,
and explain is linked to the evaluation stage, the sixth and
highest level of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objec-
tives (Livingston, 1992).
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The Model i n Practi ce
The framework for the Critical Thinking Curriculum Model
centers on the students taking responsibility for their own
learning, and that the learning experiences should build upon
previous knowledge (Dewey, 1970). The learning environ-
ment in a constructivist educational approach is one that
fosters thinkers who ask questions, and look for their own
answers. The teacher takes the role of facilitator, guiding
students as they encounter new subject matter through their
research of the topical issue. A CTCM-based curriculum
engages the learner actively, requires cooperation and col-
laboration, and is not fundamentally built upon grades and
competition (Shepard, 1989). The differences of others be-
come valuable during group activities, as the teacher matches
the tasks to the variety of learners present in the class (Apple,
Just as scientists constantly communicate with one another in
order to solve problems, students should be engaged in the
higher order thinking skills that include synthesis, evaluation
and application of information, not memorization (Shepard,
1989). Situations in the real world are unique and often re-
quire new methods or techniques to solve them. Problem
solving strategies often change along with the underlying
concepts (Bruner, 1962).
Students should be encouraged to publish their work on the
World Wide Web (WWW), and the Internet should be a
comprehensive part of the research and dissemination of stu-
dent products. Informal evaluations have shown that students
who publish their work on the web increase their reading and
writing abilities (Herman, Osmundson, Pascal, 1996). One
reason may be that their work is available for all the world to
see at any time. It stands to reason that a student who knows
this will prepare their work to a greater degree, and in effect
increase their writing and reading abilities.
Ultimately, students should be engaged and participating
both in and outside of class, as this is crucial to learning and
the construction of purposes and meanings (Wiggins, 1989).
The teacher should actively promote and encourage positive
group interactions and cooperative behaviors that foster the
types of thinking interactions that enhance the learning proc-
ess (Bossert, 1989). The CTCM design incorporates this ap-
proach and provides a method for understanding the content.
Curri cul um Approach
Meaning is a human construction interacting with a social
situation; we are defining it for ourselves. Yet, one must be-
ware of regarding the child's point of view as "finally signifi-
cant in themselves" (Dewey, 1970). Each learner understands
content and concepts differently based on their previous ex-
periences. The students need opportunities to address their
prior knowledge in order to address misconceptions and de-
velop concepts in the manner of real scientists.
In an effective classroom, learning requires more than con-
necting new material to old ways of thinking, but far better,
to new ways of understanding. "Students come to school
with their own ideas, some correct and some not, about al-
most every topic they are likely to encounter" (Rutherford
and Alhgren, 1990). Students need experiences that help
them to develop new views and make better sense of their
world. Learning is the responsibility of the learner, but the
teacher guides the student toward developing meaning from
content material and classroom experience. Communication
from and between multiple peoples and perspectives is im-
portant and vital to learning. In describing and explaining
ideas to others, the learner synthesizes material in a way that
requires higher-order thinking. A person who successfully
explains a body of knowledge to others may be said to have
mastered this knowledge.
Research scientists cross over the barriers between disci-
plines all the time, and seldom operate solely on science
content, but integrate the use of language, knowledge and
process application. Research-based programs give students
the ability to retain facts through critical thinking by working
through problems logically and making connections to the
real world. In The Process of Education, Jerome Bruner
writes; "Students should know what it feels like to be com-
pletely absorbed in a problem. They seldom experience this
feeling in school" (Bruner, 1962).
The textbook is a classroom resource, but not the only re-
source, and the nature of knowledge should incorporate mul-
tiple viewpoints and sources that include textbooks, the
Internet, multimedia and other sources of current informa-
tion. Knowledge is as much about process as it is about con-
tent, and the two must be integrated effectively so that the
learner sees the value of the content in a conceptually correct
context (Hoehn, 1990). Students should explore multiple
examples from many cultures and time periods, and be given
the time to make sense of it all. The goal is to engage the
learner in higher-order thinking that includes analysis, syn-
thesis and evaluation of material and information (Hoehn,
Technology can be an ally to the modern teacher, and should
be effectively integrated into the presentation and demon-
stration of the curriculum. This takes a different style of
teacher, one who learns from students and also models the
use of technology in the classroom (Duffy et al. 1986). To-
day’s student needs to be stimulated, and since technology is
an integral feature of the modern world, not to use it in the
classroom is a real disservice to the student. In science,
"technology provides the eyes and ears of science - and some
of the muscle too" (Rutherford and Alhgren, 1990). Technol-
! 31 ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
ogy, whether it is a computer or a calculator, is vital to
teaching the concepts associated with data collection, com-
putation and measurement. It is also something that is rec-
ommended by educators in such volumes as the National
Science Standards and the National Mathematics Standards.
It is at this point that the Internet is most powerful, and the
motivation to do good work becomes intrinsic and not driven
by the pursuit of a grade. It is one thing to do a project and
turn it into a teacher in your school, it is quite another to
publish your work on the Internet for anyone with access
around the world to read and consult.
Eval uati on
The CTCM, as manifested in the Critical Issues Forum
(CIF), featured open-ended activities that dealt with current
concerns that leaders are attempting to solve. This format
utilized a multidisciplinary approach for engaging students in
collaborative research activities that centered on the study of
real world issues. This model was designed to encompass
effective pedagogical techniques and to integrate computer
technologies within a flexible curriculum format. Evaluation
of the effectiveness of CTCM-based curriculum was con-
ducted as part of the research for Dr. Robertson’s doctoral
degree program. The purpose of this evaluation was to de-
termine if high school students who engaged in a CTCM-
based science curriculum gained in their attitudes toward
science and technology, science content understanding and
problem solving skills.
A sample population of 24 students participated in class-
rooms at two separate high schools. The students involved in
the CTCM evaluation study were given tests throughout the
spring 2000 semester. The participating teachers integrated
the educational and technology components of the CTCM in
their instruction. The results of the tests were analyzed using
SPSS in a MANOVA format in order to determine the sig-
nificance of the between and within-subjects effects. A com-
parison ANOVA was done for each two-way MANOVA to
see if the comparison groups were equal. Significant findings
were validated using the Scheffé test in a Post Hoc analysis.
Demographic information for the sample population was
recorded and tracked, including self-assessments of computer
use and availability. Of the forty null hypothesis statements
posed in this study, five were determined to have statistical
significance. Three were in the area of content understanding
and two in the area of problem solving.
Overall, immersion in the CTCM did not change students’
attitudes toward learning computer technology or science.
Students in the sample exhibited relatively positive attitudes
toward both computers and science that were consistently
maintained over the evaluation period. On average, students
involved in the CTCM increased the amount of time they
spent on the computer. The results indicated that the CTCM
did help to increase science content understanding and prob-
lem-solving skills for students, thereby positively impacting
critical thinking. Scores in the concept maps and problem-
solving tests increased continually over the semester for the
sample, and showed significance in both cases. In other
words, no matter if the students liked science or not, enjoyed
computers or not, the CTCM approach helped to increase
science content understanding and problem-solving skills.
The CTCM has clearly provided an educational framework
that can aid all students in the development of critical think-
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-
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.
! !! ! 32 ! !! ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
LESSON LESSON LESSON LESSONLAB LAB LAB LAB: Evolving Teaching int o a Profession
Ronald Gallimore and Jim Stigler
University of California, Los Angeles and LessonLab
I mages of Alt ernat ive Pract ices I mages of Alt ernat ive Pract ices I mages of Alt ernat ive Pract ices I mages of Alt ernat ive Pract ices
Practitioners face rising expectations. Not only must they
teach to new standards, they must learn to teach in ways
most have never seen or imagined. In response, teachers are
now asking for and getting new kinds of professional devel-
opment opportunities. Those with the most appeal are long-
term, involve active learning, and are coherently related to
ongoing school activities (Garet, Porter, Desimone, Birman,
& Yoon, 2001).
However, even new forms of professional development fall
short when teachers have no access to images of alternative
practice. For example, many are now required to teach
mathematical problem-solving, scientific inquiry, critical
thinking, and other high-level student competencies thought
essential to the nation’s future. Unfortunately, because such
teaching has not been common in the United States, there are
few opportunities to see it in action. To learn the new and
complex teaching practices many are now expected to use,
teachers need and want to see lessons being taught, with stu-
dents like those they teach, in classrooms like their own.
Reading about or hearing someone describe teaching for
“problem-solving” or “scientific inquiry” is a poor substitute
for seeing it reasonably well implemented.
Seeing is Realizing Seeing is Realizing Seeing is Realizing Seeing is Realizing
Teacher response to seeing alternative approaches was strik-
ing when we began reporting the results of an international
study of teaching in different countries. The TIMSS (Third
International Mathematics and Science Study) Video Study
compared teaching in 3 countries (see TechKnowLogia, No-
vember/December 2000) and the TIMSS-R (Third Interna-
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-
amples of teaching in other countries were astonished that
familiar subject matter was taught in very different ways.
They realized, just as the TIMSS results indicated, that there
is not nearly as much variation among American teachers as
was commonly believed. In fact, mathematics lessons in the
U.S. follow a fairly standard script no matter what part of the
country they were recorded. For the first time these teachers
realized how much they take for granted about how to teach,
and that the American style of teaching is a choice, not an
The reaction of teachers to the TIMSS videos is a reminder
of reactions to the commercial introduction of video tape
recorders. Thirty-five years ago, there was a surge of opti-
mism that the then new video tape technology would move
teaching from a profession that described its practices in
words to one that demonstrated them with vivid images
(Tharp & Gallimore, 1989). Today, video technology does
play a role in some teacher preparation and development, but
the potential of this technology has never been fully realized.
Many teachers tell us that having a lesson videotaped and
reviewed with a coach or colleague was among the most
memorable professional development experiences they ever
had. Sadly, most say it was a single opportunity, or occurred
long ago when they were in college. Even more surprising is
the number of teachers who tell us how seldom they get to
observe lessons of any kind as part of their professional
work, and that this has been true since the beginning of their
Not surprisingly, we are frequently asked for access to the
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
mathematics and science. They want to see more than just
“stars” whose virtuosity is as unquestioned as it is uncom-
mon. They want to see multiple examples of ways to teach
concepts and skills, demonstrations of the lessons they are
increasingly being asked to teach, linked to the curricula for
which they are responsible.
Digit al Library Digit al Library Digit al Library Digit al Library
Teachers need and want a large, rich, easily accessible
knowledge base for teaching that includes vivid images of
alternatives represented in lesson videos. This is the purpose
of a new effort in which we at LessonLab are involved, the
building of digital libraries in which to accumulate and share
! !! ! 33 ! !! ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
a rich storehouse of professional knowledge–a library of pro-
fessional knowledge easily accessible to teachers over the
A very large part of the professional knowledge base is les-
son videos, available online to all teachers, pre-, early-, and
in-service. But videos are not enough. They need to be linked
to standards and assessment documents, examples of student
work, and other resources. They need to have commentaries
by the teacher of the lesson and other experts–comments
linked to specific parts of the lesson video to avoid the global
generalities that too often characterize talk about teaching.
All sorts of knowledge should be in the digital library, all
linked to practice.
Building on our work in TIMSS video studies, LessonLab
built a technology platform that permits easy accumulation,
storage, and sharing of knowledge. LessonLab is building
two professional development product lines on its technology
platform: LessonLab Course and LessonLab Coach. Each of
these is based on a clear, research-based learning model,
LessonLab’s “Learning from Practice” model.
LessonLab Coach products are integrated offerings that pro-
vide both online and face-to-face components, generally in a
70-30 split. LessonLab Courses are typically carried out
100% online and include online facilitation. A similar learn-
ing model is used to generate both Coach and Course pro-
grams. Both product lines are built in modules, with each
module providing approximately 10 hours of work for par-
The core of each module is one or more video cases, typi-
cally a classroom lesson. The module engages teachers in a
series of activities that engage them in studying the case. The
learning model that guides the building of LessonLab Coach
and Course modules includes four phases:
1. I dent i fy I dent i fy I dent i fy I dent i fy Problem of Pract i ce Problem of Pract i ce Problem of Pract i ce Problem of Pract i ce - - - - each module is
motivated by a problem of practice. Learning to define
such problems is an important skill for teachers, and
teachers in this part of the module are given opportuni-
ties to make the problem that motivates the module their
own by linking it and calibrating it with their own prac-
2. Anal yze Pract i ce Anal yze Pract i ce Anal yze Pract i ce Anal yze Pract i ce - - - - each module then provides op-
portunities for teachers to analyze artifacts of practice
(such as classroom video) within the context of the
problem they have identified. Activities include the
analysis of content, student learning, and pedagogical
strategies, all in relation to the problem that moti-
vates the module.
3. Li nk t o Pract i ce Li nk t o Pract i ce Li nk t o Pract i ce Li nk t o Pract i ce - - - - 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 Learni ng Assess Learni ng Assess Learni ng Assess Learni ng - - - - finally, teachers are
given opportunities to assess their own learning in
the module, and/or to be assessed by a facilitator or
New Grounds New Grounds New Grounds 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-
! !! ! 34 ! !! ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
pany their published materials. Local school systems are us-
ing locally built lesson libraries to implement standards-
based instruction, support in-service programs, and to induct
new teachers into the profession. Institutes of higher educa-
tion are building video cases into online courses to augment
For digital lesson libraries to function as envisioned, educa-
tors will need to find a way to agree on what constitutes
standard practice. Standard practices, according to Al Shan-
ker, the American union leader, distinguish a profession, and
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
available can help make teaching a profession defined by its
knowledge base, which will allow it to improve its practices
over time (Yinger, 1999). Over the past 100 years, medicine
has changed greatly – not because smarter people became
doctors, but because medicine found a way to accumulate
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 generation the same can be true of teaching.
LessonLab hopes to be a part of this evolution by its com-
mitment to teaching research and creating technologies that
support teacher professional development.
References References References 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
Over t he past 100 years, medicine has changed great ly – not because Over t he past 100 years, medicine has changed great ly – not because Over t he past 100 years, medicine has changed great ly – not because Over t he past 100 years, medicine has changed great ly – not because
smart er people became doct ors, but because medicine found a way t o acc smart er people became doct ors, but because medicine found a way t o acc smart er people became doct ors, but because medicine found a way t o acc smart er people became doct ors, but because medicine found a way t o accu uu u- -- -
mulat e and share knowledge and t o updat e and improve it over t ime. I f we mulat e and share knowledge and t o updat e and improve it over t ime. I f we mulat e and share knowledge and t o updat e and improve it over t ime. I f we mulat e and share knowledge and t o updat e and improve it over t ime. I f we
begin now and t ake advant age of t he new t echnologies, perhaps in a gener begin now and t ake advant age of t he new t echnologies, perhaps in a gener begin now and t ake advant age of t he new t echnologies, perhaps in a gener begin now and t ake advant age of t he new t echnologies, perhaps in a gener a aa a- -- -
t ion t he same can be t rue of t eaching. t ion t he same can be t rue of t eaching. t ion t he same can be t rue of t eaching. t ion t he same can be t rue of t eaching.
! !! ! 35 ! !! ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
The West Virginia Story:
Technology Advances Learning and Teaching
Soleda d Ma cKinnon
Inter-American Development Bank
Putting hardware in a room without training teachers or oth-
erwise supporting the integration of technology into the
classroom is not enough for the advancement of learning and
teaching. It is the collective effect of the several variables
that compose the model that make a difference. West Vir-
ginia’s Basic Skills/Computer Education (BS/CE) program
marks the first time that a long-term statewide learning tech-
nology program has been assessed for its effectiveness. The
program aimed at using the computer as a tool for improving
basic skills and for providing comprehensive teacher training
in using computers in the classroom. The effective use of
learning technology has led directly to significant gains in
math, reading, and language arts skills in West Virginia.
However, educators and policymakers need to interpret re-
This article is based on the report The West Virginia Story:
Achievement Gains From a Statewide Comprehensive In-
structional Technology Program commissioned by the
Milken Exchange on Education Technology to Professor D.
Mann from Teachers College at Columbia University, Pro-
fessor C. Shakeshaft from Hofstra University, and a team of
Des cr iption of the Pr ogr a m
The Basic Skills/Computer Education (BS/CE) program was
authorized in 1989-90 and, beginning with the kindergarten
class of 1990-91. Schools installed hardware and software,
and teacher training began.
A solid planning effort was vital to the success of this pro-
gram. The creation and approval of county and school tech-
nology plans, based on input from School Technology
Teams, is the first requirement for a county’s eligibility to
spend project funds. The West Virginia Department of Edu-
cation (WVDE) Office of Technology and the contract ven-
dor provide assistance to schools in developing plans for
implementation of systems and services.
County and school plans take into consideration the technol-
ogy already in place at the schools and the curriculum needs
of the schools. Existing technology is integrated where it is
compatible and cost-effective to do so. Legacy technology
coexists with new technology as long as it reasonably can do
so. Counties and schools are responsible for determining the
hardware, software, and services to be procured from the
contract for each school based upon a plan approved by the
The program consists of three basic components.
(1) Softwa r e tha t focus e s on the Sta te ’s ba s ic
s k il ls goa l s in r e a ding, la ngua ge a r ts , a nd
ma the ma tics . The project provides computers for
both classroom and lab use with instructional software
aligned to instructional goals and objectives. The tech-
nology is delivered as a turnkey solution that is stan-
dardized across the state.
(2) Enough computer s in the s chools s o tha t a ll
s tudents wi ll be a ble to ha ve ea s y a nd r egula r
a cce s s to the ba s ic s k il ls s oftwa r e . Funds for the
BS/CE program are currently allocated to counties on a
net enrollment basis. Since 1990, West Virginia's BS/CE
has placed more than 29,000 computers in K-6 class-
rooms. Each year and beginning with kindergarten, at a
cost of about $ 7 million per year, the State of West Vir-
ginia provided every elementary school with enough
equipment so that each classroom serving the grade co-
hort of children targeted that year might have three or
four computers, a printer and a school-wide, networked
file server. Schools could choose to deploy the comput-
ers in labs and centers or distribute them directly to
classrooms. As the 1990-91 kindergarten class went up
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the grades, so did the teachers and software chosen from
either IBM or Jostens Learning.
