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The New Paradigm


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#1 Caterina Gasparini

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 03:15 PM

The new paradigm: learning by sharing connected knowledge

Teachers are called to change their attitude to ICT, which should not be considered a tool but be integrated into their teaching. Michael Young, the founder of the UK Open University, saw teachers as educational companions who accompany students on part of their learning through life. The stress is less on the content of learning than on the learning process itself, which must teach young people to become expert learners. The final target is learning to learn and the quality of the learning process is more important than the quantity of knowledge imparted.

FROM INFORMATION TO KNOWLEDGE

We are living in a Knowledge society, in which connectivity allows us to access all kind of information at unprecedented speed and in multiple format” (Michelle Selinger - Executive Advisor Education – Cisco Systems)
Connectivity is our present and our future: young people know that and are used to living in a digital, web-based world in which they are constantly in contact with other people and communicating via emails, SMS text messaging, chats, etc. They are also naturally multitasking and able to write an email while watching TV, listening to music, etc.

However, the way we get information raises several issues concerning its quantity and quality.

We are being overloaded with an incredible amount of information, from which it seems difficult to select what we are looking for. Besides, not always can we immediately assess the value of the information we get. Young people in particular tend to move from one screen to another, whether it is a TV screen to a PC screen, without making great distinction between them: at the same time the differences between virtual reality and non-virtual reality seem to be less definite, the boundaries between fiction or game and reality are less clear, so that it may become nearly impossible to separate them.

In this scenario the main task of school is to teach learners to:

• locate relevant information and judge the credibility of sources,
• become experts learners,
• learn how to think critically.

CONNECTED INTELLIGENCE

Rather than thinking of cognition as an isolated event that takes place inside one’s head, cognition should be looked at as a distributed phenomenon, one that goes beyond the boundaries of a person to include environment, artifacts, social interactions, and culture” (E. Hutchins & J. Hollan)

According to one of the principles of distributed cognition, in our world cognitive events are not encompassed within a head but happen in the interactions among many brains. Consequently, distributed cognitive processes are the key to select information and build knowledge. Connectivity accelerates the process through the volume of interactions which can be activated. If the Web is a shared medium linking each type of contents, the Internet enables one-to-one, one-to-all and all-to-all connectivity to be used for sharing knowledge.

The process is:

• connective but not collective,
• intersubjective, involving direct person-to-person interactions,
• collaborative rather than competitive,
• promoting autonomy within the connection.

The process is at the origin of Virtual Communities and Forums, where often firsthand information is shared in order to acquire real knowledge through exchange and collaboration.

THE NEW PARADIGM OF LEARNING

WHAT, HOW AND WHY ONE NEEDS TO KNOW” (J. Hollan)

The sentence could originate the following question: “What, how and why school needs to teach in order to reflect the world outside?”

1. THE ACTORS OF THE LEARNING PROCESS

All trends go into the direction of:

• connected intelligence, because computers make minds work together;
• learning communities of learners, experts, tutors, open and enlarging outside schools to include institutions, cities and countries;
• new roles: schools as learning hubs and teachers as knowledge managers;
• no age-related or grade-related but competence-related classes
• curricula developing through a community need rather than a national dictate. In particular European curricula seem to be possibly developing along two paths, one concerning the whole European community, which involves discovering the fundamental values on which European identity and the idea of Europe was born, the other taking into consideration local aspects. The “Oral history” project, where local people act as oral sources, is an example of how local human resources can be integrated into the curriculum.

2. THE RESOURCES

They should have the following features:

• multimedia: ICT makes it possible to examine and also analyse simultaneously different representations of the same content, which can be presented in various formats on different multimedia supports (texts, pictures, photos, diagrams, maps, timelines, statistics, videos, graphics, audio documents, etc.).

http://www.makingthe...rnworld.org.uk/ is an example of how various types of material can be presented together dynamically.

• incompleteness (or unfinished state): the education resources published on the Internet should be shared and accessible also to be modified, updated, corrected, developed, widened.
• flexibility: the content should be made available in small units, and filed into a database. So it would be possible to organize it according to a plurality of criteria of pertinence and recover it also in a non–linear way through different approaches. The content could be assembled either by the teacher or the learner.
• interactivity: information is not presented but knowledge is “discovered”. Interactivity is not identified with the physical activities like clicking, dragging or typing in required when using ICT material, but with the mental activities involved. Learning by using ICT implies a lot of mental processes which help develop mental attitudes and skills. Presentations require the ability to have a clear view of the global content so as to be able to organise it into segments. Linking and mindmap building develop the ability to organise, classify, summarize, connect pieces of knowledge, find solutions.
• virtuality: teacher and learner can meet in flexible (not fixed) virtual time and space in addition to traditional classrooms and tutorials. Besides, also real learning space inside schools should be differentiated: there should be lecture theatres for talks to large groups, classrooms where it is impossible for teachers to take centre stage, small group rooms and quiet rooms.

