ERIC Number: ED462294
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000-Oct
CAL-laborate: A Collaborative Publication on the Use of Computer Aided Learning for Tertiary Level Physical Sciences and Geosciences.
Fernandez, Anne, Ed.; Sproats, Lee, Ed.; Sorensen, Stacey, Ed.
CAL-Laborate, Oct 2000
The science community has been trying to use computers in teaching for many years. There has been much conformity in how this was to be achieved, and the wheel has been re-invented again and again as enthusiast after enthusiast has "done their bit" towards getting computers accepted. Computers are now used by science undergraduates (as well as their peers in other disciplines) not necessarily to aid their learning, but rather as everyday tools for word processing (mostly), data processing (or at least presentation) and entertainment (in large quantities). They are also used to a considerable extent as mathematical modelers in computer laboratories and data loggers in experimental laboratories. Nevertheless, the use of computer systems by science undergraduates to aid learning and understanding is still very limited. When the Windows environments were first available, there was a time when it looked as though the homespun computer learning aid was a thing of the past. The preparation of programs with visual quality that matched that of the Windows system itself was quite definitely moving out of the enthusiastic academic's ability range. This had the potential advantage of having to rely on professionally produced materials, which would automatically result in better quality and less reliance on enthusiasts to implement the courses using the software. The consequences that some of us saw from this trend were the better embedding of good quality learning aids in courses, with resulting stability of use. While this has happened to some extent, there have been several counter influences. New development systems have appeared that can easily produce visually attractive materials. But even worse, there has been the steady development of the Web. While the Web has contributed many undoubted benefits to teachers--particularly in the management of their teaching--it has also contributed to the return of the enthusiast, with idiosyncratic teaching materials, often of poor pedagogic quality, that are promoted by those who should know better merely because they form part of the brave new World Wide Web. Couple this to the general trend of the modern world that presentation is far more important than quality of content and it will become clear that the science student of tomorrow may be in for a difficult time. This is a time of increasing change within the higher education sectors around the world. In the United Kingdom, the CTI Centers which spearheaded the move to improve teaching and learning by informing and encouraging academics to question their materials and methodologies and to introduce new technology where appropriate have been replaced by Learning and Teaching Support Network Centers (LTSNs) which have a broader set of guidelines. These guidelines include greater considerations on the pedagogical issues of teaching and learning and as such are more in alignment with the role of UniServe Science in Australia. It is hoped that these changes will to some degree counter the trends described above, giving the science students of tomorrow a slightly easier time. Sections include: (1) "Can a Combination of Hands-On Experiments and Computers Facilitate Better Learning in Mechanics?" (Jonte Bernhard); (2) "Why Should On-Line Experiments Form Part of University Science Courses?" (Hugh Cartwright); (3) "Is There a Right Way To Teach Physics?" (Ian Johnston and Rosemary Millar); (4) "A Flexible Learning Approach to Numerical Skills" (Duncan Lawson); (5) "Formative Assessment via the Web Using ELEN" (Roy Lowry); (6) "Science at the Amusement Park" (Ann-Marie Martensson-Pendrill and Mikael Axelsson); (7) "CALFEM as a Tool for Teaching University Mechanics" (Matti Ristinmaa, Goran Sandberg, and Karl-Gunnar Olsson); (8) "Pollen Image Management: Using Digital Images To Teach Recognition Skills and Build Reference Collections" (Peter Shimeld, Feli Hopf, and Stuart Pearson); and (9) "UKESCC Earth Science Courseware Goes on the Web" (W.T.C. Sowerbutts). (YDS)
Descriptors: Computer Assisted Instruction, Computer Uses in Education, Earth Science, Educational Technology, Hands on Science, Higher Education, Mechanics (Physics), Physical Sciences, Science Education, Visual Aids, World Wide Web
For full text: http://science.uniserve.edu.au/pubs/callab/.
Publication Type: Collected Works - Serials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Sydney Univ. (Australia). UniServe Science.
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A
Note: Published twice per year. Published in collaboration with the UK Learning and Teaching Support Network (LTSN) and the Swedish Council for Renewal of Higher Education (formerly Swedish Council for Renewal of Undergraduate Education).