(3) Pr ofe s s iona l de ve lopme nt for te a che r s in the
us e of the s oftwa r e a nd the us e of computer s
in gener a l. Teachers have the availability of statewide
support through both a statewide help desk and the sup-
port services of the RESAs. Teachers can control the
delivery of the content from their classrooms while ac-
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
enhance and broaden the application of technology. On-
going staff development allows teachers to set improve-
ment goals specific to technology. However, the pro-
gram has changed delivery of instruction to a different
model that is center-based, constructivist in nature, and
open to growth and enhancement.
Res ea r ch Methods
Data were collected from all fifth graders (n=950) in 18 ele-
mentary schools that were selected to represent the range of
variables that might influence technology use and student
achievement, e.g., intensivity of BS/CE use, software vendor,
student prior achievement and sociodemography. The 1996-
97 fifth graders had the most complete test score records and
were the first cohort to have had the consistent availability of
BS/CE across their entire school experience. The sample size
supports generalization at the 95% level of statistical confi-
dence. Data were both quantitative (state and publisher’s test
files, survey results) and qualitative (on-site field documen-
tation, case analysis, interview results).
Student test data were scaled scores on the Stanford-9
achievement test. Because scaled scores are normed against a
nationally representative group they are appropriate for com-
parison purposes and for the computation of gain scores.
Researchers used factor analysis to search for input phenom-
ena that were grouped both conceptually and in terms of re-
spondent perceptions and that also were related to variation
in student test scores. The three components of this empiri-
cally-derived model—access, attitude, and training—are
similar to what leaders in instructional technology advocate.
To examine the relationship between the BS/CE experience
and student achievement, gain scores on the Stanford-9 were
computed for each student from 1996-97 to 1997-98. Addi-
tionally, for each student, data were gathered for each of the
regression model components, which measured
(a) software and computer availability and use,
(b) attitudes toward computers, and
(c) teacher professional development and involvement in
technology basic skills implementation decisions.
With the student as the unit of analysis, the researchers ex-
amined the relationship between how much of each of the
model variables that student had experienced and her or his
gain scores on the Stanford-9.
West Virginia’s Basic Skills/Computer Education program
has had a positive impact on student achievement, as detailed
in the study released by the researchers. The program was
cited for its effective use of technology that led directly to
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.
The study also noted that educational gains through technol-
ogy were cost-effective and increased socio-economic and
gender equity. BS/CE was found more cost-effective than
other interventions, including class-size reduction. In addi-
tion, the study found that the BS/CE program was successful
in equalizing opportunity for low-income and rural students,
particularly for those children who do not have computers at
home. Further, the study found, in opposition to other widely
reported observations, that girls and boys had equal access to
computers, thus promoting gender equity.
Additional outcomes of the sustained implementation of in-
struction technology include: participant schools' ability to
try out new productivity tools; improvement of public atti-
tude to schools; positioning of West Virginia's children as
"knowledge workers" in a technologically demanding econ-
omy and workforce.
The West Virginia Story: Achievement Gains from a State-
wide Comprehensive Instructional Technology Program
documents the following reasons for the success of the
• Clear, defined focus on the teaching of the basic skills
• Implementation of a critical mass of computers to ensure
• Standardization of computer hardware and software
• Turnkey approach to providing hardware, software, ca-
bling, professional development, installation, and sup-
! !! ! 37 ! !! ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
The Basic Skills program, which is part of a larger systemic
reform in education in the State of West Virginia, is gaining
even greater acceptance as time goes on. The growth in stu-
dent achievement to which it contributes continues.
“ The BS/CE program deserves our scrutiny because of its
scale, consistency, and focus,” said Cheryl Lemke, executive
director of the Milken Exchange. “The issues of system de-
sign, training, technology capacity, technical support, and
means of measurement are all powerfully present in the West
Virginia experience, and provide important lessons for other
states making investments in learning technology.” Addi-
tionally, the researchers believe that part of the explanation
for BS/CE’s success is the defined focus of its implementa-
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
among hundreds of vendors to hundreds of schools (and of-
ten, to thousands of teachers).
Despite the results, the Milken Exchange urged that educa-
tors and policymakers cautiously interpret the West Virginia
findings for these reasons.
• BS/CE was launched before powerful computers, high
speed transmission lines and the Internet were available
in schools. Today’s technology can support a much
wider array of instructional applications.
• BS/CE was designed to accommodate the learning and
teaching realities of West Virginia. That may not make it
appropriate for every district or state where the charac-
teristics of learners and teachers may be quite different.
As other states consider instructional technology as an agent
of improvement, it would also be interesting to add the fol-
lowing question: Is it possible that, in addition to test score
gains, educational innovations can help position children for
a technologically demanding economy, society, and polity?
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.
Milken Family Foundation (2002). West Virginia study results.
“ The is s ues of s ys tem des ign, tr a in-
ing, technology ca pa city, technica l
s uppor t, a nd mea ns of mea s ur ement
a r e a ll power fully pr es ent in the Wes t
Vir ginia exper ience , a nd pr ovide im-
por ta nt les s ons for other s ta tes ma king
inves tments in lea r ning technology. ”
! !! ! 38 ! !! ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
Usi ng Techno l o gy t o Pr o m o t e Cr i t i cal Thi nki ng Usi ng Techno l o gy t o Pr o m o t e Cr i t i cal Thi nki ng Usi ng Techno l o gy t o Pr o m o t e Cr i t i cal Thi nki ng Usi ng Techno l o gy t o Pr o m o t e Cr i t i cal Thi nki ng
Thr o ugh t he N at ur al Sci en ces Thr o ugh t he N at ur al Sci en ces Thr o ugh t he N at ur al Sci en ces Thr o ugh t he N at ur al Sci en ces
Sarah S. Thompson, Outreach Coordinator
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
“Look at him! He’s carrying a nut in his mouth!” One of the
students is gesturing wildly above his head. I look over just
in time to catch an acorn woodpecker flashing by, an acorn
tucked securely in its beak. Another 10 year old boy raises
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-
ing to. I’ll show you in a minute.” This exchange takes place
while hiking in Griffith Park in Los Angeles, an oasis of
green in the middle of concrete sprawl. Fourth grade stu-
dents from McKinley Avenue Elementary School are partici-
pating in Earth Odyssey, bird watching and seeing all urban
wildlife in a whole new way.
Earth Odyssey is a field ecology outreach program, devel-
oped by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
and supported by the American Honda Corporation, in which
students explore the biological diversity of their environ-
ment. By documenting the bird, invertebrate and plant
populations in two different habitats, students begin to un-
derstand the importance of scientific research in protecting
and preserving natural spaces. Earth Odyssey maintains a
web site, www.earth-odyssey.org, at which teachers and stu-
dents not only enter their own information, but also analyze
information collected by other students from other schools in
Los Angeles. Students realize that they are part of a citywide
program and that the sharing of information is an integral
part of science.
I n t he Scho o l yar d an d i n t he Fi el d I n t he Scho o l yar d an d i n t he Fi el d I n t he Scho o l yar d an d i n t he Fi el d I n t he Scho o l yar d an d i n t he Fi el d
In the first step of this month long program, a museum in-
structor visits a classroom to teach students how to collect
and record information on living things. The instructor also
gives the students the password and school code they will
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
requires a password.) The rest of the visit is spent in the
schoolyard, pointing at a western gull circling overhead or
house sparrows pecking under the lunch tables. Each student
receives a field notebook containing data sheets on which
they write their own observations of bird species and their
behavior. In schoolyards in Los Angeles, we have observed
as many as twelve different kinds of birds, illustrating that
many bird species have been able to adapt to the rigors of
urban existence. Because identifying birds by children is an
inexact science, (“eagles” are often reported flying over the
school) we concentrate our efforts on noticing differences
and similarities in birds to get an idea of the number of spe-
cies, rather than identifying the bird by name. If children
cannot identify a bird, he or she is encouraged to describe the
bird’s size, shape, color and behavior on the data sheet.
After observing birds,
students collect inver-
tebrates in the school-
yard. Even on play-
grounds that seem to
consist solely of con-
crete, there are bushes
or a garden in which
we can search for tiny
working in cooperative
groups place spiders,
ladybugs, aphids, and
the occasional honeybee into plastic collecting vials and rec-
ord the invertebrate’s exact location. A visitor to the school-
yard would see groups of children swinging nets through
grassy areas, shaking bushes to dislodge spiders, and scoop-
ing up fistfuls of earth to find pillbugs and earwigs. They
reluctantly return to the classroom to complete scientific il-
lustrations of the invertebrates. Having students collect the
insects and spiders is the easy part; getting them to think
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
and field guides to learn more about them. Every schoolyard
is different: some have well-watered gardens, while others
are home only to those invertebrates which can survive in the
driest of conditions. After the visit, the invertebrates are re-
leased back into the area where they were collected.
A week or two after the students have conducted their
schoolyard investigations, they join museum instructors on a
field trip to Griffith Park, the largest park in the city of Los
Angeles and home to many native animal and plant species.
The goals of this field trip are to collect a set of biodiversity
data from a second location, but also to expose students to
the nature found in open spaces. Museum instructors lead
both directed activities, such as observing and identifying
birds and invertebrates, but also open-ended activities such
as an interpretive nature hike. They capitalize on those
"teachable moments" in which they see a western fence liz-
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,
or other open spaces in the city. Those who may have visited
the park for a family picnic or to play basketball now see a
wilderness area, teeming with birds and snakes.
During their field trip, students engage in some of the same
data collection activities that they did in their schoolyard,
enabling them to get started immediately and cutting down
on “the newness factor.” Instructors then add a third activity,
helping students lay a 30 meter transect line and counting the
diversity of plants they observe along that line. They use
brightly colored hula-hoops in place of square meter
quadrats, and use symbols to plot the diversity and density of
plant species on a map of their hoop. Before and after this
activity instructors ask students about the relationship be-
tween plants and birds and invertebrates, and about the non-
local plants that are found on most school campuses. Stu-
dents make the connection between green plants and healthy
After a tiring morning of hiking and observing and writing,
students break for lunch. Some of the lunch tables are right
under sycamore trees used as acorn ‘granaries’ by wood-
peckers, and across a field filled with pocket gopher holes.
After lunch, students complete another set of insect drawings
to document their catch and share data and trip highlights
with each other.
Back at Scho o l Back at Scho o l Back at Scho o l Back at Scho o l
Perhaps the most important component of the Earth Odyssey
outreach program is our second visit to the classroom to help
the students compare the two sets of data they have collected,
and in some cases to enter data into the web site (not every
classroom has internet access). During this step, students
expand their learning by employing scientific analysis: stu-
dents look critically at the environmental conditions present
when they observed birds and collected invertebrates. Mu-
seum instructors ask open-ended questions to get the students
thinking about factors that might influence the amount of
biodiversity in the two habitats, such as sun, open space,
water and the presence of people. Students can analyze
similarities and differences in the data sets, and then write
about their findings. Students calculate the "species rich-
ness" by adding up the species they observed in the school-
yard and the park, and comparing those two numbers. Most
often, the species richness, or biodiversity, of the field site is
higher than the school site, but not always. Throughout the
school year, the conditions of the field sites vary and every
visit to the school is different, so instructors are trained to
discuss seasonality, migration patterns and any other variable
that affects animal populations.
If the students are not able to enter data in the classroom with
the instructor, they do this step in the computer lab or at
home. Students transfer the data from their field notebooks
into the central database of the website. They enter envi-
ronmental data such as temperature and weather, and of
course the date and time. Students may enter a bird or insect
species name or their description of that animal. Because
multiple students from the same cooperative group may be
entering the same data, the web site randomly selects one set
of data from each named group to display. For example, if
there are 4 sets of data from the ‘mockingbirds,’ only one
student’s data will be used to generate the bar graph.
After submitting their data, students are encouraged to com-
pare and contrast their findings with their student colleagues
across town and in the future, across the country. Looking at
bar graphs of species richness, students explore how seasons,
weather, urban growth, and geographic location affect bird,
invertebrate and plant populations as they compare their
findings with the findings of others. Students in east Los
Angeles may report mockingbirds in their schoolyard, as will
students in west Los Angeles, 20 miles west. Students may
see red tail hawks throughout the year, but meadowlarks only
a few months per year. Students’ critical thinking skills are
honed by examining these comparisons, leading them to
think in a more holistic manner. We are currently working to
complete an ‘electronic field guide’ for students to use as a
resource for species commonly seen in Los Angeles when
entering data into the web site, adding another level to their
experience as scientists. We hope that students will realize
that their actions and the actions of society as a whole do
have an impact on the populations of organisms such as
birds, invertebrates and plants, and should make informed,
responsible choices when they are adults.
Technology makes the data from diverse sources and geo-
graphic locations for students available through this data-
base-driven web site. Without computers and the Internet,
students would not be able to access information from
around Los Angeles and compare the data with their own.
The data collected by this web site are not directly used by
scientists, but are instead for the benefit of students, and
therefore more geared toward student sensibilities and level
of comprehension. The data are in terms that students easily
understand, mostly because they themselves have gone
through the process of collecting similar information.
Educators across the country may sign up for this free pro-
gram via an on-line form to gain full access to the web site,
teaching materials and lesson plans, and student-submitted
data for use with their classrooms. It is hoped that through
this technology-based component of the Earth Odyssey pro-
gram, students will gain critical thinking skills and a holistic
mindset. These are important goals of the Natural History
Museum of Los Angeles County, and such goals should be
on every educator’s mind, for today’s students are tomor-
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Pr eser vi ng Cul t ur e i n a Technol ogi cal Envi r onment
edna@t el hi .c o.i l
Fr om t he I ce Age t o Fr om t he I ce Age t o Fr om t he I ce Age t o Fr om t he I ce Age t o
Hi gh-Tech Hi gh-Tech Hi gh-Tech Hi gh-Tech
I belong to the “Ice Age” gen-
eration. When I was a child,
there was no refrigerator in our
home. We had an icebox. We
used to carry ice blocks in a
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-
phone conversation- a happening.
Even when I grew up, a telephone line was hard to get. One
had to wait for years to get one. When we were Bar Mitzvah
or Bat Mitzvah, we usually got a watch. My four-year-old
grandchild has a few watches. Only those who were rich, in
those days, could afford a transistor radio. I got one the other
day buying a 4-liter Coca-Cola bottle.
I watched television for the first time when I arrived in the
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
ten years ago.
The tremendous technological changes that flooded our lives
in the last fifty or sixty years are very quick and significant.
When a new technology and especially one that has to do
with communications is created and becomes wide spread, it
brings about changes in tools, in ways of thinking, in social
processes and in social structures. The “invasion” of comput-
ers into our lives opens new possibilities and gives room for
Computer usage and mastery is mainly in the hands of the
young generation, whose status in society has undergone
much change with the introduction of the new technologies.
The technological revolution, so it seems, has passed over
the older members in our society, and mainly the Third
Whereas the older members seem to be living in a “waste
land” as far as technology is concerned, the young ones seem
to be born holding the “mouse cord” in their hand. They
speak “high-tech” as their mother tongue and their natural
environment is a technological one.
The I nt er gener at i on Pr ogr am The I nt er gener at i on Pr ogr am The I nt er gener at i on Pr ogr am The I nt er gener at i on Pr ogr am
and t he New Technol and t he New Technol and t he New Technol and t he New Technol o oo ogi es gi es gi es gi es
In this situation, the meeting between the two polaric groups
- the young ones, the speakers of “High- Tech” and the much
older ones for whom the world of computer and the Internet
is an unknown land and the language of this land is foreign
and difficult - is most appropriate. In this meeting, between
the young and the old, it is the young ones who teach the
language of the new country - the land of technology - to the
For the last 5 years, I have been implementing a program I
initiated and started called The Intergeneration Program and
the New Technologies. In this program, young students,
grades 5-9, tutor seniors at computer and Internet skills and
learn from their older students a chapter in the latter’s per-
sonal history. Together they write a digital version of the
story; they scan
search for informa-
tion on the net as
well as in other
sources and soon
will upload these
stories to a desig-
nated site, on the
An Af r i can pr over b
says t hat when an
ol d per son di es an
ent i r e l i br ar y i s set
on f i r e.
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An African proverb says that when an old person dies an
entire library is set on fire.
In the intergeneration program, we preserve whole libraries,
treasured in the minds of the elderly, by means of the new
technologies. Concurrently with the rapidly changing tech-
nological-cultural reality, the demographic reality of the
Third Agers changes as well. The senior population is ever
on the rise. On the one hand, our society admires youth, but
it also yearns for something that used to be and is gone. One
could understand this yearning against the background of the
ever changing technology and the incessant innovations.
There is a yearning for ever lasting values: there is a feeling
of weariness from this rapidity of technological changes and
there is a dire desire for holding on to a meaningful narrative,
one that will last, that won’t change in front of our eyes. It is
the Third Agers who could supply us with this narrative that
connects between the past and the present - between what
used to be, what is, and what is going to be.
The Intergeneration Program started in one school, the Alon
School at Mate Yehuda in Israel. Now, almost five years
later, it has expanded and many middle schools across the
country are implementing it. I must admit that each time I
watch the bond created between the new generation and the
Third Agers moves me very much. These meetings endow
the two generations with interest and meaning; the postmod-
ern society is a society in which relationships and connec-
tions are loose. However, a society draws its strength from
the bond between its members: in the Intergeneration Pro-
gram: Preserving Heritage in a Technological Environment,
we strengthen intergeneration connections and existing heri-
tage knowledge and create new connections, where they are
lacking. In other words, the program aims at connecting the
various sectors and generations in Israeli society and at pre-
serving the stories of the past of its senior members by the
new technological skills of its young members.
