February 23, 2005

Chapter 5... Things I like...Things I don't

Chapter 5 deals with the mode of instructional delivery that the teacher takes. It seems to be laying out different ways to approach the learner and the material depending on the environment in which the learner is expected to learn and use the material.

I’m not sure that I agree with the statement that “the classroom is usually the best option for presenting basic skills, orienting learners to new content or a new company…” I think that this part of the “classroom instruction” can be done any where as long as you have a motivated student. Basic skills can be taught on a computer, but it has to be done right. Computers can’t be used for drill and practice that doesn’t engage the student to think just do. That is the problem with most “basic skills” computer programs. They don’t engage the student to think they just want the student to turn into Pavlov dog and salivate every time they put the right square in the right hole, or add two numbers correctly. This behaviorlist approach to computer design is why I think the book states that the computer is not a good way to teach basic skills.

Also, the book states that “new content” can be learned best in a classroom, I think that Jensen would disagree. He would state that learning is done best when it is self-directed and learner controlled. I tend to agree with this. My students learned more when I gave them a concept and an idea and let them figure out how to use that idea to the best of their ability. Now, unlike Jensen, I wouldn’t leave my student totally on their own with a concept. They had been taught too well by the behavioralist in the educational settings. They wouldn’t know how to handle the freedom. What I would do is act as scaffolding between what I wanted them to know and what they did know. Directing and redirecting learning as the students work their way through the activity or the skill.

The book does mention that the classroom is a good way to teach communication and social skill, and until, we as designers, figure out a way to make the computer more interactive, I think this will be the case. The cheaper technology becomes, the cheaper, in my opinion, interactivity will become on the computer.

The other thing that caught my eye in the book was the talk of standards in web page design and how web pages in the U.S. have to adhere to accessibility standards. I knew this, but I didn’t think was a requirement for most academic institutions. And if it is, then how come most web sites that I visit these days have such fine print that I have to adjust the print on my browser to be able to see what is written. To me, that doesn’t seem to be adhering to any accessibility requirement. If I have to adjust the type, I know someone who is visually impaired would have a lot of trouble.

The last thing in the chapter that caught my attention is the Copyright laws and the “availability of information on the web”. I thought that Dr. Hooper stated that web pages were seen as equal access pages. In other words, information on the web can be consumed by all without worrying about copyright infringement. Has this changed? Is it something I have to worry about when I enter the job force as a web page designer?

Posted by spenc054 at February 23, 2005 3:53 PM