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Which computer technologies are needed to support which activities?

One of the most difficult challenges facing the modern educational community is balancing educational objectives with technical limitations and hard financial realities. Ultimately, the goal of assessing objectives, needs, conditions, and options is to determine the optimum configuration for integrating computers into a specific school in such a way as to enhance educational effectiveness and pique students’ interest.




Using tools and templates

Individual or group projects by students
> Course work preparation,
building models, simulations,
> Web page construction

> Pentium (or equivalent) multimedia computer
> Stand-alone or networked
> Individual ownership and/or provided on campus

Using models/simulations

Individual self-paced learning
> Enhancing textbook and other
> “Virtual” laboratories/workbenches
> Typically developed by publishers
or consortia of university

> Pentium (or equivalent) multimedia computer
> Stand-alone or networked; possibly
accessed via Web (e.g., Java/Flash applets)
> Individually owned PC, subject to ability
to license of individual copies; otherwise
confined to campus-based PC workstations

CSCW environments
collaborative work)

Collaborative learning
> Support for group work
> Mediated class discussion
> Group & individual projects

> Pentium (or equivalent) multimedia computer
> Connected to a network, accessible
on-campus only or accessible also from
> Institution must maintain host server; CMC (computer-mediated communications) software (groupware) required
> Can be Web-based (e.g., TopClass, Blackboard) or proprietary

Electronic mail

Student-teacher, teacher-student and student-student communication
> Improved access to academic staff,
submission of course work, feedback,
advice, mass announcements and discussion
> Allows asynchronous dialogue

> Computer (system requirements will depend on the email system used)
> Connected to a network/the internet, accessible
on-campus only or accessible also from off-campus
> School must maintain host mail server, unless a web-based service is used

Video- and/or audioconferencing
and audio graphics

Outreach to remote tutorial groups;
institutional collaboration

> Use generally confined to small groups at secondary, undergraduate, or graduate level

> High-quality videoconferencing systems require
dedicated rooms, typically 2 or 3 cameras,
microphones, and some form of electronic
“whiteboard” or method displaying computer projected images at both ends; high-grade
telecommunications links are typically required—e.g., ISDN.
> Small-scale videoconferencing can be achieved using a PC with a video card and webcam. Systems often use proprietary software, and networking between systems is not always adequate. Subject to networking, control software can be used to allow shared working on files in standard formats—e.g., word processing, spreadsheet, CAD. The tutor may transfer active control to/from remote locations, and all participants view the active image on their local screen.
> Can usually be accomplished using DSL lines, as long as the bandwidth is sufficient
> In remote locations, satellite internet can be used


Audiovisual presentation
> Support for lecture-style presentations incorporating audiovisual/multimedia elements

> LCD projector and screen. These can be fixed or portable.
> Fixed video and/or PC consoles or facility for presenter to connect laptop computer.
> Formerly restricted to medium – large auditoria. Because of lower equipment costs, almost any venue is now possible.
> Data projectors (self-contained units with built-in light sources).


Extension of conventional lecturing
> Elements of distance education
programmes, providing off-campus access to traditional sites of teaching. Sometimes used in combination with audioconferencing or simple telephone to provide feedback/questions from remote sites. Lecturer frequently delivers lecture
simultaneously to live audience on
campus. Broadcast can be terrestrial, internet-based or by satellite.

> TV technology or internet-based webcam system
> Normally uses dedicated classroom, with 2 or more cameras, controlled by lecturer

Hypermedia resources

Course resources for self-paced, self-directed learning or for private study directed by teacher
> Body of loosely structured documentation, including multimedia (sound, graphics, animation, and video) with embedded hypertext links
> Can be made available on CD-ROM or via the Web

> Pentium (or equivalent) multimedia computer
> Stand-alone (CD-ROM) or networked (WWW)

Didactic courseware

Self-paced learning
> Computer-based training (CBT)
or computer-assisted learning (CAL) resources, typically used in a highly structured, didactic format, with sequential lessons, examples, and tests; may replace or supplement aspects of conventional teaching

> Pentium (or equivalent) multimedia computer
> Stand-alone or networked
> CBT/CAL courseware is typically distributed on CD-ROM
> Use off-campus may be limited, depending on terms of copyright or site licensing

Automated testing/feedback

> Can be used for systematic objective
> Useful where large class groups are to
be tested and where subject matter
lends itself to this type of test
> Includes banks of test questions, automatic marking and generation of feedback to students
> information on student performance is summarized for teachers

> Pentium (or equivalent) multimedia computer
> Connected to a network, accessible on campus only or accessible from off-campus (depending on provision of site license for relevant test management software)

Intelligent tutoring systems (ITSs)
(adaptive courseware)

Self-paced learning
> Adaptive courseware extends the
CBT/CAL approach by seeking to
customize “lessons” based on
dynamically modeling individual
student performance

> Pentium (or equivalent) multimedia computer—stand-alone or networked
> Courseware that makes use of multimedia is typically distributed on CD-ROM
> Use off-campus may be limited, depending on terms of copyright or site licensing

Table taken from the UNESCO Publication "Technologies for education: potentials, parameters and prospects", 2002, Chapter 5, "Objectives and Strategies for Effective Use of ICT" by Gajaraj Dhanarajan.