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5 Techknowlogia: It Is About Knowledge and Learning

Wadi D. Haddad, Editor

TechKnowLogia is a forum for dialogue and sharing of knowledge and experiences, and an instrument
to encourage thinking "outside the box." The editor-in-chief outlines the context, raison d'etre and
editorial policy of the Journal.

7 The Information Age: A Triumph of Knowledge, Not Just A Triumph of Technology

Federico Mayor, Director-General of UNESCO

Not only can education use technology, it can define technology’s uses in ways which reinforce
creativity, empowerment and equality.

8 The View from the Private Sector: Development Challenges and Opportunities
W. Bowman Cutter, Steering Committee Chair, GIIC

As a public policy maker, a practitioner in the field of information, and a business decision-maker,
Cutter sees a variety of technology investments and technology possibilities for education in the
information age.

9 The Thread of A Great and Long Tradition

James Johnson, Deputy Director, GIIC

Several threads of technology development, seemingly disparate, are being woven together, often
accidentally, to produce the unprecedented opportunities which we, on this eve of a new millennium,
have to educate the coming generations and to spread learning and knowledge to all.

13 Information Literacy: How Does It Differ From Traditional or Computer Literacy?

Taizo Nishimuro, President, Toshiba Corporation

Information technology, in particular the Internet and the web, have introduced a new society where
people can share information freely, anywhere, at anytime, across the globe. Now the skills required
are not merely how to use computers or how to get information.

15 TechKnowNews
♦ Technology Translates Real Speech ♦ Online University Gets Accredited ♦ Hong Kong: All Teachers
Must Be On Net by Next Year ♦ Sowing Technology's Seeds in Developing Countries

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16 New Technologies for Human Resource Development: What Works; What Makes Sense?
Alexander J. Romiszowski, School of Education, Syracuse University

This article presents a synthesis of current uses of computers and telecommunications in education and
training, and focuses on the use of computer networks in professional education, corporate training and
human resource development.

23 Before The E-Mail There was The P-Mail: Distance Learning by Postal Correspondence
Sonia Jurich

Correspondence education filled the gaps of an educational system that was either too small to absorb
the increasing demand, or too rigid to respond to the needs of a society in transformation. Even in this
technologically advanced era, correspondence studies serve both as an adjunct to the regular
educational system and as an innovator.

26 Radio: Wiring the Schools with Wireless

M. Irene Oujo

This article describes the potential of broadcast and interactive radio instruction and relates a specific
example in Costa Rica whereby radio is used to enhance rural multigrade classrooms.

29 Mexico's Telesecundaria
Claudio de Moura Castro, Laurence Wolff and Norma Garcia, Inter-American Development Bank

Throughout its thirty years of operation, Mexico’s TV-based educational program, Telesecundaria, has
been hailed as an innovative and well-managed program, geared to the poor. This article describes
what Telesecundaria is, how it works, what it costs, and why it is successful.

34 Ghana: Networking For Local Development - How You Can Use A Computer without
Owning One
Mary Fontaine and Dennis Foote, The LearnLink Project, Academy for Educational Development

One model for providing public access that is growing rapidly around the world is the telecenter: a
public place where people can come to use computers when they need them. This article describes a
project in Ghana that is exploring the practicality of non-governmental organizations, or NGOs,
establishing self-sustaining telecenters.

37 Web Based Learning @ Development Countries

Gregg B. Jackson, Ph.D., George Washington University

Web-based instruction will revolutionize learning in developing countries. Its impact is likely to be
greater than the introduction of printed books. This article will explain how the web can facilitate
learning in developing countries, its main advantages and disadvantages, and its costs.

39 Instructional Technology -- Then and Now

Laurence Wolff, Inter-American Development Bank

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In 1974, Wilbur Schramm and others at Stanford University completed a major study on instructional
technology. Twenty-five years later, the conclusions of that study may still be relevant. This article
presents a matrix of conclusions from that study compared to tentative conclusions for 1999.

41 The Impact of Video Technology in Education: From Here to Where?

Sonia Jurich

This article presents review of literature relating to the impact of video technology in the different areas
of learning, and the issues and variables that must be considered in planning their integration into the
instructional process.

45 Does Hypermedia Accelerate Learning?

Gregg B. Jackson, Ph.D., George Washington University

The author summarizes a major review of experimental studies testing hypermedia’s impacts on

46 The Economics of Educational Technology

Jeffrey M. Puryear, Inter-American Dialogue

In assessing educational technologies, there are at least three kinds of issues to look at: costs,
effectiveness, and surrounding conditions. Only when we look at all three can we determine whether a
given technology is suitable.

50 Computers in Schools: 10 Points to Avoid Past Errors

Claudio de Moura Castro, Inter-American Development Bank

The path to the successful use of computers in schools is full of traps and pitfalls. This article discusses
the challenges of bringing computers to schools. It also proposes a strategy beginning with easy
applications of computers in education and progressively moving to more difficult but more rewarding

52 Overhead Projectors
This article describes the advantages of using overhead projectors in the classroom and how they can
be used in conjunction with computers.

53 Educational Software Sampler

There are thousands of education software CDs that cover curricular and non-curricular subjects. This
issue reviews a sample of six educational CDs that offer programs in mathematics, science, grammar,
culture and problem-solving.

55 WorthWhileWebs
Frank Method, Director, Washington Unesco Office

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Each issue of TechKnowLogia will review selected web sites of interest to readers. For the first issue,
a range of web sites is presented, responding to the diverse interests of readers.

58 Roll Up Television: Watch It or Wear It!

Within five years or less, a new discovery can soon make your TV as thin and as flexible as your
handkerchief and you can roll it up and put it in your pocket.

59 Electronic Books: The Future of Publishing?

James Johnson, Deputy-Director, GIIC

Fundamental to the education and learning enterprise worldwide is the use of textbooks, reference
books and other published materials by teachers and students alike. This familiar teaching tool is
undergoing a substantial change. This article describes a number of electronic books, and their uses
and advantages.

61 Fiber-Optics -- Without the Fiber

Using beams of light to transmit information directly through the air, a breakthrough optical networking
system from Lucent Technologies will dramatically boost the capacity of local data networks and extend
the reach of today's high-capacity fiber-optic systems - a basis for many distance education programs.

62 The Internet: A Global Explosion of A Military Brainchild

This article traces the evolution of the Internet from its limited military use to a global network.

63 Global Information Infrastructure Commission

The Global Information Infrastructure Commission (GIIC) is an independent, non-governmental initiative
involving communications related industry leaders from developing as well as industrialized countries.
GIIC's areas of focus are: Global Information Infrastructure Development, Electronic Commerce, and
Education in the Information Age.

65 AED: Academy for Educational Development

The Academy for Educational Development (AED) is an independent, nonprofit organization committed
to solving critical social problems in the United States and throughout the world through education,
research, training, social marketing, policy analysis, and innovative program design and management.
AED works at the frontiers of new thinking, new approaches, and new technologies.

67 An International OECD Study: Information and Communications Technology and The

Quality of Learning
Jarl Bengtsson, Counsellor and Head, The Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI)

This article introduces a major study being carried out in the OECD's Centre for Educational Research
and Innovation (CERI). The study is mainly being carried out through three inter-connected sets of
activities on: Software Quality, Market Issues, and Research and Evaluation.

! 4 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

Wadi D. Haddad, Editor
It is about knowledge and learning
Rethinking Education underpinning of the re-engineering of the workplace. Can
these technologies have the same effect in education? There
On the threshold of the 21st century, countries, institutions are the believers, the skeptics and the agnostics.
and individuals are faced with significant shifts in the global
environment characterized by: changing patterns of trade and Believers think that under the right conditions technologies
competition, technological innovation, globalization of in- can have a monumental impact on the expansion of learning
formation, exponential growth of knowledge, and worldwide opportunities to wider populations beyond the confines of
social concerns for freedom and general quality of life. These teaching institutions, and over the lifetime of the individual.
developments make education and training for all more cru- Also technologies can improve the teaching/learning process,
cial than ever. They, however, pose serious questions for the enhance higher levels of cognition and facilitate institutional
level, quality and character of knowledge and skill attain- management.
The skeptics have at many times before been told that certain
It is not sufficient anymore to raise the efficiency of the ex- technologies, from filmstrips to tape-recorders to television,
isting systems of education and training, and improve the would remake their world. Why is it any different this time?
quality of their components. Even the best of them have
served another set of demands for another age. Graduates of The agnostics are not sure. They have an open mind but do
these systems, to varying degrees, now find themselves defi- not think that there is enough evidence to make changes.
cient in knowledge as well as cognitive skills that are neces-
sary for the increasingly sophisticated living environment and All three positions may be right. Technologies have a great
for the ever evolving labor market. With rising demand for potential and there is no reason why they cannot be as suc-
workers, knowledge-based businesses often complain that cessful in the advancement of knowledge and learning as they
graduates lack the capacity to learn new skills and assimilate have been in entertainment and business. Yet, if the condi-
new knowledge. tions and strategies are not right, they will quickly join the
junkyard of earlier innovations. The strategies for success are
To meet the challenges of the next decades, countries are still in the making.
forced to rethink education development and move it into a
more difficult terrain: Knowledge for Decisions

• To ensure sustainable economic and social development, Since the potential is great and the stakes are high, decision-
even countries with limited basic education for their makers regarding the acquisition and use of learning tech-
populations, have to, concurrently, prepare cadres of nologies should be bold but not reckless, cautious but not
skilled and semi-skilled productive workers and highly- slow, and calculating but not static. To do that, they need an
trained scientific and management personnel. ever up-to-date solid knowledge base about present and fu-
• It is no longer enough to achieve mastery of content and ture technologies and how they work. But more importantly,
skills. The need is to enhance the ability of the learners they need to be enlightened by actual experiences -- drawn
to access, assess, adopt and apply knowledge, independ- from all over the world -- that demonstrate, positively or
ently, and in collaboration with others. negatively, policies, strategies and practical measures in the
• Education cannot be confined anymore to a particular use of technologies. This is exactly the raison d'etre of
place and a limited period in one’s life. It needs to be in- TechKnowLogia. We intend, with every issue, to provide
tegrated with other activities, life-long and in partnership policy-makers, strategists, practitioners and technologists at
among the different sectors of society. the local, national and global levels with a strategic forum to:

The Technology Promise! • Explore the vital role of different information technolo-
gies (print, audio, visual and digital) in the development
How can these challenges be met in an environment of lim- of human and knowledge capital;
ited human, physical and financial resources, and an escalat- • Share policies, strategies , experiences and tools in har-
ing demand? Enter information technologies that have dra- nessing technologies for knowledge dissemination, ef-
matically succeeded in the entertainment world and were the fective learning, and efficient education services;

! 5 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

• Review the latest systems and products of technologies
of today, and peek into the world of tomorrow; TechKnowLogia™
• Exchange information about resources, knowledge networks and cen- Published by
ters of expertise. Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.
In collaboration with
How do we intend to do that? United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Or-
ganization (UNESCO )
TechKnowLogia is not about technologies; it is about the advancement of Organization for Economic Co-operation
knowledge and learning. Technologies can be effective if they are deliber- and Development (OECD )
Global Information Infrastructure Commission (GIIC)
ately designed and implemented to enhance engaged learning. The key
question for us will continue to be what people need to know, how they EDITOR-IN-CHIEF:
learn, and how knowledge acquisition and learning can be promoted and Wadi D. Haddad, President, Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.
sustained. Thus, technology to us is any tool that has the potential to ad-
vance the processes of learning, instruction, training and overall dissemi- Thomas Alexander, Director, Employment, Labour and
nation of knowledge. As such, technologies include, but are not restricted Social Affairs Directorate, OECD
to, instructional materials, audio-visual aids, radio, television, videos, the Dee Dickenson, CEO, New Horizons for Learning
web, computers, libraries, software, content-ware, and practical activities Alexandra Draxler, Director, Task force on Education for
the Twenty-first Century (UNESCO)
for exploration and experimentation in different fields of knowledge. Jacques Hallak, Director, Int'l Bureau of Education
Pedro Paulo Poppovic, Secretary of Distance Education,
TechKnowLogia is a forum for dialogue and sharing of knowledge and Federal Ministry of Education, Brazil
experiences, and an instrument to encourage thinking "outside the box." To Nicholas Veliotes, President Emeritus,
Association of American Publishers
this end, our editorial policy is driven by rigor, reliability of data and rele- Joe Young, Executive Director, GIIC
vance to our clientele. The Journal does not hold a priori positions re-
garding certain policies, strategies or technologies, nor does it endorse par- ADVISORY EDITORIAL COMMITTEE:
ticular products, services or institutions. It is, therefore, conceivable (and Joanne Capper, Sr. Education Specialist, World Bank
Claudio Castro, Chief Education Adviser, IDB
desirable) to carry articles that embrace or advocate different views or po- Dennis Foote, Director, LearnLinks, AED
sitions. Gregg Jackson, Assoc. Prof., George Washington Univ.
James Johnson, Deputy Director, GIIC
TechKnowLogia is not a specialized academic journal. It is a one-stop Frank Method, Dir., Washington Office, UNESCO
Laurence Wolff, Sr. Consultant, IDB
magazine that deals with the whole domain of issues related to technolo-
gies for knowledge and learning, as reflected in the permanent content CONTRIBUTING EDITORS:
categories around which the Journal is organized. Since it caters to a di- Jarl Bengtsson, Head, CERI, OEDC
verse clientele with varied backgrounds and resources, it covers the whole Glenn Kleiman, VP, Education Development Center
Dan Wagner, Director, International literacy Institute
spectrum of technologies in a crisp, strategy-oriented and practical manner.
In many instances, it offers a digest of available knowledge in the interest MANAGING EDITOR:
of readers who have limited or no access to sources of information. Sandra Haddad

The Introductory Issue Carol Charles, Mark Dessauer,
Sonia Jurich, Irene Oujo
TechKnowLogia itself is a global network of collaborating organizations,
international advisors, advisory and contributing editors, authors, staff and GENERAL QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS
cosponsors. I am grateful for their unique support and contributions, with- FEEDBACK ON ARTICLES
out which this Introductory Issue would not have been realized. This issue
covers the broad themes of learning technologies, and so will the next in- EDITORIAL MATTERS:
troductory issue to be posted in November 1999. Starting January 2000, a
part of each issue will have a thematic focus. This issue, like any first ef-
fort, is an approximation of the Journal's vision, and needs your engaged
feedback so that we can refine future issues and make them more respon- ADDRESS AND FAX
sive to your needs and more effective as a source of knowledge and inspi- Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.
P.O. Box 3027
ration. Oakton, VA 22124
Fax: 703-242-2279

This issue is co-sponsored by: AED

! 6 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

Federico Mayor
Director-General of UNESCO

The Information Age:

A Triumph of Knowledge, Not Just a Triumph of Technology

As Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

(UNESCO), I warmly welcome the arrival of TechKnowLogia online. At UNESCO, we have long
believed that the vital issue of democratic access to, and best use of, the new technologies for
educational purposes does not depend on the technologies themselves. It depends on the efforts and
initiatives of all stakeholders and on the type of society they seek. The forum provided by
TechKnowLogia will enable a wide range of social actors to play a part in defining the
development, use and impact of new technologies in the field of education.

We live in a world where the first PhDs have been awarded for research conducted, supervised,
submitted, examined and stored online. At the same time, one-fifth of humankind living in the
highest-income countries has 74% of the world’s telephone lines, while the bottom fifth has just
1.5%. Whether people are connected or isolated impacts hugely on their ability to benefit from,
contribute or even simply belong to the "knowledge society."

It is not the technology itself that is widening the knowledge gap, but rather the globalized market
economy of which it is the driving force. Markets do not necessarily value or "factor in" the more
intangible aspects of education, such as those relating to human dignity, personal fulfillment, active
and responsible citizenship, the sharing of and access to knowledge or the protection and promotion
of the public domain online. We need to harness the great potential of communication and
information technologies in order to meet these fundamental needs of society and the individual, as
well as to maximize the "marketable" skills and knowledge which education provides.

Education is one of the main forces for shaping tomorrow’s world. Not only can education use
technology, it can define technology’s uses in ways which reinforce creativity, empowerment and
equality. Fora such as this one must be seized on as opportunities for making the new technologies
work with and for education. Our complex and rapidly changing world requires all of us to become
efficient learners and problem-solvers. To meet this need, is the priority to put a computer in every
classroom or build up community learning resource centers? How much should we focus on the
content potential of the new technologies and how much on the contact potential? What about the
issues of cost, monopolies, cultural and linguistic diversity, teacher training, hardware maintenance
or software support?
TechKnowLogia can contribute to the search for answers to questions such as these, through the
monitoring, exchange, analysis and debate of the latest information and examples of best practice.
This process, involving decision-makers, educators and all other stakeholders, will ensure that the
information age comes to be seen as a triumph of knowledge and not just a triumph of technology.

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W. Bowman Cutter
GIIC Steering Committee Chair
Managing Director, E.M. Warburg, Pincus & Company

The View from the Private Sector:

Development Challenges and Opportunities
I predict that education in the New roles, new alliances
The private information age will prove to These changes are global. They are happening everywhere.
be the public issue that lets us What is important about these changes is not an abstract in-
sector and the translate possibilities into re- terest in the rate of changes themselves but how, how much,
public sectors alities. Serious exploration of and how fast they are changing the economies and societies
today must have this issue can help lead to a in which we live.
new emphasis on education as
a much more a development model. As a First, they are altering the structure and shape of companies
creative and dy- public policy maker, a practi- and markets. Companies are becoming smaller, more focused
tioner in the field of informa- and faster moving, and markets are vastly more competitive.
namic sense of tion, and a business decision- Companies are deciding everywhere that if they cannot be the
partnership, or maker, I see a variety of tech- best at something, then someone else should do it.
both will fail. nology investments and tech-
nology possibilities for educa- Second, these changes are altering the nervous system or the
tion in the information age. I hope to provide a sense of infrastructure of the entire economy. We have all seen the
context, in terms of both what is driving discussions of this rise of the network economy and electronic commerce. Just
issue and what makes it important. as with education, companies carry out more and more of
their activities over the network.
Rapid change
Two major changes are creating vast economic change Third, these same changes are creating a much more inte-
across the entire world, in different ways but with striking grated world economy. This world economy is moving far
parallels. One is political and one is technological. The po- too rapidly for trade regulation and internal regulatory change
litical change is the twin move, almost everywhere, from to keep up with. This means isolation is no longer possible,
closed to more open competitive economies and from state- and everyone is in competition with everyone else. Of course
dominated to market structures. This is occurring in the the flip side, and a more hopeful side, to that is that everyone
dramatic moves from communism that we saw in the late also can be in alliance with everyone else.
1980s and early 1990s and in the thousand smaller changes:
NAFTA, Mercosur in our hemisphere, and so on. This proc- The implications are significant. The first is that while every
ess is occurring globally. But it is the technological changes region of the world must necessarily find its own solution to
and the rise of information technology that are even more these issues, I do believe every region can learn from what
powerful. All three fundamental basics of information tech- every other region has been doing. To put it more strongly,
nology - memory, computation, and transmission - are now those who do not do so will only limit and cripple them-
changing at rates of more than 25 percent per year. For ex- selves. The second is that it is wrong to regard the private
ample, the microchip doubles in power almost every 18 sector as simply a vendor. The private sector and the public
months. Using memory per capita as a measure of economy sectors today must have a much more creative and dynamic
in the way we used to use energy consumption per capita sense of partnership, or both will fail. And finally, the U.S.
shows an increase of 65 percent per year. does not provide the model for the world, but it does have
some successes worth looking at.
Let’s compare these changes to something we know about.
In practical terms, this means that one million computations Beyond these points, I hope I have created a sense of urgency
that cost one million dollars in 1975 now cost about $45. and a sense of enormous possibility. What is needed most is a
Prices of phone calls have dropped about tenfold over the sense of vision, and the private sector is a natural and willing
same period, and the Internet will drop these costs even fur- partner in realizing that vision. The Global Information In-
ther toward a marginal cost only slightly over zero. It stands frastructure Commission shares this vision with TechKnow-
to reason that with costs like that, people in business will Logia and wishes it a long and successful life.
make more phone calls and do more computations.

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In launching TechKnowLogia the editors are continuing to weave a very long and
grand golden thread which holds together the civilizations of the world. This
thread is the development of technologies and tools that have given us alphabets,
language, writing, communication, preservation of human experiences, the shar-
ing of knowledge, the search for new ideas and information, the ability to learn
more, and to apply new facts to human endeavors.

