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EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction Chapter Six Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI) It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge. Albert Einstein (1879-1955) If a student flunks once,...

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FOR EDUCATION AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction Chapter Six Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI) It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge. Albert Einstein (1879-1955) If a student flunks once, he is out; but an inventor is almost always failing he tries and fails maybe a thousand times. ... Our biggest job is to teach how to fail intelligently... to keep on trying, and failing, and trying. Charles Franklin Kettering (1876-1958) LEARNING OUTCOMES The term Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI) describes digital systems that are designed to assist in the learning process, specifically those that can be tailored to the needs of the individual student. When originally defined, it described systems comprised of discrete hardware and software, tailored to different teaching methodologies and focused upon a curriculum core (reading, language arts, math). Current use of this term embraces a range of instructional solutions, from courseware applications to district-wide web-based integrated learning systems. In general, educational use of technology has migrated from "technology tutoring" to the concept of "technology tools," as discussed in Chapter 5. However, as also discussed in Chapter 5, NCLB has reinforced the need for standards-based education, resulting in a general re-thinking of the role of CAI in schools1. In this chapter we will examine the various types of CAI with a view to broadening your awareness of what is available in the way of computer-based tools to support education and your understanding about how to use them effectively. It is beyond the scope of this book to profile in more than cursory fashion specific CAI applications. We are concerned here with concepts, rather than keystrokes. The ideal accompaniment to the study of the material in this chapter, and in the book as a whole, would be hands-on review of as wide a range as possible of CAI software. Coursewaresoftware designed to promote specific learning goals, such as age-specific reading, writing, mathematics, science, social studies, music and arts skillsis abundant and available at a price2. Increasingly, courseware is being developed by individuals and 1 Private schools may not be guided by NCLB. This decision depends upon funding needs and school philosophy. 2 Educational pricing, group purchasing plans and state-supported purchasing plans mean that schools pay much less for computer software than does the public. So it should always be purchased through the school. 146 EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction smaller development teams and made available as freeware or low cost shareware3. Teachers are planning lessons around these tools. We will explore some specific uses of sample tools, for finding the best tool for the task is an important part of the planning process (and a lesson that students will learn by doing!). Teachers are also learning to implement the standards-based CAI that are available school or district-wide. There are advantages to both computer integration solutions and it is the teacher's role to guide students in their use on a day-to-day basis. General strategies for the successful integration of technology will be explored in Chapter 14. Teachers are also using a third category of CAI, perhaps the one that will be first to the finish line in upcoming years web-based learning content. We will touch upon it here and cover it in some depth in Chapter 9. This chapter also will examine the process of courseware and software evaluation since, although there are many examples of well-designed courseware, teachers should still evaluate learning materials prior to incorporating them into lessons plans. They must also evaluate the effectiveness of those materials while students are using them, and again after their use in order to determine whether or not they should be used again. This evaluation should be shared with other teachers. Computer technology can help with this task in various ways. The following topics will therefore be dealt with in this chapter. Introduction: Children want to learn Technology Tools: Students and productivity software Productivity Software is a Platform for CAI Word Processing Database Management Spreadsheets and Charting tools Drawing and PaintingGraphics Tools Authoring or Presentation Software Graphical Organizers Communications Technology Tools and Testers: Classifications of CAI Caveat: The teacher should come bundled with the software Software for Drill & Practice Software for Tutorials 3 Freeware is distributed freely, but often with little support. Shareware requests a registration be paid to the developer. Both are generally distributed on the Internet. Tucows ( and Kids Domain ( are two good sources. 147 EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction Software for Simulations Software for Critical Thinking and Enrichment Computer-based laboratories (CBLs) Programming and Problem-solving Integrated Learning Systems (ILSs) Software evaluation The design of effective software evaluation instruments The process of CAI system evaluation and purchase INTRODUCTION The French writer and educator Anatole France once wrote: "Let our teaching be full of ideas. Hitherto it has been stuffed only with facts... The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards." Learning is more likely to take place if natural curiosity is awakened. As any teacher knows, children to some degree at least can be coerced into the kind of academic achievement that is measured by scores on standardized tests. But knowledge acquired out of inherent interest in the subject matter is much more likely to persist and be retained than that acquired purely for the purpose of passing tests. Inherent interest in the subject matter of a discipline also provides a surer foundation for life-long learning. Children Want To Learn A Nation at Risk (The National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1984) recognized "the natural abilities of the young that cry out to be developed and the undiminished concern of parents for the well-being of their children." The report's recommendations "are based on the belief that everyone can learn, that everyone is born with an urge to learn which can be nurtured, that solid high school education is within the reach of virtually all, and that life-long learning will equip people with the skills required for new careers and for citizenship." The teacher's task is to nurture the student's innate "urge to learn." In this chapter we will look at the various ways in which computer assisted instruction (CAI) can be one tool, but by no means the only tool, for accomplishing this objective. TECHNOLOGY TOOLS: STUDENTS AND PRODUCTIVITY SOFTWARE Ralph Waldo Emerson observed: "The person who can make the hard things easy is the educator." Before we examine categories of CAI, we will take a look at how the same productivity tools discussed in Chapter 5 can be used by students. The term productivity is used to describe these applications, which are the workhorses of any organization, because workers can get more done in less time when the computer is used to assist them. 148 EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction The same applies to students, who undertake every day the essential job of learning. There is no reason why these applications should not also be the workhorses for the students in a computerized classroom. Creating the opportunities and presenting the possibilities is the teacher's role. By the end of this chapter, teachers should understand this axiom: a minimum of software used well is more powerful than a maximum of software used poorly. Productivity Software Is a Platform For CAI Productivity software provides study tools for all aspects of learning. Chapter 1 showed how learning in the language arts, math, science and social studies can be enhanced by incorporating computers into the curriculum. All areas of study require the acquisition of information in response to curiosity and inquiry. Productivity software empowers the student to make something of this information. The computer has become one of the most important tools to support research, regardless of the academic discipline or level. Students, guided by good teachers, use databases, spreadsheets and graphical organizers to capture, manipulate, and organize data. They use word processors to write about the data. They use graphics tools to design materials to accompany their written and/or spoken descriptions of what they have learned. They use presentation or authoring software to produce multimedia presentations to share their learning. This process of capturing, manipulating, organizing, and presenting is a profound learning experience, especially when facilitated by a teacher who knows how to stimulate inquiry, who understands when to leave students alone to discover knowledge by themselves, and who is ready to step in with ideas and guidance of an enriching nature that will redirect and reinvigorate flagging research or inquiry Educator Jamie McKenzie (1999) writes often about the power of Questioning in the research process. Examination of his research cycle model ( with an eye toward understanding how and where productivity software can support the cycle is a good exercise for the teacher. Gathering, synthesizing, sifting and sorting, revising, and publication are all facilitated by the right productivity tools. This applies to the kindergartner examining letters or bugs, to the AP chemistry student examining recumbent DNA, and to everything in between. When combined with the use of technology to present, access or communicate information, productivity tools become powerful tools for learning. It is beyond our scope here to dwell more than superficially on the technical aspects of productivity software. Readers should note, however, the sets of tutorials which optionally accompany this text. These tutorials introduce the user to the essential features of the Microsoft Office software, using examples that are appropriate for the classroom. 