A Meet i ng of Cul t ur es A Meet i ng of Cul t ur es A Meet i ng of Cul t ur es A Meet i ng of Cul t ur es
This meeting between these two
groups, very apart age-wise, is
also a meeting between two
cultures: it’s a meeting between
a linear-sequential culture of the
Third Agers, and an associative,
multi- directional, skipping and
surfing culture of the young
The difference between these
two cultures is also the differ-
ence between a “real,” “here,"
concrete culture and a virtual one. The Third Agers are
members of the “Concrete- Here” culture, whereas the cul-
ture of the youngsters is somewhere out there, in Cyberspace
- sitting on a chair in a small limited physical environment,
while the spirit roams in the unlimited space of the cyber:
visiting museums, meeting people, going on expeditions and
This meeting is also a meeting between cultures that treat
time differently: The information age is an age of immedi-
acy, constant updating and simultaneity. I can hardly do one
thing at a time. Today’s youngsters use the computer, watch
television, listen to music and prepare their homework, and
all that simultaneously.
The meeting between the seniors and the young ones, miti-
gates the franticness of the young, refutes prejudice, and en-
courages and fosters patience and tolerance. As for the older
members in our society, it energizes and stimulates their
minds and zest for life, opens new worlds and brings back
the joy of life as well as a feeling of belonging.
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Raising Achievement and Lower ing Cost s
wit h Technology in Higher Educat ion
Gr egg B. Jackson
Associat e Pr ofessor of Educat ion Policy
The Geor ge Washingt on Univer sit y
Many have argued that technology can be a tool for raising
educational achievement. Several have argued that technol-
ogy can cut educational costs. Only a few visionaries have
seriously suggested that it can do both.
The Pew Foundation has been funding a coordinated effort to
see if universities can increase the effectiveness of their large
introductory courses and reduce the instructional costs.
Three rounds of grants have been awarded, with ten colleges
and universities receiving awards in each round. Final re-
ports are now in from the first round. What do the results
Why Aim for Bot h?
The Pew Foundation became convinced that increasing
achievement while simultaneously lowering costs was criti-
cal to sustained change. Most public colleges and universi-
ties in the United State have been under pressure to expand
enrollments, improve the quality of education at the under-
graduate level, and to do so with level and sometimes de-
clining budgets. Similar pressures exist in many European
countries and in developing countries. In addition, the Foun-
dation observed that many innovations in higher education
that require higher operating costs than traditional instruction
are not retained for long.
What Was Pew’s St r at egy?
The Pew Foundation began the effort by synthesizing what
was already known about improving instruction and about
education technology utilization.
The Foundation decided to select applicant universities that
not only had promising ideas for improving instructional
productivity, but also had institutional and target course
“readiness” for success. Institutional readiness was deter-
mined by the following eight criteria:
1. Institution must really want to increase achievement and
2. It should be committed to using technology strategically,
rather than just making it available to all faculty;
3. It must have made computing part of the campus culture;
4. It needs a mature information technology infrastructure;
5. It should have a substantial number of faculty who al-
ready have some experience integrating computer-based
instruction into existing courses;
6. It should be committed to learner-centered education;
7. It must be preparing students to use technology in edu-
8. It must be prepared to forge partnerships among the fac-
ulty, IT staff, and administrators for the planning and
execution of the course redesign.
The Foundation decided to target its support for large intro-
ductory classes such as English, Mathematics, Psychology,
Sociology, Biology, Chemistry, and Statistics. Those
courses generally have the largest enrollments; they tend to
have a standardized curriculum; the learning outcomes tend
to be more easily delineated; they provide a foundation for
students’ subsequent study; and there is often dissatisfaction
among the faculty with how well students do in these
courses. Other course readiness criteria included the fol-
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1. There must be good potential for substituting technology
for part of the normal instructor time;
2. The course redesign must be decided collectively by a
program, department, or school, rather than one faculty
3. The IT enhanced course must be able to use existing
materials (either in use at the institution or available
from elsewhere) to avoid devoting considerable time to
The Foundation sought to steer the course redesign away
from merely presenting recorded lectures by computer and
toward interactive learning, hands-on learning (even if
simulated), and collaborative learning among the students.
They wanted self-paced instruction adapted to different
learning styles, frequent assessments with feedback so that
students would know what they had and hadn’t mastered,
and extra help when students needed it.
What Did t he Gr ant ees Do?
And Wer e They Successful?
The University of Southern Maine redesigned its Introduc-
tory Psychology course, which enrolls about 850 students
annually. It was formerly taught in lecture sections of about
75 students with no recitation or discussion sessions. The
failure rate had been about 30 percent. The redesigned
course replaced half of the lecture time with Web-based in-
struction. There were interactive learning modules, quizzes
with immediate feedback, and various activities centered on
a research study that collected data from students in the
course. Teaching assistants interacted with students online.
There was a statistically significant 10 percent increase in
pre-post test scores compared to traditional instruction. The
percentage of students who failed, withdrew or received an
incomplete declined from 28 percent to 19 percent. Students
reported spending about two hours more time studying for
the course each week and indicated greater satisfaction with
the course. Costs per student were reduced by 22 percent.
Virginia Tech redesigned its Linear Algebra course replacing
the forty face-to-face sections with computer delivered in-
struction in its 500-station computer center that serves the
entire student body. The instructional aids include an elec-
tronic textbook, interactive tutorials, computation examples,
and online quizzes with immediate feedback. This large
computer lab is staffed for long hours by several rotating
faculty members and teaching assistants who are available to
assist students when they are having difficulties. Scores on
the final exam increased modestly from 63.5 percent correct
for the traditional instruction to 68.1 percent for the redes-
igned course, but some changes had been made in the exams
used so it is not clear whether they were entirely comparable.
In addition, it is not reported whether the differences were
statistically significant. Costs were reduced by a dramatic 77
Indiana-Purdue University at Indianapolis redesigned 13
classes of introductory sociology, combining them into one
super class of about 2,000 students. Formerly, a faculty
member, sometimes with the aid of teaching assistants had
taught each class. Discussions of the course content were
conducted on-line. Extensive interactive quizzes were de-
veloped so students could assess their understanding of the
course content. The course was modified to include the con-
duct of a survey study of the participating students, and the
students participated in designing the study, conducting it,
and analyzing the data. They do that partly by working indi-
vidually and partly by working collaboratively. This allows
for the application of sociology concepts in an engaging
manner, as well as hands-on experience with doing socio-
logical research. The results, compared with prior semesters
of traditional teaching, with regression controls for possible
differences in students, showed statistically significant im-
provements in achievement for only one of three demonstra-
tion semesters. Course dropout rates declined from 39 per-
cent before the course redesign to 33, 30, and 25 percent
during the three demonstration semesters. Costs per student
were reduced 20 percent.
Of the 10 Pew demonstrations that are now complete, five
showed significant improvements in learning, four showed
no significant differences, and the results of one were incon-
clusive. Five showed decreased withdrawal rates and flunk-
ing rates. All 10 institutions showed reduced costs per stu-
dent—an average of 35 percent. All reported that they would
retain the new instructional approach, but some intended to
refine it some.
It should be noted that the reported cost savings were some-
what over-estimated, although most would have been notable
even with appropriate estimates. The estimates did not in-
clude a share of the IT infrastructure at each university, but
rather only expenditures for the additional hardware, soft-
ware and IT personnel acquired specifically for course re-
design and delivery. That is not consistent with standard
cost-accounting practices. While it is true that modest use of
under-utilized IT resources does not impose additional costs,
many universities have been experiencing rapidly increasing
demands for IT that outstrip their resources, and there is no
evidence that underutilization preceded any of these demon-
strations. In addition, any attempt to scale up these demon-
strations to many courses on a campus would require more
hardware, additional IT staff, and perhaps higher software
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The cost savings of these demonstrations are impressive, but
the learning gains are disappointing.
The Pew Foundation had planned these demonstrations care-
fully in hopes of maximizing their success. It limited grants
to universities that were already technology-rich and ap-
peared to be technology-wise. The grant awardees were
asked to follow the guidelines several experts thought would
optimize learning and minimize costs. Awardees were given
about a year to redesign the courses before starting to teach
them and evaluating them.
A pessimistic interpretation of the disappointing achievement
gains would be that despite favorable circumstances, these
demonstrations merely added to the large body of literature
on technology mediated distance learning suggesting it is no
more or less effective than traditional instruction.
mistic interpretation of the results would be that this is only
the first of three rounds of grants that Pew has made, and that
lessons can be learned from the mixed results of the first
round to help improve the results of the 20 demonstrations
currently under way. One should also note that the cost sav-
ings are impressive, even if somewhat overestimated.
What might be done to increase the chances of improving
learning and cutting costs? The following are three possi-
Fir st , using comput er s t o allow st udent s and
t eacher s t o do at a dist ance what t hey can do face-
t o-face is not likely t o impr ove lear ning. Several of
these demonstrations made use of online discussions and
electronically mediated project-based collaborative learning.
Those may be less expensive at a distance, but there is no
reason to think they will foster learning more than the same
activities in classroom settings.
Second, sever al of t he demonst r at ions used quizzes
t hat pr ovide st udent s wit h immediat e feedback on
t heir under st anding and skill mast er y, but t his is
alr eady widely pr ovided by t ext book quizzes t hat ar e
accompanied by an answer key. Computer assisted
instruction could go beyond the capabilities of texts if it pro-
vided the following: debriefing on why a given answer is
correct, explanation of the mistakes commonly made when
reaching each of the wrong answers, references to the in-
structional materials that covered a given matter, and addi-
tional references to supplemental instructional materials that
students might want to consult if the primary materials con-
tinue to be inadequate for them. Preparing such debriefings,
however, requires considerable time by content specialists,
and this would somewhat reduce the cost savings.
Finally, t he Pew Foundat ion’s pr ohibit ion against
ext ensive development of inst r uct ional mat er ials,
was wise, in one sense, because such mat er ial de-
velopment oft en t akes mor e t ime and effor t t han
or iginally ant icipat ed, but t he pr ohibit ion also pr e-
cluded t he development of int elligent t ut or ing sys-
t ems, which have pr oven capable of acceler at ing
and enhancing lear ning. See "Intelligent Tutoring Sys-
tems" in the January-March 2002 issue of TechKnowLogia.
These systems, however, currently are expensive to develop,
and probably will not achieve cost savings unless many uni-
versities use a given system.
Boosting learning substantially while dramatically reducing
costs is an appealing vision. It remains to be seen if applica-
tions of IT technologies will achieve the vision.
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.
Russell, T. L. (1999). The no significant difference phenomena. Montgomery, AL: IDECC.
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Benchmarking Science Educat ion Sof t ware:
LESS THAN MEETS THE EYE LESS THAN MEETS THE EYE LESS THAN MEETS THE EYE LESS THAN MEETS THE EYE
Abha Shri vast ava
I NTRODUCTI ON
Many countries are expanding the use of computers in
schools in an effort to improve instruction. The hopes for
benefits from computers for the teaching of science are per-
haps greatest where a shortage of well-qualified teachers is
often greatest and where the need for laboratories and
equipment make the subject expensive to teach.
Instructional technology has evolved from simple CAI (com-
puter-aided instruction) to interactive multimedia CD-ROMs.
Currently, there are more than 10,000 English language
software products intended for instructional or educational
use with microcomputers in schools and in homes. Un-
doubtedly there are thousands more titles in other languages.
How good is this software? Does it cover well the most im-
portant content? Does it use pedagogical strategies that are
likely to enhance real understanding? And do students and
teachers easily use it? This article will briefly summarize the
results of a study that examined how well the allegedly best
English language science education software measures up to
the national standards for the teaching of science as specified
by the American Association for the Advancement of Sci-
Deciding which curricular materials to use is one of the most
important professional judgments that educators make. In
nations around the world, Ministries of Education, State de-
partments, and local district advisory committees review and
recommend textbooks. Their decisions influence instruction
for years to come.
Some science education journals have published reviews of
individual software packages and some science education
resource centers have provided similar information. These
reviews, however, have rarely judged the software by nation-
ally established standards for science education.
THE AAAS BENCHMARKS
The American Association for the Advancement of Science
(AAAS) is the premier association of American scientists.
Its Science for All Americans indicates what all students
should know and be able to do in science, mathematics, and
technology by the time they graduate from high school, and
its Benchmarks for Science Literacy specifies learning goals
and desirable pedagogy for grades K–12. These documents
are the result of years of research by a vast team of scientists
and science educators.
The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Develop-
ment (OECD) has these documents as key to "single most
visible attempt at science education reform in American his-
tory" (OECD, 1996 as cited in AAAS, n.d.). AAAS’s sci-
ence education efforts have attracted the interest of several
other countries. For instance, fifteen mentor teachers from
Panama attended a professional development workshop
hosted by AAAS, as the first step in an ongoing relationship
between Panama and the Association (AAAS, 1999).
The AAAS Benchmarks indicate that a coherent set of
well-understood facts and concepts provides a solid base for
further learning. It urges that science instruction focus be
limited in number of facts and concepts that are of lasting
significance. Quality, not quantity, is the priority. The
premises of the AAAS science education reform efforts are
• AAAS promotes literacy in science, mathematics, and
technology in order to help people live interesting, re-
sponsible, and productive lives. In a culture increasingly
pervaded by science, mathematics, and technology, sci-
ence literacy requires understandings and habits of mind
that enable citizens to grasp what those enterprises are
up to, to make some sense of how the natural and de-
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-
cal arguments, and uncertainties.
• Curriculum reform should be shaped by our vision of the
lasting knowledge and skills we want students to acquire
by the time they become adults. This ought to include
both a common core of learning—the focus of Bench-
marks—and learning that addresses the particular needs
and interests of individual students.
• If we want students to learn science, mathematics, and
technology well, we must radically reduce the sheer
amount of material now being covered. The overstuffed
curriculum places a premium on the ability to commit
terms, algorithms, and generalizations to short-term
memory and impedes the acquisition of understanding.
Goals should be stated to reveal the intended character
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
contexts so that they can be used together in life outside
of school. (AAAS, 1993, pp. xi-xii)
The Benchmarks are intended help educators decide what to
include and exclude from a core curriculum, when to teach it,
and why. The Benchmarks are divided into the following
sections: the nature of science, the nature of mathematics, the
nature of technology, the physical setting, the living envi-
ronment, the human organism, human society, the designed
world, the mathematical world, historical perspectives,
common themes, and habits of mind. Within each section are
separate benchmarks for grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12.
The sequence of benchmarks for any given topic reflects a
logical progression of ideas, with benchmarks for earlier
grades anticipating the more advanced benchmarks for later
grades (Nelson, 1998). For instance, the benchmarks for
“The Physical Setting” in the elementary grades (K-2, 3-5),
include “the earth is one of several planets that orbit the sun,
and the moon orbits the earth” and “… the rotation of the
earth on its axis every 24 hours produces the night- and-day
cycle… .” Then the benchmarks for the middle grades (6-8)
indicate that “because the earth turns daily on an axis that is
tilted relative to the plane of the earth’s yearly orbit around
the sun, sunlight falls more intensely on different parts of the
earth… .” Finally, the benchmarks for grades 9-12 include “
weather and climate involve the transfer of energy in and out
of the atmosphere… ."
Many nations specify the educational content to be taught in
the schools, in all discipline areas. The AAAS has gone be-
yond that and also defined seven criteria for the quality of
instruction. These have been derived from research on
learning and teaching and on the craft knowledge of experi-
THE EVALUATI ON OF SCI ENCE EDU-
CATI ON SOFTWARE
AAAS had previously developed a multi-step procedure for
judging textbooks against its Benchmarks. That procedure,
with a few small modifications, was applied to ten widely
used science instruction CD-ROMs that were chosen from a
sampling frame comprising 17 bestsellers and 30 highly rec-
ommended software packages. Two investigators worked
independently applying the procedure to the same software,
and then met to reconcile the few differences in their code.
Details on the study procedures and the adequacy of the
content, pedagogy and usability of each of the ten software
packages analyzed in this study are available in another
source (Shrivastava, 2002). The general findings are summa-
Cont ent Fi ndi ngs
The entire sample of ten software packages addressed only
53 of the approximately 270 benchmarks for the targeted
grade level. On an average, each software title addressed 6.7
benchmarks. It is not desirable for a given software package
to address many benchmarks, because that could require do-
ing so superficially. However, the limited number of
benchmarks covered by the sample of 10 software packages
suggests that educators may have difficulty finding software
that addresses some important science topics.
On an average, only 25 percent of the software content was
found to align with the grade-appropriate AAAS bench-
marks. The alignment for each of the ten software titles
ranged from 0-65 percent. Additionally, five out of ten CD-
ROMs were found to contain some benchmark-related con-
tent (12- 45 percent) pertaining to lower grades than the ones
mentioned in the titles. This suggests that widely used sci-
ence education software is focusing largely on content that is
considered unimportant by AAAS.
Even when the software did address a benchmark, it often
covered only some of the important ideas within the bench-
mark. The average coverage of a given bench was rated 1.8
on a four point scale where 1 = minimal coverage, 2 = me-
dium-well, 3 = moderately well and 4 = full coverage.
The ratings of various pedagogical criteria varied considera-
bly. High ratings were achieved by two of the criteria, “en-
gaging students with relevant phenomena” and “developing
and using scientific ideas.” Those ratings were 2.1 and 2.8
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
the sample software was successful in providing a variety of
phenomena to support benchmark ideas. The phenomena
chosen were on target in addressing the content of the
benchmark and were explicitly linked to the relevant bench-
mark ideas. Much of the sample was also successful in pro-
viding practical experiences that, although not firsthand, pro-
vided students with a vicarious sense of the phenomena
through multimedia presentations.
Satisfactory ratings were achieved by the criteria “introduc-
ing terms meaningfully.” This indicates that most of the
software fairly often introduced technical terms in conjunc-
tion with relevant experience, rather than just having students
memorize definitions of terms.
Low ratings were earned by the four other pedagogical crite-
ria: “attending to prerequisite knowledge and skills,” “pro-
moting student thinking about phenomena,” “assessing prog-
ress,” and “enhancing the learning environment.” Scores for
all ten software packages indicate that none strove to help
teachers or students identify prerequisite knowledge and
skills needed by students to learn the content being ad-
dressed. Likewise, there was little scope for students to re-
fine their understanding and interpretation—to do some
thinking and wondering about the science content with which
they just dealt. There was also very little assessment (or
none, in some CD-ROMs) to test and gauge whether the stu-
dents achieved the benchmark ideas. There was a severe lack
of appropriate and adequate problems and exercises, either at
the end of the lesson or embedded within the lesson.
