THE FUTURE OF HIGHER
(All chapters are intended for continuing revision)
Volume III - Chapter Six
(Last updated Apr. 3, 2008
RE-INVENTING LEARNING AND TEACHING
(As in other chapters, this is less addressed to teachers, intending to speak to the public and education supporters, especially in the developing world, but welcomes suggestions of Web links to research and `best practices’ reports on topics in this chapter.).
Planning should begin yesterday to prepare for the coming transformation of global learning and teaching, perhaps that will have arrived by 2015 or 2020. While it may be hard for most educators even to imagine a totally new global system we can see its transformational beginnings in the Oct./Nov. issue of the online journal Innovate where, for example, David Wiley reports the aftermath of MIT offering all of its courses on the Internet free to anyone. These courses were not only in 2006 being translated into many languages, but in an explosion of innovation hundreds of other universities on every continent were also opening their course free online to the world. Following on this, at least 175 online textbooks were also being made available on the Internet, with many more to follow, soon along with thousands of other kinds of course materials.
Already also technology for learning had been building upon sports and entertainment technology developments hat were opening doors that will become wide open for global education also. For example, Rose (2005) has reported the transformation underway to expand the ESPN television network. He and McHughe (2005) told of preparations (BBC also now) for three million TV channels and billions of hours of programs. (Will distance education via television and Internet get lost in that swamp?) ESPN was developing a system whereby anyone anywhere anytime can watch sports events all over the world, on demand--including previous games or `film clips'[ of outstanding plays and more-- via television screen (cable, phone wire or wireless), computer monitor, digital radio, cell phone or video game or music players. At the same time Yahoo --with Google and others in the race--are preparing a search engine to help anyone find what is needed, including educators. We have mentioned elsewhere that Nokia has a cell phone that a teacher can use to bring film clips into a classroom. But how can Yahool as quickly find a film clip or page? By indexing, for example, every word that is close captioned for the deaf and in other ways also coding film where nothing in spoken.
Even more will be possible as everything becomes digital as illustrated by BBC on demand.. ESPN had in 2006 experimented with a system whereby one can use a cell phone to ask questions about a football game. They expected maybe ten or twelve thousand to try it, and 175,000 did. The implications of this system and other cell phone developments for a global electronic learning system are exciting (even if sports entrepreneurs create some of the powerful new technologies.)
Already teachers can use technology to save thousands of hours in record-keeping time and can use that time for research, learning activities and to giver personal attention to students . Technology has already made this possible," said Peter Smith (2004). Great teachers are a treasure. Unfortunately there are not enough great teachers for everyone in the world, unless we use emerging new technologies to share them with everyone. Indeed, there are not even enough competent teachers and nearly all practicing teachers need continuous retraining and continuing education at all levels. The question of excellence in teaching in class or online is addressed at: <http://tojde.anadolu.edu.tr/>. For a comprehensive list of publications and resources see: <http://www.developfaculty.com/online/index.html>.
However, even the best, most artistic teachers need great tools if job training and lifelong learning are to be provided for everyone on the planet (and .Richard Kirby would say, for those on space ships, the space platform and wherever human beings next are in space.) Yahoo, Google and their successors can use search engines to find modules of education content to put together a specialized learning program for someone on the space platform and for the laborer on a rice paddy...who incidentally may not want to listen to the world's greatest lecturer, even translated into her own dialect. Yet she needs to become an educated citizen.
Current debates about `learning styles' and teaching styles have led to controversy, for example the future of the lecture style of teaching. "Traditional learning is still too passive, too parochial, too hierarchical and too artificial." Stephenson (2006).Institutions can involve more real world experience and problem-dealing. Stephenson says t hat `free' software and courses can be more `like free speech than free beer.' It enables freedom to adapt material to the individual learner, too share experience. evaluation and experience with others so that materials can evolve and continually improve.. More important there can be support communities that can include students that evaluate; a "knowledge eco-system.".
Hafner (2004) reported on lecture classes where students not only use instant messaging and blogging to talk with each other during class, but also can actively participate during the lecture, using small wireless keypads--similar to a TV remote--to punch one button when they have a question, another when they are not understanding and a third button when they are disagreeing. Lecturer and students can all see a board with different kinds of colored lights indicating the number of students are, for example, disagreeing. In other classes, some students are blogging. Some have laptop computers that regularly engaged with the lecturer. And such new instruments for continuous feedback and more active student involvement in a lecture are still primitive. Much more is to come, especially for the learner who is five thousand miles from the class.
A most important development, and not just for the poor and isolated, is the provision of `Open Source' software that made it possible by 2005 to access thousands of free courses online. See: <http://mit.ols.usu.edu>, <http://cnx.rice.edu>, for example. Many other schools are also putting free courses online and the processes and issues were in UNESCO 2005-2007 virtual university conferencess that have involved experts in 87 countries.. Rice university's CONNEXIONS project exhibited "web based learning and a learning environment" course material is used either by indivdual distance uses or in courses offered on campuses. There were in one year over 450,000 users in 157 countries. Universities were using the `Creative Commons' licensing system to guarantee responsible free usage. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology used `open courseware (OCW) in preparing to offer 1,800 courses by September 2007. The announced goal was to aid less advantaged learners "of all backgrounds" and to raise the standards of higher education globally. Also see Carnegie Mellon University's `open learning initiative <http://www.cmu.edu/oli/>. Utah State University's "Center for Open and Sustainable Learning" was developed to help and provide support for such online free education.to aid rural poverty areas obtain such 'knowledge capital." Neas (2005) reported increasing collaboration as "student organizations, institutes, centers, think tanks, research groups and study groups regularly create courseware sites."
One reason the current generation of students is increasingly restless during and at lectures is a result of frequent neglect of new learning styles and tools. For example, perhaps too little attention is as yet being given to impact of computer and video games on the way the younger generation thinks and learns. If ESPN can interrupt a video game with sports scores, an education voice could interrupt to help t he player see what she is learning from the game. Gros (2003) in "The Impact of Video Games on Education" (3.2) has pointed out that "virtual learning is central in current society, and that the key aspect of this kind of learning is not so much technology itself but the interaction of the learner with the technology." Virtual learning environments, a reviewer of her book points out, "offer many advantages: Flexibility, distribution, and adaptability. So the `world of games' is another domain with tremendous potential for reaching, motivating, and fully involving learners" One that constitutes "the most interactive multimedia resource in our culture today." Also virtual learning environments must deal with the impact of TV, films and popular music. On uses in evaluating gaming in education, see <http://www.lupinworks.com/it/games.html>. Foreman (2004a) said software will be 'intelligent enough to record the time spent on each task, to track student learning paths and completed assignments, and to use that data to determine when a student has mastered the course."
An interdisciplinary team at Carnegie Mellon University (Marinelli 2004) was intending within a decade to develop content and technologies--much learned from games--"that will allow professors to rethink the entire process of education, just as the introduction of mass-produced textbooks changed how earlier academics developed and presented information. `Learning experiences that can be empowered with forthcoming technologies include, for example, those that `embody problem-based, scenario-based, meta-cognitive elements. Important for a complexfuture will be authoring processes for visualizing "dynamic, evolving documents and the interaction of multiple collaborating authors." (Lamb 2004) The entire September 2005 issue of Innovate describes the video game learning, the principles and learning theory that can underlie them, with illustrations of existing learning games.