149 EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction They are available online for free download at the following URLs: Microsoft Office 2000: Tutorials for Teachers Microsoft Office XP: Tutorials for Teachers Let us briefly examine, from the students point of view, the features of each of the components of productivity software. Word Processing In an information age, an individual's ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing is a key ingredient of success, even of economic survival. An important goal of education, therefore, is to help students develop good communication skills. Teachers are role models in this regard. Their students look to them for example and direction. So, teachers as well as students should constantly work on improving their speaking and writing skills. A good place to start might be to take more advantage of the word processor, which is the most used of all computer applications. Chapter 1 made the case for the word processor as a tool for learning. It is already revolutionizing the teaching of writing in computer-integrated elementary and secondary classrooms. A recent study in British Columbia found that student writing skills improved by 30% when students used personal laptop computers to write across the curriculum (Alphonso). Children prefer writing at a computer because of the ease of text modification and revision and because of the improved appearance of the final product. The net result of this is that the children are motivated to write more, and this alone leads to improved writing skills, especially when they are working with teachers who provide that "prepared environment" where spontaneous intellectual growth can flourish. Not only are the children more likely to become better writers using a word processor; they also are more likely to blossom in all areas of academic life. Myers (1984) makes a powerful case for 150 Idea Bank: Word processing Science - lab reports, Lives of Famous Scientists Book, All About Mammals flyers, Amazing Facts trading cards History/Social Studies - essays, period newspapers, creative journals, transcribed interviews, travel brochures, A Letter to, hyperlinked/annotated primary documents (including images) Language Arts/English - alphabet books, stories, poems, essays, journals, myths, plays, class anthologies, How To , annotated literary passages, Guess Who? Mathematics - How to solve a problem, All About Fractions books, famous mathematicians posters or reports Arts - Famous artists trading cards, How I See (Hear) It - personal responses to famous works, reviews of film, galleries, shows, concerts & CD's, "meet the artist/actor" posters P.E. & Health - reports on current events and health issues, Athlete of the Week posters, sports newsletter, cookbook Language - dialogues, original plays, annotated literary commentaries, A Trip To, Computer - programming, My Robot posters, Logic puzzles and solutions EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction Writing to Learn Across the Curriculum. "Writing to learn," he writes, "is based on a growing body of research into the writing process that suggests that writing can be a powerful strategy for learning content. The student who participates in a writing to learn program is likely to learn more content, understand it better, and retain it longer. As a bonus, writing skills are also likely to improve through use." Myers goes on to say: "Writing should be an integral part of any instructional program. It is unfortunate that, outside the English classroom, most teachers provide only limited writing opportunities for their students, usually in the form of note-taking or an occasional essay question on an exam. Writing can do much more. Properly used, it can become the single most powerful tool a teacher can employ." (Emphasis added) There are many teachers who routinely expect their students to use the word processor for writing, no matter what the academic discipline involved. They work with their students to revise word processed writing assignments until they are of an acceptable standard. Such revision is a natural, almost inevitable, component of writing when assignments are word processed. Unlike hand- or type-written work, when the word processor is used, revision is much more likely to occur before the assignment is handed in. In fact, Microsoft Word facilitates comment and revision by making a powerful set of editing tools available to the teacher and student (see Fig. 6.1). Fig. 6.1 Editing tools put to use in Word XP Many teachers are encouraging peer editing and collaboration on the computer, as early as grade 14. Because the basic word processing tools for formatting and layout are consistent across platforms and software applications, students develop strong skills as they move through the K-12 experience. If we use computers for no other purpose than to actively promote writing across the curriculum we will have already taken a huge step towards improving the overall quality of children's educational experience. If we also have the students using those word processing skills to communicate over local and wide area computer networks, as 4 Although Word and AppleWorks are accessible to early elementary school students, application such as Knowledge Adventures KidWorks and Kidspiration have features that make them good alternatives. 151 EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction discussed in chapters 7 through 9, we can foster collaborative writing between students and subject area experts inside and outside the school. Did you know The word processor is the best tool for collecting notes for online research. URL's can be dragged directly into Word or AppleWorks, where they will become hyperlinks! Even better, images can also be inserted by drag-and-drop! Keyboarding remains a conundrum. In general, research indicates that students write more and better if they can keyboard faster than they can write by hand. It is not the role of the classroom teacher, however, to teach keyboarding. Many solutions are available: computer labs often undertake structured keyboarding lessons using proven software such as Type to Learn and Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. Some schools enlist the help of parents to oversee keyboarding practice at home. Other schools have invested in inexpensive, portable keyboarding/word processing tools, such as the AlphaSmart ( Every school that encourages or expects word processing should have a keyboarding solution, and the teachers should be aware of it. Database Management A database program is designed to help the user create files containing hundreds or thousands of records, capture the data, store it, rearrange it, sort it on specific fields, select subsets of records and of fields within records, and produce reports. Although modern databases are designed to carry out mathematical operations on numbers, this is not their primary function. The spreadsheet, which we will examine next, is a more appropriate tool for mathematical manipulation of numeric data. For the most part the database is best at handling plain text, though it will handle numbers, dates, and images and multimedia objects, too. Fig. 6.2 illustrates a typical database data entry form for the Microsoft Office Access database management system. Idea Bank: Databases Summer reading books Class facts Historical events/people Pets Mammals Biomes Favorite movies, TV shows Immigration/immigrant groups What grows where States/Country facts What we learned today Fitness testing results Our trips My work - portfolios Our online partners Fig. 6.2 Access database data entry form 152 EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction One of the best services teachers can provide for their students is to teach themor even better let them teach each otherhow to use a database program. Students can be introduced to databases by entering data into teacher-designed forms. Children of all ages can do this, perhaps as early as second grade. Even at the kindergarten and first grade levels, the teacher may be able to hand over most of the data entry to the students. In teaching students how to use databases, teachers are also modeling how to make databases. For older students, teachers can design long term team projects in which students research a subject, design a database to capture the data, assemble the data, produce reports using the database package and the word processor, and make a presentation based on their findings. Teachers can locate online database projects that extend the data set around the globeor they can even design and manage their own! Working with a database can be an important exercise in higher order thinking. For example, databases require students to classify data by selecting from a checklist of descriptors or categories. Searching a database by dates or keywords can yield "found lists" from which students can create conclusions by compare-contrast, cause-effect, inference, locating patterns or predicting outcomes. Returning to Jamie McKenzie, the database structure invites good criteria for information collection and facilitates the "filter and revise" steps so critical to good research methodology. Asking questions of a database develops another essential skill for the digital age; students using a well-designed tool will learn that information is a powerful thingalmost too easily accessed and manipulated. Did you know Most Internet forms now send data to or collect data from a searchable database. As early as kindergarten, students are familiar with these forms and eager to use them. But the COPPA (Children's Online Privacy Protection Act) makes it unlawful for websites to solicit information from children under 13. Teachers must teach children Internet safety rules and guide them toward "kidsafe" search engines, such as KidsClick! (!/) Spreadsheets A spreadsheet, like a database, is a powerful tool for gathering and storing data, manipulating it and presenting it in various ways. The difference is that a spreadsheet is primarily designed to handle numeric data, whereas a database is best for handling discrete snippets of information media. A spreadsheet file consists of a grid of rows and columns. At the intersections of rows and columns are cells into which the data are entered. Fig. 6.3 on the next page illustrates a typical spreadsheet exercise using the Microsoft Office Excel spreadsheet software. 