3. THE LEARNING PROCESS

It tends to be:

• active + cooperative = interactive;
• connected (not isolated) and networked (but not collective);
• student-driven;
• based on intelligence instead of memory;
• problem-based;
• in the form of an open project or a discovery, with no predetermined correct solutions;
• creative, involving students as designers and producers of teaching materials;
• cyclical (not linear): open and developing like an enlarging spiral, to include more LEVELS of skills, knowledge and expertise according to the level of competence of the learners as in video games, where different levels of competence are required to progress. Knowledge is enlarged along two dimensions: in depth - from simplicity to complexity - and in width through links. This type of structure should be reproduced in the resources provided on the Internet;
• cross curricular: it might involve the blurring of subject boundaries;
• personalized, differentiated and flexible, so that learning can be tailored to meet the different needs, taking account of different learning styles and learning preferences or interests, but also of different learning paces.


ICT TO EDUCATE FUTURE HISTORIANS?


Under electronic conditions, the delay between project and realization is shortening” (Derrick De Kerchove)
With a descriptive, not prescriptive approach the following tools could be used:
• web quests;
• simulations, to be realized also by means of videoconferences, chats, which would make them even more interactive;
• games;
• a preponderance of open projects, with no predetermined correct solutions (project area).
Learning through open projects in particular would be really student-driven and could be organized according to the following guidelines:
• history would be discovered by teams of learners who would produce material in order to share their discoveries with the learning community. This would increase the motivation of the students, who would have a really active role in the learning process;
• students would have to analyse sources, evaluate and select information, check its truthfulness, produce their own material. This implies the availability of a great amount of resources, but requires that they practice personal information processing through analysis, evaluation and synthesis, which leads to the development of critical thinking;
• the work plan would include the following phases:
- providing basic/essential input /information;
- activating learning through cooperative discovery;
- providing more information on demand;
- publishing the end result.

From a behavioural point of view, this pedagogical model encourages participation and collaboration and promotes autonomy and responsibility.

The site http://www.malignani...zione/index.htm is an example of material realized after the model described: students were given the main task (presenting the Aeronautical Engineering Department of their school) with the list of the required content and technical specifications. Apart from the preliminary phase, when the project coordinator collaborated with the students to form the groups and identify the persons responsible for the whole work and for the work of each group in a pyramid-like structure, the whole work was managed and realized by the students autonomously under the tutorship of their teachers who were ready to provide additional explanations and advice.

POSSIBLE PROBLEMS

1. TIME
Working by projects takes time at first, which may come into conflict with the necessity of covering the whole syllabus. Alternating “normal” teaching with project activities can be adopted with the aim of introducing new teaching models gradually. The time spent will be recovered when students learn how to discover knowledge, develop critical thinking and become more autonomous.

2. ASSESSMENT
Education should focus on learning outcomes that are measurable and demonstrable but it shouldn’t lock schools into a rigid curriculum structure. Exams where students have to write about topics could be replaced by the presentation of their education products: the stress would be more on doing than on writing. It seems anyway important to set minimum/basic objectives in terms of skills, knowledge and competence.

3. EQUIPMENT.
Technology should be accessible, appropriate and reliable and there should be teachers or technicians available to troubleshoot and maintain the infrastructure.

Edited by Caterina Gasparini, 11 May 2005 - 01:57 PM.


#2 John Simkin

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 05:26 PM

We are being overloaded with an incredible amount of information, from which it seems difficult to select what we are looking for. Besides, not always can we immediately assess the value of the information we get.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


This is a very interesting issue. Sherry Turkle, a philosopher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, recently said that we no longer need to remember, yet nor can we truly forget, because everything’s out there, logged and sorted. Most people use Google for this. As Turkle points out: “It (Google) becomes an extension of my mind, an extension of my taste, my sensibility, my active memory”. Oliver Burkeman has gone as far as to say that Google now owns “a little piece of people’s brains?”