James Johnson

The Origins of Text forms of personal identification and financial transactions

Archeologists tell us that almost 22,000 years ago human much like a credit card does.
beings recorded their observances of nature on cave walls
(petrograms) in Southern France. It took another 17,000 The Egyptians gave us Papyrus by 2200 BC Chinese and
years before mankind achieved the extraordinary art of writ- Asian scholars wrote on bones, bamboo with reeds dipped in
ing. Instant e-mail, calligraphy, data storage - all had their pigment, and later used silk and wood. Parchment and vel-
origins in clay tokens used to count goods in the Middle lum, from calfskin, appeared in Asia Minor around 1000 BC
East. These became the tools of the scribes throughout Europe
during the next millennium.
In 3200, BC the Sumerians used Illuminated manuscripts com-
reeds to make impressions on municating ancient literature,
clay tablets to develop Cunei- philosophy, science and
form, the first script. About the mathematics, and Holy Writ
same time the Egyptians contrib- became the tools for scholars
uted hieroglyphs that can func- and teachers in Medieval
tion as either logograms - signs Europe.
representing things or ideas, or as
phonograms, in which pictured The Invention of Pa-
objects represent sounds. In per
2600 BC, scribes were employed The invention of paper is gen-
in the courts of Egypt, and be- erally attributed to a Chinese
cause of their scholarship held court official, Cai Lun (Ts'ai
positions of great prestige. The ©Corel Lun) in about AD 105. The
messages of the hieroglyphs were Human beings recorded their observances of paper technology spread to
a mystery to scholars until the nature on cave walls Japan in 7th century AD and to
discovery of the Rosetta Stone the ancient Arab city of Samar-
which contained parallel text carvings in hieroglyphs, Greek kand in Uzbekistan during the same period through the cap-
and Egyptian demotic. ture of an attacking Chinese paper technologist. From Sa-
markand the knowledge spread throughout the Middle East
In 1500 BC, the Phoenicians developed the alphabetic sys- and reached Europe with the Moorish invasion of Spain,
tems of symbols representing sounds. This became the basis which began in the 8th century. The erection (c.1150) of the
for modern Hebrew, Arabic, and in the 6th century BC, gave first European paper mill was at Jativa in the province of
rise to the Greek alphabet, the basis for Latin and many mod- Valencia. Knowledge of the technology spread quickly, and
ern languages. paper mills were built in Italy (1276), France (1348), Ger-
many (1390), and England (1494). By the 16th century, pa-
In the Indus Valley of Pakistan, between 2800 and 1900 BC, per was being manufactured throughout most of Europe.
inscribed seals and other artifacts bearing writing served as Marco Polo describes the use of paper money in China in

! 9 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

The Advent of Printing algebra. By the 1100s multiplication tables were in common
In the 1450s, the development of the printing press by Jo- use by European merchants. In the early 1600s, a Scotsman,
hannes Gutenberg marked the culmination and integration of John Napier, devised a set of logarithm tables carved on
numerous prior achievements by mankind. The printing ivory sticks called “Napier’s Bones,” which led to the slide-
press became the information technology that spurred the rule.
Age of Discovery, and spread the new ideas of the Reforma-
tion and the Renaissance. The 16th Century saw the spread Using Napier’s logarithms, Wilhelm Schickard of Germany,
of printed books with improvements in the technologies of in 1623, designs the “Calculating Clock” a machine that
typesetting, and automated printing; newspapers; postal de- could add, subtract, multiply and divide. A few years later
livery services; and the camera obscura allowing tracing of Blaise Pascal, the noted mathematician develops a different
images. In 1639, the first printing press is imported into the version of the calculating machine. Samuel Morland of
American colonies. A public library opens in Charleston, England and Gottfried von Leibniz of Germany make im-
South Carolina in 1698. The 1700s saw the invention of provements.
color printing in Germany in 1710; the first patent for a
typewriter issued to Henry Mill in 1714; and, the beginning In 1801, at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, Joseph
of the science of photochemistry in 1727. The hydraulic Marie Jacquard invents a power loom with an automatic card
press was invented in England in 1790. reader using punched cards to “program” patterns of colors
in woven fabric; the first combination of information proc-
Alongside developments in printing were "low technology" essing, mechanical calculating machines and production of
developments: the invention of the pencil in 1565. The goods. Charles de Colmar of France develops the Arith-
eraser did not arrive on the scene until 1770. The steel pen mometer, the first mass-produced calculator in 1820.
point replaces the feathered quill in 1780. The first practical
typewriter was developed by Christopher Latham Sholes Charles Babbage in 1832 constructs The Difference Engine
and was patented in 1868. Six years later, Eliphalet that combined earlier advances to produce data memory or
Remington, a gunsmith, placed the first commercial type- stored information, and an automated typesetter to print out
writer on the market. the results of computations. He collaborates with Ada
Augusta, Lady Lovelace, the daughter of Lord Byron who is
The Beginnings of the Computer an expert mathematician in her own right. She becomes the
Early in the evolution of the computer is the development of first programmer, writing out sequences of instructions for
the Abacus as a calculating device in the 6th century BC in the Analytical Engine.
China. In 650 AD written calculations began to appear in the
Dorr Felt of Chicago makes his Comptometer, the first cal-
culator which operates by pressing keys in 1886. In 1889 he
invents the first printing desk calculator. The following
year, Herman Hollerith of MIT develops the electrically read
punch card tabulator that is used to tabulate the 1890 U.S.
Census, thus founding the field of data processing. The
company he founds becomes known as IBM.

Visual and Audio Storage

In 1839, Sir John Herschel first used the word photography,
(Gr. “light - writing”) to describe two successfully combined
scientific techniques: optical and photochemical. His prede-
cessors, Joseph Nicephore Niepce, Louis J. M. Daguerre, and
Hippolyte Bayard in France, and William Henry Talbot in
England had all been somewhat successful. The ever-
increasing ease with which photography precisely recorded
visual information and distributed it worldwide made it the
most powerful tool of communication since the invention of
the printing press. In 1861 Oliver Wendell Holmes invents
the stereoscope. On the audio side, Thomas A. Edison pro-
duced the first workable phonograph in 1875. The year
western world based on the invention of the written zero
1878 saw the invention of the first motion photographs, the
many years before by the Hindus. Indian mathematics
cathode ray tube, the microphone, and dry-plate photogra-
spread to the Arabs. In 830 AD, a Persian scholar wrote a
standard textbook on mathematics containing the basics of

! 10 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

Telecommunications The 1920s
The invention of the electromagnet by William Sturgeon in Fitting for the Roaring Twenties came the first broadcasting
1825 and the researches of Michael Faraday and Joseph stations, the first radio commercials, 3-D movies, home
Henry on electromagnetic phenomena about 1831 stimulated movie equipment, neon signs, early forms of television, the
Samuel F. B. Morse to devise a telegraph receiver. Morse, first “talkie” motion picture, and Technicolor.
along with Alfred Vail, adapted this receiver to print the dot
and dash symbols of code, which Morse had invented for the The 1930s
representation of alphanumeric characters. In 1844, Morse’s The 1930s brought us the Golden Age of radio with Lowell
magnetic telegraph connects Baltimore to Washington. The Thomas presenting the first newscast, the picture telephone,
telegraph spurs the development of railroads, and connects stereophonic sound in movies, zoom lenses, FM radio, and
continents in the decades that followed. The telegraph ends the electric typewriter, the Bell Labs voice recognition ma-
the Pony Express in 1861. In 1868, wireless electromagnetic chine and the first electrical digital calculator, Alan Turing’s
waves are transmitted 14 miles in Virginia. The stock ticker first technical description of a general purpose computer,
comes to Wall Street in 1870; James Clerk Maxwell pub- Chester Carlson’s invention of photocopying, live TV in
lishes the theory of radio waves in 1873. Alexander Graham color, the ballpoint pen from Argentina, IBM’s punch card
Bell invented the telephone in 1876. Guglielmo Marconi, in machine with an arithmetic unit doing multiplication in 1
1895 produced the first practical wireless telegraph system. second, and the first calculating machine using vacuum
In 1896, he received from the British government the first tubes from Iowa State.
wireless patent. Marconi sent the first wireless telegraph
message across the English Channel in March 1899. The The 1940s
first transatlantic communication, which involved sending The world’s war turmoil during the 1940s did not slow prog-
the Morse-code signal for the letter ‘s’ was sent, on Dec. 12, ress in information technologies. Konrad Zuse of Germany
1901, from Cornwall, England, to Saint John's, produces the first computer controlled by
Newfoundland, where Marconi had set up re- Instant e-mail, software. The first electronic digital com-
ceiving equipment. Further advancement of ra- puter and the Kodacolor process are devel-
dio was made possible by the development of the calligraphy, data oped. Harvard develops the Mark I, the
electron tube. The diode, or valve, produced by storage - all had first digital computer, and Pennsylvania
Sir Ambrose Fleming in 1905, permitted the de- University produces the ENIAC, the first
tection of high-frequency radio waves. In 1907,
their origins in modern electronic computer. Auto radio
Lee De Forest invented the audion, or triode, clay tokens telephones, phototypesetting, and holog-
which was able to amplify radio and sound raphy are invented. LP and 45rpm records,
waves. the Polaroid camera, and network TV are
offered to the public. The transistor and magnetic core com-
The 20th Century puter memory are invented.
In the long history of human development in creation, stor-
age, communication, and sharing of data, facts, information, The 1950s
knowledge, learning, speech, music and ideas the 20th Cen- The 1950s bring us commercially available computers, coast
tury stands out as the most productive years. There have to coast coaxial cable, video recording, miniature transis-
been more inventions of information technology in this cen- tor radios, the EDVAC, and Univac computers are operat-
tury than in all previous history. And the last decade of this ing. Radio sets outnumber newspapers printed daily. Fiber
century is notable for the unparalleled rapidity of invention, optics is tested. FORTRAN becomes the first high-level
expansion and increase in technologies that support the computer language; data moves over regular phone circuits -
search for learning and knowledge. the beginning of the Internet, and the microchip is in-
vented. Xerox manufactures the first plain paper copier,
The Early 1900s and Bell Labs experiments with artificial intelligence.
The early part of the 1900s saw essential technical improve- Grace Hopper invents the modern concept of the compiler
ments in the radio, telegraph, telephone, movies, printing, for computers, and IBM creates the first hard disk drive.
and photography. The first electric typewriter, phono-
graph discs, the telephone answering machine, the picture The 1960s
postcard, movie cartoons, first radio broadcasts, the jukebox, In the 1960s we see radio signals bounced off an orbiting
wire-transmitted photographs, and the Kodak Brownie cam- balloon, FM stereo broadcasting, and Bell Labs tests com-
era, all occurred in the first decade. Sound motion pictures munication by light waves. The time-sharing computer is
were invented in 1911. The portable phonograph came a few developed, and the minicomputer arrives in the market-
years later. place. Comsat is created to build a global communications
satellite system. Touch tone telephones, cartridge audio-

! 11 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

tapes, cordless telephones and pre-recorded movies on thetic text-to-speech computers are developed. Developments
videotape for home TV sets are offered to consumers. in the ARPANET, still a closed system, improve the stream-
Xerox sells the Telecopier, the first fax machines, and the ing of data between computers in different parts of the world.
RAM microchip reaches the market. Astronauts send live The number of hosts doubles each year during the decade.
photographs from the Moon.
The World Wide Web (WWW)
The 1970s Tim Berners-Lee, in Switzerland, creates the World Wide
The 1970s bring us notable advances including the computer Web (WWW) in 1990. The Wide Area Information Servers
floppy disc, the Intel microprocessor called “a computer on (WAIS) and Gopher protocols become the first tools for
a chip,” the first Wang word processor, and the microcom- “surfing the net.” Internet hosts exceed 16 million by 1997.
puter in kit form for home assembly. The “Teacher in the Internet service providers (ISPs) come online offering con-
Sky” satellite begins educational communications. The nections and access to the vast resources of the Internet.
Apple I is introduced in 1976, and CNN begins global broad- Educational institutions, research centers, universities, li-
casting by satellite. Ray Tomlinson of BBN developed the braries, government agencies, commercial enterprises, advo-
first software allowing e-mail to be sent between computers. cacy groups and individuals all rush to get connected to the
The first national and international connections to the Internet. National governments and international govern-
ARPANET are made with universities. Bob Kahn, Vinton mental organizations begin to analyze the social, economic
Cerf, Robert Metcalf and David Boggs all become founders and political impact of a word connected across international
of what is to become the Internet by authoring the technical boundaries. Companies and individuals, able to share infor-
protocols required for connecting computers through net- mation and trade goods and services, without regard to na-
works. tional boundaries create a set of issues concerning consumer
protection, assurances of privacy and security online, moni-
The 1980s toring content of information shared around the world, and
The decade of the 1980s brought the first laptop computer, questions of the jurisdiction and application of laws govern-
the first mouse pointing device and cameras with electronic ing commercial and criminal transactions. Schools in many
storage of images- no film. Wrist TV sets, holograms in nations join in efforts to connect classrooms to the Internet in
video games, cellular telephones in cars, and the Apple order to allow students to learn using the tools of the 21st
Macintosh computers were offered to consumers. The 32-bit century.
microprocessor, the one megabyte memory chip and syn-

Several threads of technology development, seemingly disparate, with widely divergent origins are being
woven together to form the latest links in that golden thread linking human beings from the dawn of
learning. Developments in radio and television broadcasting, telephone and wireless communications,
photography and motion pictures, xerography and printing, computational machines and computers,
voice and sound reproduction and recording, transportation and aviation and space exploration -- have
all converged, often accidentally, to produce the unprecedented opportunities which we, on this eve of a
new millennium, have to educate the coming generations and to spread learning and knowledge to all.
Reference Websites: tory/index.html

! 12 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

Taizo Nishimuro
President, Toshiba Corporation

Information Literacy:
How does it differ from Traditional or Computer Literacy?

Information technology, in particular the Internet and the It mainly focuses on how to make decisions, create values or
web, have introduced a new society where people can share solve problems. Among these, the ability to collaborate with
information freely, anywhere, at anytime, across the globe. others through networks is most important. In short, infor-
Information networks have become an essential element of mation literacy is the ability to solve problems, taking ad-
our lives and the global economy. With widespread use of vantage of information technology and networks. Informa-
the Internet, it becomes clear that skills required are not tion literacy is not a new concept, rather a traditional one in
merely how to use computers or how to get information, but terms of problem-solving. However, attention should be paid
rather how to solve problems and how to create values with to the greater impact of information technology.
the help of others through information networks. Therefore,
the term information literacy means more than so-called
computer literacy.

What is information literacy? How does it differ from other

forms of literacy? First, traditionally, literacy simply means
the fundamental ability to read, write and calculate. Second,
computer literacy covers PC operation, email and so forth, all
of which are focused on how to use the computer and com-
puter tools. And third, information literacy means computer
literacy plus the ability as shown here.

What is Information Literacy?

Traditional Literacy
- Read Information Literacy
- Write * Computer Literacy
- Calculate + Information finding
+ Info Understanding
+ Info/Value Creation
+ Collaboration with
others through com-
Computer Literacy munication
- PC Operation The graph shows a typical hierarchy of education in the
- Email = Ability to solve problems, spectrum of literacy education expected, details for which
- Word processor take advantage of may differ from country to country and from school to
- Spread sheet information technology
- Presentation tool and networks school. Information literacy education may start in parallel
- Groupware with computer literacy education, providing that appropriate
- Database access portions of computer education are given. At the other level,
the content of corporate education and general public educa-
tion may be different, depending on motivations and goals.

! 13 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

In the private sector, to cope with big challenges in the in- What can be done to improve information literacy in educa-
formation age, organizations are rushing to reform business tional institutions? In the public sector certain action and
processes based on information technologies and networking. investments are needed. Suggestions are:
This also needs drastic change of working style of people,
and improvement of individual's business ability, i.e. more • To develop information networks for the public sector.
information-centric, and more information literate. To get the • To reform government processes by applying informa-
job done quickly, effectively and creatively, tion technology.
people need to communicate and collaborate • To provide more electronic informa-
with each other through the networks, often tion services to citizens and the private
beyond the boundaries of time, location and It is necessary to sector.
organizations. This working style should also • To make more investment in infor-
be applied to executives and managers. With- make information mation literacy education.
out their improvement and leadership, the
final goal cannot be achieved.
literacy education
A possible role for the private sector is a
mandatory strong support for the development of an
To that end, it is necessary to make informa- information infrastructure of the educa-
tion literacy education mandatory. This might tional institutions and facilities. Success
be already done in some countries, but not as of this scenario largely depends on the
yet in Japan. Some advanced organizations have already de- ability to provide information networks at low cost. Finally
veloped information literacy education, while other organi- we should carefully pay attention to providing equal oppor-
zations have not. However, schemes and content of informa- tunities to both the weak and the strong in terms of the bene-
tion literacy education are not yet well established, and there- fits they can enjoy.
fore such issues will be left open for discussion today.

: The Unimaginable

Computers in the future may… perhaps only Radio has no future.

weigh 1.5 tons Lord Kelvin,
Popular Mechanics,1949 President of Royal Society, 1897

I think there is a world market, for maybe five (Television) won't be able to hold on to any mar-
computers. ket it captures after six months. People will soon
Thomas Watson, get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.
Chairman of IBM, 1943 Darryl F. Zanuck,
Head of 20th Century Fox, 1946
There is no reason anyone would want a com-
puter in their home. Everything that can be invented has been in-
Ken Olson, president and chairman vented".
of Digital Equipment Corp.,1977 Charles H. Duell,
Commissioner,U.S. Office of Patents,1899
640K ought to be enough for anybody.
Bill Gates, ,1981 (Man will never reach the moon) regardless of
all future scientific advances.
Lee de Forest
This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be Father of radio, 1967
seriously considered as a means of communica-
tion. The device is inherently of no value to us.
Western Union, 1876 Source: "Newsweek" January 27, 1997

! 14 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

Technology Translates Real University, a for-profit venture based in Englewood,
Colorado, USA. North Central is one of the nation's six
Speech regional accrediting associations for colleges and
universities. It has jurisdiction over 19 states, from West
Virginia to Arizona, and has accredited about 1,000
Speech recognition technology took a major step forward institutions including major research universities like the
after scientists of the international Consortium for Speech University of Michigan and the University of Chicago.
Translation Advanced Research,or C-STAR, demonstrated
the latest in speech translation software. The C-STAR
software can translate, edit and clean up natural speech into articles/13learning.html
six different languages. This web based program can even
decode ‘ums’, ‘ahs’ and ‘urs’. The software translates the
speech and presents a draft copy before it is sent to the Hong Kong: All teachers Must Be
receiver. C-STAR has developed and tested this product
between Japan, Italy, Korea and Germany. At the current
On Net By Next Year
time the software is being tested for travel services and hotel
reservations, and will be applied to a broader range of sectors All secondary and primary school teachers must have access
later this year. to the Internet and an e-mail address by the start of next year in order to speed up the use of information technology,
announced Hong Kong Education Commission chairman
Antony Leung.

Online University Gets Accredited

Internet-based education reached a milestone this year when Sowing Technology's Seeds in
Jones International University, which has no campus and Developing Countries
holds classes only in cyberspace, got a stamp of approval
from a major educational accrediting association. The move Alliance for Global Learning is a new project launched by
was hailed by advocates of online education as a boost to its the World Bank’s World Links for Development, Schools
prestige and a precedent for other distance education Online, and International Education and Research Network,
ventures. "It gives credibility to all virtual institutions. That's otherwise known as I*Earn. The goal of this project is to
important," said Robert C. Albrecht, chief academic officer increase the number of Internet connections and “technology
of Western Governors University, an online learning venture savvy teachers” throughout the developing world. The first
with offices in Salt Lake City and Denver that is also seeking step isto introduce educational technology services to
accreditation. But for critics of electronic education, who secondary schools in 20 developing countries such as
say that it is less effective than traditional classes, the move Lebanon, Peru, and Zimbabwe. By teaming up, the three
was troubling. "It's another step -- I can't say how significant partner organizations will bring together their areas of
-- toward the sanctioning of a degraded education system," expertise—wiring, technology training for teachers, and
said David F. Noble, a history professor at York University classroom simulation—to combat problems such as lack of
in Toronto who has published a critique of online learning. access to the Internet.
On March 5, 1999, the North Central Association
Commission on Institutions of Higher Education, known as 21education.html
North Central for short, accredited Jones International

! 15 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

W New technologies for Human Resource Development

hat works; what makes sense?