Clark (1993) described the traditional “academic profession” as a “multitude of tribes and territories,” in a system that is “inordinately large, radically decentralized, extremely diversified, uniquely competitive, and uncommonly entrepreneurial.” Duderstadt (2001) worried that technology--that should empower faculty--seems to pose a particular problem to those who are long accustomed to controlling the design of curriculum and the supervision of the learning environment. Higher education, he said, has been “a cottage industry, in which individual courses are handicraft, made-to-order products developed by individual faculty for each course they teach.” Such made-to-order courses can be afforded by the elite. But for a billion impoverished learners, many basic courses must be different, perhaps often automated.
It is possible that `handicraft’ courses may not in the long run be able to compete “in either cost or quality” with commodity educational products, developed by experts and distributed by professionals, especially for the provision of education for billions of people who otherwise will have no access to higher education. As in other areas of work there will perhaps always be a place for `cottage handicraft’ style learning for those who can afford it. Also there may well be that many who would otherwise have been professors will be self-employed teachers and curriculum-creators. Will many faculty members lose their jobs within a few decades? Will there be fewer jobs or just different job descriptions? In any case there must be more collaborative or cooperative online teaching. <http://www.cvm.tamu.edu/wklemm/collab.htm>.
When honest with themselves and others, many--if not most--teachers admit that “they like to be center stage” (Smallwood 2002), to be totally in charge to direct everything. Some are prima donnas who love to dramatize. Most want to continue the lecture as their primary mode of teaching even although research shows—in many if not most situations--that lecturing is not the best way to teach. Many worry that technology may even replace teachers. However, the technology to enhance and replace lecturing is still rather primitive. For example, George Landow of Brown University pointed to limitations of the World Wide Web in its 2002 form. The Web not only lacked bandwidth, but it did not yet have adequate one-to-many linking or the capacity for multiple windows do that educators can create more elaborate and interesting tools. Just as books will long exit for learning, so also will lectures that inspire, motivate learners and that explore learning not yet online or in books. Students in the past often listened as a lecturer developed material that, when mature, would become a book. Now video lectures by the world's best informed and most able lecturers can supplement the electronic book. Sometimes when something new is discovered a lecture can be delivered to the whole world of education with listeners sending in e-mai questions as in 2005 on c-span..
As part of a DEOS online debate on faculty resistance to online courses and texts, it was reported that Colorado Community College faculty had created "course shells" in which faculty could add their own content and personalities without taking away from the basic information components that develop competencies/outcomes. Much of the debate's resistance assumed the continuing of historic faculty roles and classroom procedures. Existing tools, however, are just the beginning. It is too early to guess much about learning and teaching tools that are going to appear in the next decade or so. The success of media supported learning, however, is already here.
So, Eskow (2003) has said: "Perhaps there is no one best way to teach in the face-to-face classroom...or online." There are many possible roles for a teacher--"guide, coach, facilitator and more"--in learner-entered education "that is active rather than passive,' that is "social and collaborative rather than individualistic and competitive," So we do not need a new dogma that would excommunicate all teachers who are not ready to abandon their present commitments, skills, ways of work and that may not subscribe to a "net orthodoxy." Rather "a more congenial position" would be to recognize that "a universal technology" can be hospitable to all ways of connecting teachers, learners, and ideas and "can recreate the lecture hall, the seminar and the tutorial" and also do new things that were not possible before.
Foreman (2003) proposed that the very large lecture class is "most worthy of change" and "a radical new approach is in order," on that has the potential--"many believe--to revolutionize the educational system." Also see (3.6.5). He proposed that (1) Ideal learning is tailored to the needs of the individual. (2) It provides immediate feedback for the learner. (3) It is constructive, allowing individuals to explore `multi-sensorial' environment. (4) It motivates students to persist far beyond requirements and assignments. (5) It builds conceptual structures that persist for use in further learning. The large lecture class, even when using many technologies such as PowerPoint, falls far short of the quality set by TV, video gaming, films, and advertising and fails to meet a new generation's "expectations for deep digital engagement.".
He also discussed `interactive immersion' that "progressively changes in response to a player's probing exploration." Rather than just learning through listening and reading "the student engaged in an immersive world" learns through active discovery, analysis, interpretation, problem solving, memory and physical activity, that "deeply roots learning in a well-developed neural network. Thus, he says, "the game world resembles a well-designed academic course" that builds and integrates knowledge and continually engages with subject-matter and learning-goals. It can involve "complex linkages among the eye, the brain, neural pathways, and muscle, becoming "a complex intellectual process" guided by the learner "who must form hypotheses, make decisions, troubleshoot problems, consult maps and guies and correct false leads." It can be fun and also hard work.
Kurzweil, in his provocative speculation about the future, The Age of the Spiritual Machine, predicted that intelligent courseware will emerge as a common means of learning, with schools increasingly relying on software approaches, (2.7) leaving human teachers to attend primarily to issues of motivation, psychological well-being, and socialization. Eventually, in two or three decades, Kurzweil foresaw much (of global?) human learning accomplished primarily by using virtual teachers and enhanced by widely available neural implants. Dunn (2000) foresaw the twenty-five basic college courses, taken by most students, as soon being `taught’ by a few movie-star quality instructors, with lectures on streaming Internet video and with electronic textbooks and other technology to test students and assist them in mastering the content and skills. Such predictions often tend to overlook the fact that learning `group skills' and collaboration are essential parts of education.
Kerns (2002) pointed out that "with tools to digitize, index, summarize, link and distribute streaming video, we can create and distribute streaming-video recordings of lectures, including the slides and whiteboards that were presented." Materials that were passed out can be included, indexed and tied in at the relevant lecture point. Such "clusters of resources and activities" can then be made available as `learning modules.' that will make it possible for a learner to find specific points in the lecture which need to be reviewed or studied further. The video can include student questions, answers to those questions on a beginning or advanced level, with demonstrations and illustrations to clarify the replies. The individual learner's own papers, notes and learning projects can be linked back to the lecture which thus "becomes a new kind of dynamic text." Kerns reported that experiments with such recorded lectures becoming "group learning events' "have been as effective or more effective than than simply attending lectures." Faculty can then monitor the "these new practices to identify those that are effective in helping students gain deep understanding"
Such existing technology and `futurist’ predictions have worried many faculty members over possible job loss, but technology is not going to take over their jobs, indeed in the 21st century; in fact there should be a serious teacher shortage. Perhaps there will be a reduction in the number of “soft jobs” as job descriptions change. there will be new categories of professionals, such as local tele-center magager. Each class instructor can perhaps be freer to organize the content and procedures he or she uses with learners, to take account of unique skills and knowledge or both pupil and teacher. Instructors of resident students can make use of automated modules instead of lectures and can also draw upon the latest research on the Web, often in partnership with learners. Since no one teacher can have all the necessary skills, the class instructor may increasingly be part of a learning team—with students—but also a faculty team that includes technologists, editors, content planners and counselors. For example, if the technology breaks down there can be immediate access to a technologist on the team.
