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Opening lecture, Shanghai - Prof. Edna Aphek, seminar, Shanghai 18.6.2000

Computer Added Value - part 2

What do all these theories share in common?

First they view education as a complex system in which learning is less tightly structured, and its outcomes not always predictable.They view both education and learners abilities as ever developing and not static. They all break away from the traditional way of teaching according to the disciplines.These theories place much emphasis on the thinking processes and avoid rote memorization.
Many of the aforementioned theories personalize instruction and maintain that different learners have different learning styles and therefore should learn in a way unique to each of them. Learning out of interest becomes an important aspect in postmodern pedagogy.
Relationship between school and community becomes very tight, according to many of the leading names in education, be it Gardner or Ted Sizer, Goleman and Aphek, all are great believers in service learning and in the development of social skills.
Students working together, like in an orchestra, cooperating and creating a larger whole by each doing his/her share, is much emphasized in the new educational theories. Students performance rather than students memorizing or doing well on tests, is a key term in innovative pedagogy .

Now let's take a look at the computer, and we shall see that it's the right tool, at just the right time, for supporting the innovative ideas in education.

For the computer is:

A learning, working, playing environment which is :

Complex and dynamic, rapidly changing
Intimate and individual
Multifaceted , Multimedia, combination of several components- text, sound, graphics and soon fragrance
Multi directional - (the hyperlink) imitating the human brain
A - disciplinary
Participatory in nature
A storage for huge amounts of information
A system for fast information retrieval
A means of communication
A key to a career
The computer is
Very popular with youngsters
Non-judgmental, never insults and never rejects

All the aforementioned pedagogic theories can and are implemented with out computers.But when the unique capabilities of the computer and its unique advantages meet the introduction of these theories in the classroom, both are empowered.
The computer new pedagogic theories relationship is quite mutual.
The computer easifies the implementation of these theories and these theories pave the way for smooth introduction of the computer.

If Perkins, Sizer and others are looking for the training of the intellectual abilities, then The computer becomes an "intellectual partner that facilitates knowledge construction" rather than knowledge gathering, "engages learners in thinking deeply about the content they are studying" (Jonassen 21) and helps them translate abstractions into new media .

It 's the marriage between the new ways of learning and instruction and the powerful multifaceted tool made by man, the computer, that will benefit the two.
Cooperative learning in projects is enhanced by computer usage, and computers are more easily accepted by teachers who worked in this method: requiring students to use multiple sources in their work, besides books, will send them to surf the internet and the existence of the internet makes this requirement possible.The same is true of personalizing instruction and reflecting over data recorded.
Learning according to one's pace, abilities and interest, becomes a viable option.

The added value of the computer then is its capacity to accelerate the improvement of education for a better tomorrow.

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