By Alexander J. Romiszowski

This article presents a cussions organized in a manner very other people involved in the learn-
similar to conventional class- ing process. The tendency is for the
brief synthesis of current roomsthus creating a form of “vir- individual to study independently
uses of computers and tual classroom.” Other uses are using software stored in computers
telecommunications in seminars mediated by computers, or networks.
education and training and case study discussions mediated by
computers, and on-line equivalents Integrated systems
focuses on the use of
of other small-group discussion Recently many examples of educa-
computer networks in pro- methodologies. tional applications have appeared
fessional education, in that involve a combination of in-
corporate training and in Computer-mediated informa- formation and instruction dissemi-
human resource develop- tion, or instruction, for indi- nation systems, such as CAI or
vidual learning CBT, with facilities for group dis-
COMPUTERS AND Another function of computer net- cussion on the same computer net-
NETWORKS IN works is to gain access to remote work. Such integrated systems of
EDUCATION databases, to consult electronic li- computer delivery and support of
braries or to transmit information to collaborative work are the basis of
Computer-mediated commu- workers at the workplace. Gener- the current movement towards
nication (CMC) for group- ally, such information may not be “telework” and “virtual groups” in
learning used for group discussion or argu- the business context. They are be-
Computer mediated communication mentation between people, but coming more common in education
(CMC) is a generic term used to de- rather by individuals for their own and training contexts. Other inte-
scribe any system which enables purposes. Examples include on-line grated systems appearing in the
people to communicate with other journals, electronic or virtual li- work context with ever-greater fre-
people by means of computer net- braries, access to interactive data quency are the so-called electronic
works. Well-known examples in- banks such as the Dow Jones Index performance support systems
clude computer conferencing, elec- on the stock exchange, and elec- (EPSS). This type of system sup-
tronic mail, discussion lists, list- tronic banking systems. plies the worker at his or her work
serves and bulletin board systems. station (which now typically is a
In education and training, CMC Yet another form of educational use computer attached to a network)
systems are used to implement dis- of computers is computer assisted with all the information and access
instruction (CAI) or computer- to other specialists who might be
Dr. Romiszowski is on the fac- based training (CBT). It comes in necessary to consult in order to get
ulties of the School of Educa- various forms but always with the the work done in the most cost-
tion, Syracuse University and intention of promoting specific effective manner. Use of these sys-
the School of the Future, Uni- learning through interaction with tems is growing so fast that it is
versity of São Paulo software rather than with teachers or considered by some to represent a

! 16 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

new paradigm for human resources learning toward precisely defined In addition to the technological and
development. goals. This is the conventional pedagogical arguments just pre-
model of CAI or CBT. However, sented, there is another way to look
Another recent movement is the there is a growing tendency toward at future demand for education and
trend towards computer-based mul- more use of computers in networks the role of technologies in meeting
timedia systems for education, to promote group learning activities. that demand. We can compare edu-
training and human resource devel- This is, for a combination of reasons cational demand (the problem of
opment. These may be encountered that include technological develop- education) with the demand for
as stand-alone instructional or in- ments, related to access to computer food, which Malthus in the 19th
formational systems (perhaps in networks as well as socioeconomic century referred to as the problem of
CD-ROMs), as databases on a net- developments related to the type of population. He predicted great
work, or as elements within work people perform and the skills tragedies for humanity as a result of
audiographic computer they need. The current Internet the exponential growth in popula-
conferencing systems and group technology and the forthcoming tion related to the linear growth in
discussion environments involving higher speed and broader band the capacity of societies to produce
visual and audio support (such as technologies promised by future in- food.
desktop video). formation superhighways make pos-
sible distance learning activities that However, looking back from the
The variety of different forms of model very closely the interactive 20th century, although there are
integrated systems that are now in group learning activities that have places in the world where there is
use is very large. In this article, the been the mainstay of much of con- hunger, the situation has not become
focus is limited to those approaches ventional education in the past. as dramatic and tragic as Malthus
that have already been implemented predicted. The reason for this is that
with success and which have gener- The socioeconomic developments the agricultural community managed
ated a reasonable quantity of re- are in part a reaction to the impact to create an exponential growth in
search. This will enable us to evalu- of technology on society. They are food production directly through the
ate the potential impact of these new creating a situation in which just to application of new technologies to
technologies in the real world of be employable, people must con- agriculture. In the same way, we
education and training. tinually upgrade their knowledge might today predict a great tragedy
and skills and be active learners, in the area of education and culture
active problem solvers and active if the current systems and methods
critical thinkers. In the development of teaching and learning do not rec-
WHY DO WE NEED of these generic skills of learning reate themselves to meet the expo-
COMPUTERS AND and of thinking, the methodologies nentially growing needs for educa-
NETWORKS IN of education put more stress on tion and training. Using the problem
EDUCATION? group activities as opposed to indi- of population as an analogy, we
vidual learning activities. could argue that the only route to
In this section, we present two lines increasing the supply of education
of argument that support the use of Thus we see a confluence of tech- proportionate to the increasing de-
new technologies, particularly net- nological, sociological and psycho- mand is through the systematic and
working technologies, as essential logical reasons for the current trend rational application of new informa-
“survival strategies” of future edu- which is moving the use of com- tion technologies to the process.
cation and training systems. puter technology in education and Extending our analogy, we may ob-
training from individualized self- serve that in the area of agriculture
Current educational trends learning models to distance- there were many local disasters,
Until quite recently, the major ac- delivered group-learning models. both ecological and sociological,
tivity in software development for largely created by the inappropriate
education and training worked Two problems: population and or unintelligent application of tech-
within the paradigm of individual education nologies. Most of these disasters

! 17 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

could have been avoided if the in- more creative and inventive forms costs of group meetings is every day
novative projects in the area of agri- of work. This involves critical greater in comparison to the falling
culture had been planned, imple- problem analysis, formulation of costs of telecommunication, the op-
mented, controlled and evaluated important problems, prioritization of portunities for the appropriate types
more carefully. In the same way, we problems, a search for information of educational activity could be-
can argue that not all innovative that might be relevant to their solu- come scarcer rather than more
projects applying new technologies tion, creation of original and inno- available. We may face the paradox
to education are likely to be suc- vative solutions, and then the im- in which in education, and particu-
cessful. However, through system- plementation and troubleshooting of larly in higher education and con-
atic planning, controlled implemen- these solutions in innovative pilot tinuing adult education, we have
tation and continuous evaluation of projects. less and less opportunity to engage
the projects, we can hope to in- in the types of learning activities
crease the probability of success. It follows that education must lay that we more and more require.
The bottom line is that we have to ever-increasing emphasis on the de-
innovate and risk some failures or velopment of creative thinking and Given that these conditions are at
suffer the certainty of a generalized productive thinking skills and less least in part being created by the
disaster. on the acquisition of specific con- impact of technology on the world
tent related to a particular job. of work and on society, it would ap-
Content is subject to flux and pear appropriate to turn to technol-
NEW SYSTEMS FOR change due to the rapid evolution of ogy for a solution to the problem it
COMMUNICATION AND the workplace. The worker must is creating. One approach to a solu-
EDUCATION continually update himself or herself tion is to develop technology-based
in relation to this content as part of a methods of replicating or even ex-
continuing education process that ceeding the effectiveness and effi-
This section reviews some of the occurs beyond basic schooling, ciency of small-group discussion
trends and innovations underway higher education and formal profes- methods as they have been practiced
which promise to drastically modify sional education. These changes in in the classroom in the past.
nearly all of the axioms that we cur- the reality of work in society imply
rently accept as the basis for our quite important changes in both the Performance support systems
education, training and human re- content and the methods of educa- Another important trend is the
source development systems. tion for the next century. avoidance of unnecessary learning
of content that is used only occa-
The nature of work Virtual work groups sionally and for short periods before
In the world of information, the ma- The methods of teaching and learn- it is obsolete, substituting learning
chine is encroaching more every day ing typically used in mediated by reference on the job at the re-
on the areas of work, which tradi- (computer or television) courses in quired time to well-designed infor-
tionally have been carried out by the past are not the most appropriate mation sources and performance
human beings. Robots take over the methods for the development of support systems. The computer is
physical work of operators in facto- critical and creative thinking skills. rapidly becoming the universal work
ries. Software applications and in- Research and practical experience tool, present on everybody's desktop
telligent expert systems are taking show that such skills are more ef- or alongside everybody's machine,
over a large part of the routine in- fectively developed in small group serving as a communication center,
tellectual tasks that human beings discussion activities such as the case control center, support center, and
have traditionally carried out. What study method, debates and brain- so on. Why should it not also be
is remaining for the human being storming sessions, or in group proj- used as a general purpose teaching
are those types of activities that ect work of various types. In the machine, bringing to the worker at
computers and information technol- world of the future, people will need the workplace all the information
ogy are not (or shall we say, not yet) to develop these skills to a higher and access to all of the expertise
good at performing—namely, the level than in the past. But as the which is necessary in order to per-

! 18 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

form the work effectively and effi- work commences, much of that in- contrasted to the non-
ciently? formation is already obsolete. Fur- individualization of the learning
thermore, it is not efficient to bring process itself when that learning
Indeed, such groups of peo- process is trying to develop critical
electronic per- ple together thinking and creative problem-
formance sys- The only route to increasing for courses solving skills. We have here some
tems are being that have a interesting problems to solve in the
the supply of education pro-
developed and standard con- design of future continuing adult
implemented portionate to the increasing tent and cur- education systems. Just-in-time
with increasing demand is through the sys- riculum when training is often perceived as a
frequency by tematic and rational applica- those people, highly individualized self-study pro-
many business tion of new information although they cess. However, it should be consid-
transforming the
technologies to the process. may hold the
same job titles,
ered as only partly so, with another
(possibly greater and growing) part
role of training are probably being the flexible provision of just-
and human resource development. using different information for dif- in-time group interaction opportuni-
We are, in a way, moving back to ferent purposes in their day-to-day ties.
conditions that are similar to the work. Each professional therefore
Middle Ages master-apprentice re- requires individualized treatment in The importance of distance
lationship where the apprentice the planning of continuing education education
would learn on the job under the and training in order to keep up with One approach to dealing with the
supervision of a master craftsman, the changes in the workplace. somewhat paradoxical situation
permanently available at the work- mentioned above is through the use
place. However, today, the master is To implement such an individual- of distance education systems as
no longer a physically present hu- ized approach, we need, in the first opposed to institutionalized place-
man being but an electronic system place, to involve the adult profes- based educational systems. Such
which encapsulates the knowledge sional in the planning of his or her systems may be built to allow on-
of the master and which, to some own program of self-development. demand access to specific modules
extent, may embody also some of Secondly, this program should be of learning as required by individu-
the skills of analysis and evaluation available to the individual exactly als. Another benefit of such a sys-
that a master would utilize to orient when that individual requires it in tem is the ability to create groups of
an apprentice. Furthermore, the order to upgrade or refresh his or like-minded individuals with similar
system acts as a communication her skills. For both of these reasons, needs and interests who may not
network to enable the apprentice to the conventional structure of insti- necessarily reside or work in one
access human support from real tutionalized higher education and and the same place.
master performers when and if re- especially technical education can-
quired. not meet the needs of our future cli- This new set of needs may be one of
entele. This is leading to the crea- the factors behind the obvious trend
Just-in-time training tion of new alternatives for technical toward distance education at all lev-
The rapid diversification and evolu- and higher education that are very els of the formal education system
tion of work methodologies and much under user control and avail- (with the possible exception of ele-
short shelf life of new products and able to each user on demand. These mentary education). Some research-
services are creating a situation in systems have been christened “just- ers are estimating that in the area of
which the conventional approaches in-time training.” higher education, for example, we
to training and education for busi- will not be far into the next century
ness no longer meet the needs. It is It is interesting to note here the em- before there will be more students
not efficient to learn large quantities phasis on individualization of the studying at a distance than studying
of information off the job in courses process of planning the content, at conventional university cam-
prior to work when, by the time methods and timing of the program, puses. It is very probable that such

! 19 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

trends will occur even faster in tations regarding the loss of non- society. Once this new communica-
technical and vocational education, verbal communication through ex- tion infrastructure is in place, it is
not necessarily through elimination pressions, tone of voice, gestures, natural that it should also be used
of all initial basic training courses and even physical contact, which in for training, human resource devel-
but rather to provide continuing many cases play important roles in opment and indeed the avoidance
education for keeping up with the conventional education activities. of formal training through the use
changing realities of work. Such ideas may seem to verge on of on-the-job performance support
science fiction at this time, but the systems.
progress in these areas of synergy of
Technological synergy the sciences is so rapid that some CMC in education and training
Another important trend is the tech- practical applications will, without In education and training, the major
nological synergy occurring be- doubt, soon appear. These innova- area of innovation in recent years is
tween ideas springing from com- tions may further revolutionize the the use of computer mediated com-
puter science, the telecommunica- way we envisage the teach- munication systems, not only for
tion sciences, and the areas of psy- ing/learning process. distance education when people are
chology and cognitive science. This physically separated but also for
synergy is creating a whole new more convenient communication
range of possibilities such as soft- HOW DO WE USE between people who work and live
ware that can act as “intelligent COMPUTERS AND in the same locale but have different
agents” or “intelligent interfaces” NETWORKS IN schedules. Many studies have shown
between knowledge bases and the EDUCATION? that such use can greatly increase
users, facilitating both the localiza- the efficiency and effectiveness of
tion and the intelligent use of infor- conventional campus-based univer-
mation. Possibilities that are just CMC in the business world sity education (Grabowski, Suciati
around the corner include the in- Computer mediated communication & Pusch, 1990).
stantaneous automatic translation of is already firmly established in the
information from one language to business community as a viable, of- In the area of distance education,
another. This would allow not only ten preferred, method of communi- the potential savings in terms of
access to materials generated in cation. Most major companies to- time, transport costs, space, electri-
other languages but even group day, in the United States and Europe cal energy, heating, even professors'
collaborative work involving par- as well as in many other places, salaries in some cases, are combin-
ticipants who do not speak the same maintain their own networks to fa- ing to make distance education an
language. Another area of research cilitate effective and efficient com- exceedingly attractive alternative to
showing as yet unrealized potential munication between departments, conventional approaches. As the
is “virtual reality.” This research is whether these departments are in technologies enable the teach-
working toward the creation of on- one geographical place or distrib- ing/learning activities orchestrated
line “virtual” environments that in uted across the country. In these at a distance to evermore approxi-
time are expected to be almost un- systems, the use of electronic mail mate those that can be implemented
distinguishable from real environ- and computer conferencing has in- in classroom settings, the economic
ments. creased as a means of economically factors are strongly influencing ad-
carrying on business and as an alter- ministrators to seek to implement
The implementation of such tech- native to meetings, which distance education whenever possi-
nologies could signify the end of are fixed in both time and geo- ble.
“distance education” as a useful graphical location. This is one fac-
term, in that the distinction between tor in the so-called globalization of The Net as a distance training
education at a distance and not at a business communication that is al- system
distance may vanish completely. We ready becoming essential for many An illustrative contrast can be
can imagine future CMC systems companies in order to maintain drawn between New Zealand and
that are not subject to current limi- competitiveness in the information the State of New York. I have cho-

! 20 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

sen these two cases because of their ects. These have been set up by For some years now, the New Zea-
similarities in geography and popu- conventional institutions, (schools, land government has been trans-
lation size. Excluding the large ur- colleges, universities, and so on) forming its concept of education “as
ban area of New York City, the and are utilizing distance education a free service to all citizens” into a
population of New York State is methods (principally through elec- system that must be economically
principally rural, distributed in small tronic communication networks) for viable and self-financing. They use
communities or on farms. Access to certain aspects of their activities. the term “user pays”
basic education opportunities is dif- For example, three conventional for this
ficult for many state residents. schools in different municipalities
These same factors are found in might share the services of a spe-
New Zealand. cialist technical or language teacher,
thus forming a virtual group of stu-
New Zealand began in the 1930s to dents across the three campuses that
incorporate a “Correspondence is sufficiently large to justify the
School” for primary and secondary teacher’s salary. These small proj-
schooling as part of its formal na- ects hardly existed at the beginning
tional educational system. It also has of the 1980s. But there were more
operated a distance-teaching techni- than 100 such projects publicly sup- policy. This has made all
cal school since the 1940s, origi- ported in New York State by 1990, educational institutions much more
nally named the “Technical Corre- and more than 200 by 1995. Al- cost-conscious and competitive. All
spondence Institute” but recently re- though the individual projects are institutions are beginning to use
christened the “Technical Open all small and independent, they add electronic communication methods
Polytechnic.” These two institutions up to a significant level of official for administration and distance
are the largest of their category in support of distance education by the teaching, especially when these
the country. The number of students state. methods can lead to improved vi-
studying at a distance through the The new electronic communication ability and cost-effectiveness. The
Correspondence School is several technologies are capable of making result of this is that the other twelve
times greater than the number of the use of distance education eco- technical colleges in New Zealand
students at the largest conventional nomically viable on a small scale as have become competitors for the
school in the country. The New well as pedagogically desirable in same body of students that the
Zealand Technical Open Polytech- the context of conventional educa- Polytechnic has traditionally serv-
nic, or “TOP,” has received an an- tion. Indeed, the differentiation be- iced.
nual average of more than 95,000 tween conventional educational in-
students a year throughout the 1970s stitutions and distance educational
and 1980s, which represents about 3 institutions may soon disappear. The THE FUTURE: CHANGE IN
percent of the total population of the case of New Zealand illustrates this THE ROLE OF
country and 30 percent of all the trend. The Technical Open Poly- PROFESSIONAL TRAINING
technical students in the country. technic is entering into a crisis of
The other 70 percent are distributed downsizing as its student enrollment
across another 12 conventional diminishes annually. This is not the
technical colleges (Nicoll, 1987). result of a reduction in the popular-
Given the trends and scenarios de-
ity of distance education or of some
scribed in this paper, it is not sur-
The New York State educational geographic or demographic changes
prising that the concept of self-
system has never operated or finan- within New Zealand; it is the result
development is taking root as a
cially supported any specific dis- of a combination of political
major paradigm for human resource
tance education institution. How- changes implemented by recent
development in industry and busi-
ever, recent statistics show that at governments and the socioeconomic
ness. This paradigm emphasizes that
present the state indirectly supports impact of new technologies.
the responsibility to keep oneself
more than 200 separate small proj-

! 21 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

updated and employable rests with through night school or, increas- ventional campus-based courses.
each employee. The employer’s re- ingly, through distance education The focus here should be on the re-
sponsibility is to make the process opportunities. search and development of method-
of self-learning viable - helping in ologies that can replicate within
the identification of individual We may be seeing a transformation networks the strong points of place-
learning needs and facilitating ac- in the culture of formal higher edu- based conventional education. The
cess to the resources necessary to cation with vast repercussions in the current diversification of needs, and
satisfy those needs. very near future. A recent pro- the heightened importance of criti-
nouncement by Peter Drucker cal and creative thinking for human
This reality reduces the relevance of quoted in an interview with Forbes beings who do not wish to be re-
setting up standardized training Magazine gives conventional cam- placed by robots and expert sys-
courses along traditional lines pus-based universities only a few tems, compel us to focus our atten-
(whether set up by the company it- short years before they become tion on developing what we might
self or by external course provid- completely obsolete. In addition to call “conversational design” princi-
ers). The tendency, instead, is to- mentioning the trends we have out- ples and methodologies. Our net-
ward the greater use of communica- lined above, Drucker points out that works enable us to converse with
tion networks to access databanks the costs of conventional university our peers at a distance in a relatively
and virtual libraries, and the forma- education in the United States have natural manner, particularly as mul-
tion of virtual groups of students been increasing along a curve that is timedia video conferencing is im-
with similar needs and interests who similar to the increasing cost of plemented into what was previously
may collaborate at a distance or may Medicare as the population of the text-based electronic communica-
help each other in self-development country ages. He asserts that this is tion. However, there is much still
activities of various forms. untenable over the medium- and left to learn about how to devise ef-
long-term and therefore that the fective and efficient learning envi-
This tendency grew first in the area system will completely break down ronments within these contexts.
of business education and training, unless it drastically transforms itself.
but today is also spreading to the He sees this transformation as being The world is changing at such a rate
general area of higher education. It largely toward network-based higher that we do not have many years in
is one factor responsible for reduc- education. which to avoid the “problem of edu-
tions in the number of students ap- cation” that was mentioned at the
plying to conventional undergradu- These last points alert us to the im- beginning of this paper as analogous
ate programs in campus-based uni- portance of looking carefully at the to the “problem of population”
versities. Many graduates find that best means of providing appropriate postulated by Malthus over a hun-
they seldom or never catch up with educational experiences of high dred years ago.
their peers who went straight into quality and effectiveness to students
employment and then completed who opt, or are forced, to study via © Inter-American Development
their studies on a part-time basis networks instead of through con- Bank. Used by permission.

! 22 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

Before the E-mail there was the P-mail
Distance Learning by Postal
Sonia Jurich

For many of us, the term, "distance We propose a fifth stage that began about 20 years ago, char-
learning," calls forth the image of a acterized by a renewal of distance learning with the Open
Universities and the introduction of computer and video
group of students communicating technology into the traditional structure of studies by mail.
with an instructor on another point of
Individual Initiative and Experimentation
the planet, or outside it, by means of In the late 1800's, individual pioneers start to use the tech-
computers and video devices. How- nological advances of their time -- the improvements of the
printing press and the post office -- to address the needs of a
ever, education at a distance predates growing literate population in search of general education or
more skilled work. Isaac Pitman, in England, used postcards
computers and has been around for to teach shorthand to far away students. Charles Toussaient
more than a century, spurred by tech- and Gustave Langenscheidt opened a school in Germany to
teach languages by correspondence. One of the most suc-
nological advances and social changes cessful examples of that period is Hans Hermod's in Sweden.
of the nineteenth century. With the mechani- When one of his students moved away, Hermod decided to
zation of the printing process, information could be repro- continue instructing the student by mail. From this timid
duced in faster and more economic ways. The information beginning grew Hermods-NKI, a correspondence education
could then spread farther and faster by a well-organized post institution that is part of the national system of formal educa-
office system, through the newly built infrastructure of roads tion in Sweden, from elementary to university level, and
and railways. Issues of national security and economic com- branching to technical and vocational education.
petitiveness brought education to the forefront of national
interests and the introduction of public education created a Correspondence studies were then a vehicle to bring educa-
large constituency able and eager to read. The time was ripe tion to many social groups who would otherwise be left out
for correspondence education. from the public system, such as women, older adults, low-
income workers and immigrants. In the United States, Anna
Correspondence education filled the gaps of an educational Ticknor founded, in 1873, the Society to Encourage Studies
system that was either too small to absorb the increasing de- at Home, in Boston, to stimulate at-home wives and mothers
mand, or too rigid to respond to the needs of a society in to expand their general education. From 1878 to 1894, the
transformation. Reneé Erdos divides the history of corre- Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle (C.L.S.C.), in New
spondence education in four stages: York, enrolled more than 225,000 students and had more
than 10,000 circles nationwide, where students met to read
and discuss the books borrowed from the circle. Similarly,
• a period of individual initiative and experiment by
the correspondence program in sociology at the University of
the late 1800's;
Chicago enrolled more than 30,000 students between 1893
• a period of incorporation into national systems of
and 1923. Among the students were gardeners, cigar-makers,
education in the 1900's in many countries;
department store managers, housewives, and many others
• the expansion period during the Second World War;
who would not dare, because of their occupation and up
bringing, attend classes at the prestigious university. Indeed,
• the post-war period of rapid and widespread devel- the impersonality of correspondence education was an ad-

! 23 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

vantage for many students, whose race, gender, level of edu- population by establishing a system of itinerant teachers who
cation or English fluency put them at odds with the regular maintained on-going contact with the students by mail.
student population of the time.
The former Soviet Union adopted correspondence education
Incorporation into Educational Systems in 1920 to attain its goal of full education for all children in
The end of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the the face of a shortage of teachers. Studies by mail became a
twentieth century were periods of intense economic transfor- significant component of the soviet educational system, from
mation and large movement of populations. In the United elementary to post-secondary education. Soviet students
States, for instance, high school enrollment grew from under could attend regular schools and take specific courses not
250,000 to over 4 million between 1890 and 1930, mostly offered in their schools by correspondence. Correspondence
due to immigration. This growing and diversified population, students had full access to school laboratories, libraries and
faced with a changing job market, required skills that the lecture halls to complement their studies.