Job descriptions will change, but the number of teachers is not likely to decrease because
The stand-up comedian who responds to his live audience is always somehow more entertaining than the same comedian on a video or on television. Similarly, there will always be a place for the gifted lecturer who is able to sense the needs and interests of those present. The give and take in a room can stimulate motivation and interest in a new subject in ways an automated tutor may not be able to do, at least in the imaginable future.
Something similar may be accomplished in a seminar with students in several countries seeing and hearing each other via telecommunications. Some learners in this kind of two-way television may even linger and talk with a lecturer after the end of the seminar. But the financial resources to provide such seminars for everyone in the world will not likely be available for decades – even if the world’s population does not continue to double. So it may well be that lectures will be tested in a real-world situation and then will be recorded for wide use. They can then be continually revised and updated by experts. They can also incorporate graphics and video in exciting ways that would be too expensive for an in-person lecturer to arrange for each new class. Most important, with many different subjects and learners in many different cultures and situations, educators will not face either/or quandaries. Emerging technology will allow for many types of instruction, live and online, to exist side by side and in combination..
The cost structures for technology-intensive curriculum development will likely be made on the front end, in the design and development of courseware, putting the amateur `craftwork style professor’ at a competitive disadvantage. So faculty will have to adjust to the fact that teaching will increasingly involve `content-and-learning ware’ and modules developed by others,” especially for distance learners on another continent. Automated programs may be able to offer mass-produced introductory and basic courses for a thousand times less cost. So this time of transition is likely to be difficult for instructors. . Technological developments for teaching, Lynch (2002) reported, are a source of stress and of `professional pain’ in a “situation where we don’t really understand what we are expected to be doing” and in which our students often know more than instructors do. Elsewhere in society “technology has triggered rethinking, reshaping, and yes, even downsizing.” It is now going to require that definitions of teaching and learning be expanded” and instructors must be open to change. “This calls us to open our minds—and our schedules—to asynchronous learning, to the notion that our students can learn as well in front of their computers as they do sitting in our lecture halls.” Yet at the same time the wisdom and skills of teachers is sure to increase in value, not decrease and learners also need group work and collaborative skills.
Another serious problem is seen in the extent to which technology leaps ahead of human creativity and imagination in other areas. Still, emerging new kinds of software and technology can make it possible for the individual teacher to adapt and prepare creative approaches to content and teaching. For example, in 2003 it was already possible with technology like `Blackboard or WebCT to record all that went on in a classroom during each semester when a course was offered. The presentations can then be revised and updated for another year in a fraction of the time it took to create the course the first time. Since student participation and contributions were also preserved, some of that can also be edited and passed on to the next class. In this way students also help the course develop and improve each year. John Seely Brown (2001) foresaw this as potentially transforming the lecture from a `fleeting performance into a tool for deeper learning.” In time it will also be possible in distance education courses to record student participation across several years. This can also provide meta-data for research by the teacher or by other education researchers who compare such data from thousands of classes. See: <http://www.acm.org/ubiquity/views/a_tripathi_1.html>
Would you want a brain surgeon to operate on you if he or she does not use the latest tools, but instead only those that were available one or two hundreds years ago? Is mind-learning less important? The report (above) that professors use the latest education tools in only 20 percent of courses (Lynch 2002) and that a third of college instructors do not even use e-mail with their students, raises this question: how many teachers refused to use books when they were first available? In some ways, Unger (2002) said: "being a teacher is more complex than being a medical doctor...yet we do teacher education on the cheap." Unger, of Columbia University, anticipated small interconnected community learning centers, globally interconnected so that learners can cross fertilize' across varied cultures.
So, how different are learning and teaching going to be? Well, first, `different’ is not the right word since teachers already are different from each other, with varied styles and roles. Courses are also going to be different in engineering or when a music teacher is directing an orchestra or the geology professor takes learners on a field trip or when the language teacher takes a class to another country on the Internet. With forthcoming electronic tools they can all do a better job. In part the change will result from the awareness that instructors in nearly every field can no long know all they need to know. Like physicians now, they will need electronic aids—like a more intelligent Internet and specialized software—to keep up with new research data and information in their field. Brilliant lecturers and master teachers with excellent classroom skills will continue to be important, but we may be entering a time when very few teachers, of any age level, are going to be competent in the sense that was true in the past. Some teachers can be `stars,’ as in entertainment and professional sports. But few of the rest--without technological help--are going to be able to cope with the knowledge explosion. It will be increasingly difficult—alone--to master even one discipline for one age group.
Second, in many if not most situations, few teachers, in the complex educational environment that is emerging, are going to be able to play all essential roles, lecturing, coaching, inspiring, especially designing and preparing courseware and so forth; especially as learners become more self-directed. Teams may increasingly do teaching. Team members may divide up more and new responsibilities and together will make excellence possible. Perhaps with such electronic prostheses there will be very few incompetent teachers. Teams in partnership with powerful technologies may also be the answer to the problem that so few experts are really trained to teach. Forthcoming technologies are going to be increasingly essential to help them work with distance students, and with those on campus who take courses from elsewhere. Teachers have different expertise and perhaps technology can fill in the cracks, like the electronic pipe organ that can fill in the tenor part when no tenor is present in the choir.
Third, new technologies already begin to liberate teachers from much routine paperwork and from some bureaucratic jobs so that they can give more attention to research and to face-to-face time with individual students—or online via telecommunications. Olson (2001) discusses course management software—‘Web based programs that provide online versions of class rosters, course outlines, assignments, discussions…and grade books. Such aids “simplify the administrative tasks of teaching” and over the next few years such programs will become more flexible and helpful, “more capable of handling multimedia materials for online learning and research.” At Princeton University software automatically puts useful information into a course’s Web page, for example “when a faculty member puts course material into the university library’s electronic reserve-reading system, the material automatically appears in the appropriate course Web site.” However, Saba (2002) found that educators are hardly yet really learning how to use the Internet, an analogy being how long it took for film-makers to learn varied ways to use the camera. More creativity and new methods done will may take more time.
Fourth, teachers and students are going to be able to cooperate, share and collaborate in new and better ways. For example, in 2002 MERLOT –The Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching) (http://taste.merlot.org and http://merlot.org “is a dynamically designed software to support the development of teaching and learning communities and…(among other things) research in higher education.” As a project “to transform higher education” it brings together scholars by discipline, to provide and share resources. It implements a peer review process to assess the quality of materials and has a forum to share ideas and programs, --with links to thousands of learning materials and evaluations. In cooperation with producers of educational materials it provides link to web sites a. On instructional technology to enable cooperation and sharing see: a new venue: <http://www.textweaver.org/>
Fifth, even the best scholars and most talented future teachers need to learn how to teach, in the coming digital age.. <http://innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=173> introduces `simSchool..' a video-type game that puts teaches how to teach in a virtual classroom--a simulated apprenticeship where the virtual students have different levels of interest, of psychology (some are introverts and shy) and different kinds of intelligence .
However, faculties do not yet have the `space ship’ technologies to come. The next chapter will, for example, discuss digital books that can be accompanied by software for teachers that prepares automatic outlines, an electronic grade book with detailed information on each student, a CD guide, a `history of use’ feature that enables teacher or user to trace steps back and quickly find any previous projects or material, an electronic dictionary, instruction suggestions and much more.