Usabi l i t y
The CD-ROMs were relatively problem-free in installation
and running. The CD-ROMs rated “satisfactory” to “high”
on interface and on creativity, reflecting the technological
advances that have made software much more user-friendly
and imaginative in the use of color and animation. They fol-
lowed a logical and sequential format. Most of the CD-
ROMs, however, did not allow students to save their work or
to modify parameters for individual needs.
I MPLI CATI ONS
Use of computers in schools and homes has become com-
monplace in many industrialized countries and several de-
veloping countries have made large investments in comput-
ers for public schools. Many educational professionals have
believed that multimedia software would play a large part in
educational reform (Galbreath, 1992; Jost & Schneberger,
1994), and indeed educational software has become a big and
still growing industry.
The results of this study indicate that current widely avail-
able English-language science education CD-ROMs are by
no means adequate as the primary source of science educa-
tion. The software falls way short in its coverage of priority
knowledge and skills, and it has some serious pedagogical
shortcomings. Other evidence has also suggested that this
software is not a substitute for conventional curricula (Fen-
nimore, 1997; Harris, 1998).
This software, however, can be useful as a supplement to
good textbooks and teachers. It is particularly adept at en-
gaging students in science and helping them to develop and
use scientific ideas.
The results of this study strongly suggest that prior means of
identifying good science education software have been in-
adequate. Five of the CD-ROMs analyzed in this study were
drawn from a small number that have been highly recom-
mended, and the other five were drawn from among best
sellers. Despite that, all had serious shortcomings in content
coverage and pedagogy.
Education planners and administrators could make big mis-
takes in purchasing software if they rely on traditional re-
views and market popularity. They would be much better
served having some organization scrutinizing the software
using procedures similar to those used in this study (Shri-
vastava, 2002). If their curriculum guides align well with the
AAAS Benchmarks, the procedures could be used without
modification. If their curriculum guides do not align well
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 reviews. Once prepared, the reviews could be shared
widely with parents, libraries, and others who make inde-
pendent decisions about software purchases.
Policy makers may also wish to consider spurring software
developers to produce better science education software.
That could be done in several ways. If a country or state
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,
the software is likely to improve. National organizations
might bring together software developers, science educators,
scientists, and policy makers for an exchange of ideas and to
forge common understandings, much as has been done some
in the past with textbook publishers (AAAS, 2002).
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American Association for the Advancement of Science. (1989). Science for all Americans. New York: Oxford University
American Association for the Advancement of Science. (1993). Benchmarks for science literacy. New York: Oxford Univer-
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
American Association for the Advancement of Science. (n.d.). About Project 2061. Retrieved November 2002 from
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.]
Abha Shrivastava recently completed her doctoral studies in Education Policy at The George Washington University. She
can be reached at email@example.com
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INTERACTIVE TELEVISION AS AN EDUCATIONAL TOOL: INTERACTIVE TELEVISION AS AN EDUCATIONAL TOOL: INTERACTIVE TELEVISION AS AN EDUCATIONAL TOOL: INTERACTIVE TELEVISION AS AN EDUCATIONAL TOOL:
CONSUMER SATISFACTION AND EFFECTIVENESS
RMC Research Corporat ion
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.
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 int eract ive t elevision courses on st udent
sat isfact ion ( Jan/ Feb 2002) by Lorraine P. Ander-
son, St even R. Banks and Paul A. Leary. Journal of
Educat ion for Business, 77 ( 3) : 164-168.
Focus: To assess differences in course satisfaction between
students attending traditional on-campus classes and those
being instructed through distance learning using ITV.
Met hods: Review of student satisfaction surveys regarding
business courses provided by a North-American university
between autumn 1997 and summer 1999. The review in-
cluded surveys from 3,282 students. Of these, 2,812 had
received traditional (face-to-face) instruction, 315 attended
ITV-mediated classes at a host site (on-campus) and 155
attended ITV classes at a remote site (off-campus). The
authors report that the groups did not differ demographically.
Student satisfaction was analyzed using the Purdue Rating
Scale, an instrument with established validity and reliability.
Findings: Statistical analyses showed that the off-campus
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.
Differences were significant with 99% certainty level. De-
spite the fact that the same instructors taught the traditional
and the ITV classes, low satisfaction ratings from ITV off-
campus students were given to both the delivery system and
the quality of instructor.
Facult y percept ions of int eract ive t elevision inst ruc-
t ion ( Nov/ Dec 2001) by Robert Seay, Holly R.
Rudolph, and Don H. Chamberlain. Journal of
Educat ion for Business, 77 ( 2) : 99-105.
Focus: To examine instructors’ attitudes regarding ITV as a
means of delivering instruction, including their teaching ex-
perience and their perceptions about students and faculty
Met hods: Survey of faculty members in a rural U.S. uni-
versity who had taught at least one distance education course
via ITV from autumn 1990 through summer 1997. The sur-
vey was sent to 65 instructors for a response rate of 85%.
Approximately half of the participants had a doctoral or
comparable degree. The “typical” instructor had on average
17 years of experience as full time instructor and had taught
via ITV for three semesters. The survey included 22 ques-
tions regarding perceptions of faculty preparation and per-
formance as ITV instructors, student preparation and per-
formance, classroom participation and interaction, and deliv-
Findings: Of the 55 instructors who responded to the sur-
• 78% preferred to teach a traditional course rather than an
ITV-mediated class and 47% strongly opposed teaching
via ITV when a traditional course was an option
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• 83% agreed that an ITV course requires significantly
more preparation time than a traditional course does
(this perception was stronger among instructors of busi-
• 30% believed that they can adapt their personal teaching
styles to ITV with relative ease
• 56% were comfortable dealing with course management
issues at a distance (coordinating and controlling exams,
quizzes, homework, class handouts and classroom as-
signments) but overall, faculty members reported that
ITV teaching was more time-consuming than in-person
• 47% believed that they were not covering as much mate-
rial in an ITV class as in a traditional course and tech-
nology failures were mostly responsible for this problem
• 2/3 believed that students prefer a traditional course (this
response was significantly higher among business in-
structors and those with only one semester of ITV expe-
• 58% believed that ITV significantly restricts student
classroom participation but a similar proportion indi-
cated that they were changing their teaching style to in-
corporate more group work and presentation to increase
ITV students' engagement (business instructors were less
likely to use these strategies)
A comparison st udy of live inst ruct ion versus int er-
act ive t elevision for teaching MSW st udent s crit ical
t hinking skills ( Jul 2000) by Marie T. Hielk. Re-
search on Social Work Pract ice, 10 ( 4) : 400-416.
Focus: To compare the acquisition of critical thinking skills
between social work students enrolled in graduate-level tra-
ditional (face-to-face) classes and those enrolled in ITV-
mediated distance education classes.
Met hods: Critical thinking in this study is defined as “the
process of purposeful, self-regulatory judgment. Critical
thinking, so defined, is the cognitive engine which drives
problem-solving and decision-making.”
The initial sample
for the study included 73 students in a social work master’s
program. The students were enrolled in one graduate social
policy course in a large, public university in the autumn se-
mester of 1997. Critical thinking was measured with the
California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST). Sixty-two
students completed the pre and post-tests. Of these, 38 were
distance education students and 24 received their instruction
in traditional, face-to-face classes. To ensure that the two
groups were matched in their critical thinking skills, the
CCTST was given to the two groups at the beginning of the
semester. No significant difference was found between the
groups within a 95% level of confidence.
• No statistically significant differences were found be-
tween on-campus and ITV students in
♦ scores in the midterm examination
♦ However, ITV students were more likely than face-
to-face students to complain about
♦ technological problems (difficulty hearing the in-
structor, low-quality transmission, outages etc)
♦ condition of their viewing sites
♦ lack of interaction
The three studies above were randomly selected in a search
of journals regarding technology and education. As it hap-
pens with most educational research, the studies have limita-
tions related to sample size, lack of randomization, and the
inherent difficulty of matching groups that are different from
the onset. Not surprisingly, the articles reflect what is fre-
quently found in the literature, and that is lower levels of
consumer satisfaction when distance education is compared
to traditional education, but similar levels of achievement.
These findings raise some issues about research and distance
education that are worthy of exploring.
First , the factors influencing a student’s choice to enroll in a
distance education course, rather than the more traditional
face-to-face course may be an important variable that is
rarely mentioned in research. Although students in the ITV-
mediated and the face-to-face groups may have similar char-
acteristics regarding gender, age, ethnicity, and socio-
economic status, they may significantly differ as a group in
factors such as motivation or perspective about learning. For
instance, it is known that distant education attracts students
who work full time, in contrast to traditional on-campus edu-
cation where full time students predominate. This factor will
certainly influence students’ demands regarding instruction
and, therefore, their perceptions on course quality. All three
papers assume (as most research on distance education does)
that the two groups are the same and comparisons are made
based on this assumption. Researchers may need to expand
the concept of demographics when dealing with technology-
mediated classes to describe better their populations.
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Second, the data suggests that the quality of technology is an
essential factor to determine consumer’s satisfaction, and this
is still a shortcoming in many institutions. It is highly prob-
able that students in a face-to-face class that has no books,
blackboards or transparencies will be unhappy with their
instruction. Since traditional education has been around for
too long, we rarely find such a class in universities. Like-
wise, an ITV-mediated class where the audiovisual equip-
ment is of low quality and the technology is unreliable is
doomed for failure. When distance education is the focus,
the equation is no longer a dyad (teacher – student) but a
triad (teacher – student – technology). The three studies re-
ported here were careful to analyze responses in relationship
to demographic variables, but none looked at how the quality
of the technology employed in the course affected student
and faculty satisfaction.
Third, the influence of adaptability and experience appear to
be greater in technology-mediated classes. The two first
studies highlight greater resistance to ITV-mediated classes
among business instructors and students. The second article
states (not mentioned in this synthesis) that business in-
structors are required to make more changes in their courses
to adapt them to the ITV system than instructors from other
areas. It can be assumed that as more work and time is con-
sumed in course preparation, the level of instructors' satis-
faction with the course decreases. An upset instructor will
hardly promote a climate of satisfaction in his or her class,
thus creating a kind of discontent cycle. Although these are
only conjectures, the second article shows that experience
brings adaptation and with that, more positive instructors’
views of ITV-mediated distance education.
The three issues point to the role of administrators in the suc-
cess of technology-mediated education. Education institu-
tions can improve satisfaction with their distance education
• allowing more course preparation time for instructors
who are new to distance teaching,
• providing comprehensive training that incorporates a
better understanding of the technology to be used (par-
ticularly when the technology is not one easily mastered,
such as ITV) and on how to prepare effective courses
that use the technology at its fullest,
• ensuring the quality of the technical components to re-
duce hardware/software failures, and
• maintaining a system of technical and pedagogical sup-
port, particularly for new instructors so that they feel
better prepared and less threatened.
ITV-mediated courses require large up-front investments and
ongoing maintenance. Higher education institutions may
want to improve satisfaction with these courses (thus in-
creasing the probability of better outcomes) to obtain better
cost to benefit ratios. For administrators and instructors, the
question is whether educational institutions are willing, or
able to make the investment in equipment and technical sup-
port necessary to provide high quality distance education.
For researchers, the question is whether the frequently found
dissatisfaction is inherent to the method (technology-
mediated) or a reflection of latent problems that are not being
captured in their studies, such as failing equipment, unpre-
pared instructors, inadequate lessons, or students’ different
demands about instruction.
A detailed but easy-to-understand explanation of ITV can be found at http://www.itvdictionary.com/itv.html
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 WHEN DISTANCE EDUCATION IS THE FOCUS, THE EQUATION IS WHEN DISTANCE EDUCATION IS THE FOCUS, THE EQUATION IS WHEN DISTANCE EDUCATION IS THE FOCUS, THE EQUATION IS
NO LONGER A DYAD (TEACHER – STUDENT) BUT A TRIAD NO LONGER A DYAD (TEACHER – STUDENT) BUT A TRIAD NO LONGER A DYAD (TEACHER – STUDENT) BUT A TRIAD NO LONGER A DYAD (TEACHER – STUDENT) BUT A TRIAD
(TEACHER – STUDENT – TECHNOLOGY). (TEACHER – STUDENT – TECHNOLOGY). (TEACHER – STUDENT – TECHNOLOGY). (TEACHER – STUDENT – TECHNOLOGY).
! !! ! 52 ! !! ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
ARE WE CONNECTED?
Miscommunication about I nternet connectivity between countries in the North and in the South
Désiré Désiré Désiré Dési ré Baart man Baart man Baart man Baart man
deespol @t eledat a.mz
Int roduct i on Int roduct i on Int roduct i on Int roduct i on
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.
Why i nvest i gat e Int ernet conne Why i nvest i gat e Int ernet conne Why i nvest i gat e Int ernet conne Why i nvest i gat e Int ernet connec cc ct i vi t y? t i vi t y? t i vi t y? t i vi t y?
Participating Zimbabwean and Dutch teachers and lecturers
consider the use of computers and the Internet in education
of high importance. However, the available resources,
knowledge and skills differ widely. In the Netherlands, all
colleges and secondary schools have Internet connection. In
Zimbabwe, some of the schools with computers have Internet
connection. These institutions seem to qualify as centers that
communicate with each other and develop ICT within their
education. They are likely to be chosen as partners in inter-
national projects, which involve the use of e-mail and/or
Internet. An example is the schools in Zimbabwe chosen to
participate in two web-based projects, This is a Journey On-
line and ZimQuest. Secondary schools in Zimbabwe, Indo-
nesia and The Netherlands carried out the two different
Internet projects. Both projects involved the exchange of
information using e-mail and the access of information using
a website. ZimQuest was carried out in Zimbabwe and The
Netherlands and focused on cultural exchange and global
education. This is a Journey Online was carried out in Zim-
babwe, Indonesia and The Netherlands, focused on environ-
mental issues and sustainable development, and related these
issues to topics within the subjects of the school curriculum.
ZimQuest was a website offering a communication platform
for tasks to be carried out and e-mail messages to be ex-
changed. Journey Online was a database-driven website with
a lot of information on the participating countries and an
additional option to exchange information through e-mail.
At all schools, computers were available, Internet connection
was established and the content of the websites was dis-
cussed at length with all participating schools. Nevertheless,
in the South participants were frustrated because the project
required them to be on-line. In the North, the lack of infor-
mation coming from the South frustrated the participants.
What accounts for the discrepancy between the great enthu-
siasm of a group of teachers in the South and the poor com-
munication and little use of the Internet?
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Communicat i on Communicat i on Communicat i on Communicat i on
Are we tal king about the same issues: I nternet
connection and networked computers?
In The Netherlands and other affluent countries, the fact that
a school or college has Internet connection implies that they
can connect to the Internet at basically any time and from a
number of PC’s. The Internet connection is fast enough to
browse the web. Staff-members have access to computers
that are connected to the Internet and they have their own e-
mail address. A teacher or lecturer can use a computer room
during lessons or give the students an assignment whereby
they have to use the Internet after lesson hours.
In Zimbabwe and other developing countries having Internet
connection means at best that there are a few or there is just
one computer connected to the Internet for a few hours a
week. The computer is likely to be in the room of a principal,
deputy or an expatriate teacher and thus access is very lim-
ited. When a computer-lab has one computer connected to
the Internet, this computer is usually not widely accessible to
students, but only to some staff-members. Connection to the
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
do not have access to it. Sometimes a group of students has
been shown the Internet on a computer and they spread the
news that the school “is now on the Internet.” Most of the
time the computer is there, the software has been installed,
the phone-line and possibly the subscription to an Internet
service provider (ISP) have been acquired. This implies that
in theory Internet connection would be possible, though is
often not established.
Participants from the North in international projects ask for
information about the infrastructure in the South. The offi-
cials of a school or college in the South often mention that
some of their computers are networked. This network is a
network because the PCs are connected to each other with
cables (often UTP-cables). However, in most cases there is
no server assigned, no transfer of data between the computers
in the network, no shared resources besides a printer and no
The above situation leads to misinterpretations. People in the
North receive information that an institution has Internet
connection and that some computers are networked. The
northerners interpret this as: “the institution has Internet con-
nection available to more computers in a network.” The con-
clusion is easily drawn that an Internet-based project, either
within the country in the South or across the borders, can be
established. It turns out that communicating about Internet
connection leads to misconceptions. The situations on both
sides differ considerably.
Fast connect i on, slow connect ion or no Fast connect i on, slow connect ion or no Fast connect i on, slow connect ion or no Fast connect i on, slow connect ion or no
connect ion? connect ion? connect ion? connect ion?
What exactl y are the constraints that l imit
I nternet connection? Can some of the constraints
be el iminated?
The constraints that are met in the South are related to many
aspects of the Internet and the use of the Internet. Factors
playing a role in Internet connection are the (1) technical and
infrastructure matters, (2) training, knowledge and attitude,
(3) presentation, design and structure of the content, (4) or-
ganizational structure, administration, finance and security,
and (5) culture, psychology, pedagogy and teaching method-
ology. In this article we will only address the issue of train-
ing, knowledge and attitude and summarize the issue of tech-
nique and infrastructure. (See Baartman, March 2002). Be-
sides a description, possible solutions or workarounds and
examples of best practices will be given.
Technical and Inf rast ruct ure Ma Technical and Inf rast ruct ure Ma Technical and Inf rast ruct ure Ma Technical and Inf rast ruct ure Mat tt t t ers t ers t ers t ers
Why do peopl e in the South meet so many more
technical constraints than peopl e in the North?
Although there are huge differences in the amount of re-
sources in the schools, the hardware is usually not the bottle-
neck that causes slow Internet connection in the South.
