Computers and Education: Teaching Virtuality (2009)
Between Reality and the Virtual:
Computers and Education in the 21st Century
29 June 2009
(notes for a talk in the Computer Science Education Summer Institute)
Questions to start
- What role do computers and the internet/web play in education today?
- What role will they play in the future?
- What role should they play?
- Your thoughts ... (for on-line forum below)
- Computing/internet web: adjuncts to traditional education versus opening for new/better educational practices
- Education as mastery versus education as development of inquiry skills
- Real world versus virtual worlds
- Optical illusions: seeing as "informed guessing"
- Ambiguous figures: changing the guesses
- Learning to challenge the guess
- Perception, understanding as challengeable "stories"
- Impossible figures: using the ability to challenge to make new things
- Implications for education
- Understanding is different, will be achieved differently in different people
- Understanding needs to be created, not absorbed
- Requirement for open-ended, transactional inquiry as classroom mode
The computer as tool for inquiry education, comparable to telescopes/microscopes
- Seeing what could not otherwise be seen
- Distributed systems, emergence, implications for classroom practice
Learning in/from virtual worlds
- An example
- Observe, wonder, create story, test, use to imagine new questions
- Some additional examples
- Strengths and limitations of computer modelling
- Interactivity: the social dimension of knowledge
Bottom line of this story
- The line between reality and the virtual is becoming, will continue to become increasingly blurred
- Students need (have always needed?) to acquire increased sophistication in working in the space between reality and the virtual ... in virtuality
- Computers and virtual worlds have an important role to play in enhancing such sophistication
- Computer models, like any other subject of exploration, need to be approached as incentives for inquiry rather than as answers
- Computers should additionally be used to promote exchange of observations/stories
Your thoughts? (for on-line forum below)