As Young (2002) pointed out, an increasing number of learners will be involved both on-campus and virtual classrooms. Some parts of a course may be taken online and "virtual classrooms can be part of every students' routine." Ninety percent of classes "may become hybrid." Young quotes Chris Dede of Harvard as saying that his research and experience "suggests that hybrid models can be superior to traditional classes." Berger, interviewed by Barone (2002) found great lecturers lamenting the fact that students do not pay as much attention anymore, yet those lecturers are unwilling to change their learning style. This can change in a course that, for instance, allows students to represent their own countries in a model United Nations session, where learners have access to vast UN resources and real debates while experimenting and participating "in a mirror of the real-life UN negotiating system." (DE 2002) .
Twigg (2003) reported on the urgency of course design that makes
better use of tools. A program in Course Design <,
she reported, clarified five course redesign models:
-- a `replacement' model that includes new elements in existing courses, such as `Readiness Assessment Tests' that that are effective in finding areas where students need help;
-- an `emporium model' that, for example, creates a resource center featuring on-demand personalized assistance;
-- a fully-online model where Academic Systems Software "presents the contents of a course so well that insrucvtors need not spend time delivering content," providing `instant feedback' and freeing the instructor to give attention to students and their problems.;
-- a `buffet model' that "increases the array of learning possibilities that can be customized to the individual learner." eliminating a `one size fits all' approach
Fifth, Duderstadt (2000) has warned that “for all of their emphasis on research, universities have been reluctant to investigate their own educational activities with the rigor they focus on other research.” The most important educational needs for tomorrow are on the learning side, the retired president of the University of Michigan has said. Students are going to have more control over the learning process. Their focus will be on getting skills and competency, not on competing with other students for grades. New research will be needed about each new generation of students, even about those in a specific class, not to mention (2.17) the need for grounding education in research on as large a scale and as effective as research in medicine. Every teacher should, like students, continually revise an electronic automatically self-organizing portfolio (3.3), including a diary of what is being learned about teaching in each new situation. This research data from continual self-chronicling would record and evaluate failures as well as successes and new ideas so that they can become part (often anonymously) of large-scale research projects as appropriate.
Sixth, Duderstadt also pointed out that universities overlook many of the most important learning experiences a campus provides “which extend far beyond the curriculum;” that is, a series of complex experiences in a learning community in which faculty, staff and students are all learners. Students at all levels then can have the opportunity to participate in original research and creative work under the supervision of skilled faculty. The redesign of academia for the space age should aim on creating many new and different kinds of learning communities and space. Barone (2003) pointed out that the current system, developed to serve an earlier kind of student population "is cracking under the strain of meeting new learning demands." Students with and `information-age mindset'. Bewildered at first, then disappointed, many finally become disillusioned and dispirited by passive learning experiences.
To what extent can any of this be reproduced for distant students? As electronic resources begin to provide learning for everyone in the world, is it going to be possible to combine the better parts of two apparently irreconcilable procedures? Can we mass produce learning/teaching electronic systems to make them affordable to impoverished billions of people, automating many of the procedures; and yet keep the system open to be adapted to differences in culture, needs and to individual learners and teachers? That is a big order, yet it must be done if the planet’s billions are to have a decent future. It will be scandalous if distance education continues the mass-assembly-line (same castor oil for all) approach, as ridiculous as continuing to use unsanitary, polluting `outhouses’ instead of modern toilets.. Too much of `teaching training' is still oriented only to the classroom.
Carnevale (2003) has described how virtual science labs can provide quality experiences online for distance learners; for example a chemistry lab that is safe for the unsupervised learner who can make audacious experiments that might be dangerous in a real lab. "...simulations in the virtual lab encourage students to experiment and have fun." The learner on campus can use virtual labs can be used at home to continue experimentation learned in a real lab. Also the learner at home can have `virtual lab partners, "phantom students who will cooperate in the lab work." Most important, perhaps, will be the fact that college teachers may interact with undergraduates in the way they now do with graduate students, moving to a more `coaching' approach. (Jackson 2004) and with teacher/learner/college partnerships for better preparing secondary school learners.
“The process of creating new knowledge,” Duderstadt has pointed out. “Is rapidly moving away from the solitary scholar to teams, often spread across a number of disciplines.” So also it is likely that teaching will more and more be done by teams under the guidance of a master teacher, and including several kinds of specialization: content, technology for delivery of content, research to take account of feedback, for example and objective evaluation from peers as well as others outside. Carlson (2004) reported on the experiment of providing '`Blackberries' at the University of Maryland. These `cellphones with walkie-talkie features" were expected to "create an atmosphere where students are connected with staff and with each other on a 27-7 basis." Experiments with other technologies seek to create `learning communities.'' Downer (2004) sees blogging, `LiveJournal' for example, as creating a learning environment.'
New technologies can enable better teamwork as well as make inevitable more teams of teachers, teams of students and teams that include both students and varied kinds of more experienced professionals. As technology makes it possible to learn much more about the individual learner--as a basis for tailored, individualized learning--so also now teachers can from feedback begin to learn much more about themselves, their own strengths and weaknesses, what their best contributions to a team can be and where they most need the help of team members. Biemuller (2002) described a university teacher whose students are apprentices that he takes along on consulting jobs in the real world.
Teamwork is required in preparing courses if they are to be excellent. The team needs specialists in technology, editing, production skills, content skills and much more; as the team not only prepares the presentations, but also the digital textbook (3.7) that can transform the learning process for both teachers and students. Automated tutoring textbooks can automatically test the mastery of the individual student at each stage of learning as the learner follows a pacing schedule for completing assignments and exams. Automated feedback can help instructors and counselors to do a better job.
The team will together have more skills and knowledge than one member could have alone. There will be new roles such as `designer of learning experiences. The unique contribution of each discipline and individual on the team can be enhanced, not lost, in teamwork. Each team member can also have a foot in a different work area of everyday life, important in preparing people for the real world of work. Automated tutoring can include the concerns of UNESCO that in 1997 urged higher education institutions and their personnel and students to include “ethics and scientific and intellectual rigueur.” so students will become able “to speak out on ethical, cultural and social problems, independently, fully aware of their responsibilities, exercising a kind of intellectual authority that society needs to help it to reflect, understand and act.”
Perhaps a beginning glimpse of how faculty research teams will design a curriculum and create courses can be seen in how professional teams in Hollywood create motion pictures. That technology is empowering and it increasingly liberates them to be much more creative, continually enlarging their own knowledge and skills and bringing many different talents together. Perhaps tenure will be given only to teams, and a new instructor will gain tenure only when admitted to a transdisciplinary team. MIT (Vest 2004) focuses on student-teacher teamwork with the hope "that faculty members will use the classroom in ways we have yet to imagine." Video game use in medical schools, to play out and make decisions described: <http://innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=176>.
3.6.2 WHAT IS GOOD TEACHING?
Asking `what makes great teachers great,' Bain (2004) asked, proposing that they (1) begin with the students rather than with their discipline, as they `engage students in disciplinary thinking.'. (2) They have the skills to get students' attention and keep it. (3) They help students learn outside of class. (4) They create learning experiences. Dennis (2004) illustrates such experiences, suggesting that teachers need to `think more about the visual potential of the web, and the `value of learning together' alongside students and using technology.'