153 EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction Fig. 6.3 A spreadsheet is made up of cells divided into rows and columns This example uses a text object to provide questions; answers could be entered into a second text object. It also displays a bar graph of the data, facilitating comparison of boy-girl totals by providing a visual display. In the classroom, a word-processed survey form could be used to tally footwear data as it is collected. It would be a good teaching strategy to have all students complete a sample spreadsheet, like this one, and then allow students to work in teams to design and complete a survey of their own. There are many extensions of an activity begun in this way: writing, math, interviews, research, explorations of how data sets interrelate (for example, if there has been a survey of favorite free time activities, students could ask if more boys like sports because they wear the most sneakers). The strengths of spreadsheets are their functions and their graphing and charting capability. Functions are mathematical formulas (such as total all the values in such and such a column) that direct the spreadsheet to carry out math or logical processing. Such processing, done manually, would be time-consuming and error prone if done by hand, even with the aid of a calculator. Many of the spreadsheet functions are built-in, such as the sum and average functions, used in the spreadsheet shown in Fig. 6.3. But users can also create their own formulas by expressing in mathematical terms the functions they want calculated. Additionally, some of the more difficult concepts, such as mean and median, can be reinforced when data is viewed on a spreadsheet. 154 EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction All spreadsheets today have a variety of graphing and charting tools (Fig. 6.4 below). The user can specify a set of values in the spreadsheetsay all the values in a sequence of cellsand press a few keys to tell the spreadsheet to draw a pie chart, bar chart, line chart, or a combination of chart types, including 3-dimensional charts. The chart can then be inserted, as an information clip, into a wordprocessed document, a presentation or poster, and so forth. Increasingly, science classrooms are using data collection and presentation applications, such as Vernier's Logger Pro, to enrich classroom instruction. These applications, specialized for hands-on research5, create a real-world environment for students. Rather than spending their time to create spreadsheets and enter data, they spend their time analyzing data. The wise teacher keeps this in mindspreadsheets generally raise more questions than they answer, and a template or graphing tool can focus student attention on important questions and their answers. Idea Bank: Spreadsheets Surveys of anything that can be counted How I will spend $100 A cross-country travel plan Keeping track of homework time Class fund-raising project Population growth in a city, state, country by group Ocean depth, mountain height How many of what color? (Skittles, M&M's, Froot Loops, buttons) Plotting numerical progressions and patterns - squaring, cubing, halving, incrementing How far /fast/long can I. Environmental studies - temperature, pH, oxygen, flow rate, pollutants Grammar counts - count occurrences of "which", "that," the semicolon Probability and prediction Calories and nutrition journal Design a 2-story 5 room teen center having a total volume of 4000 square feet. Fig. 6.4 Different styles of spreadsheet charts in Excel. As with the word processor and the database, a spreadsheet is relatively easy to use once you have mastered the concept of spreadsheets. Once you have learned to use a spreadsheet, teach it to your students. Software such as Tom Snyder's Graph Club provides ready-made lessons for teaching spreadsheets. Sunburst's Graphers includes 5 Virtual experiments are also available online and integrated into science applications. These are especially valuable when performing the experiments would involve high-cost equipment or impossible laboratory situations, such as many AP physics or biochemistry lessons. 155 EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction good lesson plans and support materials. Many lesson plans can be found online, in science, mathematics and social studies texts, and in tutorials for AppleWorks and Excel. The alert teacher will find the best ideas, however, in her own curriculumgathering, organizing and analyzing numerical data are essential literacy components at every grade level. Students at all grade levels like to count, measure and time. Additionally, data sets to support most K-12 studies are freely available in the library and online.6 A spreadsheet is often correlated with a hands-on inquiry activity or a project-based learning activity. Because the medium is digital, students who use the spreadsheet to solve a numerical problem can easily manipulate solution sets and predict outcomes. We are entering an age of data-driven decision making and problem-solving, one in which workers will need data skills in every workplace. Like the database, spreadsheets challenge students to stretch into higher levels of thinking. The seemingly simple choice of chart style is a thinking decisionWhat do I want to display? What does my data really mean? Students charting pH variation in a guppy tank learn quickly, for example, that a range of 1-10 is meaningless. They then need to ask: What is pH anyway and what do these numbers mean? The same students counting guppies and snails will observe that using a line chart allows them to have 7.5 guppies on a Sunday. Is this an accurate presentation of the data? How could there have been half of a guppy in the tank? The teacher guiding this type of learning is not delivering information; she is exciting curiosity and encouraging thinking. Did you know Excel is a powerful tool for collaboration. In a networked classroom, it is possible to designate one worksheet (or Excel document) as Shared. Others students on networked computers, anywhere, can then add data to it! This is an exciting way to introduce remote collaboration as early as elementary school. Drawing and PaintingGraphics Tools Many excellent drawing and painting packages are available for today's powerful computers. Applications such as Adobe's PhotoShop and Illustrator and Corel's CorelDRAW can make students who do not think they are artistic feel like birds released from a cageonce they have learned the ins and outs of how to use the software. Students who are artistic may at first feel inhibited by the constraints imposed by a computing environment which, being digital, imposes at least discrete limits on freedom of artistic expression. But these same artistic students, because of their special talents, will soon learn to make the software sing. Paraphrasing John Vincent Atanasoff, the inventor of the electronic digital computer, you do not need absolute accuracy to achieve relatively perfect results. In fact, full-featured paint programs play a growing role in graphic arts and technology programs. CAD (Computer-Assisted Design) software, 6 Examples would be the US Census Bureau ( and Animal Info for mammal data sets ( 156 EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction which enables 3D modeling, time-lapse modeling and virtual walkthroughs, is often found in high school arts and technology classrooms. Applications would include architecture study, creation of virtual and simulated environments, and game design. The school that makes these applications available at the middle school level and higher will find that they provide wonderful support for astronomy and geology lessons.7 Of course, most students will not find advanced tools in the computer lab or on laptops or classroom computers, nor will they need the advanced features of the tools. For the most part, they will be using the more basic tools introduced in Chapter 5. Most educational general purpose and presentation applications contain basic drawing tools, such as those incorporated into the Microsoft Office suite of programs and into HyperStudio. These offer simple drawing and (this is something to look for) charting features. Simplicity suits the learners purpose. A sophisticated program such as PhotoShop may well get in the way of learning by forcing the student to focus too much on the technicalities of getting a drawing or photograph perfect. In any case, all students will come to appreciate a graphic application as a timesaving and creativity-enhancing tool. As is true across the edtech world, finding the best graphics tool for the learning task, and the best task for a graphics tool, is the job of the educated teacher. Brderbund's Kid Pix program is beautifully designed to allow the youngest children to create artwork in an enjoyable, on-screen environment. This is an example of the new breed of educational draw/paint software. Originally an innovative black & white application, the newest generation of Kid Pix includes lively multimedia elements that "grab" students. Clip art stamps and special effects have sound effects, drawings can be merged into narrated slide shows, and "exploding" a drawing is sometimes the most interesting thing to do. Nonetheless, Kid Pix develops sound skills by introducing young students to basic drawing and painting tools, at the same time making it possible for the teacher to introduce or reinforce important concepts, such as symmetry and patterns. Another excellent tool is GollyGee Idea Bank: Draw/Paint Tools 2D to 3D - explorations of shape Pictographs - stamp pets and junk foods Fun Art - paint animal heads on Metropolitan paintings (they are freely available to schools online) Lab reports - illustrate that plant, environment, fish tank, or Petri dish - animate it About Me - illustrate your bio and the bios of your family Neighborhood - archive it in photos Logos - design your own, one for your class Make it Web-Ready - the most powerful use of digital photo editing tools Illustrate the class newsletter or magazine Alphabet books, step books Draw/paint as you listen Draw/paint as you read Art Class: explore hue and tone, space and negative space, design wallpaper and fabrics, design buttons and other web page elements Design a set for the play Arrange clip art animals (sized appropriately) in a painted biome or habitat Examine volume in 2D and 3D Wanted posters for the infamous; star poster for the famous Tessellations and patterns - plan a quilt, challenge your classmates Annotate and label blank maps Storyboard a movie or presentation 7 Manipulation and modeling of NASA Mars images and modeling erosion/eruption landscapes, for example. 