However, it is important to minimize the amount of active
programs while on-line. The most common and affordable
Internet connection in the South is a PC with a modem con-
nected to a fixed telephone line. The reasons for slow Inter-
net reside within the limited capacity of the phone-lines,
which are often copper. Another reason is the limited capac-
ity of the ISP server. ISPs tend to oversubscribe their capac-
ity, which leads to major slow-downs or even the inability to
make a connection at all. Even if these problems have been
overcome, the limited bandwidth of the ISP to the backbone
of the Internet is a fact in developing countries. Besides these
technical limitations, which are hard to tackle, the costs of
ISP subscription and telephone three to five times higher in
the South. Add to this the slower connection and the costs
per Megabyte, information becomes many times more ex-
pensive in the South than in the North (Baartman, March
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Trai ni ng, Knowl edge and At t Trai ni ng, Knowl edge and At t Trai ni ng, Knowl edge and At t Trai ni ng, Knowl edge and At t i ii i t ude t ude t ude t ude
Are computers onl y val uabl e because of the
abil ity to access the I nternet? I s I nternet con-
nection the sol ution to the l ack of other re-
sources? I s I nternet connection real l y wide-
spread in the cl assroom practice in the North?
How crucial is permanent I nternet connection?
First, we will discuss differences in training. In the Nether-
lands, 40 % of staff-members are skilled computer users (ten
Brummelhuis, 2000; Min. OC&W, 2002). In Zimbabwe, a
reasonable proportion of the teachers and lecturers (15%) in
urban areas have received training in more than just basic
computer skills (Baartman, 2001). In the Netherlands, all
colleges, secondary and primary schools have access to com-
puters. In Zimbabwe, all tertiary education institutions and
approximately 5 % of the secondary schools have access to
computers. Teachers and students in the North have been
exposed to computers intensively and they all have access to
computers at school, in public libraries and often at home as
well. Forty percent of the students in the Netherlands have
access to a computer at home and have been exposed to
computers from primary school onwards. In Zimbabwe, very
few people have access to computers at home. Most students
do not have access to computers at primary or secondary
school level. Even if the school has computers, access is of-
ten limited. Consequently, computer literacy is a widely used
term in Zimbabwe, as basic computer skills have to be taught
in a formal way at school or college. Most schools in Zim-
babwe that obtained computers start teaching the subject of
Computers Studies. Computers in these secondary schools
are the topic of interest and the object and subject of learning
instead of a tool or a means to reach some other goal. The
school system focuses on a limited group of students who
prepare for an exam in Computer Studies. This automatically
limits the use of computers by all students, as the resources
in the South are limited. In Zimbabwe, 60 % of the new first-
year students of Computer Science at tertiary level have no
basic computer skills (Baartman, 2001). In the Netherlands,
basic computer skills are seldom taught in a formal class-
room situation and computers are considered merely a means
and a tool to support other subjects and activities. In the
Netherlands, only at tertiary level do students have the option
to choose Information Technology as a study area. By then
they are already skilled and experienced users.
In Table 1 information on the student-PC ratio in the two
countries is presented. The student-PC ratio is the number of
students per PC at an institution. The figures are hard to
compare, because in Zimbabwe many schools do not have
computers at all, many rural schools do not even have elec-
tricity. Therefore, the table compares institutions with com-
puters and does not give a ratio for the country.
Table 1: Average number of students per PC at institu-
tions for tertiary and secondary education (student-PC
The Netherlands Zimbabwe
Tertiary Education 10 * 60 ∆
Secondary Education 12 * 80 ∆
* Sources: ten Brummelhuis, 2000 and Min OC&W, 2002
∆ Sources: Baartman, 2001
Knowledge is related to the training received and the avail-
ability of computers, though more factors play a role. In the
North more technical support is available and nationwide
programs initiated by the government encourage the use of
ICT in education. Information, hardware and software are
available to schools and colleges. The knowledge of staff-
members in the South is more limited due to many factors:
financial constraints, little technical support and knowledge,
and few examples of institutions with good practice on ICT
in education. Exposure to ICT and interaction with other
institutions is an important factor. This exposure is widely
present in the North and rare in the South.
Besides training and knowledge, attitude plays a major role.
Attitude is partly related to training and knowledge and
partly cultural. Teachers and students in the North often take
permanent Internet connection for granted. If the equipment
does not function well, or if the infrastructure fails, people
complain and they expect the problem to be solved within a
few hours. The underlying concept is that not using the com-
puters is a waste of resources. ICT has become part of the
school’s infrastructure and should therefore be in place and
functioning. For many teachers in the South, computers are
still “strange” and expensive. Computers often are guarded
against possible damage or ill use, thereby gathering dust and
becoming obsolete within no time. The idea prevails that the
computers should be preserved. It is common practice and
accepted that repair and maintenance takes up to six months
or will never happen. In the South, the idea that computers
equal Internet is widespread. Internet connection is consid-
ered of great importance and if there is no connection this
often serves as an excuse not to use computers and not to use
the information from the Internet. Computers are a luxury,
costly and not yet integrated in the educational environment.
Therefore, to step back to a school without functioning com-
puters and Internet connection is easier and cheaper than to
worry about repairs and technical support.
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Is Internet connection the solution to lack of
Herewith we come to the myths related to Internet connec-
tion: first, that Internet connection is the solution to the lack
of other resources, such at textbooks and other printed infor-
mation in the South; second, that Internet connection is a
daily practice in classrooms in the North; and third, that
Internet connection is a requirement and a solution to fill the
information gap between the North and the South.
Why do we label these common ideas myths? First, comput-
ers and Internet connection are another source and not a re-
placement of existing sources, which have proven their value
for centuries, namely printed books. In the past decade, stu-
dents in the Netherlands have required more, rather than
fewer, textbooks. Computers are not cheaper than printed
matter. Therefore, it is doubtful if computers and Internet
will fill the information gap between the North and the South
as long as the huge differences in infrastructure and national
income remain. Possibly, the top-layer of the society in the
South will benefit from the Internet. For the time being,
Internet connection in the South is far more expensive than in
the North. The Internet will not solve large-scale poverty,
poor education and lack of information for the masses.
Is Internet connection really widespread in the
classroom practice in the North?
In the North, Internet connection is not common practice in
the classroom. Despite the fact that Internet connection is
considered part and parcel of the school infrastructure, only
very few teachers actually use computers in the classroom
and even fewer access the Internet during the lessons. Ap-
proximately 10% of the teachers in the North use computers
in the classroom once a week. Students use computers at
school for half an hour up to an hour only. A mere 15% of
the time spent on computers in education is used on e-mail
and Internet. On the other hand, 80% of teachers use com-
puters every week, though mainly outside the classroom and
for lesson preparation and administrative tasks. Many stu-
dents use computers every day, though often not as part of
their schoolwork (ten Brummelhuis, 2000). Figure 1 shows
the activities by students on the computer.
How crucial is permanent Internet connection?
For the two web-based projects This is a Journey Online and
ZimQuest, Internet connection seemed crucial in the North,
while for the South it was the main problem. Both websites
required Internet connection for more than just a few min-
utes. After a pilot, adjustments and changes were made to
ZimQuest: the construction of the website was adjusted to
make access faster and a shift from web based e-mail to non-
web based e-mail was made. However, the ZimQuest website
remained frustrating for students and teachers in the South.
After the first try-outs it was decided to make the This is a
Journey Online website available on CD-Rom for Zimbab-
wean schools. Only after this step was made were they able
to fully participate in the project at low cost and at high
speed. The experience of a website off-line made the project
successful. This way the technology available in the North
was beneficial to schools in the South. Many constraints in
the South were overcome: unreliable Internet connection,
unreliable phone lines, high costs of Internet connection,
high telephone costs, slow access to websites due to narrow
bandwidth, limited number of computers connected to the
Internet and limited experience and skills in using the Inter-
In the North, most activities on the computers do not require
Internet connection and most activities are not carried out in
the classroom. A lot of software is available off-line and
teachers use information gathered from the Internet or pro-
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duce information on the computer (with or without the Inter-
net) during lesson preparation. The information or material is
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
file on the PC (possibly in web page format on an Intranet)
or printed out for the students. Teachers also use the infor-
mation to upgrade their own knowledge and incorporate the
information in sheets or handouts. When computers are used
in the classroom indeed, most of the times the work does not
require Internet connection, because the software is available
on CD-ROM, diskettes or standard software packages such
as word processors and spreadsheet programs are used. For
schools in the South, it is even more important to have access
to digital information that does not require (permanent)
When pilot schools in the North initiate international proj-
ects, they are far ahead of any school in the South in terms of
equipment, infrastructure, training, experience and other re-
sources. The South thereby gets the impression that as soon
as they have computers they should work on the Internet.
Both the North and the South should recognize and admit
that the truth and practice all over the world is far from that
Websi t es Websi t es Websi t es Websi t es
• www.thisisajourney.org: international educational proj-
ect of “This is a Journey Online.”
• www.zimsurf.nl/zimquest: international school linking
• www.dotforce.org: Digital Opportunity Task Force, ad-
dressing the global digital divide.
• www.uneca.org: United Nations Economic Commission
for Africa, the Development Information Services Divi-
sion is an integrated information service and resource
centre for Africa.
• www3.sn.apc.org/africa/infra.htm: Jensen, M. (1999).
ICT Infrastructure in Africa.
• programs to download websites including links, pictures,
animations etc. http://www.internet-soft.com/extract.htm
(shareware: Website Extractor)
• www.httrack.com/index.php (freeware: WINHTTrack
Ref erences Ref erences Ref erences Ref erences
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,
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.
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.
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EVALUATI ON OF E-LEARNI NG ENGI NEERI NG
GRAD UATE C OURSES
Ka t i a Ta nnous a nd Ma rt a W. D oni d a
School of Chemical Engineering
State University of Campinas, Brazil
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.
I NTROD UC TI ON
Innovation has numerous definitions in the technical litera-
ture. Novel educational experiences introduce changes in an
established culture by using new procedures. These changes
should be carried out through a logical sequence of steps in
order to reach definite targets. Not every innovation is classi-
fied as a novel experience, and not every novelty can be clas-
sified as innovation. Innovation is defined as a process of
change based on intention, history, sedimentation and com-
pleteness [Leite 2000].
The Internet provides new ways to learn, to teach and to
evaluate. It might be considered as an aid in the process of
redefining the teaching and learning environment. To better
understand the evaluation process, mostly the one involved
in distance education courses, it is required to understand
how education deals with assessment, with its different
branches: traditional, technical, libertarian and progressive
The integration of educational and interactive techniques
trigger the appearance of the so-called Distance Education
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,
replacing the traditional classroom by a virtual one.
It is a great challenge to study and implement methodologies,
which should be dynamic and interactive, to evaluate dis-
tance education course participants. Although there has been
a great advancement in e-learning, there is a great lack of
evaluating tools for this educational process [Tannous and
Rodrigues 2001, 2002].
The subject of this investigation regarded the discipline Fun-
damentals and Applications of Fluidization, which is a one
term graduate course offered by the School of Chemical En-
gineering at UNICAMP. The discipline topics cover many
chemical processes that employ fluidized beds in the phar-
maceutical, petrochemical and food industries. The students
are required to search the Internet in order to obtain informa-
tion for the course, which is mostly available in journals and
proceedings. Written material is also supplied to participants,
which guides them to find supplementary readings necessary
to carry out the assignments. The use of educational software
provided a convenient interface that decreased the need of
meetings between the instructor and the participants. Most
participants were working while taking the course.
The objective of this work was to use an e-learning tool in an
engineering graduate course to help with the course teaching
and mostly promote a greater contact with the instructor.
Furthermore, it aimed at the development of a new tool to
assess the participants through specially designed projects.
C OURSE ORGANI ZATI ON
C ourse st ruc t ure a nd e-l ea rni ng t ool
The course Fundamentals and Applications of Fluidization
(IQ602) was presented to participants through the software
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WebCT, available from the UNICAMP Computer Center.
(www.ead.unicamp.br:8900). It provides links to several
♦ General information about course and instructor
♦ Course schedule and calendar which is updated continu-
♦ Course notes
♦ Communication tools like e-mail, chat and group discus-
♦ Participant grades
♦ Individual area, available for each participant
The software monitors how frequently each participant ac-
cessed the page. This information is available to registered
students, but requires a password.
Met hod ol og y
The proposed methodology encompasses three steps: techni-
cal knowledge, interaction and finally collaboration and deci-
sion making. The methodology builds upon an available
method applied to the course Groupware from The Federal
University of Rio Grande do Sul [Tarouco 2002]. Figure 1
shows a scheme of the activities undertaken during the
At this step the acquired knowledge and abilities were evalu-
ated. The instructor should master the technical knowledge
and tools that are used, including computational ones (For-
tran, Pascal, Matlab). The tools that might be used to assess
this step are as follows:
♦ Project elaboration, in which the students will develop
their own technical and computational knowledge
through practical assignments, which will be available to
all participants. This process may be also carried out in
♦ Self-assessment, in which the students will apply their
knowledge to a specific assignment, chosen by them-
selves, from the course subjects. The students will pres-
ent their work to the instructor and to other participants
in a seminar. A conclusive, integrated project ends the
♦ Chat and discussion list, in which a special topic is
submitted for discussion at the end of every convenient
set of chapters. A deadline is set providing enough time
for discussion among students. The same happens with
chat, but with a stricter schedule.
The interaction among participants is assessed during the
course. Motivation, creativity and autonomy are observed
and marked. Interactivity is associated with the course dy-
namics. As the students advance in the course, their progress
can be observed. The tools used in this step are the chat, the
discussion list and the login records.
The course required an amount of time equivalent to 25% of
total lectures for all people involved in the course to be to-
gether. These meetings provided ground for discussions
about the course content to strengthen the acquired knowl-
edge, to develop the communication among participants and
instructor, as well as to help to assess the participation of
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 D I SC USSI ONS
St ud ent Prof i l e
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
graduate course activities. The participants usually learned
about the course from the Internet. All meetings, whenever
necessary, happened in the evenings.
Sof t w a re Assessment
The software WebCT was well praised by the participants
who judged it for ease of use. The course home page was
accessed from the university, work place and home with
equal frequency, and mostly during the evenings (75% of the
time). Students accessed the home page once or twice a
week. They used it primarily to access the course materials
and secondarily to contact the instructor.
Interactions between student and interface, course con-
tent, instructor and another student:
The students found it easy to deal with the software WebCT,
as well as to find information from there.
The interaction between students and course content were not
complex, although some remarks should be made.
♦ The students did the assignments close to the deadline of
handing them, and expected guidelines from the in-
♦ The students contributed little with literature, practical
cases and case studies.
♦ Half the students found they learned the same as in a
regular course, and the other half learned more.
♦ The reference material available on the Internet was
easily searched by specific software.
Student/Instructor (Professor and Teaching Assistant)
An important aspect in this methodology is the ability, from
the instructor and the teaching assistant, to motivate and
stimulate the participants, which was considered excellent.
The high interest was indicated by 100% presence in the
There was good interaction among the students, both through
e-mail messages and through telephone. The personal contact
was judged important to assure fast and precise exchange of
information, although most learning was accomplished indi-
C ONC LUSI ONS
♦ The new technological tool was well accepted and raised
interest in the learning process.
♦ The inherent flexible online access to the course material
was a plus.
♦ The Internet provided a convenient means to find the
information for which they were searching.
♦ It is important for the instructor to promote motivation
and stimulus in the e-learning process.
♦ Regular meetings are important to offer opportunities for
personal interactions among students and instructor.
♦ The students were yet accustomed to a teacher-guided
♦ The methodology and the distance learning tools pro-
vided a dynamic learning process.
♦ The methodology requires great dedication from the
students, for they must work more independently.
Leite, D., Conhecimento Social na Sala de Aula Universitária
e a Auto-formação Docente, Professor do Ensino Superior-
Identidade, Docência e Formação, INEP/MEC, abril, 2000.
Tannous, K., Rodrigues, S. Innovation in Regular Under-
graduate Courses by Introduction of Distance Learning
Tools, in XXIX Engineering Learning Brazilian Congress of
2001, Porto Alegre. Proceedings in Portuguese. ISBN 85-
Tannous, K., Rodrigues, S. The Use of Distance Learning
Tools as Support for Undergraduate Course Teaching in
Chemical Engineering, in XIV Engineering Learning Brazil-
ian Congress of 2002, Natal. Proceedings in Portuguese.
Tarouco, L., Groupware Course, Webfolioead UFRGS,
www.pgie.ufrgs.br, May 22, 2002.
Tarouco, L., The Process of Assessing Distance Learning,
Webfolioead UFRGS, www.pgie.ufrgs.br, May 22, 2002. (In
The authors are grateful to the participants in the course for their helpful comments and to PED/CAPES for financial support.
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Complexities and Challenges of Integrating Technology
Into the Curriculum
By Joanne Capper
Educational and Instructional Goals
K-12 education systems that make a commitment to
introduce multimedia technology into schools and
classrooms are likely to face the decision regarding whether
to integrate formally technology into the curriculum.
Although it is unlikely that this choice would be made at
early stages of introducing technology into schools, there
will likely come a point when policymakers and stakeholders
agree that dissemination and use of the technology is
sufficiently widespread within a system to justify its
articulation in the curriculum, and perhaps in examinations,
particularly if the system is intent on achieving academic
goals that can be accomplished more effectively with the use
of technology. Educational goals for which the use of
technology is considered supportive include the following:
! Improve teaching and learning in content areas;
! Develop students’ skills considered to be essential in the
modern working environment, including the ability to
♦ communicate using a variety of media and formats,
♦ access and exchange information in a variety of
♦ compile, organize, analyze, and synthesize
♦ draw conclusions and make generalizations based
on information gathered,
♦ know discipline content and be able to locate
additional information as needed,
♦ be self-directed learners,
♦ collaborate and cooperate in team efforts,
♦ interact with others in ethical and appropriate ways;
! Increase motivation for teaching and learning;
! Change the social organization of classrooms to be more
! Enrich interaction among students, teachers and other
! Stimulate creativity and collaboration.
Table 1 provides examples of such goals as articulated by
six countries that have introduced computers and, in some
cases the Internet, into their schools.
Research studies have found that some of these goals are
indeed accomplished by integrating technology into teaching
and learning. Riel (1992) found that students who
participated in Internet-based learning networks showed
increased motivation, a deeper understanding of concepts,
and an increased willingness to tackle difficult questions.
review of over 100 studies found that use of computer and
Internet technology in schools and classrooms
! improves students’ attitudes and confidence and is
especially beneficial for ‘at risk’ students,
! provides instructional opportunities otherwise not
! increases student collaboration on projects,
! significantly improves student problem-solving skills,
! increases the preparation of students for most careers
and vocations, and
! tends to shift teaching styles from traditional direct
approaches to a more student-oriented approach.