This is a strange concept but in a sense it is true. Most of us now go to Google to find out information about the world. This is going to have tremendous political implications. For example, say someone wants to find out about the Ku Klux Klan. If they type “Ku Klux Klan” in the Google search-box they will list 336,000 pages. It is likely the visitor will only view the first few web pages listed. The ones that people look at might well influence their views on the subject. For example, the page might well be promoting the KKK. Or, it might be a critical account of the organization. Assuming Google is not involved in censorship, the sites at the top of its ranking will be based on the number of websites linked to it.

This is what Oliver Burkeman has called the “wisdom of crowds” (the belief that the more people link to a page, the more authoritative it becomes). This is of course the basic philosophy of Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google and plays a central role in its search technology.

Of course, there is a danger of this ranking being manipulated by pressure groups. For example, right-wing groups could get together and link to “approved websites”. This would result in these websites reaching the top of Goggle ranking.

This problem is likely to be increased by Google AdSense system. This is when an advert is triggered on a participating website. However, there is evidence that Google favours liberal views on the KKK. I have recently joined AdSense. My page on the KKK is still ranked number one. The advert it triggers is also interesting. It is for the International Cultural Youth Exchange (ICYE). This is what it says:

MISSION STATEMENT of the International Cultural Youth Exchange (ICYE)

• To provide challenging intercultural learning experiences for young people.

• To promote their social and personal development through international volunteer programmes.

• To promote intercultural understanding, equality of opportunity, tolerance and peace among people in the world.

http://icye.org/

So far Google has passed the test. However, such is its power, it will need close monitoring.

#3 David Richardson

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Posted 28 February 2005 - 12:56 PM

I was discussing ICT in education with my boss the other day, and she told me that the current orthodoxy centrally at our university was that acceptance of ICT is a generational question: as soon as the 'young people' come up through the system, the barriers will disappear.

I begged to differ! One problem is that younger people know exactly which buttons to press, but have no idea why you should press this one rather than that one. I remember a course on Pagemaker we bought from a dot.com firm a couple of years ago when the instructor got on to kerning. He showed us exactly how to do it … but when we asked him what kerning was good for, he was completely stumped. "I'm a computer teacher, not a graphic designer".

My point is that graphic designers (like the one we got to do our next course on Pagemaker) need to get a lot of experience of what good design looks like, in addition to the specific skills of knowing which button to press.

This information overload which we're facing right now needs to be dealt with in a very traditional way, in my opinion. The task of a teacher has always been to help students and pupils to make their own judgements about the information they're faced with, and to be able to discriminate between well-founded and badly-founded judgements. The fact that the information is now coming at us in digital form, and often in the form of sounds and pictures, doesn't really change this fundamental task we've got as teachers.

#4 Caterina Gasparini

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Posted 28 February 2005 - 01:18 PM

The fact that the information is now coming at us in digital form, and often in the form of sounds and pictures, doesn't really change this fundamental task we've got as teachers.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree, but the question is complex. Not only are we overloaded with information, but it comes in different forms and teachers should take account of this fact. This makes their task, which has not changed, more complicated: they have to be able to access information in the same forms as their students do and this involves becoming ICT users. Not all teachers agree on this aspect of teaching, some tend to refuse learning how to use ICT in general and at school in particular.

Also the question of how much ICT literate a teacher should be is open to a lot of different interpretations: how much does a teacher need to know about a kind of software in order to use it appropriately?

#5 Graham Davies

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  • Interests:I began my career as a teacher of German and French in secondary education in 1965, moving into higher education in 1971, where I taught German (and also English as a Foreign Language to students training to become professional translators) until 1993. I have been involved in Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) since 1976. In 1982 I wrote one of the first introductory books on computers in language learning and teaching, which was followed by numerous other printed and software publications. In 1989 I was conferred with the title of Professor of CALL by the Academic Board of Ealing College of Higher Education (later integrated into Thames Valley University). I retired from full-time teaching in 1993 but I continued to work as a Visiting Professor for Thames Valley University until 2001. I was the Founder President of EUROCALL, holding the post from 1993 to 2000. I am a partner in Camsoft, a CALL software development and consultancy business, which was founded in 1982. I have lectured and run ICT training courses for language teachers in 22 different countries and I sit on a number of national and international advisory boards and committees. I have been actively involved in WorldCALL since 1998 and I currently head a working party that is in the process of setting up WorldCALL as an official organisation that aims to assist countries that are currently underserved in the area of ICT and the teaching and learning of modern foreign languages. I am fluent in German, I speak tolerable French, and I can survive in Italian, Russian and Hungarian. I enjoy golf, skiing, walking my dog (a retired racing greyhound) and travelling. I used to scuba-dive regularly - my last dive was on the Great Barrier Reef in 1998 - but now I just swim at my local fitness centre.