157 EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction Software's GollyGee Blocks ( Designed for education, this application introduces 3D modeling and spatial thinking to elementary students while reinforcing the basic skills needed to use all modern graphics applications. Fig. 6.5 shows a screenshot of a 3D landscape. Fig. 6.5 Two views of a landscapeGollyGee Blocks The teacher who has the use of a digital camera or scanner is especially fortunate. These tools enable students to include digital media in all products, from word-processed documents to presentations. In Chapter 5, the uses and value of digital imaging applications such as iPhoto and Photoshop Elements were discussed. These tools are very student-friendly. Classroom projects centered upon student-taken and student-annotated digital images are a powerful learning experience in any academic discipline. Similarly, images from the Internet enrich student graphic work, often proving key "starter" or "finishing" elements. One caveat: using images from online sources requires students to follow correct citation rules8. Insisting upon this sends a powerful message about intellectual property rights. Teachers should include "correct citation of sources" in all assessments. Good drawing, painting and special format software enables the teacher to print documents in a range of sizes, from small to very large. Big books can be produced for, and even by, the younger age groups. Color maps and other posters also can be printed in large sizes for display on walls in the classroom or around the school9. Photoshop Elements and iPhoto make it possible to print contact sheets of various layouts, saving expensive photo paper. Digital imaging tools, then, empower the student (and teacher) by making it possible to present learning "as I see it." This digital work can then be easily archived and quickly revised. 8 Many educationally minded websites, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, allow students to use images without permission - but they do require citation! 9 Another product from Brderbund, The New Print Shop, is very useful for creating attractive, personalized greetings cards, notices, banners, letterheads, calendars, and so forth. The software will also create posters as big as a garage doorjust what every school needs! 158 EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction Did you know There are many file formats in which to save images. The safest are .gif and .jpg. Drawings are best saved in the .gif format and photographs are best saved in the .jpg format. Drawing and paint programs require the teacher or student to pay attention to format when saving. This is an essential skill! Moreover A succession of .gif images can easily become an animation using tools built into HyperStudio or a freeware application such as Gif Builder. Authoring or Presentation Software Presentations pull together all of the elements of student creativity. As their name suggests, they are best used to present the outcomes of research, inquiry, or a decisionmaking exercise. Apple's integrated software AppleWorks has a simple-to-use Presentation component. Slides can be designed for display on a small or large screen, with built-in tools to set the slide background colors and sequencing, as well as the capability to "hide" slides and create "transparent" slides which can be overlaid on a previous slide so that the contents of the two or more slides can be progressively viewed during a presentation (rather as a presenter with an overhead projector uses a piece of paper to conceal the ensuing contents of a single slide as he or she moves down the often-bulleted contents of a transparency). Individual slides can contain text, images, animations, sounds and movies. These are, in a nutshell, the components of any good presentation application. Brderbund's Kid Pix Studio and Kid Pix Deluxe, HyperStudio, and Tom Snyder's TimeLiner are also powerful presentation tools, well suited to elementary and early middle school. Idea Bank: Planning Presentation Projects Set limits: number of slides, number of sounds, number of transitions and background, number and color of fonts Insist that all media elements are collected before the presentation is begun - they should be in the same folder as the presentation Insist that group members alternate tasks Insist that all text is written before the project is begun; collect long text elements separately Insist upon a storyboard Practice writing bullet text - follow the 5 x 5 rule Practice presenting the presentation Encourage students to add "live" drama to the presentation Save every step! Many networks have difficulty working with multimedia presentations Discourage printing Use a rubric for assessment and focus students upon it often Kids of all ages (including college age students) love using these programs because they are easy to use and fun to interact with. A good teacher will take advantage of the motivationally-attractive aspects of the software to lure students into learning under the guise of having fun! We will further examine presentation tools in the context of multimedia in Chapter 10. It goes beyond saying that making the presentation is often the most exciting part of a long-term project. Teachers should make sure that the entire project itself is well159 EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction structured in terms of attainable and appropriate learning goals and objectives, and that it allows for enough research or inquiry time. Collaboration is a natural fit with presentations, and this also has to be allowed for. Lastly, the digital presentation is generally just one part of the sharing, or presenting, of learning. Few student presentations are self-contained10; most have a "real-time" and "real-person" component, often amounting to a mini-lecture. Guiding students in this public speaking exercise is just as important as guiding the digital project. Did you know Most presentation applications support collaboration by allowing separately created files to be merged or linked. Graphical Organizers One of the most widely used educational software applications is Inspiration (or its elementary school counterpart, Kidspiration)11. These two tools have a powerful missionthey organize student thought. Returning again to Jamie McKenzie's insistence upon the importance of Questioning in the learning process, it is not hard to see that a few good questions will yield a plethora of answers. The graphical organizer fit this paradigm well. In its most straightforward use, Inspiration collects Answers, Ideas, or Details as they are brainstormed. In fact, it contains a tool, called Rapid Fire, to facilitate this. Ideas or concepts can be associated with images from the included clip art library, from a library created for the project, or from the Internet. Students can add hyperlinks to project websites as they do research. Idea Bank: Graphical Organizers English - create writing plans, analyze plot, character, theme, mood or tone, collect vocabulary, annotate a text History - study cause & effect, compare and contrast, organize a research project, analyze a primary document, plan an essay Math - solve a logic problem, plot the flow of a computer program Science - visualize cycles, plan a science fair project Language - create a vocabulary diagram, study a culture or country Arts - write a How-To, analyze a painting, drama or performance P.E. - game plans, plot plays Elementary - alphabet words, My Room descriptions, Venn diagrams, What Doesn't Belong? All - design a web site The true power of the graphical organizer becomes apparent when it is time to organize the ideas. Students are able to manipulate the "bubbles" or concept objects in the diagram by linking them, moving them, coloring them and even annotating them with pop up notes. Ideas can be extended by the insertion of sub-diagrams inside of a single concept. Older students will find that the outline, 10 A significant exception to this rule of thumb is presentations created as movies (iMovie, Pinnacle Studio, Flash) or web pages. The process is the same, but, because they are self-contained, they must be much more content rich. 11 There are several other tools that are similar in design. Cmap, free tool from the University of Florida, has tools for High School. PicoMap is a free graphical organizer for PDA's. Smart Ideas is an organizer designed to be used with a SmartBoard. 160 EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction created automatically as concepts are added, can be easily manipulated. Many learn that it is at times easier to start with an outline rather than a diagram. As is true of the best education applications, Inspiration and Kidspiration come with a wide range of useful templates and strong support from the producers, including webbased tutorials, correlation with standards, and idea books. In the elementary school, Kidspiration (Fig. 6.6) is a powerful tool for developing thinking skills such as grouping, sorting, classification, and sequencing. Visual tools included in the software facilitate the application of these skills to everyday life and frequently studied contexts, such as school, home, foods and animals. The application encourages writing with a built-in word processing tool, to which symbols can be added. Did you know Inspiration outlines can be exported directly to Word, AppleWorks and PowerPoint. In the latter case, the result is a basic slide show, with each concept bubble becoming a slide! Fig. 6.6 Kidspiration makes the organization of ideas easy for elementary school students Teachers who insist that students use a graphical organizer find that students focus upon the topic, theme or exercise and are less easily distracted by peripheral ideas and nonessential information. When used to support collaborative or a hands-on experience, the graphical organizer encourages questioning and probingin short, learning. Communications You will remember from Chapter 5 that communication, including