Globalization of Correspondence
During the Second World War, correspondence schools be-
This growing and diversified came an important tool in providing education to both youth
and adults in countries where curfews and black-outs made it
population, faced with a changing impossible to attend evening schools. Also, many countries
job market, required skills that the involved in the war established a complex system of corre-
spondence education across continents to ensure that the edu-
formal school system was unable cation of their service personnel was not interrupted by the
war. In Australia, the system was under the Departments of
to provide. Education of each state, while the United States Armed
Forces Institutes (USAFI) were under the Department of De-
formal school system was unable to provide. The expansion
of proprietary correspondence schools addressed this need by Air-Correspondence
introducing innovative educational methods and partnering The post-war was a period of expansion of correspondence
with major corporations to facilitate jobs and promotions for education, now enhanced by the use of another somewhat
their students. The most famous of these schools was the recent technology, the radio. The introduction of radio as an
International Correspondence School (ICS), in Scranton, adjunct to correspondence education began in 1937 in New
Pennsylvania. Founded in 1880 as a mining school by mail, Zealand. Radio programs provided a more dynamic teacher-
thirty years later the ICS contained 31 divisions that provided student relationship, offering explanation, reinforcement, and
courses in over 500 subjects, and had a budget exceeding $2 further elaboration of the topics contained in the student's
million. handbook. Developing countries soon became leaders in the
combined use of radio and correspondence for educational
Australia and New Zealand had another type of challenge. purposes. In 1972 the South Korean government developed
Rather than a high demographic concentration in cities, as the the Korea Air-Correspondence Junior College (KACOJUC)
United States, these countries had to educate a population to address the needs of a large number of youth who were un-
dispersed through a large and mostly uninhabited territory. able to attend college for economic reasons or lack of edu-
An Australian farmer, who was settling with his family in a cational facilities. The Ministry of Education in Kenya es-
far outpost, wrote a letter to the Director of Education in the tablished an air-correspondence course unit to provide in-
State of Victoria asking how his sons would continue their service training for teachers in rural areas. The course was
education. The Director passed the letter to the Principal of part of the University College of Nairobi, with technical as-
the Teachers' Training College, who requested some volun- sistance from the University of Wisconsin. In the late 1960's,
teers among the teacher trainees to teach the boys by mail. the Madureza Project in Brazil used this mix of radio and
The response was so enthusiastic that Victoria's Department correspondence in an official effort to increase the country's
of Education decided to establish a correspondence school to literacy level, providing adults with a second chance to com-
provide education to all those children living too far to at- plete their basic schooling and acquire technical skills.
tend schools. Soon the idea was adopted throughout Austra-
lia. Likewise, New Zealand solved the problem of scattered

! 24 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

The Open University challenges are alike, but the technologies are more powerful.
The Open University opened in England in 1971 with two But this is the topic for future articles.
basic proposals: to expand adult education and democratize
the country's university system that had become too elitist.
Its main interest was to provide a general education at the
post-secondary level, with degrees in arts, engineering, sci-
ence and social science. In addition to correspondence and
radio, The Open University incorporated new technologies,
particularly television, using prime time broadcast programs. Bell, R. and Tight, M. (1993). Open Universities: A
Without formal entrance requirements, the University offers British tradition? Buckingham, England: The Society
tutorials and remedial courses to students who are having for Research into Higher Education and Open Univer-
difficulty in their course work. Despite its critics, the Open sity Press.
University has changed the educational landscape in England
and became a major intellectual export product. In 1990, the Edström, L., Erdos, R. and Prosser, R. (1970). Mass
Open University across Great Britain had more than 70,000 education: Studies in adult education and teaching by
undergraduate and 4,000 graduate students, in addition to correspondence in some developing countries. New
approximately 30,000 students in independent courses. In York, NY: Africana Publishing Company.
Scotland, it is the fifth largest university in number of stu-
dents. Evans, T. and Nation, D. (1996). Educational futures:
globalization, educational technology and lifelong
An Adjunct and An Innovator learning. In Evans, T. & Nation, D. (Eds.). Opening
education: Policies and practices from open and dis-
For over a hundred tance education. London: Routledge.
years, correspon-
dence studies have Freeman, A. (1993). The traveling schools of New
served both as an South Wales from 1908-1949. Education in Rural Aus-
Correspondence adjunct to the regular tralia, 3 (1): 7-18.
educational system
studies have and as an innovator. Kett, J. (1994). The pursuit of knowledge under diffi-
culties: From self-improvement to adult education in
As an adjunct, it pro-
served both as vided education to America, 1750-1990. Stanford, CA: Stanford Univer-
sity Press.
those outside the
an adjunct to the narrow target of the
Perraton, H. (Ed.) (1982). Alternative routes to formal
regular schools: the
regular educa- older, the poor, the education: Distance teaching for school equivalency. A
Word Bank Research Publication. Baltimore, MD: The
mediocre student
tional system rejected by the uni- Johns Hopkins University Press
versities, the married
and as an student whose Poppovic, P. P. (1996). Educação à distância: prob-
lems da incorporação de tecnologias educacionais mod-
schedule did not fit
innovator. that of the schools, ernas nos países em desenvolvimento (Distant educa-
tion: the problem of incorporating modern educational
those who had just
arrived in the country technologies in developing countries). Em Aberto, 16
and did not speak the (70): 5-8.
language, or those who lived too far away to be reached by
the regular system. As an innovator, correspondence studies
initiated the concept of flexible education, organized in mod-
ules and adapted to the individual student. Their expansion
responded to the needs of societies in transition, where tech-
nological advances and economic changes outpaced the ca-
pacity of the regular educational system to adapt; times, in-
deed, very similar to those in which we are now living. The

! 25 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

Most industrialized Why Radio?
During the past 25 years, developing nations, have had to deal with an explosive
countries have the increase in the number of students enrolled in the primary level as a result of the
capital to invest in rapid population growth and escalating demand for schooling. In order to answer
computers in every the call for education, administrators had to hire untrained and unqualified teach-
classroom. Develop- ers. Furthermore, as funding for education became scarcer, there were less in-
structional materials to help both students and teachers learn (Chapman and
ing countries, on the Mählck p.3). Today, more than 100 million primary school age children do not
other hand, do not attend school.
always have the lux-
Radio has the potential to expand access to education and improve quality. All
ury of installing ex- countries have radio transmission capability, and according to UNESCO, almost
pensive high-tech all households in developing countries have at least one radio. Radio is easy to
equipment because of work and maintain and, unlike print, it can reach those who are illiterate and very
poor. Because radio is so simple, affordable, and accessible to many students at
both start-up and one time, it can be an effective means of education for those without many alter-
maintenance costs -- natives.
but they are striving
to do so. In such an We know that radio is accessible to many, but the question is, how accessible is it
really? Radios that use electricity are the most common and probably the least
environment, rela- troublesome in that they can be used day or night without the fear that the batter-
tively unsophisticated ies will run out. Transistor radios, for example, are inexpensive and run on elec-
technologies, such as tricity. The problem is that for many, electricity is simply not available, but does
that mean that radio instruction is not either? The use of batteries is a practical
the radio, are often solution but they too can be a limited resource. Often, batteries are too expensive,
ignored. However, particularly if it means sacrificing more immediate needs such as food or clothing.
radio is a medium Wind-up solar powered crank radios may be the answer to these problems and
more. With one crank, these radios can last an hour. If in the sun, they automati-
that is accessible to cally use solar energy to function. This type of radio costs approximately US$80
all. With the use of and although it is somewhat expensive as far as radios are concerned, in the long
radio instruction, the run, it pays off in that it does not consume electricity or batteries.
wired classroom can
become a reality for Radio Classrooms
both developed and Broadcast Radio
developing nations. Radio education programs can be either broadcast or interactive. Broadcast pro-
This article describes grams usually entail an audio lecture or lesson, with printed materials for the stu-
dents to follow. In this way, an unqualified teacher can learn with his or her stu-
the potential of radio dents. Broadcast programs follow the traditional model of education and can
instruction and re- cover every subject in many different languages depending on the target audience.
lates a specific exam- They also can be geared toward adults for lifelong learning, not necessarily just
ple in Costa Rica. By schoolchildren. The main issue with broadcast radio programs is that no student
M. Irene Oujo

! 26 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

explicit response is expected, and, therefore, curriculum oping world, the multigrade classroom is the only way to
designers do not know how well or how poorly students provide schooling to areas that would otherwise not have
are responding. access to education. However, the quality of education in
these schools is often poor, putting its students at a disad-
Interactive Radio vantage when they move on to secondary schools and uni-
When we think of interactive education, we think of a versities. With students at different grade and ability lev-
teacher asking a question and receiving a response from els, it is often difficult for the teacher to demonstrate
his or her student. However, technologies have shown that course material with more depth because of lack of time.
an actual conversation between student and teacher does Radio programs have been beneficial to multigrade class-
not have to take place to engage the student in active rooms, as they can be to similar schools in other develop-
learning. Today, teachers and students can be separated by ing nations.
large distances and still be interactive thanks to technolo-
gies such as radio. Radio education can be interactive in Within the LearnTech project, there were different pro-
different ways. Having students listen to broadcasts that grams for the two age groups. The first was geared toward
allow time for their responses is one way to be interactive. 10-year-old fourth graders, “Let’s Listen to the Earth.” It
Another is to use tapes that the teacher can stop while stu- simulated a classroom environment on the air with a
dents either grasp a concept or need to hear it repeated. teacher and her students. The program became interactive
This definition of radio interactivity does not mean that when it was divided into different sections and the students
students can directly communicate with the program de- interacted with the radio characters. This made the content
signers or the characters they hear as they would be able to more interesting to students. However, this particular pro-
with an Internet or satellite system that allows two way gram was criticized because it did not allow students to
communications. Rather, within the radio environment, it draw on their own experiences to answer questions but to
is a more participatory, holistic approach with students, respond the way the program was formatted.
teachers, and community members interacting with each
other as the radio sets the scene. The second program, “Econauts: Mission Nature” was
divided into two parts and geared toward fifth graders and
Radio for Multigrade Classroom: Costa their parents. It was an improvement from the fourth grade
program. The first series, “Puerto Ventura: The Ecological
Rica Struggle” was just for children but the second, “Puerta
Educators in many developing countries have come to the Ventura” was for parents and community members, as well
realization that teachers need to become facilitators for as for children. The curriculum designers found that these
learning rather than the only source of knowledge. In older students needed to come to their own conclusions
Costa Rica, a project called “New Methodological Options and offer their own thoughts about the environment. The
for Multigrade Schools, Focused on the Environment, with program was done as a drama or a soap opera. Under the
Multimedia Support” was begun by the Costa Rican Min- constraints of a small budget, volunteer boys and girls
istry of Public Education, teachers from seven schools, the were trained and the few hired actors were their guides.
Education Development Center under the LearnTech Proj- The studio time was donated to them once a week. De-
ect, and the Radio Nederland Training Center. spite their financial limitations, they made the program
successful. “Econauts: Mission Nature”, like “Let’s Listen
The schools chosen to take part in the program were all to the Earth”, was interactive in that there is no single an-
from poor regions with environmental problems such as swer in a subject like the environment so the questions
water and air pollution, deforestation, and animal extinc- were open for many correct responses. The children inter-
tion. Although this small Latin American country has acted with the program through drawings and observa-
been somewhat successful in helping the environment, tions. The characters themselves asked for the children’s
they still have a long way to go. Costa Rica has misused opinions and the teacher could stop the tape at any time to
many of its natural resources and with its population discuss different topics.
growing, there is increasing demand for those resources. It
has also contaminated its land by using chemical fertiliz-
ers, more so than larger countries such as Canada and the
US. TV gives everyone an image,
but radio gives birth to a million images in a
The other issue facing Costa Rica’s educational system million brains.
and the LearnTech project is the multigrade classroom. Peggy Noonan
U.S. author
Approximately 70 percent of all schools have only one or
two teachers while 30 percent of primary school students
attend multigrade schools. Throughout much of the devel-

! 27 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

Teachers were trained for the project via distance learning.
They were taught how to make lesson plans for a multi- SELECTED REFERENCES
grade class, rather than one lesson plan for each grade
level. Soon, students were working independently with the Bates, Tony. Technology, Open Learning and Distance
help of books and tapes, as well as materials such as clay Education. New
that could be found locally. Because of its environmental York: Routledge, 1995.
focus, families and communities became involved as stu-
dents learned from their surroundings. Students began Deen, Thalif. “Third World Favours Radio Over Internet.”
working together as an entire class, learning from one Internet. Accessed from:
another and not just from the teacher. By making educa-
tion relevant to the student’s life, learning took place, as .html
well as an increase in self-esteem and self-respect. The
children involved in the environment program looked for “Illiteracy A Barrier to Net Access.” NUA. Internet. Ac-
ways to help the environmental situation in their villages cessed from
and towns. Some suggested digging a waste dump to bury
garbage while others suggested starting a recycling pro- =true
gram in their area.
Moulton, Jeanne. Interactive Radio Instruction: Broad-
Into the Future ening the Definition.. LearnTech Case Study No. 1. Janu-
ary 1994.
Radio technology has been keeping up with the diverse
demands. The transistor radio has been one of the greatest _______. “USAID’s Development Experience System.”
innovations and now is the solar-powered crank. In the Information compiled by Anne Langhaug, USAID Re-
near future, we may begin to see digital radios and digital search and Reference Systems: 4 May 1999.
recording devices used in the classroom where interactiv-
ity, yet again, takes on a new definition. Students and Vargas, German. “Multichannel Approaches in the Multi-
teachers will be able to be truly interactive by digitally grade Classroom.” In Multichannel Learning: Connecting
sending messages to one another, as one would be able to All to Education. (Steve Anzalone, Editor). Washington,
in an Internet environment. Radio may turn out to be one D.C.: Education Development Center, 1995.
of the most cost-effective technologies in the future to
reach a global audience in need of knowledge and edu-

vision program about educating winds up and one full crank can last
Africans about AIDS. The TV an hour. The crank motion creates
commentator observed that in many tension in a clock-like spring that
No Electricity, No Batteries regions radio was the only available powers the generator in the radio
media, but the need that, in turn, pro-
One evening, in 1993, Trevor Balis, for batteries or elec- vides electricity.
tricity made them too The solar panel
expensive or too dif- stores the energy for
ficult to access. There the radio. In direct
was, therefore, the sunlight, the radio
need for an educa- switches to solar
tional tool neither power automatically.
print nor electricity-
based. Within 3
months, Trevor in-
vented a clockwork (windup) radio!
The crank radio is solar powered as
well as self powered. It needs no
an English inventor, watched a tele- batteries or electricity to work. It

! 28 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

Bringing Education by Television to Rural Areas

Throughout its thirty years of operation, Mexico’s TV-based educational program,

Telesecundaria, has been hailed as an innovative and well-managed program, geared to the
poor. This article describes what Telesecundaria is, how it works, what it costs, and why it is

By Claudio de Moura Castro, Laurence Wolff and Norma García

WHAT IS TELESECUNDARIA? rates, since with just three classrooms and three teachers the
complete curriculum can be covered.
Telesecundaria was created over three decades ago, to
respond to the needs of rural Mexican communities where a Telesecundaria has experienced a very substantial growth
general secondary school (grades 7-9) was not feasible, since rate since its inception in 1968. After a reform in 1993 and
the number of students was very low and it was difficult to the introduction of satellite transmission, growth has further
attract teachers. The main characteristics of Telesecundaria increased, from approximately 512,700 in 1993 to 817,200
have always been: by the end of 1997-98 and an estimated 890,400 by the end
of the 1998-1999. In 1968, when the program began
• the use of television to carry most of the teaching load; operating, there were 304 Telesecundaria schools. Ten years
and ago there were 7,289 schools in the system and by the end
• the utilization of one teacher covering all subjects, rather 1997-98 there were 13,054 schools and 38,698 teachers.
than the subject matter specialists used in general (See Table 1.) These numbers are expected to grow, by the
secondary schools. end 1998-99, to 14,101 schools and 42,615 teachers. Current
enrollment is equivalent to 16.6% of total enrollment in
This combination permits the effective installation and grades 7-9. Traditional general schools account for 53.6% of
implementation of these schools in sparsely settled rural the enrollment, technical schools for 28.5% and “workers’
areas that are usually inhabited by less than 2,500 people and schools” for the remaining 1.3%. Telesecundaria is projected
have low primary completion and secondary enrollment to enroll around 1,100,000 students by the year 2004.

Table 1:
Telesecundaria and General Middle Schools: 1997-98
Telesecundaria Schools General Middle Schools

Total number of schools 13,054 8,410

Total number of students enrolled 817,200 2,640,400
Total number of teachers 38,698 166,940
Student/Teacher ratio 21 16
Average number of teachers per school 2.9 19.9
Average number of classrooms per school 3.33 8.9
Average number of students per school 63 314
Student/Class ratio 22 35
Number of school days 200 200
Total number of existing Telesecundaria program
modules 6,500 N/A
Sources: Secretaría de Educación Pública (SEP), Informe de Labores 1997-98.
(SEP), Subsecretaría de Educación Básica, Unidad de Telesecundaria.

! 29 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

On average, the Telesecundaria schools have three teachers – and teacher take over, following detailed instructions on
one for every grade-- and 22 students per grade. Students what to do in the remaining 45 minutes. At first, the teacher
attend school 200 days a year, 30 hours a week. Table 1 asks whether students need to understand better the concepts
summarizes the main characteristics of Telesecundaria and just seen. Then, they might read aloud, apply what was
general secondary schools. taught in practical exercises, and participate in a brief
evaluation of what has been learned. To finish, there is a
HOW THE PROGRAM WORKS review of the materials taught. At 9 a.m., another subject
starts, following the same routine.
Educational television has always been a mainstay of the In contrast to traditional school where students use a separate
program throughout its years of operation. Yet, the mode of text for each subject, Telesecundaria students use two types
use of television has evolved and is already in its third of books: a book of basic concepts that provides explanations
generation. At its earlier stages, a regular teacher (“talking of the televised lessons and covers all core subjects, and a
head”) delivered lectures through a television set installed in student learning guide used to engage students in group
classrooms. Books and workbooks were provided to follow activities to apply lesson contents to practical situations.
the television program with exercises, revisions, applications Teachers follow a teacher’s guide that contains instructional
and formative evaluations. The second generation improved strategies and learning objectives. The guide also assists
on the process and created programs with greater variety and teachers in overcoming some of the limitations they may
more sophisticated production techniques. The third and encounter due to the unavailability of teaching materials or
present generation, which began in 1995, deploys a satellite learning tools and provides strategies for adapting the lesson
to beam the program throughout the country and uses a wider to local contexts and individual student needs.
range of styles of delivery. Telesecundaria is now an
integrated and comprehensive program providing a complete Telesecundaria teachers and supervisors also receive in-
package of distance and in-person support to students and service training through televised programs that are
teachers. It puts teachers and students on the screen, brings broadcast during the afternoons or on Saturdays. In
context and practical uses of the concepts taught and addition, Telesecundaria is implementing a training program
extensively uses images and available clips to illustrate and designed to “update” teachers on teaching techniques and
help students. It enables schools to deliver the same materials. This program is estimated to have benefited
secondary school curriculum offered in traditional schools. 38,698 teachers in 1998.

The Scenario Costs

The programs are aired from 8:00AM to 2:00PM and Table 2 summarizes the unit cost breakdown of
repeated from 2:00PM to 8:00PM to a second shift of Telesecundaria, based on Calderoni, compared with
students. At eight o’clock the teachers in all of the estimates of costs of general secondary schools. Some
Telesecundaria schools in Mexico turn on the TV. The elements of these unit costs appear to be lower for 1998-99,
students then watch 15 minutes of television. At the end of due to an increase in enrollment and an apparent class size
the TV session, the set is turned off and the book, workbook, increase from 60 to 63 students. This results in the reduction

Table 2:
Comparative Annual Costs per Student of Telesecundaria and General Middle Schools (1997US$)

Telesecundaria Telesecundaria General Schools Technical Schools

1996-97 1998-99 (est.)* 1996-97** 1996-7
Investment Costs
Television- 57.8 50.1 N/A N/A
Start-up & 65.9 63.1 20.9 N/A
Recurrent Costs 430.9 413.4 456.2 534.5
Total Costs 554.6 526.6 477.1 N/A
Sources: Telesecundaria 1996-97 figures, p.9 Calderoni (1998). Telesecundaria 1998-99 figures and general and technical schools
figures based on SEP (1998).
*Based on Calderoni, with enrollment estimates for 1998-99 provided by SEP as follows, enrollment increases from 767,700 in 1996-97 to
890,400 in 1998-99 and average school size increases from 60 to 63.
**Annualized investment cost assumes a 35:1 student/class ratio.