Some educators, noting excellence in medicine, suggest that mentoring and apprenticeships will be two of the most important additions to current pedagogy in most fields. Gerschenfeld (2001, 1999) described how learning comes alive when students work in teams on a project of their own choosing and in which the instructor learns alongside and with the students. Brown (2001) illustrated possibilities how the MIT Media Lab "is a grand experiment designed to organize enquiry for a new era." Varied disciplines are brought together to create a `dynamic and collaborative environment.' that works on real-life problems. Rather than extensive classroom and conventional laboratory time, students have been given freedom to re-invent their own education. "Classes have taken on a supportive role, providing the raw material that is shaped into an education" in which "students work collaboratively to solve hard problems." He describes other demonstrations of "incorporating technology to create" Highly collaborative hands-on learning environments.
Others report on courses in which students work in teams, each on one problem in the subject area, reporting to the class on where to find research on that problem, what books and journal articles provide the best continuing information and what web pages connect to the organizations—locally, nationally and internationally—that work to solve that problem. Or a team in a marketing class worked with an industry and studied customers in developing new products. A team of Social work students worked as professionals would, proposing ways to handle a family abuse problem. Such teamwork is not new, and has long been used. A new aspect is Internet connections to resources and to outside experts who are willing to work with a student team on a problem. With videos and digital records, valued learning can be preserved for use by the next team to work on that kind of problem.
Williams College in the USA (Smallwood 2002) reported great success with Oxford-style tutorials in which students came to a faculty office, one with an 8-page paper to present (which could involve as much as 600 pages of reading and other research) and to which another student came prepared to discuss and criticize. As part of a more personalized curriculum these tutorials “foster personal relationships between students and teachers, improve speaking skills and teach them about making and criticizing an argument.” Professors reported that “this preserves their love of teaching,” that they learn a lot from students, and that the process of listening and commenting is much less fatiguing than preparing lectures and managing a large class. Students report that they work much harder, must be much more creative and learn much more…and love the tutorial courses. Such tutorials are not for all students and work best at schools with a larger faculty And Stalker (2002) warns that some faculty do and can use such teaching methods as a `cop-out,' a method that in which the professor does not have to work as hard. However, there are and can be many productive adaptations of the method; for example, one member of a tutorial might be in another country as telecommunications improve.
With much more of a course online, available at anytime, it is now increasingly possible for learners and faculty to spend more time contesting and debating ideas. Shum (2002) points out that rather than ironing out inconsistency, ambiguity and conflicting opinions and interpretations, these can be dealt with in more effective ways. See, for example, the Scholarly Ontologies Project--"with scholarly publishing as a semantic network:<http://kmi.open.ac.uk/projects/scholonto> And Compendium "for real time meeting and group memory capture:" The transformation of higher education depends on secondary schools--and in some areas primary schools--moving also in these directions. The goal: "to open up a lifelong process of discovery and learning." (Cherwitz 2002)
Of course there probably will always be a place for the brilliant lecturer, and not just on video (where the learner can play it over and over until it is all understood.) Bartlett (2003) described the lecturer who is able to react to the faces and responses, or lack of response in a class of hundreds of students; and who can maintain eye contact with first one student and then another. The November 11, 2005 issue of Tomorrow's Professor (http://ctl.stanford.edu/Tomprof/index.shtml) describes the International Professors Project (IPP), 'a global network of Professors who have begun working as academic "citizens of the world" on university campuses in the developing world. <http://www.internationalprofs.org/>. According to Gene Shackman of The Global Social Change Research Project [http://gsociology.icaap.org>
The instructor who retired only a few years ago may now be astonished to visit a classroom where the lecturer allows all students, using their iPods or laptop computer or even a cell phone without interrupting, so that the teacher can deal first with those that the most learners are asking, and can deal individually with the others. Yesterday’s instructor may be even more surprised to see that some questions may come from another city or country. Modes of instruction can be more interesting, motivational and inspiring as the instructor projects onto the students computer screens some image or data from a distant museum or library, then a film from a space satellite, or a lecture from an expert in another country. Indeed, a different explanatory image can be placed on the screen of only one student who missed it earlier or which is not of interest to everyone in the class. This is possible because the entire course is videotaped and any part can be recalled. Rather than a student interrupting, the technology can preserve any comment or question for the appropriate moment. Participation can thus be much more active, less passive, and the learners can be much more in control of the environment and the learning process so as to meet their own needs and interests.
But facilities where teachers operate must also change to enable faculty to operate in a transformed educational system and world. An interactive class (group process and discussion) can be created in this “worldwide virtual classroom” once the instructor learns how and has technological support to do so. Emerging new tools can also empower the class to find and use a social environment on the network. Learners can talk with each other, sharing ideas and information as much as they wish. Courses can provide an environment that engages students in authentic collective educational activities in the virtual classroom. (3.4.4) One emerging technology is blogging (see 3.5.4) which Richard Stockton College has used for student portfolios, class projects and to produce and display hypertext. On its use in literature: <http://caxton.stockton.edu/PC/>
Windham (2007( described how students were receiving lectures, to review them before an exam while walking across camps, to make learning mobile', class material being available at any time or place. With an iPod students can creat material with music and sound effects.Sryswbra created multimedia for an anatomy class and to introduce video in a history class and iPods were used to conduct and preserve interviews--as a type of research--and to record learning on a field trip. Most important students are learning in ways that are more interesting and absorbing..
An electronic office for faculty can sometime become portable, (note Tegrity software for example). If Foreman (2003) can speak of a `learning station' for students, then also there can be a specialized workstation/teaching station that can be used anywhere, with many kinds of software to build upon and adapt for learning, teaching and research. The range of teaching software now being developed is remarkable, and can automate all the instructor’s work in administration, evaluation, planning, testing, grading, tutoring, team coordinating (groupware), research, and technology management. Next there can be more sophisticated systems to make easy many of the instructional and management tasks required for effective distance teaching. Authoring software, used to create special textbooks and teaching materials, can be enlarged to support the sophisticated virtual classroom; bringing together all materials needed for a particular class and organize them by date and topic. (3.1.1 and 3.1.4)The effectiveness of active involvement with hybrid classrooms, some learners in class, others at a distance.
We are here using `teachstation’ for the bringing together of all helpful technologies, such as Power Point and its competitors and successors, to enable an instructor to supervise and be personally involved with online students in another county as easily as with those in the conventional classroom. It could also automatically monitor whether or not distant students are comprehending the material, following the argument, or keeping up with assignments. A `teachstation’ could include a “computerized class profile and one of the instructor’s teaching needs and his or her research projects and interests. One keystroke could call up all needed information, films, or graphics for any particular subject and instructional module. It can also include automatic searches of new databases for any information the instructor ought to have, flagging down overlooked items that are pertinent to the history, cultural context, and development of a particular research project.
Such forthcoming technology can help instructors organize their materials and personal knowledge so as to be more effective. Buckminster Fuller once instructed an office assistant at Southern Illinois State University to arrange an exhaustively cross-referenced, alphabetically coded, first-word index to his entire `topical concept’ files; then to package all the concepts to save him from repetitive discourse and writing. As a result (Futurist, Sept./Oct. 1987), all his lectures, including those on tape, his letters, unpublished papers, notebooks, drawings, blueprints, and clippings were brought together until they achieved a `sort of self-organizing character’ that approached a new art form.
