Opening plenary:
Computer power and human learning: Using technology as if students matter

Plenary presentation:
Computer Power and Human Learning: Using Technology As If Students Matter

Friday, November 21, 2003
3:00 - 4:30 pm

John R. Jungck, Professor of Biology- Beloit College; Director- BioQuest

Will the next generation of students be “drowning in information, but starving for knowledge”(John Naisbett)? Will they be able to deal with real problems full of “uncertainty and urgency” (Marion Fass) such as AIDS? Will they have full access to the use of computers as analytical engines for simulation, modeling, numerical analysis, visualization and image analysis, real-time data acquisition, data mining, open-ended and collaborative problem solving, original research including hypothesis testing, and communication, or will they be “edutained” by multimedia extravaganzas and managed by behavioral objectives, information dissemination, multiple-choice tests, records of time on task and tasks completed, teacher directed activities, and other individualized, high stakes “sort and select” efficient systems?

A taxonomy of uses of computers to enhance student learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education developed in conjunction with colleagues at the National Institute for Science Education (NISE) will be presented to help clarify the contemporary debate over the appropriate uses of technology in education. Not only will the speaker attempt to describe some programs that illustrate: “What works, what matters, and what lasts” based on a year-long set of interviews of innovators from around the nation conducted by an interdisciplinary team of scholars at NISE, but criteria will be offered for novices who are trying to decide: what are the characteristics of innovative applications appropriate to their students’ needs, understand why they should use learning technologies, how they can learn how to use them, and how to overcome frequently encountered obstacles.