To Integrate or not to Integrate
There are a number of reasons that education systems may
decide not to integrate the use of technology into the
curriculum, and especially not to hold teachers and students
accountable for using technology in the teaching and learning
process. The most significant reasons are limited and/or
unequal access to computers and the Internet, and unprepared
teachers. Few education systems at this point can guarantee
that all students have adequate and equal access to computers
and the Internet to accomplish stated goals; a status that
requires considerable resources for hardware, software,
connectivity, technical assistance and teacher development.
However, the downside of not integrating technology
formally into the curriculum is that the costly investment in
technology will be underutilized and valuable resources will
be wasted. Many teachers who have access to the
technology will not use it, either because they don’t know
how, are satisfied with their current approach to teaching,
feel that using technology is too fraught with technical
difficulties, or that they don’t have sufficient time to devote
to the types of lessons best supported by technology.
Moreover, Kerr (1996) argues that integrating technology
into classroom practice requires “a radical shift in both
teaching style and the teacher’s vision of what classroom life
is all about. This new vision is one that changes the
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teacher’s role in basic ways, reducing the importance of
‘chalk and talk’, increasing the need for sensitivity to
individual students’ problems and achievements, shifting
how classrooms are laid out, how evaluation is conducted,
how teachers relate to their colleagues, and a hundred other
particulars of daily life in schools” (p. 24).
Even teachers who are facile with technology and
enthusiastic about using it confront another obstacle – overly
packed curricula. For some time now teachers, educational
researchers and others have been arguing that most curricula
cover far too many topics at a superficial level, and seldom
address topics in sufficient depth to promote deep-level
understanding. Studies show that students learn isolated
facts for a test and forget them soon after, a practice that runs
counter to most systems’ stated goals for education.
Teachers who sincerely want to adopt more child-centered,
constructivist approaches bemoan their need to cover the
overly full curriculum. “We don’t do what SIP [a long-term
teacher development project in Kenya] wants because we
need to cover the syllabus and we only have 35-minute
periods. If they cut back on the amount of material covered
in the curriculum, we would have more time to engage the
children in thinking, but now we avoid asking questions that
might require any extra time."
In countries that have high-
stakes examinations, the pressure to “cover the curriculum”
is exacerbated, and anything that does not support students’
success on exams is likely to be neglected, including the use
Many of the more effective uses of computers and the
Internet require larger blocks of time and integrate numerous
topics, subjects and skills. They often engage students in
more real-life types of projects than are typically found in
textbooks and often involve students in collecting their own
data, extracting information from the Internet, and interacting
with a broader range of expertise than teachers and
textbooks. Teachers will be reluctant to engage their
students in such projects if they are not consistent with what
is being measured on high-stakes examinations. Roschelle et
al (2000) argue that, “Time spent preparing students to do
well on numerical calculation tests, vocabulary, or English
mechanics cannot be spent on learning about acceleration,
the mathematics of change, or the structure of Shakespeare’s
Table 1: Goals for School-based Computer Use in Six Countries
• 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
• To enhance the teaching of subject matter of the various curricula offered.
• To promote cooperative learning, higher-level thinking skills, data management, and
• 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.
• 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.
• To integrate technologies into the curriculum;
• To foster literacy and numeracy acquisition through computer-assisted instruction in
• To electronically network rural schools; and
• To expand software available to educators.
• 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.
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plays. Moreover, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to
demonstrate the contribution of technologies in developing
students’ abilities to reason and understand concepts in depth
without new kinds of assessments” (p. 91).
For those education systems that do choose to integrate
technology into the curriculum, several resources may be
useful. The International Society for Technology in
Education (ISTE: http://www.iste.org) has spent considerable
time addressing the issue of integrating technology into the
K-12 curriculum. In collaboration with a number of
education and discipline-based professional associations in
the U. S., they have developed the National Educational
Technology Standards and a number of supportive
documents, including: NETS•T—Preparing Teachers to Use
Technology; NETS Curriculum Series—Multidisciplinary
Units for Grades 3–5; and Making Technology Work for
You—A Guide for School Administrators. Upcoming NETS
books (early 2003) will focus on multidisciplinary units for
Grades PK–2 and teacher assessment.
The ISTE standards acknowledge that there are a number of
essential conditions “required to create learning
environments conducive to powerful uses of technology,
! vision with support and proactive leadership from the
! educators skilled in the use of technology for learning,
! content standards and curriculum resources,
! student-centered approaches to learning,
! assessment of the effectiveness of technology for
! access to contemporary technologies, software and
! technical assistance for maintaining and using
! community partners who provide expertise, support and
! ongoing financial support for sustained technology use,
! policies and standards supporting new learning
environments (ISTE, 2000, p. 4).
ISTE defines and explains curriculum integration as “the
infusion of technology as a tool to enhance the learning in a
content area or multidisciplinary setting.” And adds that,
“Effective integration of technology is achieved when
students are able to select technology tools to help them
obtain information in a timely manner, analyze and
synthesize the information and present it professionally.”
(ISTE, 2000, p. 6)
The ISTE standards are organized around the curriculum
areas of English language arts, foreign language,
mathematics, science, and social studies and include a set of
sequenced learning activities arranged by grade level range,
performance indicators, learning activities, references to
national (US) standards, and information on related
resources. Some abbreviated examples of the standards
Chaos and Beyond, Mathematics, Grades 9-12
Purpose of the Lesson:
! Introduce students to nonlinear models and dynamic
! Provide an example of mathematics that is possible only
because of technology
! Introduce students to the ideas of self-similarity,
recursion and fractals
Description: The notion of chaos and the beauty of fractals
come together in this learning activity as it relates to the real
issues of population growth and stability of population
models. The real-world tie to current issues makes this
activity seem mathematically complex and motivates
students. Students use graphing technology to investigate
nonlinear phenomena and create bifurcation diagrams. From
an examination of the self-similarity of a bifurcation
diagram, students look at fractals and ideas of self-similarity.
! Using a spreadsheet or graphing calculator, students plot
and discuss simple linear population models where the
change in population is represented by a simple birth and
death rate. Investigate the idea of a stable population
(and that most populations are not stable). Obtain
population models from sites on the Internet (see Tools
! Introduce students to the Verhulst population model.
Plot and discuss it using a spreadsheet or graphing
calculator. It is generally useful and not too time-
consuming to plot the first 100 to 1,000 generations
using a spreadsheet.
! The Verhulst model is closely related to the logistic
equation. Students make graphs of the logistic equation
using different control parameters and initial conditions.
! By changing the control parameter, r, and the initial
, students investigate (A) stability of
solutions, (B) bifurcations, and (C) chaos.
! For some values of the control parameter, such as 3.6, it
appears that the population never settles down to one or
a few alternating values. Such populations are known as
chaotic, and students may wish to search for chaotic
values of the control parameter. (ISTE, 2000, pp. 122-
! !! ! 63 ! !! ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
Earth Movement in Real Time: Science, Grades 6-8
Purpose of the lesson: Students collect current data to make
generalizations and conjectures about the location of the
earth’s tectonic plates while exploring the nature of the
earth’s dynamic crust. The access to current data and instant
maps in an environment of collaborative learning places
students in a simulated scientific research setting.
Description: Students access current information on
earthquakes that have recently taken place around the world.
Data is collected over a period of time that, when graphed
and mapped, will crudely show the boundaries between the
earth’s tectonic plates. Students monitor earthquake and
volcanic activity and produce generalizations about the
changing nature of the earth.
Students access the U.S. Geological Survey’s earthquake
web site and look at recent activity in selected geographic
areas. They plot the longitude and latitude of regionally
selected earthquakes on a physiographic map available on the
Internet. They map both active and inactive volcanoes
around the world and assess the relationship between active
volcanoes and locations of the tectonic plates. They check
sites weekly for recent data and after a few weeks, plot a
graph to show changes in the data. They collect additional
data on earthquakes and volcanoes from other web sites, and
develop a mini-lesson on the structure of a volcano,
including the dynamics of how volcanoes erupt, using photos
gathered from the Internet to increase comprehension. They
prepare multimedia presentations of their studies for various
geographic regions and link various regional presentations
into a worldwide presentation and site. Students discuss the
dynamic nature of the earth’s crust. (ISTE, 2000, pp. 156-
Another useful resource to support integrating technology
into the K-12 curriculum is The Information Technology (IT)
Pathway/Pipeline Model, which proposes a progression of
skills and knowledge that links educational technology skills
for learning with IT skills needed for success in high skilled,
high wage careers.
A valuable resource is a revealing description of one school
district’s deliberate and very successful effort to integrate
technology into the curriculum and assessment as part of a
collection of OECD-sponsored studies on the use of
technology in schools.
There are a number of particularly worthwhile educational,
economic and societal goals that are more likely to be
accomplished with the use of multimedia 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 into the formal, articulated
curriculum, and perhaps even into high-stakes examinations.
However, establishing sanctions associated with high-stakes
examinations cannot be justified until access to the resources
required to achieve the goals is equitably distributed. On the
other hand, many teachers are unlikely to devote the time and
energy required to use technology if its use is not formalized
in system statements of expected learning outcomes.
Education policymakers and stakeholders that choose to
pursue technology-related goals will have a fine line to walk
between encouraging technology’s effective use in
classrooms and ensuring that the conditions for equitable
access are in place.
Reil, M. (1992) A Functional Analysis of Educational Telecomputing. Interactive Learning Environments, Vol. 2, pp. 15-30.
Cradler, J. and Bridgeforth, E. (1997) Recent Research on the Effects of Technology on Teaching and Learning. (Online at
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.
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.
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.
ISTE (2000) National Educational Technology Standards for Students: Connecting Curriculum and Technology. Agate, OR.
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.
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
! !! ! 64 ! !! ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
GB: A Low-Tech Prescription for High-Anxiety
Among Students and Writing Faculty
Jesse T. Airaudi
Senior Lecturer in English
Many writing teachers have a dilemma: anxious about inte-
grating technology into their writing courses on the grounds
that it is too complicated, too time consuming. Yet they com-
plain that they spend much time responding to student analy-
ses and essays, often with poor returns on their time invest-
ment. Moreover, they often claim, technological integration
means a loss of face-to-face contact with their students (even
though contact, when it involves discussing grades and bases
of evaluation, is often awkward and, at times, confronta-
tional). A simple teaching and evaluation technique,
"RGBing," requiring a minimal knowledge of word process-
ing, can save time and improve the thinking and writing skills
of their student writers.
"Digital Content: Not King on Campus"
In her TechKnowLogia article "Technology Integration in the
Classroom: Is There Only One Way to Make It Effective?"
Soledad MacKinnon asserts that although "technology inte-
gration is talked about a lot in education," there are "very few
educators [who] have a clear vision or philosophy of what
technology integration is all about. Moreover, if you ask
educators how to integrate technology into the curriculum,
very few will know how to go about doing it in a meaningful
and purposeful way."
My experience in a college English
Composition program supports MacKinnon's view (based
partly on a Department of Education study): most of my col-
leagues say they wouldn't venture into integrating computer
technology because it is too complicated and time consuming
(and, I gather, anxiety producing). Some faculty members
stay away from computer instruction because, as one profes-
sor recently reported in AAUP's Footnotes, they "regretted
the loss of face-to-face contact that results from online deliv-
For these teachers, such a simple application would
result in more -- and better -- face-to-face contact with their
students. The payoff thus would be a non-threatening tech-
nology integration for faculty combined with a non-
confrontational interaction with their students. The simple
technique of "RGBing" would serve for any level or kind of
writing instruction, but I speak from the experience of
teaching at the college level. The benefits for college teach-
ers include moving their Freshman-level students more
quickly into the more analytical mode required in college,
while helping to build skill in interdisciplinary thinking and
reporting that will serve them in their other college courses,
Content in Student Papers:
Not King on Campus, Either
Most student reports and analyses are woefully inadequate
because they are short, or sometimes because they are too
long, rambling in hopes of finding what the instructor
“wants.” As I was composing this article, a colleague came
into my office distressed that his “best student” had given
him just such an inadequate analysis: “It didn’t even have
paragraphs!” my colleague exclaimed, echoing Coleridge's
complaint about the writing of his time as being like "a bag
of marbles." Of course, the length of the response in itself is
not the problem, nor the number of paragraphs, nor even the
length of time it takes the instructor to read the response.
The time and effort it takes the instructor to think of and
write out a useful response (merely revising the student’s
work is the easier--but counterproductive--way out) is the
real problem. Add to that most students’ opinion that “every
English teacher has a different way of grading essays” and
the teaching of writing becomes a tug-of-war with student
expectations either fulfilled or disappointed. The colleague I
mentioned above told me of a student who responded to “D”
on a very short paper with an adamant, “This grade is unac-
ceptable.” Multiply all the directionless but hopeful papers
by a hundred responses a semester, and you have stress
problems for both teachers and students.
Cognition Theory and the
Teaching of Writing
As the saying goes, “Hope is not a plan.” But, beginning in
the mid-80s, theorists like Diane Halpern sought to solve the
problem of thinking and writing in circles (what Francis
Christensen long ago called a "lack of 'register' between the
logical and the visual")
in paragraphing by examining the
relationship of cognitive skills and memory in making “ab-
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stract information meaningful,” that is, “encoding” meaning
into a “retrievable form.” Her subsequent studies for (as the
title of her series had it) Changing College Classrooms: New
Teaching and Learning Strategies for an Increasingly Com-
expanded and exploited the learning/memory
connection including the role of “cognitive theory in design
of multimedia instruction” (Applying the Science of Learn-
but it wasn’t until Judith Boettcher of the Corporation
for Research and Educational Networking asked the key
question “What Does Knowledge Look Like (And How Can
We Help It Grow?)”
a few years ago that I began to see how
theory could be applied to practice and, with the aid of the
computer (thanks to administrative imperatives now avail-
able to all), could be applied quite easily. We all see in
RGB, the color components of our computer screens (you
will notice that the icon for Images on word-processing pro-
grams such as Microsoft Word
are geometric shapes col-
ored red, green, and blue, and the "generative" application
uses a logo of a red, a green, and a blue star
suggesting its method of generatively [that is, by "genera-
tions" or levels of specificity] "con-stellating" or "con-
sidering" data). Thus, through marking "knowledge" as it is
conventionally arranged for transmission so it can be seen in
RGB, means that knowledge can be objectively discussed
and fairly evaluated. Though such a method may seem
"elementary," it may be exactly what students and teachers
need to stop wasting time and energy -- and resources --
when students continue to guess at what the teacher wants.
As Paul O'Dea long ago advised, "It is not enough to give
students sufficient time to practice writing; without guidance
they will simply write in circles. Nor is it enough to give
them one unrelated exercise after another; that would merely
compound the problems already inherent in present slapdash
methods of teaching writing."
I was reminded of the simple method I have been success-
fully using in my writing classes when MacKinnon reported
that although many teachers are increasingly integrating
technology into their classroom teaching, that fact doesn't
necessarily mean that learning is being advanced, "for exam-
ple," she writes, "the case … when students spend most of
their time selecting fonts and colors for reports instead of
planning, writing, and revising their ideas." In my method,
selecting fonts and colors, or more precisely font colors, is
the essence of planning, writing, and revising their ideas.
The object of RGBing is to show instantly “what knowledge
looks like” in a piece of reading, rather than allow the student
to explain that knowledge (read: "ramble").
RGBing and Reading
An essay in their Freshman Composition reader entitled
“Take This Fish and Look At It” by Samuel Scudder pro-
vides students an instructive parallel: Scudder's exasperated
professor, Louis Agassiz, again and again asks the even more
exasperated student, “Do you see it yet?" as Scudder wracks
his brain and attempts every kind of reporting strategy he can
muster. Of course the key to what the professor wants him to
“see,” the “it,” is the main point about the fish (he eventually
sees the “bilateral symmetry on his own, since the professor
won’t tell him what that is: "look again, look again!")"
a bit easier for our students to find the "it" of the fish because
all they need do is open the Word version, Ctrl+F, and type
in the word "point" to jump to that word and see where the
author says what the “it” is. To report the main point, the
top-level generalization, students simply select over it and
change the font to red. The sub-points could be marked in
green and blue according to their place in the generative hi-
erarchy to graphically “show” what the piece’s knowledge
“looks like.” Thus, Francis Christensen’s old but highly use-
ful idea can be enhanced with computer technology, and not
just to show the outline of the author’s thinking but the spe-
cific development, the supporting details (or lack of them,
which is just as instructive). Though as Christensen admitted,
it "is difficult to gauge the relative generality or abstractness
of the sentences of a paragraph . . . [yet the] trend of the
added sentences is toward the concrete and specific," and
completing this movement "is a natural way to help students
feel their way through the paragraphs they are writing and
give them the density of texture, the solidity of specification,
so many of them woefully lack."
Students can instantly see
if their writing has the necessary assertions, and if these are
adequately developed, or not.
An RGB Exercise
Consider the anxiety of a student faced with the task of
"analyzing" even the briefest of essays for the main idea,
sub-ideas, writing strategies, effectiveness, and so forth.
Here is a specific example of how "RGBing” helps the stu-
dent to analyze writing and saves me time checking on the
quality of the analysis. The assignment is chosen to "show"
students what Diane Halpern means when she speaks of
"Macrostructure," and also to show, by its absence, what is
all too often missing, as Christensen said, in student writing,
density of development:
Pain by W. S. Maugham
No more stupid apology for pain has ever been devised
than that it elevates. It is an explanation due to the ne-
cessity of justifying pain from the Christian point of
view. Pain is nothing more than the signal given by the
nerves that the organism is in circumstances hurtful to
it: it would be as reasonable to assert that a danger
signal elevates a train. But one would have thought that
the ordinary observation of life was enough to show
that in the great majority of cases, pain, far from refin-
ing, has an effect which is merely brutalising. An exam-
ple in point is the case of hospital in-patients: physical
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pain makes them self-absorbed, selfish, querulous, im-
patient, unjust and greedy; I could name a score of
petty vices that it generates, but not one virtue. Poverty
also is pain. I have known well men who suffered from
that grinding agony of poverty which befalls persons
who have to live among those richer than themselves; it
makes them grasping and mean, dishonest and un-
truthful. It teaches them all sorts of detestable tricks.