! 30 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

of television-related annual costs per student, such as module Cost of Televised Programs.
production, start up and other facilities costs and recurrent The Telesecundaria Unit (Unidad Telesecundaria) includes
costs. teachers, and communication and pedagogical experts and is
in charge of the instructional model, curriculum contents,
Calderoni did not compare Telesecundaria’s costs with the teacher training and text production. The Educational Unit
costs of normal urban secondary schools. However, data (Unidad de Televisión Educativa) produces the TV programs
provided by Secretaría de Educación Pública (SEP) show and the Instituto Latinoamericano de la Comunicación
that the unit recurrent costs in 1996 were $456 for general Educativa (ILCE), is responsible for their programming and
secondary schools and $535 for technical schools. These broadcasting. On average, it takes approximately 20 days to
figures do not include depreciation for school construction. produce a 15-minute module that costs between $30,000 to
In this same estimate the recurrent cost of Telesecundaria is $50,000. The average cost of programs per school is
estimated at $471 per student. The fact that Telesecundaria $2,134. A program is usually kept in stock until significant
is no more than 16% more expensive per student is changes in the subject content or pedagogy are made and
surprising since the student/class ratio in Telesecundaria is they usually last for five to ten years. Pro-rated over eight
23:1 rather than the average 35 to 40:1 in urban secondary years, the yearly cost of programs per student is estimated at
schools, and since the costs of television product material as $27. To this figure must be added the unit costs of
well as the costs of transmission hardware are considerable. provision of televisions, antennas, etc. to schools. As noted
above, the Telesecundaria annualized investment cost per
Teacher and Administration Costs. student for the 1998-99 school year is estimated at $113.
The student-teacher ratio in a general middle school is 16:1.
This relatively low ratio is a result of the fact that there are Cost of Books.
twelve different disciplines in the Mexican secondary school Each Telesecundaria book covers 50 days of schooling, so
curricula, each of which is taught by a different teacher. four books of each type are provided to each student to cover
Clearly, unless the schools are very large, it is practically the 200 classes offered during the year. The students receive
impossible to avoid a lower number of teaching periods than the books at no charge, but are expected to return the books
is the norm. The result is that, while students have about 35 in good condition. There is a fee of $0.35 per book if a
periods of class per week, the average teacher more than student does not return the book or returns it in bad
likely has 20-25 teaching periods, much lower than the condition. The unit cost per book is $1.30 compared to
expected 35 periods. On the other hand, Telesecundaria $8.00 in general secondary schools.
schools operate with one single teacher (a “home teacher”)
dealing with all disciplines of the corresponding three grades Cost of General Secondary Schools in Rural Areas.
instead of having one teacher for each discipline. This means While Telesecundaria is more expensive than urban
that the number of students in a class is about equal to the secondary schools, a more appropriate comparison would be
student teacher ratio. In a few cases of very small with the cost of a general secondary school in a rural area. In
communities, the same teacher simultaneously deals with principle, the cost would be prohibitive, since a school of 60
more than one grade. Although the average number of students would require 12 teachers, for a 5:1 student teacher
students attending Telesecundaria schools is 63, some ratio, as well as a full laboratory and administrative
Telesecundaria schools are able to operate with just a few personnel. This would mean running costs nearly four times
dozen students in total. that of Telesecundaria. Even after subtracting the unit costs
of television programs, the cost would still be three times as
Cost of Physical Facilities. great.
Most of the Telesecundaria buildings (85%) consist of three
rooms, restrooms, a science lab, a small library, a playground IMPACT OF TELESECUNDARIA
and a small piece of land used for farming purposes. The
average per student cost of building three Telesecundaria Effectiveness
classrooms is $627. In comparison, the average per student
cost of constructing the nine classrooms in a general There are two ways to measure effectiveness of
secondary school is estimated at $336. But these figures do Telesecundaria, through analysis of flow rates and through
not include libraries, science laboratories, or workshops. The achievement testing. An analysis of flow rates appears in
costs for physical facilities of technical secondary schools are Table 3.
significantly higher than both Telesecundaria and general
secondary schools. Flow rates in Telesecundaria are slightly better than those of
general secondary schools, and significantly better than
technical schools. At first sight, this is a counter-intuitive
finding. After all, this is a school catering to the poor,

! 31 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

Table 3
Efficiency Indicators

Telesecundaria General Secondary Technical

Schools Schools Schools
Percentage of students completing 79.4 78.8 56.5
9th grade
Average number of student- year 3.5 3.6 4.9
per graduate
Source: IDB estimates (1998).

predominantly located in rural areas, where we would expect a pilot basis in a few states. Here, we could expect increases
the worst performance in the ability of the school to prevent in student scores of 5-10%, as well as a 1% increase in flow
its students from dropping out. The rates. However, without any changes, the
explanation offered by Telesecundaria costs would be 16% higher. An alternative
officials is that there is strong would be to consider modestly increasing
involvement of local communities, the The “value added” of the Telesecundaria student/teacher ratio,
use of single teachers who are much learning is higher in say to 25:1, therefore reducing significantly
closer to students, (instead of one Telesecundaria than in the cost difference. Another approach
teacher per discipline) and the quality of might be to use Telesecundaria in only
the delivery are factors which encourage
general schools selected cases, such as math and science,
retention. where conventional teaching would be
More importantly, data will shortly be available for the first
time comparing achievement. The SEP’s Dirección General WHY IS TELESECUNDARIA A SUCCESS?
de Evaluación gave tests to the first, second, and third year of
Telesecundaria, general middle schools, and technical middle Telesecundaria goes against the grain of Latin American
schools, covering the primary school curriculum, designed to school tradition. It constitutes one of the very few programs
see how these students improve their mastery of a curriculum in which the poor receive a better-conceived and better-
that they should have already known. The results showed managed program than urban middle and upper socio-
that Telesecundaria students start significantly behind other economic classes.
students but catch up completely in math and cut the deficit
in half in language. It strongly suggests that the “value Why is this an exception to a pattern of high endogeny
added” of learning is higher in Telesecundaria than in between schools and their students? Telesecundaria goes
general schools. Interestingly it also confirms previous against the grain of general schools. It takes away more
research around the world that the school is more important degrees of freedom from the teacher than is acceptable to
for the teaching of mathematics than it is for the teaching of pedagogues both on grounds of pedagogical doctrine or
language. ingrained habits of conventional schools. It replaces the
lectures of the teachers and structures the remaining
Cost-Effectiveness classroom time. The book, which is closely linked with each
individual class, ensures that each minute of class time is
Cost-effectiveness is usually measured comparing two used according to what it prescribes. The moment the teacher
different treatments of the same or similar populations. In turns off the TV set (which is exactly the time other grades
the case of Telesecundaria, there are two different turn on theirs), the teacher is supposed to follow a pre-
populations, urban and rural children, and therefore we need ordained routine. Administrators indicate that students read a
to examine cost-effectiveness on a hypothetical basis. One minimum of 14 pages each day, supposedly far more than
approach would be to see if conventional secondary schools regular students.
could be instituted in rural areas. The result, as discussed
above, would be a cost of 3 to 4 times the cost of Super-teachers can do better with their own imagination and
Telesecundaria, as well as lower student achievement. So personal style. They can deploy their own bag of tricks and
the cost-effectiveness ratio from this point of view is infinite. probe students to rediscover the physical world and invent
novel and creative ways to teach. But very few teachers have
Another approach would be to consider establishing these skills, the preparation, the available time and the
Telesecundaria in urban areas. This is being undertaken on initiative to conduct such a class. The overwhelming

! 32 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

majority – and an even larger proportion of the teachers who that a number of schools and classrooms lack TV programs,
end up in rural schools – are unable to deploy such talent and often because of theft and sometimes because of
with such dedication. malfunctioning antennas, making it very difficult to
implement the program. One of the authors visited a school
The circumstances that make this that had operated without TVs for
model possible have much to do The TV programs opened my mind. three years. Furthermore,
with its structure. The first secret is Son of a poor farmer, now a sometimes the books do not get out
these schools did not have to be high-level government official to rural areas in time. Communities
transformed, from a conventional are supposed to replenish materials
into a Telesecundaria. Schools are but sometimes they don’t have the
hard to change. Telesecundaria schools started that way, funds or the desire to do so. Also, there is a need to motivate
created from zero, not adapted. The second is that teachers teachers to remain in schools, since they usually like to leave
are recruited differently. While 60% are fully qualified to these rural areas as soon as possible. Work is needed to
teach in urban schools, 40% are not trained as teachers but ensure that the curriculum increasingly focuses on
university graduates who are directly recruited. Those developing critical thinking. There is discussion of a new
wishing to become Telesecundaria teachers, according to course in personal ethics and health that would replace the
Calderoni, need to be explicitly interested in the process, old civics course.
have a community orientation, and be willing to live in rural
areas. By definition these schools have more committed Finally, Telesecundaria by definition suffers from rigidity
professionals. because of scheduling. Experiments are already underway
with an Internet based system that would allow teachers and
Being rural and isolated from the conventional habits of students to view programs at different times and to view
general schools makes easier the task of using methods program repeats. More than likely, the long-run future of
which impose high levels of control. The low status of the Telesecundaria would be web-based to give it far more
students and the localities where they live take these schools flexibility. In the meantime, it remains a well-run,
away from the limelight, attention is more personalized and television-based program cost-effectively serving vulnerable
the staff follows the students more closely. rural populations.
Of course, Telesecundaria is not perfect and there is
anecdotal evidence of problems. For example, it is reported

The authors are grateful to Jose Caldaroni for his article (1998), and to Carola Alvarez, Marcelo Cabrol, and Natanael
Carro Bello for the valuable inputs. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the official position of the
Inter-American Development Bank

Arena, Eduardo. 1992. Actualización del cálculo del costo Encinas, Rosario. 1983. Evolución del sistema nacional de
de la Telesecundaria Mexicana. In Educación a Distancia Telesecundaria. In Televisión y enseñanza media en
en América Latina: Un análisis de costo-efectividad, eds. México: El caso de Telesecundaria, eds. A. Montoya and
J. Batista Aráujo e Oliveira and G. Rumble. Instituto de M.A. Rebeil. Mexico: CNTE-GEFE.
Desarrollo Económico. Washington, D.C.: The World
Bank. Noguez, Antonio. 1983. “La Telesecundaria,” Prospectiva
de la Telesecundaria Educativa al año 2000. Mexico:
Calderoni, José. 1998. Telesecundaria: Using TV to Bring ILCE-GEFE.
Education to Rural Mexico. Education and Technology
Notes Series. Volume 3, No.2. Washington, D.C.: The Secretaría de Educación Pública (SEP). 1998. Informe de
World Bank. Labores:1997-98. Mexico: SEP.

Castro, Claudio de Moura, ed. 1998. Education in the

Information Age. Washington, D.C.: Inter-American
Development Bank.

! 33 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

Ghana: The TELECENTER Concept
How you can use a computer
without owning one One model for providing public access that is growing rap-
idly around the world is the telecenter. The idea has a close
parallel to the early days of telephones. In those days, only
By Mary Fontaine and Dennis Foote
the elite had their own telephones, so society evolved the
The LearnLink Project, Academy for
concept of public telephones, which anyone could use, pay-
Educational Development (AED)
ing only the cost of their actual use. Similarly, telecenters
are public places where people can come to use computers
(LearnLink, USAID Contract HNE-I-00-96-00018- when they need them.
00, is funded by the Human Capacity Development
Center in the Global Bureau, the Africa Bureau, and In practice, the telecenter model is very diverse. Some
other Bureaus, offices and missions, and is oper-
ated by AED.)
charge for services, but some are free. Some are connected
to the Internet and some are stand-alone. Some are commer-
cial and some are not-for-profit. Some exist primarily to
serve businesses and some to serve the rank-and-file popula-
tion. Some specialize in training in software applications
One of the fundamental dilemmas and helping new users, while others focus on serving experi-
that have emerged alongside the de- enced users who want to come in and do email, participate in
velopment of new information and online distance education, or play computer games. Some
are in bus stops, others are in pizza parlors or libraries or
communication technologies is how shopping malls. Some are large with many machines and
to insure equitable access to the employees, while the smallest ones consist of a single un-
staffed computer kiosk.
benefits of those technologies. In
most developing countries, it is not The Activity in Ghana
reasonable, for a long time to come,
One interesting project in Ghana is exploring the practicality
to expect that the industrial world’s of non-governmental organizations, or NGOs, establishing
model of private ownership of com- self-sustaining telecenters. NGOs represent a potentially im-
puters will prevail. In the meantime, portant category of telecenter operators, because they bring
to the table a concern for social issues and community devel-
it behooves us all to help ensure that opment. In Ghana, the LearnLink Project is working with
even poor people have access to three local NGOs to test this approach:
computers and to the benefits that • Partners for the Internet in Education (PIE), a new asso-
come from their use. We cannot af- ciation of primary and secondary school teachers based
ford to live in a world in which the in the greater Accra region;
dominant technology widens the gap • The Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP),
between rich and poor. The problem based in Kumasi and engaged in building human capac-
before us is to find a way for people ity through training programs; and

who do not own their own computer • The Central Region Development Commission
to participate fully in modern socie- (CEDECOM), which focuses on small-scale enterprise,
rural housing, and tourism development in Cape Coast.
ties and economies.
Empowerment: Networking for Local Development is the
theme chosen by the NGOs to describe their new Community

! 34 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

Information Center (CIC) initiative. With USAID support which was organized for a medical practitioners association
provided by LearnLink, the CICs are offering an array of in Kumasi.
communications and education technologies, including ac-
cess to the Internet, to residents in three Ghanaian communi-
ties. The NGOs manage and run the Centers while Learn-
Link’s Resident Advisor and staff in Washington, D.C. lend “The CEDEP CLC made its first in-
their expertise to ensure that the Centers operate with appro-
priate, state-of-the-art applications, have a good shot at come of two thousand cedis [USD
sustainability, and achieve measurable impact on community
needs and priorities.
$0.78] . . . from two e-mails sent
by the Pan-Africa Arts Festival
One of the greatest strengths of the CIC program is its focus
on training. To prepare the Center staff to run the Centers Secretariat”
and the host NGOs to manage them, LearnLink’s Resident
Advisor, Jonnie Akakpo, has offered training courses on
computer literacy, Internet orientation, word processing,
spreadsheets, presentation graphics and other software appli- Policies for Financial Sustainability
cations, as well as web site development, accounting, the
development of business plans, training methodologies, and This approach sets a solid foundation for the ultimate
presentation skills. sustainability of the centers, which will count largely on cli-
ent fees to operate when external funding ends. As commu-
To engage the community, the host NGOs have offered nity needs are identified and CIC services are geared to meet
similar training opportunities to the public. The response has them, the NGOs are designing realistic pricing and usage
been enthusiastic, demonstrating the potential of the CIC policies. At CEDEP, for example, a four-tiered pricing policy
activity. During one three-month period, for example, 70 has been adopted, with students and teachers at the lowest
clients registered for programs at the CEDEP NGO, includ- end followed by NGOs and community-based organizations,
ing 45 males and 25 females, among whom 53 were students public and civic servants, and the business community.

To date, the most promising CIC income-generating activity

is the provision of email accounts and Internet access. Two
of the three NGOs in Ghana earned their first income by pro-
viding email and Internet access to local businesses. Things
start small -- as Jonnie Akakpo initially reported, “The
CEDEP CLC made its first income of two thousand cedis
[USD $0.78] . . . from two e-mails sent by the Pan-Africa
Arts Festival Secretariat” -- but they grow. In a recent
month, one of the centers earned the equivalent of over USD
$5,000 from user fees, greatly strengthening the conviction
that the centers will ultimately be able to sustain themselves.
To facilitate long-term sustainability, fee and management
structures are being put into place, and community involve-
ment, as well as increased collaboration with the private
sector, is actively promoted.
and teachers and the rest administrators and technicians.
Programs of interest included computer literacy, Internet Ultimately, it is hoped that the CICs will evolve to meet the
orientation and self-tutoring typing. multimedia needs of a variety of organizations, companies
and individuals throughout the country. To ensure relevance
Jonnie Akakpo and the NGOs also have organized public to constituent priorities, needs assessments are being con-
seminars on topics of interest, including “Y2K: Origin, ducted to identify products and services in demand, and CIC
Myths, Realities and Solutions” and “The Internet and its staff are trained to help visitors become familiar with the
Benefits to Society.” Both have been well attended, indi- technologies, resources and services offered at the Centers.
cating the growing market for computer and Internet aware- The three NGOs are working to create a CIC environment
ness among the Ghanaian population. More focused semi- that is conducive to learning and arrange staff training in
nars are being designed, as well, to meet the specific needs of management, computer operations and outreach. They also
community constituents. An example that targets the busi- have established monitoring mechanisms to measure initial
ness community is “The Computer as a Tool in Medicine,” demand and will work with LearnLink staff to collect base-

! 35 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

line data and create an evaluation tool to assess the impact of tion at the local and national levels. At the CEDEP opening,
the CICs on community learning systems. for example, held in Cape Coast, over 150 people attended
the celebration, including dignitaries, academics, students,
Practical Lessons of Technical and Social business people, CEDEP’s NGO partners, the press and peo-
ple from all walks of life.
Good relations with community and government are an-
Access to computers, the Internet and email is a new phe- other crucial lesson. Not only does involving them help to
nomenon in Ghana. As such, LearnLink’s Resident Advisor secure their support, but it garners lots of good publicity as
wisely set prerequisite technical criteria before allowing well. In one inauguration, the Minister of Communication
the installation of the computer equipment in the NGO fa- pledged his support for the CICs. Stressing Ghana’s entry
cilities. He was concerned with space suitability and the se- into the computer age, the Ministry of Education representa-
curity of the area, as well as the provision of furniture, the tive urged students to make good use of the facilities to en-
installation of telephone lines, and air conditioning. One hance their performance and to learn about computers and
NGO balked at the need to carpet the room containing the the Internet. The Queen mother of Mampong Kronko, Nana
computers, for example, though it acquiesced when Mr. Aboagyewaa Kente, cut the tape to the CIC facility. The
Akakpo explained that carpeting was needed to absorb dust launch was widely covered by local and national media, with
that otherwise would be freely circulating in the room. Of interviews on FM radio stations, television news spots and
particular concern was the adequate supply of electrical print media articles announcing the opening and potential of
power, which he ascertained through voltage readings. To the CIC.
date, two of the three NGOs have passed Mr. Akakpo’s in-
Looking Ahead
Another lesson already learned is the importance of engag-
ing a local champion with extraordinary commitment, en- These successful activities are building on the contributions
thusiasm, endurance and patience, as well as competent tech- of many players. In these early phases, external support has
nical expertise and an understanding of local conditions and been vital. As the demand for such activities and the finan-
ways of life. In Ghana, the project has benefited greatly cial self-sustainability is demonstrated, we are optimistic that
from Jonnie Akakpo’s savvy technical, cultural and manage- other NGOs and local entrepreneurs will step forward to help
rial insights. The inaugurations of Ghana’s CICs have been the concept grow, providing an access route for all Ghana-
joyous occasions, welcomed with excitement and anticipa ians to participate in the benefits of the technology.

! 36 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

Web Based Learning
@ Developing Countries
Web-based instruction will revolutionize learning in developing countries. Its
impact is likely to be greater than the introduction of printed books. This
article will explain how the web can facilitate learning in developing
countries, its main advantages and disadvantages, and its costs.
By Gregg B. Jackson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Coordinator
Education Policy Program, George Washington University

What Is the Web? future.

• High school and college students everywhere soon
The Web (short for the World Wide Web) is a global could have access to advanced mathematics, science,
network of thousands of "server" computers connected by and technology courses even if the local teachers and
telecommunications. Together, the server computers store professors are not adequately trained.
four types of resources that are particularly useful for • Promising young government officials can earn
learning. They contain the largest library in the world, masters and doctoral degrees from some of the best
with a huge collection of text, data, graphics, audio universities in the world without leaving their jobs.
recordings, video, and computer software, which can be • Business people, seated in their offices, can study
viewed and transferred to the user's own computer. They worldwide market opportunities and soon will be able
have thousands of search tools such as indexes, to take language instruction that perfects their
directories, "search engines," and "hotlinks" to help users pronunciation and grammar.
find what they want on the web and even off the web. • Technicians can keep up with rapidly changing
They run interactive software that permits users to technology and get almost instant help with complex
practice complex tasks with simulations and take quizzes problems from suppliers.
that automatically report the score and debrief the learner. • Doctors will soon learn the latest life-saving
Finally, the servers allow direct communication between procedures at their local hospitals.
web users, by means of "bulletin board" discussions,
simultaneous "chat" exchanges, and "video conferencing"
that allows distant users to see and hear each other as they What Are the Advantages of Web-Based
interact. Learning?