digital communication, can be synchronous or asynchronous. Synchronous communication, such as face-to-face speech, signing, online chat, online forums and bulletin boards, a videoconference or a live TV broadcast, occurs simultaneously between those involved in 161 EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction the communication. Asynchronous communication, such as regular mail ("snail mail"), email, voice mail, blogging12, or a delayed TV broadcast, is communication that is received some time after the initial message has been sent. When a broadband connection13 or modem14 is used to connect a computer to the Internet, interesting synchronous and asynchronous educational opportunities open Idea Bank: A Sampling of Online up. In this regard, the world of K-12 education Collaboration Projects is slowly catching up with its big academic CIESE Online Classroom Projects: brother at the college level and with the rest of Electronic Postcards from Around the the computerized world. Classes of students can function as "teams," collaborating the peer-editing through blogs and bulletin boards that extend the school day into all hours. In a growing number of K-12 schools, both in the United States and elsewhere in the world, students are being offered the opportunity for cross-cultural interaction with students and adults from all over the world. Others connect students in realtime to remote experts and learning experiences that enrich and extend the classroom experience. Learning in these schools is taking on a reach that extends beyond the school, out into the local and global community. World: lass/gray/internet/electronic/ Apple Learning Interchange Digital Learning Events: ml The Branding of America: ng/ Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ask a Scientist: KDN: Kid's Design Network: kdn/index.html The GLOBE Program: e.cgi?intro&lang=en&nav=1 WISE - Web-based Inquiry Science Environment: Computers and communications (C&C) technology has the potential to extend every student's educational experience. As already noted in the Chapter 5, it can bring the home into the school and the school into the home, making possible a synergy which has been shown to have a significant impact on the quality of the educational experience for each individual student (Bauch, 1990). But it can also bring the world into the school and the school into the world in ways that are destined to have a profound effect on how education happens. In the next chapter we will look more closely at the contribution that C&C can make to our students' educational experience. Meanwhile, a useful exercise would be for you to get together with your colleagues or classmates and discuss other ways in which 12 A blog, or weblog, is a personal Web site updated frequently with links, commentary and any other data. New items go on top and older items flow down the page. Blogs are a bit like a personal diary which might focus on one narrow subject or range across a universe of topics. 13 Broadband, or high speed, connections are becoming more prevalent in schools. These include cable modems, DSL lines, and T1 lines. With students, speed can be everything. 14 A modem is a device that converts the digital data in the computer to analog form so that they can be transmitted over the telephone system. 162 EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction productivity software can further learning. This is recommended as an exercise in the DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT section at the end of the chapter. TECHNOLOGY TOOLS AND TESTERS: CLASSIFICATIONS OF CAI A caveat: The Teacher Should Come Bundled with the Software Caftori (1994) reminds us that children, unsupervised, do not necessarily achieve the learning objectives for which specific software has been designed. The computer does not, and should not, replace the teacher. Good teachers bring diagnostic and motivational skills to the classroom, along with the knowledge and experience to guide children on their intellectual journey. The case study at the end of this chapter elaborates on this theme and it is hoped that the reader will find the time to read, and reflect upon, the important ideas presented by Dr. Netiva Caftori. There are seven categories of CAI, each of which is appropriate under different instructional circumstances and therefore requires a different pedagogical approach. These seven types of CAI are as follows: Drill & Practice Tutorials Simulations Critical Thinking and Enrichment Computer-based Laboratories (CBL) Programming Integrated Learning Systems (ILS) The ensuing sections clarify the unique characteristics that have made these applications powerful tools in the classroom. Software for Drill & Practice Grab Bag: Drill & Practice Oldies but Goodies - available from CCV Software ( Alphabet Express Blaster (series) - Reading, Math, Spelling, Science Reader Rabbit How the West Was 1+3*4 Jump Start (series) Ace Detective (series for reading) Stickybear Math Cornerstone Reading Vocabulary Sunbuddy Math Playhouse Munchers (Math and Word) Fraction Attraction Gold Medal Math Skills for Writers Math Arena Drill & Practice, which is a learning methodology used to reinforce familiar knowledge, is a type of CAI that, in recent years, has received a certain amount of bad press. The criticism in some cases stems more from disparagement of Drill & Practice as a CAI genre than from dissatisfaction with the effectiveness of the methodology. It is less exotic than other forms of CAI, such as simulations/virtual reality, for example; and thus, from the point of view of the student, less fun15. 15 A criticism, as we will see, that software producers and website designers have spent a lot of energy responding to. 163 EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction Other criticism comes from a belief that the methodology itself is flawed and basically ineffective as far as higher-level learning. Bigge (1982) points out that, ever since Edward L. Thorndike in the early 1900's debunked mental discipline as a working hypothesis for learning, there has been a rejection of the idea that the mind can be exercised with a view to strengthening its intellectual capabilities. Drill & Practice, Thorndike would say, is not the way to nurture ideas. Some mental abilities, however, involve skills (remembering a list of items, manipulating numbers mathematically) quite as much as concepts, and in these cases Drill & Practice ("mental gymnastics") is clearly an appropriate learning methodology. It can also be argued that Drill & Practice is, indirectly, as fundamental to the learning of intellectual concepts as it is to the acquisition of mental and physical skills. In this sense, intellectual skills are no different than physical skills. One must use Drill & Practice (i.e. constantly refresh basic skills) even when one has become an expert, as any chemist, mathematician, golfer, carpenter, ball player or instrumentalist knows. Reinforcing Basic Skills So, Drill & Practice is an important learning reinforcement technique for building basic knowledge. It also is critical for honing myriad intellectual skills (such as basic mathematics, vocabulary, sentence construction, following the steps in problem solving, and so on) that are the foundation for higher-level intellectual activity, otherwise known as Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS). This is not to say that the computer is always the best vehicle for Drill & Practice. It depends on the discipline, the circumstances, and the individual student. Computers do, however, lend themselves to fruitful Drill & Practice activity. There are many examples of Drill & Practice software which effectively prompt the user to practice, over and over if necessary, the skills required to assimilate a particular skill, whether that skill be intellectual or physical. Research appears to bear this out. Good Drill & Practice software will provide the user with an opportunity for repetitive practice and immediate feedback on the accuracy of responses. It will monitor those responses, moving the user forward if the lesson appears to be well learned, and back if responses indicate that the user is over his or her head. Using the computer for this purpose is doubly advantageous because students have shown, over and over again, that they enjoy interacting with the computer per se, even to the point of having no objection to doing repetitive work, especially when that repetitive work is disguised in the format of a game. Math Blaster Algebra, for example, begins with an animated video clip detailing the collision between an asteroid and the space ship Nomial. The accident leaves the ship defenseless prey to a group of destructive aliens, the 'Quadraticas'. The user is asked to come aboard and help repair the damaged areas in the ship by completing five activities at three difficulty levels (covering a full year of Algebra 1). Activities cover more than 25 topics including algebraic expressions, graphing lines and parabolas, factoring polynomials, and solving quadratic equations. They take the user from the ships Control Room to various other sections of the ship, each section 164 EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction featuring a different activity. A robot friend and guide, Skully, is available in every room of the ship to provide the user with information and handy tips. Theres a Math Blaster for ages 4-6, tooas well as every age in between. The early childhood version covers the first steps to math mastery. Children discover number meanings and simple number sentences. This early learning program provides a stepby-step approach to problem-solving that prepares students for basic operations and mathematical thinking. Most important these days, the software is correlated to National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Standards. Fig. 6.7 Once a "shoot-em-up" application, Math Blaster now encourages thought and problem-solving as it drills math facts Testing It Out It is precisely this level of engagement that critics of Drill & Practice software find objectionable. There is often a fine line between "educational" software and "edutainment" software, a line defined by excessive, distracting bells & whistles and by rewards for successful guessing. Teachers selecting such software for classroom use would be wise to test it first, all the way through, and with a student at the controls. It is generally possible to write a software use guide or performance rubric that will maximize learning goals and minimize time wasted in "just playing." Moving into the Future Few educational software developers are focusing their energy on Drill & Practice software alone. The current trend is two-fold: toward "critical applications thinking" that include Drill & Practice and toward ILS (Integrated Learning Systems) for the core subjects and skills identified by the NCLB (reading, language arts, mathematics, science) and often focused equally on test-taking skills. These programs will be discussed later in this chapter. 