An instructor’s `online electronic teachstation' could bring together all kinds of software,automating a record of each student’s class participation—with data willingly made available from that student’s personal profile--not just grades and record of work, but detailed information on needs, vocational plans, problems, and deficiencies. The teachstation could then help the instructor to personalize instructional plans and materials to meet the unique needs of individual students whether on campus or in other countries. Also, electronic textbooks (3.7) can be designed for “continuous and periodic assessment so as to prepare test questions, monitor and record test data, present immediate or intermittent feedback, present additional instruction, repeat instructions, provide correctional procedures for remediation,” and “automatically track student progress.” Even in the 1980’s, Concepts in General Chemistry (Weyh and Crook 1988) included a diagnostic error evaluation that pinpointed a student’s mistakes at each instructional step. This illustrated how electronic textbooks can result in remarkable improvement in student mastery. Also software online can soon enable an online class to become a learning community. A Virginia streaming Video service in 2002 was providing two thousand complete videos on demand from server to desktops, an experiment that was improving student learning performance as much as 13 percent.: <http://www.distance-educator.com/dnews/?name=News&file=article&sid=7906>
More important, Foreman (2004a), building on `modding' that enables computer game players to modify and update a game themselves, students as they use them will become partners in the creation of instructional materials. Also, students will be writing software instead of term papers, creating dynamic systems rather than frozen pages. Course management tools and providing skills in the developing and manufacturing worlds another range of technology are needed. See <http://vfts.isi.edu/docs/vfts.htm>FACULTY/STUDENT COMMUNITIES OF LEARNING
“What matters most,” said a university chancellor, (Frye 2002) “is how a purposeful intellectual community will be nurtured in the digital environment.” Annette Kolodny (1998), a former dean of the College of Humanities at the University of Arizona. expressed a great concern for the viability of higher education at the turn of the 21st century and called on educators to make decisions in new ways. She worried about the abandonment of teachers. She proposed that in the ideal future of higher education, “lone researchers and isolated communities of scholars” should be transformed into “international communities of socially engaged learners.”
Whether in a campus classroom or with learners scattered around the world, how can stimulating learning communities be created…especially on line? Also, where concerned with tenure, quality, feminine harassment and other issues, Kolodny called for a team approach to experimentation, asking for bold, visionary and experimental changes. Now, she said, is the time for planning for the future. Planning needs to involve diversity, risk-taking, imagination, and social responsibility. For example, perhaps tongue in cheek, she asks: to what extent should instructors preen themselves to appear in a televised classroom? Or we might add, for streaming video and CD presentations?
How can an instructor, especially in distance education, best enhance community? A first mistake in experiments with distance education has been to replicate what has gone on in the traditional classroom. In many situations a camera in a classroom, so that students elsewhere can sit in, is useful; for example, to make possible instruction in a foreign language at a school which has no instructor in that language. But that is an interim arrangement, until those students are able to go via the camera and Internet into another country where that language is spoken, and where each learner uses interactive technology to participate actively at every moment, rather than spending much language class time listening to the bad accents of classmates as they read aloud or try to converse. But even this type of tutoring belongs in a learning community
Many distance education learners now--and most future lifelong learners--are employed adults. How can an instructor really get well enough acquainted with a student who is perhaps thousands of miles away, such as a sailor on a ship or a rehabilitation-seeking learner in prison? And how can the student get well enough acquainted with the instructor?” A 2001 instructor, who had been enthusiastic about Web pages and e-mail as a way to keep in closer touch with students, later decided that he did not know them well enough to write letters of recommendation. Online conversations were brief and to the point in contrast to conversations with the student who dropped into a faculty office. However, the same problem exists with on-campus students who are too busy to stop by. Several new and emerging types of software can radically change the teacher/learner relationship and enlarge the opportunity for an instructor to know any such student at greater depth.See http://www.irrodl.org on 'hybridization.' the combining of face-to-face and electronic connections to students..
A second mistake is the proposal, for money saving, that a `star’ lecturer, who has had only hundreds of students in and on campus class, could speak to thousands or millions of students all over the world. Again the great lecturer who can capture the imagination and enthrall learners has his place (at least occasionally) on the resident campus and in the global classroom. However, if the lecture has some value for real learning it can be preserved on CD-Rom for the learner to hear or review again. Segments of that `star’ lecture can be a film illustration in a digital textbook. (3.7) Indeed, when using an electronic textbook, the learner--when wanting a more inspiration presentation of what is not clear, could click onto a sentence or paragraph to see or hear a recording of the best current lecture on that subject. Also, just as outstanding lecturers are brought to a campus for a convocation, those lectures--or segments--can be shared with dozens of campuses; as when an expert in Massachusetts lectured to Japan and after his teleconference, answered questions of students in simultaneous seminars on various campuses. This is far different from a proposal that one master teacher could teach a lecture course to a million students at once so that the cost could be very cheap for poor students but certainly must be supplemented, usually locally, if there is to be a learning community.
At present there are many types of electronic classrooms and different combinations will be used as appropriate to different courses, cultures, and situations: TV classrooms, online computer network classrooms, and combinations of the two. However, there are more effective possibilities down the road. Just now most promising, for example, is the use of Power Point—and whatever improves or replaces it--so that a history lecture can include segments of films of past events, slides, graphics, interviews with experts to enliven and clarify the presentation. Also, such a team-prepared presentation, once it has it becomes dated, can be recorded on CD so that it can be shared with the developing world at little cost. We need, of course, the technology to translate the best materials into every language or dialect, and so a local instructor/counselor can insert explanations, adaptations and locally relevant illustrations if a significant learning community is to be created. For an illustration, see: <http://www.tappedin.sri.com/info/papers/evol99/> and (2.6.2).
Robin Mason and Anthony Kaye (1990) described a “mixed-model” in which a distant instructor could relate to learners in a variety of modes. For example, the town community outside the college may become more involved in teaching as resource; people scattered over a wide area can be recruited for a network of tutors and advisors. Learning and teaching have for some time been changing traditional styles of teaching in subtle ways. As this continues, styles of teaching can improve in quality, changing traditional style of teaching, breaking down the walls between place-based and distance education, and creating “a network of scholars, space for collective thinking, and access to peers for socializing and serendipitous exchange” (Mason and Kaye 1990). There continues to be a great deal of research, for instance see: <http://www.usdla.org/html/journal/JUN02_Issue/article01.html> Perhaps this can help end the talk-talk classrooms where the verbally talented get rewarded and others are often passive.
Meanwhile, instruction teams should also make electronic materials adaptable to the level of technology available locally. For example, Diaz (2002) has proposed the use of `CD/Web hybrids` where Web based multimedia may be slow or may fail at crucial moments when a system goes down. When Web multimedia is burned onto a CD it can maintain connectivity, be quickly accessible and present a large view rather than the postage-stamp size picture on a monitor.