How Can the Web Facilitate Learning in Web-based instruction combines the capabilities of books,
Developing Countries? filmstrips, radio, television, and instructional software. It also
adds access to the vast resources stored on thousands of
The following are some of the ways: servers, sophisticated search tools, and communication among
two or more people located at great distances. For most
• Soon many of the world's journals and books purposes, the user can use the web at whatever time is
will be "downloadable" in less than an hour, convenient for him or her, without regard for time zone
translated into any of the major languages. differences. Each can proceed at his or her own pace. For
several, but not all purposes, it is much less expensive than
• Elementary students can now travel by the web
to other lands, seeing and talking with other other options available to developing countries.
children, sharing customs and hopes for the

! 37 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

What Are the Limitations of Web-Based Four other "hidden costs" should be considered. First, there is
Learning? the cost of training staff to use the computers and to access the
web. Minimum training requires only 1-2 days, and is available
Reliable electric and telephone services are currently in books and tutorials provided with many computers. To be
required, but they may not be in another few years. There moderately expert in accessing the web will require 4-5 days of
is a great deal of high quality information and instruction study and practice. Second, there is the cost of repairs after
available on the web, the warrantee period (which is usually 1 year).
but there is also much Web-based instruction Malfunctions are most commonly experienced during
false information, combines the capabili- the first year, but during each of the following four
years about 1/10 of the equipment will need some
dangerous information, ties of books, filmstrips, repair. Third, there is the cost resulting from computer
and poor instruction
available, and learners radio, television, and and web technology changing so rapidly that today's
often have difficulty instructional software state of the art computers probably will not be suitable
judging the quality. for accessing the web five years from now. Finally,
Many people find it although most web sites can be accessed at no charge,
fascinating to explore the web and some waste much time some charge access fees and some charge fees for particular
doing so without learning much. Most of the text is in services such as training or university degree programs offered
English, although there are now web-based translators for at a distance through the web.
several major languages. Overwhelmingly, the content
currently represents western culture and thinking. The The base-costs are substantial expenses for developing
costs of web-based instruction are currently too high for countries, but should be judged in consideration of the
widespread use in elementary and secondary education, but following. First, for any computer with web connection that is
may be justified to supplement the curriculum in high not being used full-time,
priority areas for which there are not enough the base cost for
qualified teachers. Five years from now, the additional use is usually
costs are likely to be half only a few dollars a
month. Second, several
When Will This Be Available in of what they are today. people can rotate using
Developing Countries? one computer for
learning. Third, web-based learning will usually be far less
Several of the above-indicated examples are already on the expensive than sending local people abroad for education or
web and the others are likely to be available within two training, or for bringing outside experts into the country.
years. Web access is already common in the ministry Finally, the modern history of both computers and
offices, large companies, and universities of developing telecommunications is one of continually increasing capabilities
countries. All that is needed is a personal computer (a and declining costs. Five years from now, the costs are likely
"PC" or "Mac" desktop or laptop computer), browser to be half of what they are today.
software such as Netscape or Internet Explorer, electrical
service, a telephone line free of background noises, and an More on Web-Based Learning
"Internet Service Provider" (ISP). Within a few years,
satellite communication will provide access to most remote In the coming issues of TechKnowLogia we will have a series
parts of the globe, and will operate with small batteries that of articles on various forms of web-based learning in
can be recharged by solar electric panels. developing countries. These will include graduate degree
programs offered at a distance by major universities, learning
What Does It Cost? resources to help ministry officials with their job
responsibilities, skill upgrade opportunities for technical and
An adequate desktop computer with the needed browser professional workers, supplementation of the elementary and
software now costs about $1,200, and prices are dropping. secondary school curriculums, and resources to aid business
A printer costs about $200 more. The equipment uses persons. If there are other applications of web-based education
about 100-200 watts of electricity. The costs of telephone that you would like covered, please inform us.
service and Internet service vary considerably from country
to country.

! 38 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

Laurence Wolff

In 1974 Wilbur Schramm and others at Stanford University completed a major
study on instructional technology. Twenty-five years later, the conclusions of
that study may still be relevant. Below is a matrix of conclusions from that
study compared to tentative conclusions for 1999.

1974 1999

Students usually learned as much from an instructional technology This continues to be true, but there are now elements of curriculum
as from classroom teaching (this applied to cognitive skills only). which may be taught more effectively by technology than by con-
ventional instruction (e.g., simulations, foreign language)

There was no general learning superiority for one type of technol- This still appears to be true. However it may be that interactive
ogy over another. technologies (e.g. Internet, CD-ROM) will be found to be more
effective than traditional radio and television (but these can simu-
late interactivity).

The addition of another channel of instruction, for example print Still true. Now defined as multi-channel instruction.
plus television, usually improved instruction.

Motivated students learned from any instructional technology if it Still true.

was competently used and adapted to their needs

Costs of Different Technologies

1974 1999

The costs of instructional television (ITV) ranged from $.015 to Hardware and communication costs, especially of radio and televi-
$.15 per student served. The lower limit could be reached if a mil- sion, have declined significantly and will continue to decline.
lion students were located in a relatively small region. The costs of
instructional radio were about one fifth the costs of television.

Computer aided instruction (CAI) was so expensive that it was not Costs of computers have declined so much that generalized instruc-
feasible except on a pilot basis. tion by computers is now feasible. Off-the-shelf software especially
for drill and practice is now inexpensive. Nonetheless costs are still
significant and investment tradeoffs must be made.

Inexpensive technologies, especially radio, were as cost-effective as This is still true.

more expensive technologies.

A third media channel (Internet), in addition to radio and television,

is now available with its own particular cost structure.

! 39 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

Technology for Extending the School (e.g., distance education)

1974 1999
Students usually learned as much from distance programs as from This remains true. In addition, there may now be elements of cur-
conventional instruction. riculum which can be taught more effectively by technology than
by conventional instruction.
These programs cost less than conventional classroom instruction. Cost savings through distance education should be even greater
than in the past.
Distance education programs offered opportunities that would nor- The increased number of instructional technology options means
mally not be available because of cost, logistics, or staffing prob- that there are even more opportunities than before, especially in
lems. They were usually successful because separate and new in- higher education, for distance education.
stitutions were established.

Technology for in School Reform and Change

1974 1999
The high visibility of an instructional technology, when it This continues to be true. Instructional technology can play a
was used to provide a significant portion of curriculum con- major role in achieving curriculum reform objectives such as
tent, made it a strong catalyst for curriculum and pedagogical increased higher order cognitive skills. Also, there is now an
reform. opportunity to make the teacher less of a provider of knowl-
edge and more a manager of learning, increasingly focusing
for example on motivation and on remediation.
To be successful, technology programs required strong sup- These steps continue to be fundamental to ensure success of
port from the top, acceptance and understanding by teachers, technology projects.
focused usage, integration into the overall system of instruc-
tion, and phased introduction, as a means of overcoming
bureaucratic and pedagogical conservatism.
No direct cost savings through technology were identified. While start-up costs are significant, there is growing evi-
dence that total costs can be reduced through increased
learning, reduced repetition, and possibly higher student
teacher ratios.
There were few demonstrable effects on learning when tech- This is probably also the case now.
nology was used to "enrich" curriculum that was teacher

1974 1999
The most important need for developing countries was to conceptu- With the rush to introduce technology throughout and the increased
alize their educational objectives and problems and then to choose number of options, the need to define educational objectives and
the most cost-effective system--which could include various tech- problems before selecting technologies becomes even more impor-
nologies--to achieve their goals and deal with their problems. tant than before.
No single technology could solve all problems, and variation in This is still fundamental.
learning was more dependent on how a technology was managed,
organized and presented in context rather than which one was used.

What's changed: increased flexibility and interactivity of technology; much greater choice; and much lower costs.
What hasn't changed: can't start with the technology, must start with the educational problem; costs are still a major issue;
distance education works; technology can be a powerful tool for reform at the classroom level but bureaucratic inertia must be
overcome, incentives changed and teachers adequately trained and motivated.

! 40 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

The Impact of Video Technology
in Education:
From Here to Where?
A Review of the Literature by Sonia Jurich

Why Video Technology

Children are growing up in a world continuously besieged by visual stimuli coming from devices such as television,
videos and, more recently, computers. Although this exposure is marred by complaints from parents and adults in
general, Neisser (1997) suggests that it may be one of the factors behind the ongoing worldwide rise in intelligence
scores. The fast and ever growing popularity of visual media around the world can be explained, at least in part, by
human reliance on images as a way to think and communicate. Indeed, visual perception plays a major role in the
human process of apprehending the world and making sense of it. Neisser (1967) proposes that the cognitive process
begins with icons, or mental images of stimuli stored for further processing. Research on working memory advances
the concept of visuo-spatial sketchpads where the information is stored as mental images (Baddeley, 1986). Moreo-
ver, "An image has the advantage of an immediate, global and integrated package of information that cannot be con-
structed as rapidly by touch, or by written or spoken descriptions." (Mathewson, 1999, p. 35)

It is not surprising then, that educational environments increasingly rely on visual media to improve learning. A
1997 survey of the use of television and video in North American schools reveals a strong acceptance of multimedia
in the classroom. Ninety-two percent of the teachers interviewed considered that television and video helped them to
be more effective teachers, and 88 percent responded that the technology enabled them to be more creative. In addi-
tion, almost 80 percent observed highly positive student outcomes as a result of their classroom use of video technol-
ogy (Corporation for Public Broadcasting, 1997). Across the globe, even in countries where electronics are not
prominent industries, television and video are quickly becoming household items and important tools for learning.

The Impact of Video Technology heard, associating visual and auditory stimuli as a tool to
expand vocabulary. At the same time, the students were ac-
quiring basic scientific concepts. The children's enthusiasm
Clovis (1997) describes her use of video to help foreign-
led some parents to use the videotapes at home to learn Eng-
born children learn English in an elementary school in lish. In addition, students developed their own lessons based
the United States. Equipped with a regular television and on the videos, and volunteered as peer tutors for younger
video recorder set, Clovis obtained educational programs non-English speaking children. Clovis observed that, after
produced by the public broadcasting network. Before introducing the videos in her classroom, the students in-
showing the program to her class, she assigned specific tasks creased their English proficiency in shorter periods of time.
to the children. For instance, the students should raise their
hands when seeing primary colors in a program about color,
Video technology also helps bridge the gap between the
or hearing specific sounds in a program about acoustics. At
that moment, the tape was paused and the class participated school's artificial environment and the outside
in activities related to the topic. The students watched video world, bringing "reality" into the classroom. An example is
segments with and without the sound -- to improve their the pioneer program developed by Jones & Taff (1986) to
hearing and speech skills, and would write about the segment train vocational education students in banking operations.
-- to practice their verbal and written skills. The use of The instructors could not place the students as clerk interns
close-caption enabled the children to see the words being because the banks required actual work experience for the

! 41 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

position. To overcome this obstacle, the instructors added a models with their own teaching to better understand their
camera to their video equipment and filmed an actual clerk weaknesses and strengths and make necessary improve-
working at a local bank so that students could analyze the ments.
tasks involved, the potential problems during a day's work
and ways to solve the problems. Next, the instructors Another advantage of video technology is its outreach
videotaped the students role-playing common bank-related power. Maheshwari & Raina (1998) employed an Interac-
tasks, such as the opening of new accounts. The perform- tive Television system (ITV) to provide training for primary
ance was then analyzed by the group with suggestions for school teachers as part of a governmental initiative to expand
improvement. According to the authors, after the videos elementary education to all children in India. The project is a
were incorporated into the lessons, the program placement joint effort between the Indira Gandhi Open University and
rates increased from 70 to 93 percent over a two-year period the Indian Space Research Organisation. It combine two-way
(Jones and Taff, 1986). video and audio interaction broadcasted via satellite, pre-
recorded videotape instruction and face-to-face interaction
In the teaching of science and mathematics, videos can with facilitators at the remote sites. Through the technology,
strengthen the connection between the abstract con- a larger number of teachers, including those located in re-
cepts and principles learned in class and their con- mote areas, were able to receive instruction directly from the
crete application in everyday life, as recommended by the experts. This direct line of communication avoided the loss
National Research Council (1996). To help students "visu- of information that commonly occurs in the alternative op-
alize" concepts such as time and acceleration, Escalada & tion considered for the project - the cascade model (whereby,
Zollman (1997) used an Inter Digital training flows down through levels
Video (IDV) technique (combining of less experienced trainers until it
video with computers), that enabled reaches the target group; in the proc-
the students to work with kinematics The capability of using ess, complex information tends to be
graphs. In this experiment, even stu-
dents with limited background in
technology does not en en- lost).

mathematics, science and technology sure that its use will be ap

ap -
showed higher motivation and a better Barshinger and Ray (1998) suggest
understanding of the concepts taught
propriate and that learning the use of video technology to help
in class than the students who did not will occur.
occur teachers prepare students for
work with the IDV programs. field trips. In this experiment, stu-
dents were exposed to a museum
By turning the information into images collection through a two-way audio-visual videoconferencing
that can be replayed whenever necessary, the technology before a field trip to the museum. By using an ITV tech-
gives the learner more control over the information nique, students were able to "walk" through the collection
and empowers the student to set his or her own pace and ask questions to the curators while in their classrooms.
in the learning process. This flexibility has been used The students were then provided with focused tasks for their
with positive results in teacher training and development field trip. According to the authors, the preparatory lesson
programs (Hatfield & Bitter, 1994; Mousley & Sullivan, decreased the excitement that tends to disrupt many field
1996; Lambdin, Duffy & Moore, 1997). These programs use trips, and enabled the students to concentrate on their tasks
video clips to provide prospective teachers with exemplary more effectively, making a better use of their learning expe-
models of instructional methods, classroom management, rience.
innovative techniques, or concept and symbol developments.
The videos include clips of actual instructors at work, inter- The capability of using technology does not ensure that
views with students and instructors about their classroom its use will be appropriate and that learning will oc-
experiences, analyses of the styles and techniques presented cur. Indeed, its use presents extra challenges for the in-
and their rationale, and any other information that helps the structor, who needs to be aware of the potentialities and
trainees to develop an analytical approach to the teaching limitations of the equipment. For instance, Lambdin et al.
process. The technique exposes the trainees to a variety of (1997) describe an experiment in a teaching preparation pro-
model teaching experiences to which they can return when- gram where the videos of actual classroom experiences were
ever necessary. The videotaped lessons also help them be- loaded as the main instructional device during four to five
come familiar with the classroom experience in a controlled, weeks. The final evaluation observed a decline over time in
anxiety-free situation, before they start the field placement. the students' interest and ability to learn from the videos.
The trainees may also be videotaped during their field expe- The authors suggest that the videos should have been inter-
rience and the tape is analyzed with the supervisor. Re- spersed throughout the course for better results.
viewing the tapes, the trainees can compare the exemplary

! 42 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

Issues in the Use of Video Technology class and need to ensure that enough question and answer
time is left within the allotted time. The students will also
need time to overcome the initial fear of a new and still un-
The use of video, as with any new technology or common learning environment (Maheshwari & Raina, 1998).
method, does not come easily to its users. Polin
(1992) suggests four stages in the adoption and integration of
multimedia technology into the classroom: From Here to Where?
• The comfort zone, when the instructor gets acquainted
with the equipment and its operation. Although the literature on the educational use of video tech-
• The disjointed instructional use, when the instructor is nology is growing, the work is still mostly descriptive and
able to work with the technology, but is still unable to the impact of video in the learning process is not
integrate it with his or her instructional goals. conclusive. McNeil & Nelson (1991) conducted a meta-
• The integrated instructional use, when the teacher is analysis of sixty-three studies in ITV and concluded that the
able to integrate the technology into the instructional technology is an effective instructional method. Research
plans, but the technology still drives the plan. also shows that students accept well the use of video tech-
• The transparent integration, when the focus moves from nology in the classroom. Even those who are not familiar
the technology to the content and instructional strategies. with electronic equipment show high motivation to learn, and
At this stage, the technology is no more than one of the the final academic achievement, if not better, is not worse
many tools used by the teacher to accomplish the educa- than that of students in traditional classes. In the process,
tional goals. students become familiar with the technology used, certainly
a secondary gain that must be counted when the programs are
To move beyond the "comfort zone," educators must gain evaluated.
some familiarity with the equipment. Equipment failures
are an ongoing problem reported by instructors and stu- The methods used to evaluate technology-based
dents alike, particularly in the initial stages. The more com- classes require further analysis. Comparing students
plex the equipment, who had access to IDV with those without IDV access, Es-
calada & Zollman (1997) found that the IDV users had better
The introduction of such as those used
in ITV and IDV understanding of the physics concepts taught, but the final
video into the class- systems, the higher exam scores of the two groups were not significantly differ-
the probability of ent. The authors suggest that this finding reflect an inade-
room increases the failures). Continu- quacy in the me66thod chosen to evaluate achievement rather
variables that must be ous technical than a program failure. The method chosen, multiple-choice
tests focus on achievement, while the IDV program empha-
problems will seri-
considered in plan- ously hamper the sized exploration rather than result. In addition, the short
time that was provided to the students to complete the activi-
ning the instructional flow of informa-
ties might have reduced the potential for learning.
tion, and reduce
process. students' enthusi-
asm and motiva- The introduction of video into the classroom increases the
tion. An instructor with good working knowledge of the variables that must be considered in planning the instruc-
technology may be able to deal with most of these problems, tional process. One of these variables is the amount of con-
but the ideal arrangement would include a technician to deal trol the learner has over content and learning strategy. Most
with the more serious failures (McHenry & Bozik, 1997). research in this area has focused on IDV programs. The pro-
grams developed for IDV are either designer-controlled or
A common challenge to the use of video technology, par- learner-controlled. In the designer-controlled model, the
program sets the ways of sequencing and presenting the in-
ticularly ITV, is that it requires more time and co-
formation, while in the learner-controlled model, the learner
ordination than a traditional lecture. The instructor decides which route to take and when to stop the information
needs time to become familiar with the equipment. Time is
flow. An alternative, sometimes called mixed control, is to
also needed for planning and videotaping the lesson to
have instructors coaching students on the most effective
achieve a quality product. If hand-outs are to be distributed,
strategy to break the segments. Research on which model is
they must reach the remote sites before class time, and the
more conducive to student achievement is inconclusive and
instructor must take into account the accessibility of reading
material to be recommended, since the remote site students
findings vary with the types of learners and the
may not have access to libraries. Moreover, the instructor combination between loci of control and other in-
must remember that the remote site students will not have the structional strategies (Hannafin, 1984; Tovar &
opportunity to ask questions beyond the time allotted for Coldevin, 1992; Verhagen & Breman, 1995). An experiment

! 43 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

in the Netherlands found that students tend to cut the seg- tech industry plays a dominant role in the economy. Videos
ments into lengths similar to the programmed segments, but can be powerful tools to reduce class size cost-effectively,
they scored more poorly than the students who used the de- expand school and college outreach, and respond to the spe-
signer-controlled model. Researchers suggest that the need cific needs of different learners. For developing countries,
to control their learning process may have been an extra the use of video is particularly cost effective to bring educa-
buden for the students (Rusman, de Vin, Willemse, Verhagen tion to remote populations and familiarize them with a tech-
& Wieggers, 1997). nology that has become essential for economic growth.
Although not new, the use of video technology in education However, educators need to learn more about the potential of
is still at an exploratory stage. Its potential has not been video technology before it can be used at its fullest.
fully tapped even in industrialized countries, where the high

Bibliography Mathewson, J.H. (1998). Visual-spatial thinking: An aspect of

science overlooked by educators. Science Education, 83 (1): 33-
Baddeley, A.D. (1986). Working memory. Oxford: Oxford Uni- 54
versity Press.
McHenry, L & Bozik, M. (1997). From a distance: Student
Barshinger, T. & Ray, A. (1998). From volcanoes to virtual voices from the interactive video classroom. Techtrends, 42 (6):
tours: Bringing museums to students through videoconferencing 20-24.
technology. In Distance Learning '98: Proceedings of the An-
nual Conference on Distance Teaching & Learning. Madison, McNeil, B.J. & Nelson, K.R. (1991). Meta-analysis of interac-
Wisconsin. tive video instruction: A 10 year review of achievement effects.
Journal of Computer-Based Instruction, 18 (1): 1-6.
Clovis, D.L. (1997). Lights, television, action! Educational
Leadership, 55 (3): 38-40. Mousley, J. & Sullivan, P. (1996). Interactive multimedia as a
resource for preparing teachers for problem-based mathematics
Corporation for Public Broadcasting (1998). Study of school instruction. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Ameri-
uses of television and video. 1996-1997. Washington, DC: can Educational Research Association, New York.
National Research Council (1996). National science education
Escalada, L.T. & Zollman, D.A. (1997). An investigation on the standards. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
effects of using interactive digital video in a physics classroom
on student learning and attitudes. Journal of Research in Science Neisser, U. (1967). Cognitive psychology. New York:
Teaching, 34 (5): 467-489. Appleton-Century-Crofts.