165 EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction Did you know A recent report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project finds that the majority of today's students view the Internet as the primary resource for all school-related work. (Pew, December, 2003). Teachers can mine this resource for Drill & Practice exercises by doing a Google search for topics such as "math facts games"the word "games" is, alas, generally necessary. Remembertest it first and check the source. Software for Tutorials Drill & Practice software is designed to reinforce known skills, whereas tutorial software is designed to introduce the learner to new skills and concepts. As opposed to ILS, which will be discussed later in this chapter, the tutorial focuses on a specific curricular learning content at a specific grade level. In his 2003 review of recent research studies, Kulik concludes that tutorial software can be a "very effective aid" in teaching concepts at both the elementary and the secondary level (Kulik, 2003). Tutorials take many forms. Students may sit with human tutors who will help them learn a body of knowledge. Or, students may work with a book that steps them through the exercise of acquiring a body of knowledge. In this book we are interested in computerized tutorials where a concept or skill to be learned is presented to the user, followed by opportunities to validate the student's comprehension of the concept or the acquisition of the skill. The software monitors progress on the basis of results, taking the user on to new material, or back over old material, in the same way as a sensitive human tutor would. A good tutorial presents the goal up front. It also is enjoyable, thorough, and sensitive to the user's capabilities. Moreover, it provides immediate and appropriate feedback. Interactivity is key to user involvement and perseverance. An example of tutorial software are the Rosetta Stone language learning systems, which tutor English-speaking students in the learning of French, Arabic, Chinese, German and numerous other languages. Students use the "immersion mode" to learn language through speaking, reading, writing, and listening activities. The system also includes Drill & Practice componentsa necessary adjunct of language learning. Grab Bag: Tutorial Software selected from SREB EvaluTech ( ex.asp) Fraction Shape-up (Merit Software) Super Tutor Chemistry My First Amazing Science Explorer Rookie Reporter How to Read and Understand Poetry MindForge Fractions Introduction to Patterns (a Tenth Planet product) Weather Science Explorer Velocity and Acceleration In the classroom, a skilled French teacher incorporates a Rosetta Stone language learning system into a curriculum that uses many other language learning activities conversation, drama, reading, writing, recitation, dictation, and perhaps another piece of 166 EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction language tutorial software, such as French Pronunciation Primer or Learn to Speak French. Computer-based tutorials can thus form just one piece, albeit an important piece, of the puzzle that completes the learning process. Tutorials can also be used independently by students studying alone. Kulik found that students in enrichment and gifted programs often recorded the most significant gains from their use. Unlike Drill & Practice applications, then, good tutorials can be used effectively with minimal teacher guidance. And that is what a good tutorial is all about. Did you know Probably the most used type of tutorial software teaches keyboarding! This software is not disappearing; in fact, it has gotten better with time. Moreover Probably the most popular tutorials found on the Internet teach how to use software! Teachers lacking tech support can make use of these tutorials by letting the students teach themselves (and thus each other). Similarly, many new applications have interactive tutorials, accessible through the Help menu. Moving into the Future Not surprisingly, the Internet is becoming a reservoir for K-12 tutorials, largely through the development of production tools for interactive, multimedia, web-based "learning objects," such as Macromedia's Flash and Shockwave movie tools, QuickTime movies, and Java applets. Well-adapted to focused topics, these tutorials provide the teacher with much-needed enrichment activities for home or school. Here is an example showing the connection between physics and sports: Software for Simulations Simulations are powerful tools for learning. They involve the learner in a vicarious experience of events or processes, a kind of "trial run on reality" (Bruner, 1966). As such, they marry nicely into a constructivist or inquiry model of teaching. Students experience something closely related to real life through the simulation, depending on how well it is done. Many digital simulations can be experienced over a network. Others are designed to run on individual computers. Both formats lend themselves to collaborative learning, developing communication and interpersonal skills as well as knowledge. Software such as 167 Grab Bag: Simulation Software Oregon Trail/Amazon Trail Hot Dog Stand/Ice Cream Truck Sim (series) - Earth, Planet, Farm Eyewitness Virtual Reality Earth Quest Invention Studio Earth Explorer Decisions, Decisions (series) The Great Solar Rescue Pyramid Explorer: Nutrition Adventures A.D.A.M. the Inside Story Virtual Physics Escape from Braindeath Sammy's Science House Interactive Physics 2004 Juilliard Music Adventure Geometer's Sketchpad GollyGee Blocks Neighborhood Map Machine EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction the Oregon Trail, originally created by MECC and now published by The Learning Company and The Maxis Sim series of managerial strategy gamessuch as SimLife, SimCity, SimEarth, and SimAntwere developed as role-playing games which simulate life in various environments. There is no doubt that simulation software such as this adds a fascinating, engaging, and virtually realistic opportunity to learn about history, life, and scientific phenomena in general. Because of their power to engage the learner, simulations are not new to education. Elementary age students build houses, factories and post offices. Middle school students re-enact the Constitutional Convention, stage Medieval Feasts and visit Plymoth Plantation and Colonial Williamsburg. High school students debate pressing historical and cultural issues. The goal is to help students develop a deeper understanding through total engagement in the activity, the moment, the idea or the event. Simulations, whether computerized or not, are thus excellent learning tools when they put the learner into an interactive discovery mode. Simulations are most effective when a realistic range of feedback accompanies the interaction. Commonly available CAI simulations for high school suffer from being somewhat removed from reality by the limitations of a relatively flat computing environment. When students simulate, for example, the dissection of a frog on a computer, they are deprived of the tactile and olfactory feedback experienced when dissecting a real frog in real life. Using the simulation, students learn the correct steps in the procedure, but they miss out on the experience of critical facets of the task. This is all well and good if the students are not scheduled to go on to become college biology scholars. But if they are, they have to learn in a more realistic environment. Teachers at the high school level must be sure to select simulation applications that do not "talk down to" students through silly graphics, simplified text, and simplified challenges. One subset of simulations that does challenge and engage high school students is computer modeling based upon probabilities. Students using tools such as Model-It from The Center for Highly Interactive Computing in Education, can graph the effects of several environmental and random factors upon a population or environment over time. When coupled with a study of actual data, as for the spread of an infectious disease, this is a powerful learning tool. Simulation applications have existed for many years to support the study of high school mathematics. The "graphing calculator," originally designed to create simple line graphs, is now able to produce animated 3D graphs and visualizations of complex algebraic and calculus equations that respond to student manipulation, graphs that students could not possibly produce by hand. Simulations can be powerful tools in the elementary and middle school environments, where students have little difficulty suspending disbelief and often become engrossed with software that steps them through a science experiment, an historical sequence of events, a mathematical investigation, a business transaction or an imaginary journey in an 168 EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction an otherwise inaccessible place (such as inside a nuclear reactor or a volcano). Along the way the students are prompted for feedback, which monitors understanding and points the way to deeper learning. Simulations are the basic element of the WebQuest, a web-based research and thinking project model that will be discussed in Chapter 9. An important example of online simulations can be found at The National Library of Virtual Manipulatives (, which supports K-12 standards-driven math instruction with interactive simulations (see Fig. 6.8). Fig. 6.8 Virtual representation of Platonic Solids at The National Library of Virtual Manipulatives Virtual Field Trips Another interpretation of the concept of simulation is related to what are described as Virtual Field Trips or electronic field trips. Examples of some