Posted 28 February 2005 - 03:44 PM

Caterina asks:

Also the question of how much ICT literate a teacher should be is open to a lot of different interpretations: how much does a teacher need to know about a kind of software in order to use it appropriately?


I agree with David. His example concerning "kerning" is highly relevant. If you want advice on using Pagemaker, who do you ask? I always ask my daughter, who is a trained graphic designer and highly skilled in the use of Pagemaker, Illustrator and Photoshop, which she uses in her own business. I wouldn't ask an ICT specialist because they are unlikely to know enough about graphic design and what all the different features of the packages are there for. Always ask a subject specialist who is ICT-literate, not an ICT specialist, if you want advice on using a package that has been produced for a specific profession or for a specific learning/teaching task.

#6 Juan Carlos

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Posted 28 February 2005 - 06:55 PM

curricula developing through a community need rather than a national dictate. In particular European curricula seem to be possibly developing along two paths, one concerning the whole European community, which involves discovering the fundamental values on which European identity and the idea of Europe was born, the other taking into consideration local aspects. The “Oral history” project, where local people act as oral sources, is an example of how local human resources can be integrated into the curriculum.


Developing new history "European" curricula is not only a political need if we are to overcome the narrow-minded national points of view. It is a pedagogical need as well. A few years ago, the Spain's history curriculum for 17 years old students was changed. The previous government tried to come back to a "genuine" Spanish history curriculum that tried travel around every bit of Spain's history, from Altamira paleolitic paintings to 11th March 2004 terrorist attack in Madrid... From my experience, I realise that this curriculum is meaningless for my students. They are much more interested in getting to know about Islam fundamentalism or European Union enlargement than about Middle Age battles that "constructed" Spain... Fortunately.

#7 David Wilson

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Posted 28 February 2005 - 10:26 PM

>how much does a teacher need to know about a kind of software in order to use it appropriately? <

A jack of all trades is master of none. Get to know a handful of applications in depth, don't spread yourself too thinly. Many students - and teachers too for that matter - still centre their titles in Word by hammering the space bar. It was when I got to grips with Word's styles, outliner and table facilities that I was finally able to rise to a higher plane where I could design my paper-based foreign language teaching materials exactly the way I wanted them. It wasn't about learning Word for its own sake - it's just a tool after all - but about taming it sufficiently to enable me to use it to create my own classroom resources. That ultimate goal was necessary because the commercial resources available to me just weren't up to the job. I've been a long-time fan of Garrison Keillor. I love listening to his "Prairie Home Companion" show on Minnesota Public Radio when I go States-side to visit my brother each year. Well, he's probably quite familiar now to British audiences through his Honda commercials in which he sings "Hate something, change something, make something better". That message kind of sums up what I often find myself doing when I use ICT. And that takes a certain level of ICT proficiency to do...

David Wilson
http://www.specialed...ionalneeds.com/

#8 Caterina Gasparini

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Posted 03 March 2005 - 09:50 PM

curricula developing through a community need rather than a national dictate. In particular European curricula seem to be possibly developing along two paths, one concerning the whole European community, which involves discovering the fundamental values on which European identity and the idea of Europe was born, the other taking into consideration local aspects. The “Oral history” project, where local people act as oral sources, is an example of how local human resources can be integrated into the curriculum.


Developing new history "European" curricula is not only a political need if we are to overcome the narrow-minded national points of view. It is a pedagogical need as well. A few years ago, the Spain's history curriculum for 17 years old students was changed. The previous government tried to come back to a "genuine" Spanish history curriculum that tried travel around every bit of Spain's history, from Altamira paleolitic paintings to 11th March 2004 terrorist attack in Madrid... From my experience, I realise that this curriculum is meaningless for my students. They are much more interested in getting to know about Islam fundamentalism or European Union enlargement than about Middle Age battles that "constructed" Spain... Fortunately.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree and find it interesting to notice how our attitude to historical and political events has changed in the last years because of the most recent ones. I also think that young people seem to feel at ease as citizens of the world more than we did when we were their age, but at the same time they seem to appreciate national features and peculiarities much more than in the past. Without being nationalist, luckily, they like to find out and compare differences and similarities between different cultures without the need to assert their own over the others. Curricula should take into account these aspects so as to give students a larger historical perspective which may consider European history as a whole, but in the future they might even enlarge to consider the whole course of history on a world scale.