Hannafin, M.J, (1984). Guidelines for using locus of instruc- Neisser, U. (1997). Rising scores on intelligence tests. American
tional cojntrol in the design of computer-assisted instruction. Scientist, 85: 440-447.
Journal of Instructional Development, 7 (3): 6-10. Polin, L. (1992). Changes in teacher's understanding and use of
technology for instruction. Paper presented at the annual confer-
Hatfield, M.M. & Bitter, C.G. (1994). A multimedia approach to ence of the American Educational Research Association. San
professional development of teachers. A virtual classroom. In Francisco, CA.
D.B. Aichele (Ed.), Professional Development for Teachers of
Mathematics. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Rusman, E., de Vin, J. D., Willemse, A., Verhagen, P.W. &
Mathematics (NCTM). Wieggers, M. (1997). Pre-instructional strategies and segment
length in interactive video programs. In Proceedings of selected
Jones, G. & Taff, E.D. (1986). Using today's teaching tools. research and development presentations. National Convention of
Vocational Education Journal, 61 the Association for Educational Communications and Technol-
(6): 43-44. ogy, Albuquerque, NM.

Lambdin, D.V., Duffy, T.M. & Moore, J.A. (1997). Using an Tovar, M. & Coldevin, G. (1992). Effects of orienting activities
interactive information system to expand preservice teachers'; on instructional control of learning facts and procedures from
visions of effective mathematics teaching. Journal of Technol- interactive video. Journal of Educational Computing Research,
ogy and Teacher Education, 5 (2/3): 171-202. 8: 507-519.

Maheshwari, A.N. & Raina, V.K. (1998). Inservice training of Verhagen, P.W. & Breman, J. (1995). Instructional format and
primary teachers through interactive video technology: An Indian segment length in interactive video programs. In Proceedings of
experience. International review of Education, 44 (1): 87-101. selected research and development presentations at the National
Convention of the Association for Education Communications
and Technology (AECT), Anaheim, CA.

! 44 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

Does Hypermedia Accelerate Learning?
By Gregg B. Jackson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Coordinator
Education Policy Program, George Washington University

What Is Hypermedia? • Eleven other experiments examined interaction effects

Hypermedia provides links within electronic text for quick between learner ability or learning style. Seven found
access to other related text, graphics, audio, or video. For statistically significant results and four did not. For in-
instance, a brief history of the colonization of Brazil might stance, one study found the more able students benefited
mention the Tupi Indians, European imperialism, and Tome’ from a hypermedia tutor and the less able students did
de Sousa. Readers who want more information on any of not. Another found that passive learners benefited from
these can click on the term, and if it has been designated a hypermedia that provided cues about the availability of
hyperlink, they will access more detailed information. more information on a given topic, but active learners
did equally well with and without the cues.
Since the development of hypermedia in the 1980s, enthusi-
asts have predicted that it will revolutionize instructional • Another five experiments compared learning from vari-
processes and enhance learning. They have suggested that ous ways of structuring the hypermedia. Three experi-
hypermedia is more congruent with the nonlinear workings ments found mixed results, and two found no differ-
of the mind, engages learners, allows self-paced exploration ences. For instance, one study found that advanced or-
of information, and enables access to vast amounts of infor- ganizers -- or a “visual metaphor” -- significantly aid
mation. learning from the hypermedia, but when both were used
together, performance declined. Another study found
hypermedia accompanied by a hierarchical index of the
What is Hypermedia's Impact?
hypermedia materials did not result in more learning
In the Fall, 1998, issue of the Review of Educational Re-
than occurred from the same hypermedia materials un-
search, Andrew Dillon and Ralph Gabbard report a careful
accompanied by the index.
review of experimental studies testing hypermedia’s impacts
on learning. Their findings are as follows:
• Eight experiments compared the learning from hyper- Taken as a whole, the results indicate that hypermedia is not
media and from the same content presented in print yet a great advance to pedagogy. The claims of vendors who
and/or lectures. One experiment found distinct advan- sell hypermedia and the claims of educators who are enthusi-
tages to hypermedia, one found mixed results, and six astic about hypermedia should be treated with healthy skepti-
found no statistically significant differences. For in- cism.
stance, the use of hypermedia instructional materials for
a statistics class proved no more effective than class- But there are several reasons for using hypermedia despite
room lectures when tested over a six-week period. these discouraging findings. First, most electronic reference
sources are now being designed in hypermedia form and of-
• Another five experiments compared learning resulting ten these reference sources are less expensive than the com-
from various forms and levels of learner control over the parable printed versions. For instance, the esteemed 32-
hypermedia. One found statistically significant results volume Encyclopedia Britannica costs about $1,000 in print
favoring limited learner control (the opposite of what but only $49 in hypermedia on CD. Second, well-linked
had been hypothesized), three found no statistically sig- hypermedia greatly eases and speeds the exploration of
nificant results, and one had ambiguously reported re- questions and interests that arise while reading, and thus
sults. For instance, one study found computerized in- probably aids self-directed learning. Third, most of the
struction that allowed the learner to depart from a sug- above mentioned experiments involved short use of multi-
gested path through the material was no more effective media (15 minutes to a few hours) and small samples of
than the same computerized instruction that permitted no learners, and thus the results probably somewhat underesti-
departures from the suggested path. mated the effects of multimedia. Finally, hypermedia is a
relatively new technology, and its full potential as an in-
structional tool probably has not yet been realized.

! 45 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

The Economics of Educational Technology
By Jeffrey M. Puryear
Inter-American Dialogue

Educational Technology is a fairly broad term. It encom- they are effective in helping children learn at all educational
passes print (chiefly textbooks but other printed materials as levels—primary, secondary, and post-secondary.
well), audio cassettes, programmed learning, radio, broadcast
television, personal computers, as well as relatively low-tech Now if you look carefully at blackboards and chalk, it
elements, such as slide projectors and blackboards and chalk. quickly becomes clear that their qualities can be divided into
In fact, someone observed recently that the most important two categories: costs and effectiveness. Furthermore, it is
innovation in educational technology over the past century or clear that both costs and effectiveness are influenced signifi-
more has been blackboards and chalk. While that may sound cantly by something else that is independent of blackboards
like a trivial comment, the blackboards and chalk may tell us and chalk: the conditions in which they are expected to oper-
a lot about the economics of educational technology. ate. So that suggests that in assessing educational technolo-
gies, there are at least three kinds of issues to look at: costs,
effectiveness, and surrounding conditions. Only when we
look at all three can we determine whether a given technol-
ogy is suitable.


Technologies have at least two kinds of costs: fixed costs and

variable costs. In this context, fixed costs are the up front
investments needed to put in place the necessary infrastruc-
ture and software for making the technology available. In the
case of textbooks, for example, it is usually just the cost of
writing the books. In the case of television, it is the cost of
establishing a broadcasting capacity and of producing the
programs. In the case of computers, it is mostly the cost of
writing appropriate programs. Fixed costs may also include
the cost of setting up a central managerial and training system
© Corel Gallery that is necessary to produce, distribute, implement, and
Blackboards and chalk may tell us a lot about the maintain the technology.
economics of educational technology.

So, let us look for a moment at blackboards and chalk. What Not surprisingly, fixed costs are different for different kinds
are their essential characteristics? They are cheap, readily of technology. The fixed costs of textbooks and other printed
available, portable, require nothing from the surrounding materials are fairly low, consisting mainly of payments to
environment to function, need almost no maintenance, and authors to write the books and materials. The fixed costs of
can be mastered by anyone who possesses basic literacy. And radio and television are much higher, and consist of payments
to produce and broadcast programs. Television costs consid-

! 46 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

erably more to produce than radio—one estimate suggests 25 able cost of conventional teaching is also fairly high, since
times more. you must pay an additional salary for every 30 or so students.

But fixed costs have an important quality: they are spread out Another important aspect of technology costs is the way they
over all the students served. We need to remember that the fit into the educational system. Technologies designed to
fixed cost per student for some educational technologies, substitute for personal classroom teaching—many of the dis-
such as radio and television, drops rapidly as tance education programs, for example—
more students are served, because of econo- have a built-in cost advantage: they make
mies of scale. The fixed cost of an educational unnecessary many of the personnel costs
TV program that serves just 1000 students
The question is, what of conventional schools. This is particu-
would be about the same as the fixed cost of a does it take to make larly the case for students who are in re-
program that serves 100,000, or 1,000,000. technology effective, mote areas or highly dispersed geographi-
You need the same up-front investment in and how much does cally. Research suggests that distance edu-
producing programs. But the fixed cost per that cost? In eco- cation programs for training teachers, for
student drops rapidly when you can divide nomic terms, we’re example, can be developed at a cost of
that cost by 100,000 students, or by a million, talking about cost- between one-third and two-thirds the cost
rather than by 1000. By contrast, approaches effectiveness. of conventional programs.
that have low fixed costs, such as conven-
tional teaching—which relies exclusively on By contrast, educational technology that
the time of teachers—offer no significant requires significant supervised classroom
economies of scale. teaching, or that is designed to complement the traditional
activities of a teacher, is less likely to reduce costs. These
Variable costs are what it costs to add students to the system programs usually incur both the costs of conventional
after it has been set up. It is the cost of serving an additional schooling and the costs of the new technology. Some of them
student. For textbooks it is the cost of producing and may also bring “hidden” costs by requiring new curricula,
distributing each additional book, and for computers it is the new roles for teachers, and a new managerial system. Gov-
cost of providing and maintaining each additional computer ernments might still choose such programs, of course, but
and its programs, plus the additional cost of providing they should do so because the learning increment is worth the
electricity and perhaps telephone service. Training teachers additional cost, and not because they expect costs to be
to use the new technology is also principally a variable cost; lower.
you must train additional teachers every time you introduce
the technology to another classroom. What does all of this tell us?
Providers need to calculate both fixed and variable costs
Variable costs also are different for different technologies. when assessing technology programs, and need to consider
The variable cost of textbooks is low, particularly if each how many students they expect to serve.
cohort of students reuses the books. The variable cost of ra-
dio is also low, since radios are already widely available and 1. Technologies with high fixed costs and low variable
can run on batteries if necessary. The variable cost of educa- costs—such as television and radio—can be quite inex-
tional television is higher, perhaps 10 times as high as radio, pensive, if they serve large numbers of students. They
since televisions cost more to purchase, require an electrical yield greater economies of scale.
hook-up, and need more maintenance. The variable cost of
computers is even higher—perhaps 100 times as expensive as 2. Technologies with high variable costs, and that work in
radio—because of purchase and maintenance costs, and per- conjunction with conventional teaching—such as per-
haps the cost of teacher training. Access to the Internet also sonal computers—are unlikely to bring any cost advan-
requires a telephone line. Computer costs are, of course, a tage. Indeed, they may be quite expensive.
moving target and have dropped significantly during the past
few years. But they remain high compared to traditional lev- 3. Technologies that replace conventional teaching, rather
els of per-student spending in developing countries. The vari- than complement it, are likely to have a cost advantage.
Such technologies may allow setting up new programs

! 47 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

that are cheaper per student than are traditional ap- tion programs have often proven cost-effective, in part be-
proaches. For this reason, the most successful applica- cause they operate separately from, and in place of, conven-
tions of educational technology in developing countries tional teaching. Interactive radio instruction has also been
have been in distance education programs, which pro- shown to be more cost-effective than textbooks under some
vide services that conventional approaches cannot afford
to provide.

4. Technologies that are relatively self-contained, and re-

quire only minimal pedagogical input and managerial
support at the local level may have a cost advantage.
Again, radio and television stand out in this category.
Some forms of programmed learning may also fall into
this category.


Here the story is relatively simple. All our research and expe-
rience tell us that under the right circumstances and with suf-
ficient resources, nearly any of the new educational technolo-
gies can be effective in improving learning. Studies also sug-
gest that technology does not have to be implemented large-
scale in order to be successful and sustainable. Often, tech- © Corel Gallery
nology that fulfills a specific, narrowly defined purpose in the
classroom and complements other educational goals has a The idea that complicated, high-tech
greater chance of being effective. Clearly, effectiveness does approaches are more effective than
not require that large quantities of technology be added simple, low-tech ones has not been
across the entire educational system. demonstrated.
circumstances. Generally, however, research suggests that
Interestingly enough, research fails to support the idea that
technology has a greater potential for improving effectiveness
more expensive or more complex technologies produce better
or expanding access than it does for reducing unit costs. So
educational outcomes. It appears that motivated students can
when we think about cost-effectiveness, we will more often
learn from any medium that is competently used. To be sure,
need to decide that we are willing to pay more money to get
we have little research to date on the learning outcomes of
more learning.
computer and multimedia approaches; perhaps future re-
search will yield different conclusions. But it is also true that
Surrounding Conditions
relatively simple new technologies, such as electronic mail
and off-the-shelf computer software, appear to give good
Conditions necessary for educational technology to be suc-
results. Thus far, then, the idea that complicated, high-tech
cessful are often not present. These technologies need some
approaches are more effective than simple, low-tech ones has
combination of factors from their surrounding context—
not been demonstrated.
proper conditions—for success. Economists call this
combination of factors a production function. It specifies
The question therefore is not really whether technology is
what output can be expected from any particular combination
effective. It usually can be. Rather the question is, what does
of inputs. The idea is to maximize output (in this case,
it take to make technology effective, and how much does that
learning) from the inputs you have available, and to be sure
cost? In economic terms, we’re talking about cost-
that the right mix of inputs is on hand so that each can do its
effectiveness. We need to know whether the cost of success-
job. When educational technology is adopted, then the key
fully incorporating technology is a good investment. Here,
questions are what combination of factors or conditions is
research is fairly limited, but does suggest that some ap-
necessary to make it work, and whether it is possible bring
proaches are better than others. For example, distance educa-
that combination together.

! 48 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

Some technologies, for example, require talented and highly
motivated teachers in order to work. These may be scarce,
particularly in public schools. Or they may require reliable
electrical and telephone connections—often unavailable in
rural areas. Or they may require sophisticated management Many educators see Internet technology as a threat to their
and training systems that are beyond the capacity of some traditional teaching methods and one of the largest fears of
governments. They may require altering the traditional roles book publishers is that the computer will replace the text-
book. Books have served as one of the best delivery sys-
of teachers, which teachers may fiercely resist. Or they may
tems of information since Guttenberg’s press.
simply cost more than governments are willing to pay, lead-
ing to under funding. As the world shifts into the Information Age the computer
may compete with the textbook by providing curriculum
Research and experience suggest that the biggest obstacle to online. Textbook publishers Hought Mifflin, Harcourt
successfully adopting educational technology is establishing and Glencoe/McGraw-Hill are taking the best of both
the political and institutional framework necessary to sustain worlds in several new Web-enhanced textbooks to be
published this fall.
the innovation. One of the most famous examples is the in-
structional television program in El Salvador, which reached The best example of this text/web collaboration is
nearly a quarter of a million students at its peak, and ap- SciLinks, a project run by a professional association of
peared to have been relatively effective, but which suc- science teachers. Each lesson that appears in the book has
cumbed to political problems. On the other hand, the Tele- an accompanying web site reference code. The students
secundaria program in Mexico and the instructional radio then can look up the web page in order to get more back-
program in the Dominican Republic, owe their success to ground information on the lesson, recent scientific updates
on the issue and a complete list of resources for their ref-
their ability to bring together the necessary set of conditions. erence. If the lesson deals with space physics, then the
resources may include NASA or other space agencies.
Governments that wish to introduce educational technology,
then, must pay attention to the production function—to the One of the reasons textbook publishers are rushing to a
critical surrounding conditions that are necessary to make the web/text book hybrid is due to competition and to keep
technology work. the book from going out of date. As current scientific
research continues to challenge our previous theories, stu-
dents will be able to get the latest updates in the scientific
It All Begins With Goals field. Web/text books also provide many teachers a taste
of online learning without having to abandon their tradi-
Economic analysis is very useful in understanding the choices tional teaching methods.
a provider faces when considering the introduction of educa-
tional technology. But we need to remember also what eco-
nomics, and technology, cannot do. They cannot establish
objectives. Education providers—usually governments—set
the objectives. They decide whether costs are most important,
or effectiveness, or efficiency. And they may well choose
objectives that have not been mentioned here. For example,
they may focus on equity rather than on efficiency. Or they
may give priority to introducing a more modern, interactive
pedagogical approach in classrooms, even if that is more
costly and harder to evaluate. Educational goals must drive
technology decisions. Technology and economics are
means, not ends.

! 49 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

Computers in Schools:
10 Points to Avoid Past Errors
Several countries are getting ready to buy computers for their schools.
However, the path to the successful use of computers in schools is full of
traps and pitfalls. This article discusses the challenges of bringing computers to
schools. It also proposes a strategy beginning with easy applications of computers
in education and progressively moving to more difficult but more rewarding modes.
The bottom line is: There are good reasons to choose the easiest possible
uses of computers at the early stages, and there are even stronger reasons to
pursue relentlessly a policy of upgrading these uses as more experience is acquired.
Claudio de Moura Castro

It is vital to ensure that in the initial stages people are not their introduction, with all the problems that creates. Bring-
demoralized by weak or disastrous results. In the 1980s the ing computers to schools is controversial enough without the

French program to put one hundred thousand computes in added accusations that the computers remain idle. Newspa-
schools was a severe disappointment, demoralizing its pro- pers will surely call attention to schools without chalk and
ponents and making subsequent efforts more arduous. Other blackboards while others spend fortunes on computers that
countries had similar disasters. are never used.

In the past, many attempts to bring computers to schools After hardware and software, the third great hurdle in the
introduction of computers in schools is teacher training. Al-

failed due to the shortcomings of the hardware. But this is no
longer the case. Computers are far more reliable, and have most all evaluations indicate that lack of preparation of
relatively long lives without too many troubles. Yet, they do teachers is the number one difficulty. Conversely, all suc-
require maintenance. It is imperative to make provision for cessful initiatives result from a serious and well-thought-out
effort to train teachers to use them.

maintenance budgets or preferably to allocate maintenance
funds from the same budgets paying for the purchase of the
computers. Without maintenance, schools quickly become In order to ensure the political survival of the initiative, it is
huge digital graveyards. Some American schools prefer to necessary to ensure the immediate utilization of computers.
buy computers at a higher price but with longer maintenance Therefore, a fail-safe strategy is required. In other words, a

contracts built in. This is because it is easier to obtain funds strategy is needed to get computers going immediately after
for the initial purchases than for the subsequent maintenance. their installation. From a political point of view, it does not
Israelis go further and require that sales, maintenance and matter if the initial uses are neither brilliant nor ultra-
software be provided by the same vendor, to prevent one creative. The greatest enemy at this initial stage is the tyr-
seller from blaming another and evading its obligations. anny of the purists. If they have the upper hand, initial utili-
Therefore, computers should not be shipped to schools until zation will be delayed, giving ammunition for those who
the financial and logistical problems of maintaining them dislike computers in schools.
have been solved.
There are at least three schools of thought in the utilization

Once the hardware problems became less important, the next of computers in schools. Each has its strengths and weak-
hurdle in using computers in school is the software. There are nesses. The first sees the computer as a teaching machine,

many superb pieces of software today, even though most are be it for spelling and simple arithmetic or for tutoring the
less than superb and there is much room for improvement. A student along curricular lines. The second is to use the com-
dearth of software is no longer the bottleneck. The question, puter to develop thinking skills and to enrich education, de-
however, is their choice. Computers should not be shipped ploying its potential to simulate problems and stimulate the
to schools without a minimum kit of software. Expecting intellect. The third is to use the computer as a tool, in the
schools to purchase software before they become used to way that enterprises do. In this case, computers are used in
having computers in classrooms is not realistic and will delay school to prepare students to use computers at work. We

! 50 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

could also mention a fourth use: games. There are many does not follow the curriculum; or if the skills learned are not
games that do have considerable potential for developing required in tests. Any of these situations will kill the use of
important cognitive skills, and there is evidence that even computers. But experience shows that teachers appreciate the
games that do not claim any educational consequences can infinite patience of computers to drill again and again in
bring some learning; playing with computers is in itself a multiplication or division or any other repetitive task. The
learning of consequence. Somehow, schools will have to reasons could not be more down to earth: drill and practice
choose amongst these uses or a combination of them. Indi- programs save time, energy and drudgery, and hence they are
vidual schools should have the freedom to find their own used. As an initial strategy, there are excellent reasons not to
solutions, although they should not be forced to make such a snub this use of computers. On the contrary, it is necessary
difficult and controversial decision before they are familiar to provide schools with drill and practice programs and to
with computers. prepare teachers to use them. It is likewise necessary to sell
this strategy intelligently, lest it acquires a negative connota-
The relative merits and shortcomings of each of the alterna- tion.
tives in point 6 are by now well known. Above all, it is not

7 9
permissible to ignore the mistakes of the past. The most Along this line, some additional thoughts are in order. Gone
lofty and noble use of computers is to teach how to think. are the days when it made sense to write drill and practice
Those who saw a demonstration of LOGO have had a chance programs in Basic, in order to teach irregular verbs or to re-
to glimpse the potential of computers to develop intellectual call historical dates. Gone are the days in which authoring
skills. Those who saw simulation programs such as Oregon tools were offered to teachers in the hopes that they would
Trail or Sim City might have become fascinated with the translate their courses into tutorial programs. The big soft-
potential of simulations, the interdisciplinary explorations ware houses killed the hopes for such amateurish approaches.
and the flights of imagination which are possible with high- Today, a run-of-the-mill educational software program will
speed computers with vast graphic capabilities. This is the cost at least $100,000 and the more sophisticated a lot more.
most thrilling path from an intellectual perspective. Anybody Therefore, national programs to introduce computers need
concerned with quality education will not be untouched by to check existing software and decide whether there are
the potential offered by those wonderful programs. And this exceptional cases where new software needs to be commis-
is where the danger lies. The accumulated experience in the sioned.
last fifteen years shows the difficulties of successful imple-
mentation of these programs. The development of intellec- Teaching students how to use computers as a productive
tual skills does not offer a viable rationale for the massive tool is a safe way to bring computers to schools. If there are
introduction of computers in the short run. National pro- some applications that most enterprises use, it makes sense to
grams to introduce computers are well advised not to start teach students how to work with the most versatile of all
along these lines. It will not work. It requires a long period of tools existing at the end of the century. This is a constructive
preparation of teachers, while the public expectation is for use of computers in schools and an easy path to embark on.
immediate action. This is not to say that this alternative In concrete terms, it means teaching students how to use a

should be abandoned altogether. In fact, it may be a common word processor (desktop publishing is the next step), a
goal for all in the long run and it should start immediately in spreadsheet, a database and graphic tools. There is ample
some special programs, where conditions are from the start legitimacy for such uses and the software is immediately
more favorable. These should be islands of experimentation available. In addition, considering the widespread availability
and creativity. of computer courses teaching these skills, there is usually a
good supply of instructors. Computers should not be
The most pedestrian and unremarkable use of computers is

shipped to schools without a complete package of produc-
to drill students in arithmetic operations, solving equations, tivity software. Installing the software is a task beyond the
correcting spelling and so on. But in actual fact, this is what capabilities of schools. The next task is to develop appropri-
has really worked in schools. The reason is simple; Teachers ate strategies to use these productivity tools. To begin with,
are the ultimate arbiters of whether the computers are used touch-typing is a most valuable skill. Keyboard training is a
or kept idle. Unless computers help rather than hinder, they good way to start, even though not all proponents of comput-
will remain turned off. Teachers will only use the computer ers in school share this view. It is also important to prepare
if they find that it benefits them. Teachers simply will not teachers to give their students interesting and practical exer-
use them if it takes too long to master the skills of using the cises for the productivity tools. We should not expect the
machine and its software; if it takes longer to prepare classes; teachers to invent creative examples or to develop templates
if there is the risk of an embarrassing situation where the that are interesting to the students. These examples should be
computer gets stuck or crashes (with the even greater risk close to the world of the students and, if possible, useful to
that some insolent kid will get it unstuck); if its proposed use them.