With moderate means they would have been honourable
men, but ground down by poverty they have lost all
sense of decency.
Typical reports on Maugham's piece are either too short to be
of any use ("He talks about how awful pain is") or they are
wordy meanderings, searching for "what the instructor
wants," and so on. By using "RGB" (and borrowing loosely
from Christensen's "generative" or "generational" ordering of
mother, daughter, grand-daughter statements), the student
can see (and report quickly) the macrostructure of the piece,
No more stupid apology for pain has ever been devised than
that it elevates. It is an explanation due to the necessity of
justifying pain from the Christian point of view. Pain is
nothing more than the signal given by the nerves that the
organism is in circumstances hurtful to it: it would be as
reasonable to assert that a danger signal elevates a train.
But one would have thought that the ordinary observation of
life was enough to show that in the great majority of cases,
pain, far from refining, has an effect which is merely brutal-
ising. An example in point is the case of hospital in-patients:
physical pain makes them self-absorbed, selfish, querulous,
impatient, unjust and greedy; I could name a score of petty
vices that it generates, but not one virtue. Poverty also is
pain. I have known well men who suffered from that grinding
agony of poverty which befalls persons who have to live
among those richer than themselves; it makes them grasping
and mean, dishonest and untruthful. It teaches them all
sorts of detestable tricks. With moderate means they would
have been honourable men, but ground down by poverty they
have lost all sense of decency.
RGBing and Writing
Another common problem in student writing (whether pré-
cising other writers’ work or presenting their own) can
quickly be remedied at this point. The "guessing-game" title,
which names the topic [X] but not the "aboutness" of the
topic [Y ] can be made fully expository by copying the
missing part and pasting it into the title: thus, instead of just
the X = Pain, both X and Y: Brutalising Pain. Sheridan
Baker's old trick of supplying a proper title by visiting the
thesis statement and dropping the verb and making necessary
adjustments is visually and digitally updated. Or as Bob
Horn has recently advised in his work on webpage links and
other “protocols” (originally referring to the first, or top,
sheet on a stack of papyrus documents): "label your stuff
with informative labels. . . . Not cute, or tricky, or ones with
And to finish the exercise, the student
could mark the absence of specific examples, since, as
Christensen reported in the article cited, "the paragraphs our
students write are likely to be as thin-textured as their sen-
tences, teachers can use this structural analysis of the para-
graph to generate paragraphs of greater depth"). This is ac-
complished simply by anchoring after the blues and hitting
the enter key (I mark just one set):
An example in point is the case of hospital in-patients:
physical pain makes them self-absorbed,
[specific example needs to go here]
[and so on]
Here, for both student and teacher to see on the computer
screen, is what Maugham's "knowledge looks like," and the
student, if he or she were to develop the macrostructure, or if
it were the student's own composition (See
ect2/brutalizing_pain.htm), would see where to "help it
grow." The necessary "completeness," what was in the
writer's mind, now "in-formed" in the reader's, would here be
seen as black font, and proportionately than the RGB. The
amount of black font following the lowest-level blue markers
is a sure sign that the student has not been merely counting
words to get a "long enough" paper but has been brain-
storming and developing (adding “completeness” to) the
macrostructure. In more advanced courses where students
too often summarize what they read or fill the pages with
"background" details instead of useful analysis, writers can
use the word-processing application's font-color feature to
take away color. Since, as I tell my students, I don't really
"see" such non-essential data in a report, they should likewise
not see it by selecting all text which merely summarizes the
reading and then change the font color via the menu bar to
"gray 40%" (like this).
RGBing and Grade Conferencing
A student’s own, original composition can thus be discussed
and evaluated on-screen easily, with the student writer
pointing out the macrostructure in RGB and the instructor or
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peer evaluation group (for which RGBing works very well)
agreeing or disagreeing, offering praise or advice for effec-
tive revision. Typical peer comments in such "looking" con-
ferences are: "Where is your support for the blue statement,
'Procrastination can also get you in trouble'? All I see is
another blue statement right after that," and "Why do you
have three reds -- isn't an essay supposed to have just one
main point?" and so on. The monitor screen becomes pretty
smudged up in one of these sessions, but everyone agrees
that we have, or have not, seen knowledge and how it was (or
was not) grown. I have yet to have a single dispute over an
evaluation in the eight or so years that I have been using
RGBing to teach and evaluate thinking and writing. And in
that time, it has saved me countless hours I would have oth-
erwise spent in reading, commenting, and justifying grades.
RGBing may seem to be too easy, too effective to be true,
but it really is easy to do and it does work to promote effec-
tive thinking and writing. The scant illustration I have given
does not adequately testify to the wide variety of analytical
and writing assignments to which RGBing can be applied,
but I am confident that teachers who try the RGB method
will find that it is not only a simple, easy-to-use tool, it is
powerful as well. And (administrators take note) it's a lot
cheaper than Inspiration
. (An aside: I tell my students to
RGB their papers for their other classes, but if they are
turning in papers electronically, to "select all" with Ctrl+A
and change the text back to all-black font before they turn in
assignments.) I can think of only one objection to RGBing,
and that is the assumption that teaching and learning “struc-
ture” inhibits student "creativity." The best way I know how
to answer is by returning to Paul O'Dea:
It is nonsense to believe, as a great many teachers with
vaguely artistic notions about writing unfortunately do
believe, that structure restricts thought or inhibits the
budding imagination. The only thing structure restricts
is the area of thought, thus bringing mind and imagi-
nation into full play in relation to a single idea. Para-
doxically, it frees by restricting….
Step by step, they move from the structure of the essay
as a whole to the structure of its successively smaller
parts, writing as they go, moving smoothly and simulta-
neously with each step toward the marriage of structure
and style, constantly writing, examining, rethinking,
rewriting -- doing, in short, what every writer does in-
stinctively every time he sits down to work.
We need not apologize for integrating “old” ideas into our
teaching with new methods, if it works. Although my lim-
ited illustration of the simplicity and ease of “RGBing” can-
not suggest the great potential it holds for many kinds of
writing assignments and their evaluation, I am confident that
even a brief trial by teachers will reveal RGB’s usefulness,
“friendliness,” and, in these frantic days of increased class
sizes, its time-saving (and stress-relieving) capabilities.
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
Issue title of the Syllabus: Technology for Higher Education number for May 2002.]
Soledad MacKinnon, "Technology Integration in the Classroom: Is There Only One Way to Make It Effective?" TechKnowLogia
tober - December 2002) http://www.techknowlogia.org.
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
Francis Christensen, "A Generative Rhetoric of the Paragraph," The Sentence and the Paragraph (Urbana, Il: National Council of Teachers
of English, 1978): 21.
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.
Judith V. Boettcher, "What Does Knowledge Look Like and How Can We Help It Grow?" Syllabus Magazine Aug. 1999: 64+.
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.
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.
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.
William Somerset Maugham, "Pain," eds. Jo Ray McCuen and Anthony C. Winkler, Readings for Writers, 5
ed. (San Diego: Harcourt
Brace Jovanovich, 1974): 181.
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+.
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T he Use of Digit al Camer as t o Enhance t he Lear ning Exper ience
Di gi t al Camer as: Ov er v i ew
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
unlikely that people would associate digital cameras with
education. With the technology present today, nothing
seems out of the realm of use for any activity, be it fun or
learning. Video games traditionally were only thought of as
kid distractions, but today they are being used as a teaching
tool. Computers and the Internet are probably the most
central components of the use of technology in education.
And now, the advent of digital cameras makes learning fun.
Digital cameras are similar to conventional ones in that they
range in quality and cost. Both have a lens that focuses an
image onto a Charge Coupled Device (CCD), which then
converts the image into electrical pulses. Both then store the
image onto a "storage medium." However, the similarities
Digital cameras differ from conventional cameras in the way
they function. Similar to a conventional camera, when a
picture is taken, the shutter opens, allowing light to enter the
camera and strike the CCD. Where a digital camera differs is
that once light strikes the CCD, it is then sent to the internal
memory of the camera, called the buffer. After the image
information reaches the buffer, it is then compressed into
JPEG format. The completed image is then transferred to the
memory card on the camera (the storage device). For some
cameras, this process causes a lag time, and therefore one
cannot take another picture immediately. Others have
enough of an internal buffer to allow for multiple pictures to
be taken in a row, called burst shooting.
What t o Consi der When Buy i ng
When buying a digital camera, ask yourself a few questions.
How will I be using the camera? Will I be emailing pictures,
or doing a lot of printing? Will I be publishing on the web?
Will it be for home use, or will I be doing professional
layouts? Will I be using it indoors our out? Daytime or at
night? Will I be taking mostly portraits or landscape shots?
Action or still?
With these questions in mind, here are several things to
consider when buying a digital camera:
1. Resol ut i on: this refers to the number of dots or
pixels per an image. The more pixels there are the better
the resolution and the quality of the image. Older
cameras offered 1- to 2-mexapixels. Newer ones are
offering up to 4- and even 5-megapixels. As a rule of
thumb, a 2-megapixel camera can produce a good 5-by-7
print; a 3-megapixel camera, an 8-by-10; and a 4-
megapixel one, an 11-by-17 print. The way a camera
will be used will help determine the amount of
resolution you will need.
2. Si ze, Wei ght and Desi gn: Cameras range in
size from 6.8 ounces to 2.6 pounds. If portability is
important, consider the size and weight of the camera.
Smaller cameras are convenient, but also have smaller
dials and buttons that could make using them more
3. Zoom Lens: Some cameras offer optical zoom,
while others have digital zoom. Optical zoom moves the
lens to magnify the subject, while digital zoom only
captures fewer pixels and magnifies them. This clearly
would jeopardize the quality of the image. It is
recommended that for best results, to go with at least a
2X optical zoom.
4. Focus: Digital cameras often offer automatic focus,
which for most of us is sufficient. For the few cases
where in a close up shot the camera cannot get a focus
lock, a manual focus would help.
5. St or age: In lay terms, storage refers to the medium
where pictures are stored once taken. In a conventional
camera, that would be the film. In digital cameras, it
ranges from floppy disks, to compact disks, to memory
cards. Floppy disks are the least expensive but storage
on them is slow and the disks can only hold one or two
high-resolution images. Compact disks store more
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
capacity. While most cameras have onboard storage,
investing in additional removable storage allows for
expansion of storage capacity.
6. Movi es and Sound: Some cameras offer the
option of video capture. This is handy if you do not have
a video camera, but since video takes up more storage
than images, the clip is usually no more than 30 seconds.
7. LCD Scr een: Probably one of the most compelling
reasons to purchase a digital camera is that you can see
the image right away and decide whether or not you like
it and want to keep it. To do so, however, you need an
LCD screen on the camera. Low-end models often omit
this option, thus taking away one of the most exciting
features. This is one feature you should not go without.
However, be sure to try the camera before you buy it -
some screens wash out in the sunlight, making it
difficult to see.
8. Memor y Car d Reader s: These are similar to
external hard drives that attach to your PC. These allow
you to download pictures directly from the storage
medium, which saves time as well as battery life.
Usi ng Di gi t al Camer as i n t he Cl assr oom
Teachers are using digital cameras to enhance education
inside and outside of the classroom and from all accounts,
the students love them as much if not more than the teachers
do. In addition to the above mentioned advantages offered
by digital cameras, teachers believe that digital cameras help
students to become more involved with the subject at hand.
With any project, the use of a digital camera becomes a
cognitive process as the students reason and plan what
pictures to take and why those pictures are needed. As Craig
Nansen, technology coordinator for Minot (N. Dakota)
Public Schools, put it: "One of the main goals of students
using technology is to become creators of content. Pictures
of field trips or area events, local historical or geographical
sites of the school and city, documentaries of athletic and
cultural events, and artistic photography all are great
examples of students creating content." Additionally,
cameras enhance the skill of "purposeful observation," as put
by another Minot Public School teacher.
Some tips on using a digital camera in the classroom include
1. Purchase an inexpensive camera for the students to use
and a more expensive one for the teacher. Consider the
potential for damage and do one-on-one training
sessions with the students to ensure proper usage of the
2. Ensure that students take appropriate photographs. Go
over basic photography rules with the students and make
sure they know the difference between what is
appropriate and what is not.
3. Keep in mind privacy when publishing photographs and
be aware of your school's policy regarding pictures and
publication of pictures.
4. Let students work with the images, cropping, editing,
etc. so they can learn to optimize images for the web.
5. Have at least one computer that has Photoshop Elements
or a similar type image editor.
Some Pr oj ect s f or Di gi t al Camer as
Digital cameras offer teachers unlimited opportunities to
engage students and to incorporate technology into their
curriculum. Here are some examples:
1. Assign pairs of students to go on a walk through the
school to find examples of geometric shapes (circles,
triangles, parallel lines, obtuse angles, etc.)
2. Create a "School Rules" or "Class Rules" book complete
with illustrations of acceptable behaviors with students
posing in appropriate activities.
3. Have teams of students take pictures of everyday things
and put into KidPix/Powerpoint with English and
Spanish/French vocabulary. Print out for a classroom
4. Use student photos for "Student of the Week" displays,
special certificates and awards.
5. Take photos on a class field trip. In the classroom, each
student can choose a picture to label with a short
description of what was happening or why this was
important. Print a copy for everyone.
These are but a minute list of the vast number of ways to use
cameras in the classroom. Here are some sources where
teachers have shared their ideas:
Science Teacher Stuff (this page contains links to other
Using a Digital Camera in the Elementary Classroom:
1001 Uses for a Digital Camera:
Sour ces and Ref er ences:
! 70 ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
In this Issue we focus on
Web sites that are
learning and how they
affect the attainment of learning at the various
cognitive levels including problem-solving,
creativity, critical thinking synthesis, analysis, and
Selected by Joseph M. Baltrus
Taxonomy of Technology Integration
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
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
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.
! 71 ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
Connecting Student Learning and Technology (SEDL)
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)
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
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)
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)
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.
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.
! 72 ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
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 Big6
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.
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)
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)
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.
! 73 ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
Cr eat i ng Affor dabl e Uni ver sal Int er net Access
Executive Vice President, Municipal Networks
air4wan - WiFi Group
Why Ar en’ t Mor e Peopl e Usi ng t he Int er net ?
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.
! 74 ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
Wi Fi : Ar ound t he Bar r i er s
A new situation has recently emerged that may overcome the
technological and regulatory barriers. It was created through
the continuing evolution in IP technology. It’s a new wire-
less-based technology called WiFi, an abbreviation for
Wireless Fidelity. WiFi technology operates in an unregu-
lated band of radio spectrum designated 802.11. This is an
unlicensed band of spectrum that is shared and available for
use by anyone. Up to now it was most commonly used for
personal appliances, such as a microwave oven or a cordless
home phone, and for specialized purposes such as the radar
“gun” used by law enforcement to read the speed of a mov-
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.
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
through WiFi networks. This is not to say that current wire-
less technologies are no longer beneficial. They are neces-
sary, but clearly insufficient to serve an increasing quantity
of diverse communications requirements.
Exampl e of a Wi Fi Net wor k
Let us look at one example of a WiFi network. I have chosen
the new network in the city Athens, Georgia, in the USA,
because it is supported in part by the local government and
the local university. Athens is a small city with a little more
than 100,000 residents. A Wireless Athens Group (WAG)
was formed to develop the WiFi network. The network cur-
rently covers a few city blocks downtown, but will soon ex-
pand to twenty-four city blocks.
Whether from a park bench or an outdoor cafe, a student,
office worker, or tourist can access the Internet if they're in
range of the small WAG antennas, really nothing more than
small boxes mounted on top of nine light poles around the
city. The signals do not penetrate most walls or buildings, so
the WiFi network, described as a high bandwidth “cloud,” is
primarily an outdoor experience. Signals are sent back to
servers at the university, which houses the network hub. The
city has provided use of the top of the nine light poles, and a
small amount of electric power to operate each antenna.
This WiFi broadband “cloud” is far more powerful than what
cellular service providers offer, and transmits data at a speed
of 11 Mbps, which is sufficient for all types of multimedia.
It is accessible 24-hours a day. Anyone can join or connect
to the network, even install a WiFi antenna inside a structure
for indoor access.
Cost Opt i ons
A cellular service provider is unable to deploy a small net-
work because of the type of technology relied upon. A small
part of a larger network designed to cover only several miles
might cost 10 million dollars.
In comparison, a WiFi network not only has a much greater
bandwidth capacity, but is also far less expensive. And as
WiFi technology rapidly advances, costs are being reduced
regularly. Here are some current options for a small WiFi
network, including equipment, costs and distance of cover-
In this example, a node represents an Access Point, which is
a box-like antenna and supporting equipment. A large net-
work uses both nodes and less expensive repeaters to extend
range of coverage.
Wi red Node ( l ow cost )
⇒ Linksys BEFW11S4 (wireless router and hub) ($200), or
Agere RG-1000 or RG-1100 (optional, but recom-
! 75 ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
⇒ ComputerRouter (free, or higher)
Total out of pocket cost can be as little as $200 or less.
However, the range is limited to a few hundred feet. For
more range, you need an antenna and/or amplifier.
Wi red Node ( mi d- cost )
⇒ Linksys BEFW11S4 (wireless router and hub), or Ori-
noco RG-1000 (residential gateway), or RG-1100
(broadband gateway) ($170-$220)
⇒ Cables, adapters (depending on the length) ($100)
⇒ 8 to 15-dBi Omni directional antenna (optional, but rec-
ommended) ($100- $200)
⇒ ComputerRouter (free, or higher)
For less than $400 you can establish an access point with an
Omni directional antenna. If mounting the Omni outside,
anticipate paying another $100-$200 for a lightning arrestor
and a mast.