of the best have been gathered together by Right in ClassClassroom Connections (, which also provides teachers with access to synchronous virtual trips, or live webcams, around the globe. Another list is provided by Kim Foley at Tramline Virtual Field Trips ( These e-field trips are designed to give the visitor to the website an educational tour of the content. In many cases, the content is tied to state and/or national curriculum standards. Visitors can learn about subjects such as Rainforests, Endangered Species, Salt Marshes, Volcanoes, Shakespeare, Presidents, Pi and so forth. Teacher's objectives and resources for each trip are often provided. The wise teacher will take the tour herself, timer and activity sheet in hand, before introducing it to her class. Some teachers will use a virtual tour of a museum to prepare students for the actual tour, focusing them upon the important exhibits and providing background information. Moving into the FutureVirtual Reality VR brings simulation into realtime. At the simplest level, Apples QuickTime Virtual Reality (QTVR) program enables the creation of 360 panoramic views of objects such as those illustrated at the Apple hardware gallery ( You will need to 169 EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction download the QTVR plugin16 if you do not already have it installed on your computer. Using the mouse, this application allows you to rotate 3D objects17 such as molecules, sculptures and photographs. More and more websites use QTVR in order to display objects related to the content of their pagesmuseums and art galleries, for example, such as the Louvre (, where you can take a virtual tour of many of the exhibit halls. Perhaps the most exciting educational uses of this technology are 3D tours of real archaeological sites, such as the PBS guided exploration of the Great Pyramid at Giza (, and the 3D modeling of virtual chemical models, such as those found at the Protein Explorer ( VR, then, is a powerful tool across the K-12 spectrum. Note, however, that like most of the other new tools we have discussed in this chapter, VR images are generally accessed over the Internet. In the gaming and the high-tech training environments, the user often dons headgear special goggles to view computer generated images of some pre-determined simulation (such as a voyage to the bottom of the ocean or an airplane landing). The player or trainee reacts, via joystick or instrumentation, as if he or she were actually performing the task in the real world. In the modern classroom, students can now use computer keyboards, touchpads and voice controls to manipulate remote cameras and robots and move through simulated environments. We will have to wait and see whether or not headgear and joysticks become part of the school environment as well. There are a fast-growing number of "virtual" worlds on the World Wide Web, where students have the opportunity to construct knowledge about some segment of the knowledge spectrum by wandering the pages of the web site. One of the most active of these is the Jason Project (, in which registered classrooms follow explorers to exotic locations, such as rain forests, coral reefs and volcanoes, performing virtual science experiments and interacting with the explorer teams. Another example is Howard Hughes Medical Institute's BioInteractive lab (, where students can participate in a variety of learning modules focused upon medical and biomedical research. vRoma (, a virtual exploration of Ancient Rome, is an example of yet another virtual simulation called the MUD (Multi-User Dimension), in which students take on personalities and interact with other "citizens and visitors" to the city. MOOSE Crossing ( ) is a similar virtual world, called a MOO18, which introduces students to computer object programming as they learn to "follow the rules" and communicate in the synchronous virtual world. This technology is well adapted to history study. Students, role-playing "real people" in a 16 A plugin is a file containing information that extends the capabilities of a parent application, in this case, adding the ability to display QuickTime movie files in a web browser. 17 Objects have been photographed in a 360 circle or created with 3D modeling software. 18 Multi-User Dimension Object Oriented environment, which is a MUD in which users can create as well as manipulate objects and environments. 170 EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction highly charged historical place and time (pre-Revolution Boston, for example), learn that the study of history is more than a collection of facts and dates. Elementary school girls love to explore the virtual world called Neopia (Fig. 6.9), where they can purchase Neopets, chat, invest in a virtual stock market, and compete against other Neopians ( Its success is driving the development of educational virtual worlds. Fig. 6.9 Neopia, the Neopets world Did you know Teachers can test out the virtual world experience while gaining professional development and networking with colleagues world wide. This is all possible at Tapped In (, an online community for K-12 educators, librarians and administrators. Check it outit's free! There is no doubt that educational computing has barely scratched the surface of potential applications for rich learning experience of a simulated or virtual nature. The creation of such worlds is time-consuming and a technological challenge, however. For this reason, teachers must rely upon universities, developers and high-tech institutions to create the content. Furthermore, Kulik's findings are tentative with regard to the educational value of simulations in the classroom. Teachers must, he advises, use them with caution (Kulik, 2003). In the meantime, teachers who have access to digital production hardware and software can guide their students in the creation of their own simulations and virtual field learning experiences that can then be shared with other classrooms. We took at peek at GollyGee Blocks earlier in this chapter, one simple tool for creating virtual spaces, and we will explore more tools in Chapters 9 and 10. 171 EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction Software for Critical Thinking and Problem Solving A straightforward definition of Critical Thinking (CT) is offered by Ennis: it is "reasonable and reflective thinking focused on deciding what to believe or do." (Ennis, 2002). In his essay, "Critical Thinking: What it is and why it counts," Peter Facione states, "critical thinking came before schooling was ever invented, it lies at the very roots of civilization. It is a corner stone in the journey human kind is taking from beastly savagery to global sensitivity." (Facione, 1998) Powerful stuff. It is no wonder that educators continue to wrestle with how, when and to what extent CT should find its way into the K-12 curriculum. Increasingly, software and web developers are stepping up to meet this need. Every teacher learns quickly that guiding students to develop strong Critical Thinking skills is perhaps the most important task of all. In the practical world of the classroom, self-confidence, bullying, harassment and peer pressure are as significant as facts. Students must learn to navigate not only their personal worlds, but also the media world and the larger global community, each of which requires that reason, reflection and selfjudgment be applied daily to complex and often painful decisions. And yet, because the focus of CT is not just upon solving problems and finding answers, but also upon becoming a better person through doing so, it is difficult to define the exact role of CT applications within the realm of CAI. Although tools exist to measure CT skills19, they are not part of the assessment toolkit of most elementary and secondary schools; although there are often statewide standards for communication and decision-making, data-driven testing does not apply. That said, good computer software exists to guide students, generally with the assistance of tutorials and simulations. The software itself, of course, will not teach Critical Thinking, but when used by a good teacher it can support, and sometimes jumpstart, the thinking process. Thinking skills, like their subset of problem-solving skills, can be learned. The development of what is often called "lateral thinking," or "thinking outside of the box," goal setting, and the logical thinking involved in analysis, inference and evaluation are important elements of Critical Thinking. The Thinkin' Things and the Zoombinisseries develop these skills by presenting students in elementary and middle school with increasingly complex problems to solveproblems that are engaging but also hard20. Tom Snyder's Choices, Choices series for grades K-5 guides students in "smart" decision making by placing them in realistic scenarios, such as on the playground. The Critical Thinking Company ( produces more traditional software that brings a reasoning approach to the development of mathematics and reading skills, K-12. 