#9 Caterina Gasparini

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Posted 03 March 2005 - 10:27 PM

>how much does a teacher need to know about a kind of software in order to use it appropriately? <

A jack of all trades is master of none. Get to know a handful of applications in depth, don't spread yourself too thinly. Many students - and teachers too for that matter - still centre their titles in Word by hammering the space bar. It was when I got to grips with Word's styles, outliner and table facilities that I was finally able to rise to a higher plane where I could design my paper-based foreign language teaching materials exactly the way I wanted them. It wasn't about learning Word for its own sake - it's just a tool after all - but about taming it sufficiently to enable me to use it to create my own classroom resources. That ultimate goal was necessary because the commercial resources available to me just weren't up to the job. I've been a long-time fan of Garrison Keillor. I love listening to his "Prairie Home Companion" show on Minnesota Public Radio when I go States-side to visit my brother each year. Well, he's probably quite familiar now to British audiences through his Honda commercials in which he sings "Hate something, change something, make something better". That message kind of sums up what I often find myself doing when I use ICT. And that takes a certain level of ICT proficiency to do...

David Wilson
http://www.specialed...ionalneeds.com/

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Graham wrote:
<Always ask a subject specialist who is ICT-literate, not an ICT specialist>

I have often tried to persuade my colleagues (English teachers) to learn how to use some simple HTML editors in order to create their own webpages.
I even suggested starting with Word, which is not exactly the best example of the kind, simply because, as they were already familiar with it, they might find it easier. They have always refused to learn and in my school I am still the only English teacher out of 13 who is able to edit web pages.
I agree that in the end the amount of what you need to learn about ICT depends on what you really need to do with it and trying to learn all the functions and options, etc. is usually a waste of time.
At the same time discovering a new function often offers new opportunities, and the more you get to know, the more you may manage to realize or you may find new ways of using the software to your teaching needs.
Another aspect is that most teachers would like to have a specialist sitting next to them all the time and taking care of all the technical aspects. This could be helpful, but I think that only the subject specialist, that is the teacher, can realize the potentialities offered by a specific ICT tool. This takes a long time and that is why maybe there will be a real big change in the way ICT is used at school only with the next generations of young teachers; at the same time, however, I would suggest having young teachers cooperating with experienced ones who may provide that "knowledge" which is the result of a long career!

#10 David Wilson

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Posted 04 March 2005 - 06:34 AM

"I have often tried to persuade my colleagues (English teachers) to learn how to use some simple HTML editors in order to create their own webpages. I even suggested starting with Word, which is not exactly the best example of the kind, simply because, as they were already familiar with it, they might find it easier. They have always refused to learn and in my school I am still the only English teacher out of 13 who is able to edit web pages." (Caterina Gasparini)

There has to be a real-world non-ICT goal, meaningful to subject teacher, beyond the learning of the ICT elements. I don't see any point in creating web pages just for the sake of creating web pages. Most web pages I create nowadays are in response to a real or perceived professional need. Years ago, my brother created my home page on his website. It remained static for many months. Then I was invited by my local university's education department to run a workshop about languages, ICT and SEN. While I was pondering how to deliver the workshop, it occurred to me that my website might present a solution. I could create a number of case studies of language learners with SEN and provide links that the student teachers could follow to see how others had addressed the issues. This provided the nudge I needed to make my website better than the countless "hallo world" offerings that pepper the Web. Now my website has become a case study of its own - in a recently published European Commission report about language learners with special needs.

"At the same time discovering a new function often offers new opportunities, and the more you get to know, the more you may manage to realize or you may find new ways of using the software to your teaching needs." (Caterina Gasparini)

Indeed. When I learn new things about ICT, nothing is ever wasted. I have used my knowledge of BASIC, acquired in the early 1980s, to create simple French, German and Spanish verb conjugators in Excel. The one I created for German works in the present, perfect and future tenses and helped me get good feedback when my lesson was routinely observed last term. Notice again the external nudge in the right direction - the panic of having one's lesson observed by a senior member of staff gets the creative juices flowing!

