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Developing A Philosophy of Computers in Education David
Moursund University of Oregon NCCE 2006
Goal To share some of my personal philosophy of ICT in
education. (I have been working in ICT in education for a long
time. To encourage you to further develop your own personal
philosophy of ICT in education.
Four of my beliefs Many of our worlds problems can be addressed
through better education. All children deserve the opportunity to
gain a high quality education. Educational systems can be much
better. ICT will prove to be fundamental to achieving better
Being loaded down with the worlds problems I have been interest
in problem solving throughout my professional career.
Problem Solving Recognizing, posing, clarifying, doing
questions problems tasks decisions Using higher-order, critical,
creative, and wise thinking. Produce, performance,
Words of wisdom Every teacher should have a philosophy of
education. (Message from my graduate students.) Every teacher
should have a philosophy of ICT in education. (Message from Dave to
Computers are here to stay In my opinion, this is about as
trite as saying: Math is here to stay. History is here to stay.
Reading is here to stay. Surely we educators can do better than
that. (My tolerance for dumb statements has decreased as I have
Information and Communication Technology ICT includes Computers
(both large and small) Internet and Web Cell phones Digital still
& motion cameras. iPods and the equivalent Robots Etc.
ICT is a powerful change agent Perhaps comparable to the
development of agriculture? Perhaps comparable to the three Rs?
Perhaps comparable to the industrial revolution? ICT is driving the
information age. A change agent -------->>>>
My personal professional work environment
Open paper and pencil tests How about: Open notes test? Open
book test? Open computer with word processor and spell checker
test? Open computer and Web test? (And, without severe time
pressures.) What is your authenticity philosophy?
Its a Small World It's a small world after all It's a small,
small world http://www.niehs.nih.gov/kids/lyrics/smworld.htm
McLuhan: Global Village.
I read a lot
Thomas Friedman: The World is Flat Increasing smallness through
improved transportation. Increasing flatness through improved
telecommunication. Increasing worldwide knowledge about how green
the grass is on the other side of the fence. Worldwide competition
for resources, and jobs.
I think a lot I try to make complex things simple. Example: We
do problem solving all of the timewhats the big deal about that? I
tend to make simple things complex. Example: In school, students
study many different disciplines. But, what is a discipline?
Academic disciplines are defined by: Problems, tasks,
activities addressed. Tools, methodologies, evidence, recording and
sharing results. Accumulated results. History, culture, language;
methods of teaching and learning. Sense of beauty and wonder.
ICT affects each discipline some more than others Level of
learning required on part of the user. Accumulated knowledge about
the uses of ICT to do a significant part or the work needed to
solve some of the problems within the discipline. Procedural
thinking, where ICT systems can carry out the procedures.
Expertise in solving problems and accomplishing tasks
Expertise in a discipline
Three key questions: Within a discipline, what things can
Educated people do a lot better than ICT systems? ICT systems do a
lot better than educated people? The combination of educated people
and ICT systems do a lot better than either alone?
Five eras 1. Hunter-gatherer 2. Agriculture 3. Industrial 4.
Information 5. Knowledge: Contained within people Contained within
Computer and: Data processing Information processing Knowledge
processing Wisdom processing What might it mean to say an ICT
system has knowledge or wisdom, or that it processes knowledge or
Key philosophical issue I assume you believe a human can gain
knowledge and wisdom. Do you believe that an ICT system can have
some sort of knowledge and wisdom? What is your philosophy about
educating students for a world in which ICT systems are growing in
machine-like knowledge and wisdom?
Six languages (Robert Logan) 1. Natural language 2. Written
language 3. Mathematics 4. Science 5. Computing & computer
languages 6. Internet and Web We can also talk about the language
of various disciplines such as music, football, etc.
Fluency philosophy Fluency in a language is one measure of
expertise in the language. What is your philosophy on the level of
fluency students should be helped to achieve in various types of
languages? For example, is it OK for a child to grow up with very
little of no fluency in art and music?
Human intelligence Learn Pose problems Solve problems. This
includes solving problems, accomplishing tasks, and fashioning
products. It includes critical thinking and making effective use of
ones overall knowledge and skills.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) This has long been one of my
favorite topics. What intelligent-like things can machines do, and
what are their limitations? How should AI affect: Curriculum?
Creativity and Intelligence Humans are very good at creativity.
While creativity requires intelligence, high levels of intelligence
(high IQ) does not imply high creativity. My philosophy: foster
creativity (in contrast, for example, with just tell me exactly
what I need to do, and Ill do it).
What really bugs me I think that in recent years our
educational system has moved strongly in the direction of producing
students who want and expect to be told exactly what do do and who
are lost without a high level of detailed, explicit
My philosophy With appropriate education, people get more
intelligence. ICT systems are getting more intelligent. Human
intelligence and machine intelligence overlap, but are quite
different. Students should learn about both, as well a about
CAI example A machine can have the intelligence to provide
drill and practice, provide immediate feedback, adjust the
questions presented in an appropriate response to errors being
made, switch into tutorial mode if it (the machine) decides this is
needed, keep detailed records, prepare reports,and etc. A machine
may well have more intelligence than a human in this limited
Increasing human productivity Agriculture Industrial production
Information Age: Data processing productivity Information
processing productivity Knowledge processing productivity What
about the productivity of students and teachers?
Robert Bransons Upper Limit Theory
Education is at an upper limit Based on national test results,
our schools have improved very little over the past 40 years.
Branson argues (and I agree) that with current methods and levels
of expenditures, we are close to an upper limit.
Work harder and longer, versus work smarter We can increase:
Length of school day, counting homework Length of school weak and
school year Number of years of education Testing, requirements, and
so on. However, these changes are modest relative to a doubling of
totality of human knowledge every five or ten years.
We need a paradigm shift
Individualizing by Increasing effort to have students learn to
learn and to take more responsibility for their own learning. Use
of HIICAL Use of asynchronous distance learning Providing strong
support for lifelong learningespecially learning in contexts and
situations deemed relevant by learners.
Learn faster and better From work of Benjamin Bloom and others:
Mastery learning Individual tutoring ICT version of this: Highly
interactive intelligent computer-assisted learning, perhaps
delivered in an asynchronous distance learning mode.
Some students learn faster & better than others Students
with IQs of 75-80 tend to learn half as fast as average. Students
with IQs of 130 and above tend to learn twice as fast as average.
In my opinion, we are not doing nearly enough to accommodate to
these individual differences.
Flat earth, revisited Categories of workers difficult to
outsource or off shore: Sports stars and entertainers Highly
specialized, doctors, lawyers, accountants Anchored, barbers,
nurses, plumbers, direct service people, child care, lawn &
garden care Really adaptable, versatile, broadly capable, Jack
& Jill of many trades