19 One is the WGCTA, the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal 20 As Seymour Paper reminds us in his book The Connected Family, the best learning is "hard fun." (Papert, 1996) 172 EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction Fig. 6.10 The Zoombinis face many critical decisions Another type of CT software is represented by The Factory and The Incredible Machine. Both products require that students, preferably working in teams, solve a set of design challenges using logical steps. As is often true in the real world, there is no one right way to do this. MicroWorlds, LCSI's Logo-based application series, requires even more of the students; they must create and then solve problems using the Logo programming language and a multimedia toolkit. When these problems simulate a rainforest food chain or the attack of a killer virus, the thinking can become critical. It should come as no surprise that graphical organizers are powerful tools for developing Critical Thinking skills. Brain-storming encourages open-mindedness; mapping a concept or argument visually facilitates its analysis and evaluation. Using a tool such as Inspiration along with a WebQuest, reading lesson, history discussion or software application is an effective teaching strategy. Lastly, you will remember that in Chapter 5 we touched briefly on the use of computer applications to assist teachers with student guidance issues. This too involves CT, and may be the best solution for high school students. Most students today will seek self-help on the Internet; teachers who familiarize themselves with helpful sites21 and learn about the advantages and disadvantages of blogging and chatting will, in a quiet way, help students to build Critical Thinking skills. Perhaps the most effective model a teacher can follow to develop critical thinking skills is the problem-solving WebQuest. In requiring students to gather and organize 21 A good place to start is the Teen Space in the Internet Public Library (IPL), where teens and teachers can find selected sites on topics such as Issues and Conflicts, Health, and Dating and Stuff ( KidSpace is available for elementary and early middle school ( 173 EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction information in response to a problem, to work collaboratively, and to use technology to develop and present solutions, the well-designed WebQuest touches upon all of the key elements identified by CARET (the Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology)22 as strengths of technology in CT education. In sum, it is not the application but the application of the application that develops Critical Thinking. Any one of the applications or websites discussed in this chapter can become a powerful tool for CT. Returning once again to Jamie McKenzie, it is all about the Questions and, for the teacher, probing for and listening to the Answers. Computer-Based Laboratories (CBLs)23 Probes, sensors, digital microscopes and similar data capture devices have long been essential components of scientific experimentation. Their purpose has been to augment the highly sophisticated, built-in, yet inadequate instruments represented by our five human senses. The scientific method, whereby "a problem is identified, relevant data are gathered, a hypothesis is formulated, and the hypothesis is empirically tested" (Webster's, 1991), is applied differently depending on the discipline. But, at its core, it is concerned with the measurement of phenomena through experimentation or repeated observation.24 Probing For Data: Data Sensors (a sampling from Vernier, Pasco and Imagiprobes) temperature pH dissolved oxygen angle of rotation distance traveled speed/acceleration pressure force EKG flow rate exercise heart rate voltage sound level respiration humidity light Scientists at all levels recognize the value of the computer-based laboratory (CBL) to do research. They have developed hardware and software systems that have enabled them to automate the process of gathering data from experiments, conducting relevant analysis, and producing meaningful reports. We have only to watch CSI to learn the impact of speedy data analysis on problem-solving and critical thinking. Schools preK-12 are using computers to involve even the youngest students in projects that require the capture and analysis of considerable amounts of data. In elementary and secondary school laboratories, science meters and probes automate the collection of data, a process that can continue 24 hours a day. As a result, far more experimental data can be collected and cross-referenced than was possible in the days of manual data tracking. One of the most valuable aspects of the CBL is the ability to do realtime graphing of data captured in an experiment. Complete data sets can be stored for further analysis and shared over the network or Internet. The collection of physical data, such as the measurement and analysis of images of real objects (leaves, proteins, fibers), is 22 See "How can technology develop higher order thinking and problem solving?" ( 23 You will sometimes find these referred to as MBLs, or Microcomputer -based Laboratories. 24 Encyclopedia Britannica, 1974. 174 EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction accomplished with digital imaging tools such as the ScalarScope and the high resolution digital camera and specialized imaging software such as ImageJ. Such images are replacing hand-drawn sketches and the preservation of samples. It is no surprise that the Internet is a vast resource for science data in all academic areas. Schools lacking hardware resources can perform virtual experiments and mine data sets posted by partner schools, universities and the government. Data analysis is becoming a more important part of the global science lesson. Most probes and sensors require an intermediary device to interface with the computer25. Often this is a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant), or handheld device. A huge advantage of this technology is its "field-ready" nature. Students participating in CIESE Realtime Data Projects ( or the collaborative GLOBE project (, for example, can complete data sampling exercises, take digital images and enter, merge and graph data in the field. Results can then be downloaded to a desktop or laptop computer, further analyzed, and shared with the global community. Another interface is the mini-computer Cricket or RCX brick, central to a robotics program. Probes attached to student-constructed, programmable robots collect "field data" that is downloaded to a computer workstation for analysis. Students can simulate Mars Rover exploration, for example, programming their bots to respond to changes in landscape and obstacles. One other technology is making its way from the public to the educational sphere. GPS/GIS26 systems have long been used by hikers, boaters and drivers to assist with navigation and by archaeologists, meteorologists and rescue workers to plot field data. The general availability of satellite images, previously available only to the government, has made it possible for students to learn geography and mapping "in the field" using handheld instruments, many of which have realtime cellular connections. Students as young as elementary school participate in environmental mapping activities and scavenger hunts. These activities not only require that students use the scientific method and critical thinking skillsthey are also fun! Did you know You can pinpoint the location of just about anywhere using the resources found at TopoZone ( Learn more about GIS in education at the ESRI site for education ( Calculator-based Laboratories A subset of the traditional CBL is the calculator-based learning environment, made possible by the development of inexpensive graphing calculators that interface with, and download directly to, classroom computers. Used originally for high school mathematics, these devices, such as the Texas Instruments TI-83, connect to the same probes as are used with PDA devices. Courseware is 25 26 The EcoLog ( is a self-contained unit. Global Positioning System and Geographical Information System. 175 EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction available to support their use in both middle and high school, in both the mathematics and science curricula. Portability is clearly an advantage of the new CBL. Wireless and cellular networks, handheld technologies, voice recognition and digital imaging are making the collection and analysis of realtime data accessible to all students. In addition to changing the way we teach, some of these activities may change the way we live our lives. Programming and Problem-Solving Interesting discussions have been published on the issue of whether or not computer programming (in Logo, BASIC, or Java, for example) helps develop problem-solving skillsPapert (1980), Turkle (1984), OTA (1988), Capper (1988), Apple Computer (1990), Kearsley (1992), Ennis (1994), to mention but a few. The consensus is that the practice of computer programming does not necessarily help when it comes either to learning problem-solving in general or mathematics in particular. Nor does it help in preparing teachers to teach mathematics. Ennis (1994) concludes, with Lehrer and Smith (1986), Littlefield et al. (1988), and Govier (1988), that "instruction in problem-solving helps facilitate the learning of problem-solving." Period. Turkle (1984), in the context of child programmers, asks the question: "Do computers change the way children think?" Turkle's answer is another question: "What do different kinds of children make of the computer?" The implication, of course, is that the computer can tell us more about the nature of children (through their mode of interaction) than it can affect that nature.27 Computer literacy in general is very important from the perspective of employability, but programming per se is only a small part of this employment picture. Current IT skills focus more upon networking, hardware, software, information management and telecommunication tools (such as integrated web-based solutions). Why then teach programming? Problem solving is a key. Earlier in this chapter we discussed this in terms of Critical Thinking, where it is a component of the universal K-12 experience. Another, real-world answer is suggested by the Did you know for this section. Did you know A June 1999 report of the US Department of Commerce found that "by 2006, almost half of the U. S. workforce will be employed by industries that are either major producers or intensive users of information technology products and services. Wage gaps between workers in IT industries and all other workers continue to widen." (USDOC) 27 This brings to mind the common reflection of sports coaches who say that the best place to learn about children's personalities is on the playing field. 176 EDUCATION FOR AN INFORMATION AGE Teaching In The Computerized Classroom, 5th edition Copyright Bernard John Poole, Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain, Lorrie Jackson, 2004, all rights reserved Chapter 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction Someone is doing the programming, considered the most skill-intensive of all IT tasks. Employers who do not find a skilled job pool in-country are seeking it elsewhere. Programming skills are sought-after job skills in the global community. Logo There does appear to be support for the Logo programming language as a medium for developing non-verbal cognitive skills such as creativity and independent learning, described by OTA (1988) as "the ability to monitor and evaluate one's own thinking processes," and the "ability to provide...

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