[unrev-II] Engines for Educators -- an online book

From: Jack Park (jackpark@thinkalong.com)
Date: Thu Nov 08 2001 - 09:10:42 PST

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    The particular light that shines on my work is the one that illuminates
    issues of pedagogy. While google-surfing representational literacy this
    morning, and following a meeting yesterday with the folks at
    http://www.eoe.org, in which the topic of discussion was informal learning,
    I landed on the web version of a book I had known about for several
    years. It's found at
    http://www.ils.nwu.edu/e-for-e/nodes/I-M-NODE-4121-pg.html and here's just
    one of the nodes in the book. The book originates in 1994, and many waters
    have flowed under bridges since that date. Comments after that.

    "Engines for Education is about what can be done to change education now.
    This is not a work of fantasy about what might exist one day. Nor is it an
    academic tome which presents irrelevant theory. Rather it is a work which
    applies what we know about how people learn to the design of computer
    software that can revolutionize the schools. A large portion of it is
    dedicated to discussing specific examples of such software. This book is
    about what we can do today to make learning fun, to make learning less
    stressful, and to build a world of thinking citizens. This book is about
    harnessing the power of the world's experts so that they all will be
    available as needed by students who want to learn from them. This is quite
    possible to do using today's technology.

    Computers are already in the classroom. Unfortunately, for the most part
    what is there is awful. To date, these computers have been used to play
    games and to teach children to run spreadsheet programs. Until now no one
    has cared enough about education to begin to build what is needed. But
    enough is already known about natural human learning to start the process
    of change via the computer. Computer software can change the way we learn
    in school. This book discusses what needs to be done and how to do it."

    I cite this on the unrev list because the book offers an example of a way
    to organize materials, one of Doug Engelbart's "views." Each node
    (chapterette?) is comprised of a concise body of prose, followed by links
    of all sorts, including "where we came from", "what's next",
    "alternatives", and so forth. In my view, this online document seems ripe
    for a D3E adventure, complete with an IBIS dialog about many of the topics,
    followed by, or coincident with a ScholOnto mapping of the contents.

    Why on earth would one be interested in all that effort? My idea: the
    creation of a portal devoted to the evolutionary discussion on
    pedagogy. And, the creation of a massive OHS/DKR-driven NIC for educators,
    learners, parents, funding sources, and more. Your idea?


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