Computer Aided Learning: The Way Of The Future?

1227 words - 5 pages

Computer Aided Learning: The way of the Future?

As you look around at classrooms these days you may notice a trend. Computers are becoming more and more frequent each year. Teachers are using the latest technology to run power point presentations, streaming videos, and simulations that were never possible before. It ha becomes the new hallmark of teaching, allowing teachers to do more then ever thought possible. Companies have jumped on the bandwagon, selling aid to teachers and students. You can buy software for just about anything now a days. I know I had software for the SAT and ACT test that help considerably. But when do we have too much of a good thing?

This is the debate that ...view middle of the document...

(Lawson sec. 2)

The hopes of CBT are that the trainees retain the knowledge better then if taught by a human. In the article "Computer training vs. human instruction," by Holly Ann Suzik, Roger C. Schank was quoted as saying, "By and large, [human teachers] stand up in front of you and yak at you. And every body falls asleep. The sense that live humans are better teachers is a nice myth, because we don’t want to change." (56) And if what he says is true, then do we have any doubt that CBT trains human better with more retention of knowledge. Yes, we do actually.

In the same article another expert, Thomas Russell, believes that people apply wishful thinking to CBT. (56) Over ten years ago, he began research on comparative studies to determine whether CBT improved learning. As it turned out CBT only helped in some studies, however the majority of studies showed human and Computer-based training was about the same. If so then why the debate, if human training is more costly why use it?

Because CBT is not necessarily less costly. The cost of the CBT comes in early on, in the preparation, and also in the updating of the software. Boeing has recently implemented a program to build Simulations for the F-22. These would teach Mechanics and Pilots how to work on the jets. Boeing has 120 people working on the software alone. And that doesn’t include the tactic to reduce cost by burrowing from already existing simulations.

Where it is true that a simulation like that for Boeing’s F-22 is better teaching then real life, for safety reasons, the article by R. Scott Lawson, comments that many people feel CBT lacks the "warm" greeting of human interaction. (sec. 2) That it makes the company seems more faceless and uncaring. Also Saul Carliner, the third and last expert from "Computer training vs. human instruction," points out that "each individual case is so complex that you can’t teach a computer to deal with ‘personality A.’ [CBT] gives you strategies, but it doesn’t separate emotion" (Suzik 57). This a human instructor can do.

What does all this have to do with computers in the classroom? Well, more and more people are looking for a way to bring the classroom to the Internet. One such program is already in place. This is CALL, or Computer Aided Language Learning. It is based out of the University of Heidelberg. As stated on the their Website, "We hope to develop the site in the following ways: … to promote the development of distance learning or flexible forms of study which use the Internet and CALL technology;" (Anonymous CALL at Heidelberg Sec. 1)

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