Where technology connections are limited, more use can be made of audiotapes, videotapes, CDs for use with presentations via digital radio or TV, and question and e-mail answer sessions on the Internet. A basic question here: to what extent can the best content be made interactively available in a variety of adaptable formats in which learners can be encouraged to turn their own rooms into `learning community’ classrooms. On an individual basis the student in very limiting situations can interact with prominent scientists as, for example, they use CDs to explore the solar system, to watch a robot explore Mars and learn to use actual data accumulated by NASA and photos of earth taken by satellites…and much more. But online students also need local supportive community.
Nursing students use interactive video to simulate crisis situations, then two-way audio conferencing for discussion and asking questions, and finally a real-time TV link for active participation in a real emergency-room situation even when they do not yet have access to full tele-medicine services. With two-way monitors they can see whatever doctors and nurses are doing. It was determined that these students learned “twice the information in half the time as compared to traditional information presentation techniques. ”See: <http://www.isi.edu/isd/ADE/ade.html>NEW KINDS OF ELECTRONIC MATERIALS - STUDENT MASTERY
Gros(2003) points to different experiences of the digital generation. (1) Speed, they have more experience in processing information rapidly Parallel processing versus linear processing (2) The digital generation has “an increasing capacity for parallel processing,” the ability to do many different things at once as seen digital game-based learning. (3) They have uniquely experienced “a non-linear means of learning, using hypertexts and accessing different parts of the screen in educational games and multimedia. (4) Connectivity: they live in a world connected synchronically and asynchronically and thus tend “to approach problems from a different angle.” (5) Active versus passive “There is a big different between reading and interacting with computers. Reading need concentration, silence, working alone. The use of computers introduce more active experiences such as chat, posting, surfing for information.” They expect immediate results and become more active, not liking lectures. (6) Orientation towards problem solving “The digital generation tends to approach to problems in a similar way to a computer game; with constant revision of the action and much `trial error.’ (7) The role and importance of fantasy, that are key elements in the experience of the digital generation as seen in their books and films. (8) A positive view of technology having grown up using ICTs they are more positive to technology than their elders.
Unfortunatelyso far, “teaching does not invent its tools; it uses those invented by others.” (Laurillard 2002.) New teaching designs should grow out of practice. So academics need a collective research and development program that builds tools for the support of learners. Howard Gardner (1999) of the Harvard School of Education insisted that the mastery of skills—as well as the achievement of an understanding within and across the disciplines—must be at the center of education. At present, however, even in some crucially important skills, a student passes with a 70% grade and only a minority reaches 100% mastery. University of Illinois Veterinary professor Randall Orr (2001), on the basis of his experience teaching in the Illinois Virtual College, came to value the possibility of many more students reaching 100% mastery. Current electronic materials can make it possible for students to test themselves at the end of each small unit of material, with immediate feedback on errors, students often have to wait a week to get back the results of a faculty graded paper. Further, students can go over presented material over and over until it is mastered. This can greatly reduce the work load of an instructor, as well as make the course much more successful,
"The Lessons of Videogames," a Chronicle of Higher Education colloquy, reported ideas of James Gee, professor of education at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, with expert systems built into characters" with automated tutoring systems inside of them. Game technology, he said, "can readily be used to build much better ...delivery systems even when the e-learning itself is not a game." Games, he said, can deliver relevant verbal information just when it is needed and "can teach basic skills not in isolation" but within strategy for accomplishing goals and tasks And "video games represent a new form of literacy, "a new way for integrating words, sounds, images, actions, values, decisions, and interactions. A way that many young people find natural"..
“So far,many online courses are mostly imitations of existing university courses…but “far richer models will emerge.” (Wilson 2002.) What can be different? Wilson taught a course at the turn of the century that included a weekly online session, enabling an interactive poll of students from all over the world. “Students also were divided into virtual teams that prepared a case study to present over the network.” Such interactivity, he found, could provide very powerful stimulation or “rich multimedia experiences.” Also see: <http://www.isi.edu/isd/ADE/ade.html> and (3.9).
A few samples here of old and new kinds of materials, include “three dimensional imaging…used to recapture the appearance of ancient sites.” (Boukhari 2000.) For research and teaching many historicsites “have been made into models for use in films, on interactive CDs and on the Internet.” A learner then can move around within the site to look around from every angle. This technology is still primitive but in time can provide the visual detail “required to bring ancient worlds to life. Lamb (2004)” says that "to fully empower students within collaborative or co-constructionist activities requires the teacher tp relinquish some degree of control over activities." The teacher's role shifts to establishing contexts and setting up problems to engage students.
They may themselves videotape it, and then compare their version with some movie versions. Then (Friedlander 1988) the classroom is no long a place to talk about a drama but becomes a place of theatrical creativity as students became excited “to watch how a play is made.” Theater is a complex visual and participatory event “with many kinds of information and action occurring at the same moment.” When watching and comparing films (in three or four columns on the computer screen) learners can pause the film, take notes, and note “intricate interconnectedness between the sensual detail (design of costumes, lights) and psychological detail (the actors motives, gestures, tones).” If learners come to a term they do not understand they can click on it for a definition or explanation. They can set up a virtual stage and scenery to try alternatives. The `Playbill computer software’—with videodisk and hypertext text and visual images can make it possible for documents to `unfold’ internally in ways that develop critical thinking skills. The `New Laboratory for Teaching and Learning’ at Dalton School was early developing other such innovating technology programs, including students who were themselves preparing a CD textbook on the experience of New York City during the civil war, each student passing `term papers’ on to the next class to begin where they left off.
Generally at the turn of the century the most sophisticated electronic materials are in Medicine. The Harvey Project involved “more than a hundred international participants—instructors, graphic artists, physicians and programmers”—in the creation of “40 learning objects—tutorials, videos and animations-- in physiology.” The materials were to be provided free to universities that could not afford such course development themselves. These tools can be modified and improved in any local situation as long as the original authors are credited. (Harvey 2001)Already, without leaving campus (Smith 2002) students "can see inside the caldrons of volcanoes, can gather data on on river sedimentation of the Amazon, can listen to the dialects of aborigines, and can view the cleaning process used on the Sistine Chapel." As Long (2002) has said, teachers need to exercise the imagination to to "step up the possibilities offered by wireless ":connections without boundaries."' IN FUTURE LEARNING
The current generation of teachers is the first to have the opportunity to move “from a reliance upon metaphors about how people learn to …pedagogies founded on an understanding of the cognitive development of learning.” (Buckley 2002.) The motivation for this profound change also results from poor student performance and the arrival of learning-centered instructional technology, (For a support community—over a thousand teachers online--see Vaysman 2002).
Demands of a New Generation. “Students who have grown up `digital’ expect to be involved in active, social learning situations in which they participate in the creation of knowledge rather than passively absorbing information.” (Frand 2000). Paul Levinson who had a great deal of experience distance education experience with students from other countries taking courses from New York pointed to “the web of social expectations and consequences.” It is a great mistake, he found, not to provide interaction with other students. However the learning environment is created not by the technology, but by “social engineers” who learn to use it well. The students can be almost anywhere on earth, he found, and one big advantage of courses on the Internet can be enhanced by personal attention and participation. The instructor can stimulate kinds of personal engagement and self-directed learning that are becoming rare today on campuses. On George Landow and hypertext, see: <http://www.altx.com/int2/george.landow.html>. Video games (Gros 2003) are aa primary way young people enter the world of technology. While playing they learn basic strategies and skills needed ton the virtual world.