Wi red Node ( del uxe)
⇒ Orinoco RG-1000 (residential gateway), RG-1100, or
Cisco AP or bridge ($200-$500+)
⇒ Cables, adapters (depending on the length) ($100-$200)
⇒ Amplifier ($300-$500)
⇒ 8 to 15-dBi Omni directional antenna ($100-$200)
⇒ Mast or guyed antenna (optional, but recommended)
⇒ ComputerRouter (free, or higher)
This is a high quality node capable to cover a large area, if
the antenna is mounted sufficiently high, and costs approxi-
mately $800-$1,500. Many if not all, amplifiers provide
integrated lightning protection; a separate lightning arrestor
may not be necessary. This node covers a square mile
area, or more in certain circumstances.
Wi red Node ( cost no obj ect )
⇒ 3-4+ Orinoco business AP, or Cisco AP, or bridge
⇒ 3-4 amps ($300-$500/ea)
⇒ 3-4, 6-8 sector antennas ($200-$700/ea)
⇒ 1+ mid-gain Omni directional antenna, e.g. 8-dBi (op-
⇒ Several mid-to-high gain patch or parabolic antennas
⇒ High quality self supporting or guyed antenna ($500-
⇒ Misc. cables (optional, but recommended) ($200-$500+)
⇒ ComputerRouter (free, or higher)
This is a truly powerful full IP-capability node costing be-
tween $5,000 and $10,000+, and capable of serving thou-
sands of users.
The options for a wired access point, or node, as shown
above indicate that the cost for a ten square mile WiFi
network “cloud” is approximately US$ 150,000 or more.
This is sufficient to cover many metropolitan areas, and is
affordable by many municipal governments.
Benefi t s For Educat i on
IP-based applications for education are dramatically en-
hanced when deployed over WiFi broadband networks.
WiFi networks are basically local-loop networks providing
last-mile connectivity. Local-loop networks are where indi-
viduals, schools, businesses, hospitals, libraries and govern-
ments connect to the Internet. In essence, they are commu-
nity networks; they both serve and operate within the local
community. Education applications can reside on the local
network and empower a community like never before. The
community becomes capable to direct and determine its own
requirements and processes, maintain and strengthen local
standards, enhance collaboration between individuals and
institutions, and develop an economy capable to compete
with other communities.
As an example, local schools with access to broadband can
control the dissemination of their own local initiatives. Stu-
dents can practice all media forms and processes through
actual hands-on experience. Local television and radio sta-
tions can distribute, even produce, unique media content.
Benefi t s for t he Communi ty
A WiFi network can provide local hospitals, schools, gov-
ernment offices, emergency services, utilities, and everyone,
with low cost 24-hour access to full broadband services –-
! 76 ! TechKnowLogia, January - March 2003 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. www.TechKnowLogia.org
seamlessly bundled into a single
low cost community platform.
This powerful network can de-
liver movies and telephone serv-
ice, allows instant interaction
with organizations and govern-
ment, and provides for equitable
participation in e-commerce –- it
equally benefits all citizens
within a community. A WiFi
network dramatically lowers the
cost for communications and
E-Mexico provides a good ex-
ample. Its current plans are to
provide Internet access through
thousands of local community centers and schools. If de-
ployed in the traditional manner, each computer will need it’s
own dialup connection –- a slower, less powerful and more
costly type of access point that, even when connected to a
desktop network, can serve no more than a few computers at
one time. A single WiFi access point can provide service to
thousands of users, and at a much lower individual cost.
The Next Gr eat Leap
The importance for deploying a programmed platform over a
WiFi network cannot be emphasized enough. This platform
should take the form of a “public access” Virtual Private
Network (VPN). None currently exist. However, a public
access VPN is the most appropriate applications/content plat-
form for a community-based WiFi broadband network. It
would allow residents to choose between local services, or to
browse the World Wide Web (WWW). With a public access
VPN, local government would still have online travel and
trade promotions accessible from anywhere around the
world, but could limit access to certain services to legal resi-
dents, such as to make payments
and to transfer information or
A public access VPN is a com-
munity platform for ubiquitous
broadband IP communications,
including voice, media, educa-
tion, e-commerce, web comput-
ing, e-government, health, and
more. It provides an ideal
method for micro, small and me-
dium-sized businesses and or-
ganizations to participate in e-
commerce. It can save time,
lower processing costs, speed
revenue collection, reduce inap-
propriate activity, and speed both the dissemination and col-
lection of information.
A public access VPN can be designed using open source
architecture. There is no need for public agencies to engage
in the production of VPNs themselves –- this may and should
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-
veloped, and public funding will be a critical element.
Concl usi on
WiFi is simply very easy, and costs very little to deploy.
Independent WiFi networks are already springing up in cities
throughout the USA and around the world, as if by magic.
There are more than seventy cities with fledgling WiFi net-
works that offer free Internet access, and the numbers are
growing rapidly. Technology and high investment costs no
longer offer a reasonable excuse for the digital divide. In
fact, thanks to continuing advances in WiFi technologies, the
digital divide may now be better described as an advocacy
The author gratefully acknowledges valuable comments by Francisco J. Proenza, FAO Investment Centre Economist
We shoul d al ways remember t hat
t he real benef i t deri ved f rom t he
I nt ernet i s t he l ower cost f or
communi cat i ons –- and a more
r api d exchange of i nf or mat i on.
Anyt hi ng we do t hat degr ades
t hi s benef i t i s not onl y count er -
pr oduct i ve, but wi l l necessar i l y
el i mi nat e i t s adopt i on by a set of
pot ent i al user s.
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Li f el on g Lear n i n g i n t h e
Gl obal Kn ow l edge Ec on omy:
Ch al l en g es f or Dev el opi n g Coun t r i es
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.
Cr eat i n g a Labor For c e Abl e t o
Compet e i n t h e Gl obal Ec on omy
In traditional industries most jobs require employees to learn
how to perform routine functions, which, for the most part,
remain constant over time. Most learning takes place when a
worker starts a new job. In the knowledge economy, change
is so rapid that workers constantly need to acquire new skills.
Firms can no longer rely solely on new graduates or new
labor market entrants as the primary source of new skills and
knowledge. Instead, they need workers who are willing and
able to update their skills throughout their lifetimes. Coun-
tries need to respond to these needs by creating education
and training systems that equip people with the appropriate
The pr ivat e sec t o r is pl aying a gr o wing r o l e
in educ at io n t hr o ugho ut t he wo r l d
Traditionally, the public sector provided most education
services. Today that is changing. In many middle-income
countries, the private education sector is growing, fostered by
the poor quality and coverage of public education and the
need to relieve fiscal burdens and promote innovation. In
Brazil, since 1995 the number of students enrolled in higher
education has grown more than 70 percent, with most of this
growth occurring in private colleges and universities, which
now account for 71 percent of higher education enrollment.
In China, 500 new institutions of higher learning were estab-
lished between 1995 and 1999.
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
Europe 10 years ago—are also thriving: in 1998 there were
91 private business schools in Poland, 29 in the Czech Re-
public, 18 in Romania, and 4 in Bulgaria.
At the same time, new providers—private sector training,
virtual universities, international providers, corporate univer-
sities, educational publishers, content brokers, and media
companies—have arisen to complement and challenge tradi-
tional institutions. This growth of the private sector reflects
the rising demand for more and better education as well as
dissatisfaction with the traditional education and training
Spending o n t r aining has inc r eased dr amat i-
c al l y
Corporations are spending more and more on training to be-
come or remain competitive in the global knowledge economy.
Worldwide, corporate training expenditures will increase to $28
billion by the end of 2002, up from $18 billion in 1997. The
corporate training market in China alone is estimated at $1 bil-
lion and is estimated to grow to $5 billion by 2004.
Tr an sf or min g Lear n in g t o Meet
Lear n er s’ Li f el on g Needs
Being successful in the knowledge economy requires mas-
tering a new set of knowledge and competencies. These in-
clude basic academic skills, such as literacy, foreign lan-
guage, math, and science skills and the ability to use infor-
mation and communication technology. Workers must be
able to use these skills effectively, act autonomously and
reflectively, and join and function in socially heterogeneous
Devel o ping c o unt r ies and t r ansit io n ec o no -
mies have no t been ver y suc c essf ul in pr o vid-
ing peo pl e wit h t he kno wl edge and c o mpe-
t enc ies t hey need
Education is inadequate in most developing countries. Cov-
erage is insufficient, access is inequitable (especially in terti-
ary education and in employee and adult training), and the
quality of education is poor. Adult literacy rates are low, and
too few children complete basic education. International as-
sessments of secondary school students in mathematics and
science show developing and transition economies trailing
significantly, especially when students are tested on their
ability to apply and use knowledge. In the transition econo-
mies of Europe and Central Asia, the quality of education is
inadequate and the education system is too rigid. Rote
learning, exam-driven schooling, and the soaring cost of pri-
vate education have long been policy concerns in some Asian
Tr adit io nal educ at io n met ho ds ar e il l suit ed
t o pr o viding peo pl e wit h t he skil l s t hey need
t o be suc c essf ul in a kno wl edge ec o no my
The traditional learning model differs from lifelong learning
methods in important ways. (Shown by the table below)
Teac her t r aining needs t o c hange
This new learning context implies a different role for teach-
ers and trainers. Teachers need to learn new skills and be-
come lifelong learners themselves to keep up to date with
new knowledge, pedagogical ideas, and technology. As
learning becomes more collaborative, so too must teachers’
professional development, which needs to promote profes-
sional networks and learning organizations within schools
Tr adit io nal l ear ning mo del Lif el o ng l ear ning
• The teacher is the source of knowledge. • Educators are guides to sources of knowledge.
• Learners receive knowledge from the
• People learn by doing.
• Learners work by themselves. • People learn in groups and from each other.
• Tests are given to prevent progress until
students have completely mastered a set of
skills and to ration access to further learning.
• Assessment is used to guide learning strategies
and identify pathways for future 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
and on-going professional development are
• “Good” learners are identified and permitted
to continue their education.
• People have access to learning opportunities
over a lifetime.
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New inf o r mat io n and c o mmunic at io n t ec h-
no l o gies (ICTs) c an suppo r t t hese c hanges in
pedago gy and t eac her t r aining—given t he ap-
pr o pr iat e po l ic y f r amewo r k
ICTs can facilitate learning by doing (through computer
simulations, for example). They can vastly increase the in-
formation resources available to learners, thereby changing
the relationship between teacher and student. They can fa-
cilitate collaborative learning and provide rapid feedback to
These outcomes do not emerge simply by introducing com-
puters into the learning setting, however. An appropriate
policy framework is needed in which ICTs are used to tackle
educational problems, significant investment is made in
training teachers and managers to change their knowledge
and behavior, qualified technicians and support staff are
available, and funding for maintenance, access to the Inter-
net, and upgrading is sustainable. These conditions are rarely
met, especially in developing countries.
Fo r mal educ at io n inst it ut io ns need t o be-
c o me mo r e f l exibl e
Increasingly tertiary institutions are offering part-time, eve-
ning, weekend, and summer courses to meet the needs of
working adults. In Finland, the number of adults enrolled in
continuing education programs at the tertiary level exceeds
the number of young people enrolled in traditional degree
Distance education is one way in which countries can offer
more flexible learning opportunities. Many countries use
interactive radio instruction in basic education. Mexico uses
television to educate about 15 percent of its lower secondary
school students. In the 1990s the National Teachers Institute
in Nigeria graduated more teachers through its distance
learning program than all other programs in the country
combined. The Internet is beginning to transform higher edu-
cation and corporate training. In 1999, for example, 92 per-
cent of large corporations in the United States piloted Web-
based training programs.
Gov er n i n g a Li f el on g
Lear n in g Syst em
To create effective lifelong learning systems, countries need
to make significant changes to both the governance and fi-
nancing of education and training. In many OECD countries
governments that once focused exclusively on public fi-
nancing and public provision of education and training are
now trying to create flexible policy and regulatory frame-
works that encompass a wider range of institutional actors.
These frameworks include legislation and executive orders,
arrangements for ensuring coordination across ministries and
other institutions involved in education and training activi-
ties, and mechanisms for certifying the achievements of
learners, monitoring institutional and system performance,
and promoting learning pathways. Within this framework,
the role of incentives is critical.
The publ ic sec t o r c an no l o nger be t he so l e
pr o vider o f educ at io n
The state will have to cooperate much more with the private
sector and civil society. The private sector can provide edu-
cation in both traditional ways (owning and operating private
schools and providing inputs, such as books, materials, and
equipment) and newer ways (operating public schools under
contract). Enterprises also provide training and increasingly,
for example, are involved in developing occupational stan-
dards and curricula.
Go ver nment minist r ies need t o c o o r dinat e
t heir ac t ivit ies
Nationally negotiated agreements and ongoing collaboration
between central, regional, and local governments in imple-
mentation are needed. In some countries, including Germany
and the Republic of Korea, coordination has been promoted
by merging the departments responsible for education and
training. In contrast, in many developing countries, many
ministries, including industry-specific ministries, oversee,
manage, and finance training. Competition for scarce re-
sources in these countries prevents collaboration, promotion
of high-quality training, and the development of a continuum
of training opportunities.
Cer t if ic at io n and q ual it y assur anc e syst ems
ar e needed t o assess l ear ner s and inf o r m
t hem abo ut pr o vider s
The outcomes of learning must be monitored effectively.
Quality assurance systems need to recognize the range of
settings, both formal and informal, in which learning takes
place, and they need to provide opportunities for learners to
demonstrate their newly acquired skills and knowledge.
Quality assurance systems also need to provide prospective
learners with information about the offerings and perform-
ance of providers.
Quality assurance systems can also make it easier for learn-
ers to move between different types and levels of learning
environments. Namibia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the
United Kingdom have national qualification systems, which
assign qualifications from different institutions to a set of
levels, with each level linked to competency standards. Stu-
dents at colleges and universities in the United States can
transfer credits from one institution to another. In addition,
the Bologna process is moving toward Europe-wide agree-
ment on equivalence and quality assurance mechanisms.
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Po l ic ymaker s need t o r et hink ac c r edit at io n
o f inst it ut io ns
The OECD and some developing countries are beginning to
accredit institutions on the basis of output or performance
measures (such as graduation rates) rather than on input
measures (such as the number of faculty or books in the li-
brary). In Bangladesh, for example, private secondary
schools must achieve certain pass rates on the university en-
trance examination to remain accredited (although this regu-
lation is rarely enforced). In Armenia, private (but not pub-
lic) higher education institutions must achieve a certain per-
centage of passes in the final examination (currently 50 per-
cent). Increasingly, funding of institutions is also based on
Fi n an c in g Li f el on g Lear n in g
More and higher-quality education and training opportunities
over a lifetime will require increased expenditures, although
resources will also need to be used more efficiently and in
different ways. These expenditures cannot be met solely
from public sources, but a menu of options is required that is
sustainable and equitable.
The pr ivat e and publ ic sec t o r s need t o wo r k
t o get her t o f inanc e l ear ning beyo nd t he ba-
sic c o mpet enc ies
Governments need to finance lifelong learning for which
social returns exceed private returns (for example, basic edu-
cation). The private sector needs to play a role in financing
investments for which private returns are high (for example,
most higher and continuing education). Government inter-
vention beyond the basic skills and knowledge should be
targeted to learners from low-income or socially excluded
groups and others with high barriers to learning.
No singl e f inanc ing syst em c an ser ve t he
needs o f al l l ear ner s
Policymakers need to consider a range of financing options,
including subsidies, mortgage-type loans, human capital
contracts, graduate taxes, income-contingent repayment
schemes, entitlement schemes, asset-building schemes, and
individual learning accounts. Whatever mechanisms are
used, financing of learning beyond the basic competencies
should include both cost-sharing and subsidy components.
Subsidies could be the main source of financing for low-
income learners. For higher-income groups, most financing
could take the form of income-contingent loans at market
Agen da f or t h e Fut ur e
The demands of a lifelong learning system are enormous, and
most countries will not be able to implement all elements of
the system at once. Countries must therefore develop a strat-
egy for how to move forward in a systematic and sequenced
fashion. An important step is to identify where a country
stands, particularly with respect to its international peers.
Nat io nal syst ems o f l if el o ng l ear ning need
t o be benc hmar ked
One way in which countries could move forward would be
by establishing national benchmarks for measuring lifelong
learning outcomes. Such measures are underdeveloped. Tra-
ditional measures of educational progress, such as gross en-
rollment ratios and public spending as a proportion of GDP,
do not capture important dimensions of lifelong learning.
Gross enrollment ratios measure inputs rather than achieve-
ment of core or other competencies. Total education spend-
ing includes more than just public spending. Traditional
indicators also fail to capture learning in the nonformal and
informal sectors, which is becoming increasingly important.
A Dif f er ent Appr o ac h t o Educ at io n Ref o r m
Continuous reform is needed not only to accelerate the pace
of reform but also to deepen the extent to which fundamental
transformations of learning are carried out. The traditional
model of education reform, however, is not amenable to con-
stant change: a stream of initiatives and policy changes are
seen as overwhelming to education stakeholders and reform
fatigue and then resistance sets in. Institutions must, there-
fore, build reform and change into their own processes. In
addition, policy changes need broad support and dialogue to
facilitate ongoing adjustments during implementation.
The Wo r l d Bank wil l Co nt inue t o Deepen it s
Under st anding and Hel p Co unt r ies Devel o p
Co nc r et e St r at egies
There is a need to engage national policymakers and
stakeholders worldwide in a dialogue on lifelong learning,
helping governments formulate visions and concrete action
plans for establishing both lifelong learning and innovation
frameworks appropriate to their country contexts. The World
Bank can help in this effort by working toward deepening the
understanding of the implications of the knowledge economy
for education and training systems and disseminating ana-
lytical and policy documents on education for the knowledge
Fur t h er In f or mat i on
This article is an Executive Summary of a forthcoming World
Bank Report that was prepared by a team led by Toby Linden and
Harry Anthony Patrinos, who worked under the general direction of
Ruth Kagia and the immediate supervision of Jamil Salmi. Team
members included David Herbert Fretwell, Richard Hopper, Kyria-
kos Georgiades, Gwang-Jo Kim, Yoshiko Koda, Kathrin Plange-
man, Shobhana Sosale, Masako Uchida, and Ayesha Vawda.