1. AMRITA SAI INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY ROLE OF COMPUTERS INENGINEERING EDUCATION Ramesh Babu Palepu 1
2. The computer and its related technologies are integral part of our daily lives that it must be an ingredient in engineering education for participation in present and future society. The role of computers in academia is classified into two broad categories. 1. For educators. 2. For students.Educators: The computer is a valuable asset in the classroom. A computer can free up a teachers time by acting as a tutor, ready to repeat drills and spend time with students who need extra support.
3. A computer also enables swift communication between the teacher and parent or other staff. A computer can improve the quality and interactive nature of lessons and ease some of the many administrative tasks that a teacher must do.Students: Today most students are comfortable to use computers, those who do not have one at home are at a disadvantage for completing practical assignments that require research and producing a document. Regular use of computers by students increase their performance proved by a research at Boston College and the University of Massachusetts.
4. Today we saw computers at every where as mean of education so the CAL (Computer Assisted Learning) and CAI (Computer Aided Instructions) have become significant in engineering education. Some of the key advantages in using computers in engineering education. Interactive and tailored operation is possible based on student needs. Students can develop projects using software. Students can search large databases on interesting subjects. Interactive tutorials with feedback can be used for
5. educational materials for the computer must be evaluated for their quality and suitability for engineering education situation. The following are some educational and developmental issues.1.What kinds of educational input are given?2.What types of outcomes are expected or responses required?3.Are they varied enough to broaden our students learning abilities and communication skills?4.Are they appropriate for the age/developmental level of our child?
6. 5. Does the way the material is presented appeal to our students preferred learning styles?6. Does it challenge our students higher-level thinking and reasoning abilities? Concerns of computer on Engineering EducationEffects on students: Working on a computer shows reality in the abstract (represented by symbols), which is the most appropriate or fruitful way for engineering students to understand the subject. Here the risk may be lack of imagination, social isolation, repetitive stress injuries, concentration problems, and poor language and literacy skills. Much educational/game- type software has high entertainment value but low educational value.
7. Thinking Skill Development: A major concern for all student relates to the effects computers may have on the development of thinking skills. Normal human brains have at their disposal two complementary methods of processing information: sequential and simultaneous (often called parallel). Computers almost always process sequentially. Until they can engage in parallel and simultaneous processing, computers will be a poor match and a poor model for most forms of human reasoning.
8. No Hands-on Experimentation: As more quality CDs with lecture films and engineering experiments become available, they may give opportunity for more observation and parallel mental processing. However, particularly in the area of engineering, there is no substitute for hands-on experimentation and direct observation.Development of Reasoning Skills: The CAI whose focus is on getting the right answer may not develop the independent reasoning skills to ask the right questions.
9. So computers can provide opportunities to organize information by the students, and students need to make inferences, build hypotheses, and apply information to real-life situations in order to develop the kind of thinking skills that are most useful in life.Lack of Human Modeling: Computers have limited capability to encourage expressions of creativity and humor, and they are incapable of helping students to understand the process and develop face-to-face communication skills such as the meaning of inflections, tone of voice, body language, and nuances.
10. The following are my recommendations Use computers for the educational purposes for which they are most suited. Suppose we provide much factual input via computer programs, make sure students also have opportunities to do something with the information they receive. Vary the subject areas taught via the computer from semester to semester or update the instructions with real time information. Make sure higher-level thinking skills are included in your computer aided teaching.
11. Provide modeling and practice of face-to-face interaction around subject matter:1.Discussing issues2.Listening for main facts/points3.Expressing understanding4.Taking notes from orally-presented material5.Asking questions for clarification6.Expressing disagreement appropriately7.Presenting own opinions respectfully Word of Remembranceface-to-face human interaction be a significant part of engineering learning program.