Tag Archives: education

Computers in Education circa 1980

I was amused to read the IEEE Computer July 1980 and see some interesting articles that could well be placed in today’s literature. I wanted to capture them here.

“Computer education and the appropriate uses of computers in education represent two especially critical areas of concern in what is rapidly becoming a computerized society. Last month, in the first two-part series on the impact of computers in education, we presented its philosophy and structure in a more extensive introduction; we also addressed the first concern–better training of computer professionals–with four articles that focused on curriculum issues.(9)” This amuses me no end, as we have been having this debate for as long as the technology has embraced microprocessors and moved out of vacuum tubes. I remember well the introduction of these devices into classrooms around this time and the tensions that surrounded teachers in the day fretting over what were appropriate uses for the technology. At the time, I and a group of similar kids who were fascinated by these devices would usually have to sit after school as a hobby club to get real access and program the machines.

“It has been said that CAI [computer administered instruction] has the potential for tremendously improving the teaching/learning process–provided it is used at the right place, in the right amount, at the right moment, and in the right way. This implies that CAI is effective if, and only if, it is used by experienced teachers. CAI can become almost useless–if not harmful–when used improperly. For this reason, the training of teachers in CAI has, since the beginning, been the major preoccupation of those people…who are responsible for the introduction of CAI into…education (21).”

This is something that could easily be read today and thought to be current if we simply changed CAI to something like LMS. And it is astonishing to me that 35 years on, we still have identified the need to train teachers to use current technology as a critical requirement. How long will it take us actually implement the policy objective?

“…there is a fundamental incompatibility between the US educational system and most proposed educational technology systems. People in school systems view educational technology as a threat rather than as a way to improve the quality of the learning environment. Hence, we need to explore ways of introducing educational computing through nonschool institutions…., and we must devise an effective and nonthreatening technology for school use (26).”

Yes, the technology was and still remains a threat to the majority of the teaching staff who see it as getting in the way of what they really need to do, teach!

“…what we need is a level of quality that can compete directly with commercial television for our students’ time. We have the instructional media and computer technology to accomplish this goal. What we lack is the front-end investment to develop the product and the time to cultivate market acceptance. Teachers still see this technology as a threat to their jobs (34).”

Finally, this quote speaks to me of the adequate nature of technology and the lack of real engagement by educators to leverage it in meaningful ways. Thus, I see people constantly focusing on the need to “get the next big thing” for a new stack rather than engage in a creative and sustained way to impact on learning.

Even at the university where I am now, after sustained focus on the enterprise infrastructure being made available for all teachers, there is a distressing lack of penetration in most courses and an astonishing disparity in the adoption by different colleges. I shall return to more of this tomorrow I hope.

Educause Game Changers book worth a look

Educause is well known to the denizens of HE, and they have just released a new book edited by Diana Oblinger, [Game Changers: Education and Information Technologies](http://www.educause.edu/game-changers). With 17 chapters and an additional 21 case studies, the work is a compilation of authors’ views about how “Institutions are finding new ways of achieving higher education’s mission without being crippled by constraints or overpowered by greater expectations”. The authors are a collection of university presidents, provosts, faculty and others who are taking a serious analysis of how the face of HE needs to change to sustain. Continue reading Educause Game Changers book worth a look

Tablet ownership amongst students growing rapidly

I have been predicting the increase of tablet computing in the general endpoint ecology for some time, and others have been there with me. Just last year there was a [study](http://bit.ly/mhKtaN) which showed that students were ready to go to tablets to read, and there is the general drive to get [ebooks](http://seanmehan.globat.com/blog/2011/07/21/new-entrant-in-the-etextbook-market-amazon/) onto campuses. Now Pearson has released a survey of student ownership of tablets that needs to be factored into where the endpoints are going to shift over the next couple of years, in what I predict will be an accelerating fashion. Continue reading Tablet ownership amongst students growing rapidly

Effectiveness of fully on-line courses for HE

I and many others have been writing about [online learning](http://seanmehan.globat.com/blog/tag/elearning/) for some time, asking what mix is most effective and what needs to happen to help students succeed with this medium. Meanwhile, there has been increasing pressure to increase enrollments and bring more and more [students into HE](http://seanmehan.globat.com/blog/2011/06/24/more-on-the-he-bubble-and-degree-value-inflation/), in order to grow the knowledge economy, as predicted by Friedman in the [Lexus and the Olive Tree](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lexus_and_the_Olive_Tree). Enrollment is up, waaaay up, but now the debate is being shifted to completion, i.e., getting them out the door with a sheepskin (real or digital). Some startling figures follow for an objective debate. Continue reading Effectiveness of fully on-line courses for HE

Indian HE market being impacted by private universities

The Hindustan Times has a [report](http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/Print/824475.aspx) which details that private universities have risen from 20 in 2004 to 107 in 2011, 535% upsurge in seven years. This is an amazing change in the HE landscape in a rapidly developing economy that needs to educate its workforce to compete in the global economy. Continue reading Indian HE market being impacted by private universities

Bill for Access to Federally Funded Research Opposed By For-profit Journals

As I [wrote](http://bit.ly/wBfY6U) back in January, the publishing companies were starting to gear up their lobbying efforts to fight any threat to their hegemony over access to research results. Well, Eighty-one publishers expressed their *strong* opposition to legislation that would free up research results of federally funded research. Continue reading Bill for Access to Federally Funded Research Opposed By For-profit Journals