David Wilson
http://www.specialed...ionalneeds.com/

#11 John Simkin

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Posted 04 March 2005 - 08:05 AM

"I have often tried to persuade my colleagues (English teachers) to learn how to use some simple HTML editors in order to create their own webpages. I even suggested starting with Word, which is not exactly the best example of the kind, simply because, as they were already familiar with it, they might find it easier. They have always refused to learn and in my school I am still the only English teacher out of 13 who is able to edit web pages." (Caterina Gasparini)

There has to be a real-world non-ICT goal, meaningful to subject teacher, beyond the learning of the ICT elements. I don't see any point in creating web pages just for the sake of creating web pages. Most web pages I create nowadays are in response to a real or perceived professional need.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I originally created my website to use with my own students. I suspect most teacher websites started this way. If ICT is going to be fully incorporated into the curriculum than all teachers will need to have their own websites. In fact, all students will need them as well. This is what is happening at the International School of Toulouse (IST). This has enabled the IST to introduce a hypertext curriculum. Maybe Richard Jones-Nerzic can tell us something about this.

#12 David Richardson

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Posted 04 March 2005 - 09:55 AM

One extremely simple thing you can do with Word documents (e.g. a worksheet that has a series of web links on it that you want the pupils to follow) is to make the links live. You do this on the English version of Word by selecting the text and choosing the Hyperlink … command on the Insert menu. You can choose either to make your link look like a web address (e.g. http://www.humsam.hi...ud/toolbox.htm) or to look like an ordinary piece of text (e.g. The Toolbox) which takes you to the web address when you click on it.

Then you mail the document to the pupils, and when they open it, it is, in effect, a worksheet with live hyperlinks in it.

If you click on the Toolbox link above, you'll come to a page where I'm beginning to gather together the various bits and pieces which appear in separate distance courses, which language teachers might find interesting. If you click on the Language Learning Theory link, you'll come to a downloadable Word document called ICT in Language Teaching, which is actually the lesson plan for a presentation I did a couple of weeks ago. I made the web links live on it, so you can see what I mean. It was useful using it in the lab, since it meant that I didn't have to do anything elaborate when I was setting my lesson up. I just had to access the Toolbox, click on the Word document link, and then that document was my 'navigation tool'.

#13 Graham Davies

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Posted 04 March 2005 - 10:19 AM

David writes:

One extremely simple thing you can do with Word documents (e.g. a worksheet that has a series of web links on it that you want the pupils to follow) is to make the links live.


This was one of the first tasks that we got teachers to do under the New Opportunities Funding training initiative that was in operation up to a couple of years ago. I trained teachers how to do this in face-to-face sessions, but I also produced a step-by-step explanation on a Web page that I used to back up my training sessions. It's still there at:
http://www.camsoftpa...uk/lspinset.htm
Task 2: Creating an annotated list of Web links - sometimes referred to as a webliography, a jump station or a portal.
My personal "webliography" of language-related links started this way. I made it public a few years ago at:
http://www.camsoftpa...uk/websites.htm
I regularly use this page when running training courses in which I show language teachers what kind of materials are available on the Web.

#14 John Simkin

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 11:44 AM

We are being overloaded with an incredible amount of information, from which it seems difficult to select what we are looking for. Besides, not always can we immediately assess the value of the information we get. Young people in particular tend to move from one screen to another, whether it is a TV screen to a PC screen, without making great distinction between them: at the same time the differences between virtual reality and non-virtual reality seem to be less definite, the boundaries between fiction or game and reality are less clear, so that it may become nearly impossible to separate them.


One of the objections that the Church made to the printing press was that it would destroy memory. Of course, the Church was primarily concerned with losing control of the communication process, but they clearly had a point. The printed book did reduce the need to hold all information in the head (as long as you could read – another thing the Church was against the peasants from doing).

The internet has clearly affected the motivating for remembering information. In fact, if I come across any interesting information, I either put it on my website or post it on the forum. When I need this information later, I carry out a search of my website or the forum. Pre-1997 I would have tried to hold this information in my head. My memory was definitely better then but I clearly forgot more than I do today. Even if I usually need to go to the computer to get that information.

#15 Richard Jones-Nerzic

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 07:50 PM

One of the objections that the Church made to the printing press was that it would destroy memory. Of course, the Church was primarily concerned with losing control of the communication process, but they clearly had a point. The printed book did reduce the need to hold all information in the head (as long as you could read – another thing the Church was against the peasants from doing).

And of course the same was argued by the ancients in their opposition to written communication. And of course it is true. This is one of those interesting indirect consequences of technological development that we can only just begin to appreciate. Teleprompts that mean that potential presidents and singers alike no longer need to learn their lines, mobile phones that memorize numbers and addresses, and pocket organisers that do everything else, what happens when we don't have to remember any more? Should we be worried about this?




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