Technology to facilitate adaptation to learning styles? Perhaps there may be six or more learning styles and individuals may have different combinations of them. The worst is the `passive style' which most learners now at the turn of the century have learned at school. Perhaps technology for observation and diagnosis can help change and improve learning styles, whether they are ways of responding to learning situations, attitudes they bring, reflections of personal qualities and abilities or of handicaps. Gros (2003) Video games are among the most direct means of access that children and young people have to the world of technology. Most children in the West play with consoles and their first contact with computers is through a computer game. Throughout this article we will suggest that while playing children are learning basic strategies and skills that will enable them to gain access to the virtual world. Furthermore, videogames are programs that can easily be introduced in schools to teach specific curricular contents or to develop strategies and procedures..
Alternatives to education as a `mass assembly-line process'. When a pioneer in distance education was asked how he would set up a course for a thousand students, he refused to consider ten tutors with a hundred students each. An on-line class, he insisted, should not have more than twenty-five students, which he had found to be the maximum number for any class if good teaching and learning were to take place. Otherwise how can it become a learning community? When his students in other countries enrolled, they received clear instructions on how to participate in the `online café’ for recreational conversation. Students were encouraged to introduce themselves to other members of the class, reporting their needs, interests and plans to each other as well as to the instructor. Today such first efforts to create learning communities become for many online learners the equivalent of discussion in small seminars, or at least of late night discussion with other students in dorms or coffee shops. And it is much easier for an instructor to join in to make suggestions and call attention to errors.
Enriching Personal Relationships with and Among Students. Learning on the Internet—with related new technologies—can provide electronic learning material, as well as coaching (Waldvogel 1999) sessions, interpersonal professional contacts, social contacts of a new kind, problem-oriented services and case studies, “ learning assessments and can link learning assignments to “socially, ethically or philosophically related materials.” Altbach (2003) also points to the increasing use of part-time instructors in higher education and (thus?) to the resulting deterioration in the quality of academic work, that is at a crisis level in many developing countries. Long (2005) has pointed out that students need to help and space for working together in small groups
Issues of plagiarism, cheating and drop-outs were distance education issues widely discussed at the turn of the century. Many students felt test questions—in mass assembly-line exams-- and assigned term paper projects did not contribute significantly to their own learning because “everyone was doing the same stuff just to get a passing grade.” This style of glasswork did not help them find out “what they know and what they need to know.” They especially expressed bitterness at true-false tests that aimed to discover if they could remember bits of knowledge from textbooks. When instructors assigned papers in areas of real student interest, especially tailored for each individual, cheating almost completely disappeared.
Labor Unions? As for-profit schools enlarge and multiply, as online schools become more and more international and as educators give more time to producing technological courseware and modules, will teachers at all levels feel a need to unionize beyond organizations the American Association of University Professors and the American Teacher’s Federation which organized a union at the University of Pennsylvania? In 2002 the United Auto Workers were organizing graduate students who work as teaching assistants at New York University and at some other schools. If many in academia do not need to worry that machines will replace them, there are nevertheless serious issues to be resolved. The individual teacher--doing online education or in a team teaching relationships should, as UNESCO recommends--“continue to enjoy full academic autonomy and freedom, conceived as a set of rights and duties, while being fully responsible and accountable to society.” This may require new types of unions. Perhaps that will especially be true where business firms `sell’ education and i as learners assume a larger role in their own education and teachers are no longer their `founts of knowledge.’ Compensation will be needed for research to cope with constant innovation in curriculum, teaching and learning methods, including the creation and re-creation of more imaginative learning environments.
3.6.7 RESEARCH (2.17)
The knowledge explosion--as the number of learners radically increases-- should increase the number of professors. Technology may enable more of them to be involved in research. In fact, nearly all teachers (and nearly all learners) will probably be more involved in research, using feedback, for example,, in research on how to improve learning, teaching and scholarship. (Hutchings and Shulman 1999) proposed that the scholarship of teaching must be open to critique and evaluation, “and in a form that others can build on.” So it requires a kind of meta-research in which “facultyframe and systematically investigate questions related to student learning; the conditions under which it occurs, what it looks like, how to deepen it, and so forth.” Teachers must do so to improve their own teaching and also to improve teaching and learning everywhere, and certainly outside their own fields. .
A needed kind of research might follow learners for some years after they have completed a program to discover what they learned that is helpful to them. One result of some such research showed that grades—often the result of last minute memorization—were no evidence that there had been meaningful learning. Also, more research is needed to see if true learning can be meaningfully measured by tests anyway. The results of a significant learning experience may only be seen much later. Even a math test may prove the ability of a student to repeat something seen in class rather than reveal any significant grasp of mathematics. So more is needed than a computer program that finds that a student can solve certain problems correctly. Rather the quality of learning is seen in how such a skill can be used later to solve a new kind of problem. A major flaw in most current testing is the assumption that `one size fits all.’
The question has also been raised as to whether a teacher—or even someone else in the same discipline—can evaluate learning in a discipline without the involvement of others outside that field of learning. Quality education in this space age society must examine learning in a larger, holistic environment. Elon College, for example, has experimented with four faculty-student teams to study intellectual engagement in the classroom. A team in history sought to design and evaluate new models for the classroom. A biology team sought to “design and study relevant, inquiry‑based course and laboratory components of a course for non-majors.” An environmental studies and economics team sought ways to train students in diverse fields to be expert resource persons for a simulation used in schools. Students were to bring into each team the questions, points of view and experience that only they, new in study, could bring. A first finding was that “few faculty have considered the rich possibilities of undergraduate research in teaching and learning and in preparing students to be lifelong learners.”
Farhad Saba (2002) warned that research must move beyond the present system of teaching and learning. Rather than continuing to improve old methods, a new vision and system are needed. Learning environments must be created in which students “can see their own preferences, and, in a sense participate in the design of instruction for themselves. This is truly a paradigm shift” which does not necessarily result in better courses. In fact, he says, a `course’ may not be the proper term for what he is suggesting. “Teachers are still using the new technologies to do what we have been doing all along.” Electronic games provide an analogy, for what is needed, in the way players can set the level of difficulty at which they feel comfortable and increase the level as they develop competency. Unfortunately, Saba says, even the best designed course on the web in 2002 “cannot even do that much!”
Instruction skills and the learning process must change significantly from passive learning to active (See Downes 2002); from scheduled classes to individualized programs; from teacher-controlled to learner-controlled; from printed text to electronic materials; from memorizing to problem solving and decision making; from content-oriented to performance-oriented; and to provide specialized learning experiences for each unique individual instead of generalized instruction aimed at the average student. As educators seek to use electronic resources to provide education for everyone in the world it will be necessary to combine the best parts of two apparently irreconcilable procedures and--most crucial--mass-produced electronic learning/ teaching systems must be mass-produced to make them affordable to impoverished billions of people. Many of the procedures must be automated, yet in a way that yet keeps the system open to be regularly updated and adaptable to differences in culture, needs and to individual learners and teachers. That is a big order. Digital textbooks (3.7) may help.
The Future of Higher (Lifelong) Education: For All Worldwide: A Holistic View