! 51 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

As we enter into the new millenium, it seems that everything is electronic, digital, or virtual.
Heavy emphasis is being placed on digital gadgets and gizmos, when some of the simplest tool can
advance knowledge and learning. An example of one of those simple and inexpensive tools is the overhead projector. A
projector, whether it be standard, portable, or an LDC-enhanced, can be more useful to a roomful of students than we dare to
imagine in this high-tech day in age.

How Can A Projector Be Useful In A Classroom?

• With a simple plug, a table with wheels, and a pull-down screen or just a plain wall, an overhead projector saves time
and is an excellent presentation tool.
• With an overhead projector, a teacher can prepare his or her lessons in advance and not waste precious classroom time
writing out entire lessons for students on the chalkboard.
• If a photocopier is not available and if paper is scarce, a projector can be an excellent substitute by illustrating what a
ditto would, using colors. They are also instant photocopies!
• Transparencies, clear plastic sheets used for the projector, can be easily photocopied or written on by hand.
• Ready-made transparencies are available and are often related to the coursework. These are relatively inexpensive.
• A school can build, over time, a resource package of transparencies, bought or made by teachers.
• An entire school building can use the projector by wheeling it around to the classrooms as it is needed. The cost may
range from US$175 to US$700.

Projecting Your Computer Screen

A LCD panel may be placed on the standard overhead

projector and connected to a personal computer or laptop.
Whatever is on the computer screen will project on the
wall or on a projection screen, allowing a large group of
student to follow whatever is on the computer screen. This
combination expands the presentation capabilities of
computers for those schools that have few computers and
Internet access. Teachers can enhance their lessons by
going through a web site, or a CD, while ensuring that
everyone is looking at the same page. Students can take
turns surfing the net, or running a software program, while
the others watch. (Some of the newer projectors have LCD
panels already built in.)

! 52 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

There are thousands of education software CDs that cover
curricular and non-curricular subjects. They spread over a
wide spectrum of cognitive skills ranging from drill to
simulation to highly sophisticated problem solving. The good thing
about CDs is that they are relatively inexpensive, stand-alone and easy to use. The
quality, however, varies drastically, and there is no simple way to find what is best. In
this issue, we present a sampler of such software, and in the coming issues we will re-
view selected software by topic. The items we select for review, are not endorsed by
TechKnowLogia, nor are they given a special rating.

Math Blaster: Ages 9-12

This software makes math fun by putting boring math equations and fractions in a game form.
Students have to use their math skills to virtually travel through strange lands. There are three
levels of play and ten levels of learning, covering 50,000 different problems. There are rewards to
motivate students and the program records the student’s progress to encourage him/her to move
on to higher and more difficult levels. Users can work on estimation, pattern completion, adding
fractions, spreadsheet skills, problem-solving, and advanced computation. Web site:

Grammar Games
Grammar Games makes grammar interesting when put into the context of activities such as
Rain Forest Rescue which helps students form sentences; Falling Fruit which works on
punctuation; Hidden Wonders which works on verbs; and Jungle Gizmo, which discusses
plurals and possessives. This program also teaches students to identify common errors in
word usage. There are five on-screen diagnostic tests to assess students’ performance. For
each activity, there are three levels of difficulty to challenge students and forty-two ad-
venture stories to keep their attention. The program is geared toward students Grade 4 and
up. Web site:

Travel the World with Timmy

Travel the World with Timmy help students in grades Pre-K to Second Grade understand and
respect different cultures. It compares cultures and languages through activities such as songs,
word games, stories, and crafts. Students learn numbers and simple vocabulary in three lan-
guages. They can even create, read, and print their own storybooks. Young students can virtu-
ally visit different places such as Japan, Kenya, and Argentina and become sensitive to other
cultures without the direct supervision of their teachers. The instructions, questions, and feed-
back are all in lifelike animated voices or in pictures. Web site:

! 53 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

Sammy’s Science House
This program offers young students from Pre-K to Second Grade the help they need to learn
all about science. They begin by being exposed to the vocabulary of science as they dis-
cover the names of plants and animals and learn about weather and the seasons. The pro-
gram allows students to explore on their own with the Explore and Discover Mode. Stu-
dents can also have a more structured environment in the Question and Answer Mode in
which they may learn with prompting and feedback. The program is also available in Span-
ish. Web site:

Thinkin’ Science ZAP!

Thinkin' Science ZAP! is geared toward older students of science from the Third to the
Sixth Grades and offers three learning labs to discover light (the Laser Lab), sound
(Soundwave Studio), and electricity (ElectroLoft.) This allows students to observe, pre-
dict, and conduct experiments of their own. Concepts that are studied in a textbook such
as properties of light and color, lenses, mirrors, filters, and prisms can now be examined
in a scientific environment. This program encourages students to develop critical think-
ing skills and to discover science based on their own hands-on experience. Web site:

Thinkin’ Things Sky Island Mysteries

This software is designed to help students develop and improve their problem-solving skills.
Thinkin’ Things Sky Island Mysteries keeps students’ attention by providing a mystery story
line for which they need inductive and deductive reasoning. Students develop and improve
information-searching skills as well as advance language and communication skills.

For each problem they solve, they get a clue as a reward for motivation. There is a guide that
allows students to work independently. Teachers can set the program to review specific top-
ics. Web site:

! 54 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

Each issue of TechKnowLogia will
review selected web sites of
interest to readers. For the
first issue, a range of
web sites is presented,
responding to the
diverse interests of readers.
In future issues, the sites will be
reviewed on a thematic basis, focusing
on more specific topics and professional needs.
Selected by Frank Method
Director, Washington UNESCO Office

For the distance education community, and policy makers concerned with initiatives making use of
distance education approaches, we refer to the World Bank sponsored Global Distance Education Net:
The Global Distance Education Net (DistEdNet) is a knowledge guide to distance education designed to help clients of the
World Bank and others interested in using distance education for human development. The Network consists of a core site lo-
cated at the World Bank and regional sites in other parts of the world. Information is subdivided into four areas: Teaching and
Learning, Technology, Management, and Policy and Programs. The aim of the Teaching and Learning section is to discover
how to design a distance learning course and ensure the learner benefits from it. The Technology section deals with communi-
cation between teachers and learners by broadcast, recorded, interactive or print technologies. Under Management, methods of
organizing distance education, managing budgets, teaching personnel, technology and student administration are examined.
Finally, the focus of Policy and Programs is the setup and maintenance of distance education systems at a national or state level
or within existing educational institutions. The self-proclaimed distinguishing characteristics of this site are: a focus on dis-
tance education; targeting the needs of developing countries; comprehensive, yet selective resources; dynamic nature; multi-
lingual (English, French and Spanish).

For those more concerned with issues of access and learning at the community level, we
suggest UNESCO’s Learning Without Frontiers:
Learning Without Frontiers (LWF) is a trans-disciplinary, pro-active UNESCO program responding to social and political
problems related to learning. A major focus is how individuals and communities access information, communicate and form
new knowledge. Arguing that conventional educational systems have done little to address social fragmentation, human frus-
tration, disempowerment, cultural dislocation and technological alienation, LWF seeks to bring new meaning to the concept of
life-long learning. Processes of engaging in collaborative, multi-channel and innovative learning are critical for development of
the individual and for linking culturally diverse communities. The most recent project “Constructing Open Learning Commu-
nities for Lifelong Learning” seeks to build the capacity of community schools and other learning institutions to act as catalysts
for change. The aim is not only to improve the quality of current formal and non-formal education, but also to develop alterna-
tive learning spaces for the future. Additional links, activities, documents and papers are provided.

! 55 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

For those interested in development of learning tools, The Concord Consortium offers resources as
well as linkages to working groups:
The Concord Consortium was started in 1994 under the belief that the development and dissemination of dynamic and suc-
cessful education tools nationwide is the key to harnessing technological resources to extend educational opportunities. The
Consortium is dedicated to furthering this revolution worldwide through innovations in hardware, software, learning environ-
ments, curricula, and institutions. Among its projects are: The Center for Innovative Learning Technologies (CILT); INTEC The International NetCourse Teacher Enhancement Coali-
tion, and; the VHS (Virtual High School) . In exchange for contributing teaching time, a school in the
VHS collaborative can offer its students NetCourses ranging from advanced academic courses to technical and specialized
courses. Schools donate computers, Internet connectivity, and staff time. The VHS grant provides training, software, and tech-
nical and administrative support. Quality of teaching is maintained by requiring each teacher to successfully complete The
Teachers Learning Conference, a graduate-level NetCourse designed to give participants exposure to the best educational
strategies and technologies for NetCourse teaching. The International Center works to disseminate ideas
and to support and develop Global Networked Courses and International Authoring Teams.

For those involved with school-level planning and systems design, Pathways to School Improvement
provides high quality guidance and tools for team building, assessment and design:
Pathways to School Improvement was designed by the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory in conjunction with
the Regional Educational Laboratory Network, primarily to help school improvement teams work through the school im-
provement cycle. Four steps are laid out including, defining problems, understanding critical issues to select improvement
strategies, initiating change, and evaluation. The outline is intended to help orient goals toward engaged, meaningful educa-
tion. Follow the technology link for excellent reviews of critical issues, planning and assessment tools such as Plugging In
and other resources recommended by the National Research Centers. Plugging In: Choosing and Using Educational Technol-
ogy, 1995, introduces knowledge about effective learning and effective technology,
and puts it together in a planning framework for educators and policymakers. The premise of these materials is that the only
real measure of the effectiveness of technologies and technology-enhanced educational programs is the extent to which they
promote and support students' engaged learning and collaboration. After reading about effective learning and technology, edu-
cators can follow instructions to actually use the framework to plan technology and technology-enhanced programs that com-
plement learning.

Teachers and parents will find a wide range of teacher-initiated materials, modules and shared classroom
experience at TEAMS Distance learning:
TEAMS Distance Learning brings exemplary learning opportunities to K-8 students, teachers, and parents across the United
States through nationally televised satellite broadcasts and the Internet. Learners use instructional technologies to access a
combination of the best features of time-dependent (synchronous) video-based instruction along with time-independent (asyn-
chronous) computer access to multimedia and the Internet. TEAMS is the largest interactive distance learning provider for
elementary schools, encompassing 21 states, 7500 teachers and 145,000 students. Designed to supplement curriculum while
motivating and challenging students, TEAMS includes electronic classrooms, internet projects, and links to resources. Re-
sources span subjects such as Math, Science, History/Social Science, Language/English, Art and music, and Professional De-
velopment. TEAMS Distance Learning is one component of the LT&T (LACOE Telecommunications and Technology) divi-
sion, a service of the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE).

! 56 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

Administrators can find resources as well as assessments of effective methods through The International So-
ciety for Technology in Education:
International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is the largest teacher-based, nonprofit organization in the field of
educational technology. Their mission is to help K–12 classroom teachers and administrators share effective methods for en-
hancing student learning through the use of new classroom technologies. ISTE facilitates sharing classroom-proven solutions to
the challenge of incorporating computers, the Internet, and other new technologies into their schools. The Professional Devel-
opment link provides the education community with access to high quality professional development and organizational devel-
opment services to support and improve learning, teaching, and administration in K-12 education and in teacher education.
ISTE has released a set of standards for evaluating university educational computing and technology programs in the US and
an initial set of Technology Foundation Standards for Students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. This is the first step in a
multiyear project aimed at describing the conditions needed to support the use of technology for learning, teaching and institu-
tional management.

For those with an expanded vision of learning, or just beginning to explore the new possibili-
ties, New Horizons for Learning provides a remarkably rich collection of carefully screened resources and links
organized as a multi-story virtual building, with quality resources on each “floor”:
New Horizons for Learning is a virtual learning community. Founded in 1980, New Horizons is an international non-profit
network of people supporting an expanded vision of learning that identifies and fosters the fullest development of human ca-
pacity. They offer resources for learning organizations, translating research and theory into workable solutions for contempo-
rary learning organizations, publishing material, producing conferences, consulting and collaborating on projects and pro-
grams. New Horizons has identified, communicated, and helped to implement successful educational strategies through: New
Horizons' Online Journal, books and other written materials, networking people and organizations, and eight landmark interna-
tional conferences. Their role has always been to explore and to help implement ideas that have not yet reached the main-
stream, and to work in coordination with other networks and learning communities. Though most sites have separate rooms for
special topics and interests, this web site is designed as a multi-story virtual “building,” each floor devoted to a different topic
or article of interest. The vast number of topics covered and resources available, and the excellent quality control on materials
and links make this site rather comprehensive.

Finally, for those faced with responding quickly in countries and communities in crisis,
The GINIE Project provides on-line real-time professional support and links to resources for educators and others
on the ground:
The Global Information Networks In Education (GINIE) Project focuses on improving educational quality in nations in
crisis and transition to help build normalcy, continuity and momentum in local communities. GINIE, based at the University of
Pittsburgh, with support through UNESCO, USAID and other international organizations, works through internet-centered
professional development networks to provide educators working in crisis and post-crisis contexts rapid access to high quality
knowledge and expertise, offering a virtual community for educational renovation and innovation. Using internet based tech-
nologies, GINIE helps both to facilitate short-term responses and to support development of long term professional networks
among education policymakers, donors and investors, researchers and practitioners. Knowledge and expertise is organized ac-
cording to what works in a) policy, planning evaluations, b) teaching and learning, c) access, equity and diversity, and d) work
force educational and community economic development. GINIE has an online database a capacity for on-line conferencing,
links to partners and associate sites. It also hosts the on-line reporting for the Emergency Education network of NGOs and
links to related programs such as UNESCO's Emergency Education Program .

! 57 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999


© The Express

All over the world people pick up their newspapers, roll bags, wallets, backpacks and diaries are among the possi-
them up and put them under their arm to read them later – bilities, as well as “televisual clothing.” Dr. Burroughes,
perhaps at a coffee shop, or on a train, or in a chair at and his fellow scientists, Ronald Bradley and Richard
home. You could soon be doing the same with your televi- Friend, have been approached by the fashion industry in
sion according to report published by the British journal, Paris. Dr. Burroughes says the image can be generated
The Express, and verified by our editors with a U.S. re- "…by wearing a simple battery pack.” The communica-
search center. How soon? Within five years or less. tions industry is also looking towards providing flexible
TVs on mobile phones and other devices. And the possi-
A new discovery can soon make your TV as thin and as bilities are endless.
flexible as your handkerchief, and you can roll it up and
put it in your pocket. Ten years ago, scientists at Cam- While there have been great advances in lightness and
bridge University in Britain led by Dr. Jeremy Burroughes, portability of TV screens and monitors, no one has man-
discovered that if voltage was passed across an ultra thin aged to make a flexible screen until now. PPV belongs to
plastic known as PPV, it glowed a pale yellow-green. The a class of material scientists call “conjugated polymers”,
PPV was turning the energy of the electric current directly substances able to convert electricity directly into light.
into light, which is just what you would need to make a When an electric current is passed through the polymer,
paper-thin TV screen. the electrons holding the molecules are jiggled around,
releasing energy as light. Researchers report that scientists
Scientists developing this screen are seeing its potential in have managed to make the complex electronic controls for
portable entertainment as well as fashion. TVs on hand- flexible screens out of plastics as well.

! 58 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

Electronic Books:
The future of publishing?
James Johnson

Fundamental to the education and learning enterprise worldwide is the use of textbooks, reference books
and other published materials by teachers and students alike. This familiar teaching tool is undergoing a
substantial change, much like the invention of movable type and the printing press more than 500 years
ago. The idea of electronic books has existed in science fiction since the1940s. Like the early versions of
computers as TV sets on top of typewriters, early designs of electronic books were bulky and non-

Electronic "Readers"
When the Web and the Internet were in their infancy, desktop computers and PC/laptops became the first electronic “readers.”
Students and other users could download text materials from the Net, usually for storage and later printing for reading.
Enterprises like Project Gutenberg and the Peanut Press ( began digitizing as many public domain texts
as they could get hold of for downloading from the Net. Desktop and laptop screens are suitable for reading e-mail and
searching the Internet, but the screen glare, bad layout, the intervention of the keyboard and the readers’ posture annoyances
make on screen “reading” unsuitable for most serious readers, learners and researchers.

Electronic "Books"
The new generation of electronic books addresses these issues by offering a range of specially designed reader-friendly
hardware, into which selected texts are downloaded electronically from the Net, or inserted on coded cards. E-books offer
instant access to the full text of the book you want now. Purchase a text from a web site and download it. Bits via the Internet
are delivered immediately instead of atoms via mail.

NuvoMedia of Palo Alto, Calif., with its Rocket eBook ( priced in
stores at $350, offers sufficient memory to hold 4000 pages of text, about 10 novels worth of
reading. It is handheld and weighs 22 ounces. The batteries for the single screen display in black
and white last for 33 hours. Texts can be downloaded from Internet sites first onto the customers
PC, and through a cradle plugged into the serial port, into the eBook’s memory. With a stylus,
commands to browse, search, annotate and underline can be entered onto the eBook.

SoftBook ( offers a single screen backlighted

monochrome LCD that enables reading in the dark. The battery
lasts for 5 hours, and offers memory to store 1,500 pages, potentially upgradable to a maximum
100,000 pages of text. The delivery system consists of an installed 33.6Kbps modem that dials
into the SoftBook Network, a virtual bookstore, which delivers about 100 pages per minute.
With a $299 take home price, you are obligated to a $9.95 a month, two-year plan for
downloading books. This fee is waived, if you agree to spend at least $19.95 a month in virtual
books for two years.

! 59 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999 (, based in Bellevue, Wash., offers for $199 a 12-ounce Millenium e-book that will hold 10 full-
length books, about 8,000 pages. The paperback book sized screen is equally readable in bright light and semidarkness, and
will display tests in a variety of fonts and languages. The battery life is between 17 and 33 hours. Downloading of texts is
through a serial connection on a Windows or Mac computer.

Next Generation E-Books

The next generation of e-books, coming to market in 2000 is led by the

EB Dedicated Reader, produced by Everybook of Middletown, PA.
( The EB Dedicated Reader is unique with its two
page, side-by-side color LCD touch screens. The total reading area is 11”
by 17”, with a storage capacity of 500,000 pages, or about 200 college-
size textbooks, on each 5-mb memory cards inserted into the side of the
reader. A custom-designed ROM treats the two facing screens as though
they were a single display page. The EB Dedicated Reader will cost
about $1500 for the professional model, and about $500 for a personal
model planned for later in the year. The EB Dedicated Reader is
developed to accept the Adobe PDF format, in which more than 90
percent of all materials on the Internet are stored. This allows for the text
to appear in full color with the clarity approaching the printed pages of
illustrated texts.

Advantages of E-Books
Unlimited numbers of digital texts online will soon be available at much lower costs than hard books. Publishers cannot risk
offering books in paper print that will not sell to a wide audience. This limits what gets published and distributed. With e-
publishing the economics of making available a wider variety of works change substantially. No book need go out of print.
Any book can remain available. Authors can self-publish and upload their works onto a distribution web site. Scholars can
retrieve and rediscover masterpieces overlooked in museums and libraries. Teachers who now compile class readers by
photocopying chapters from original textbooks (with or without the publisher’s permission) can customize e-editions for their
students, and publishers can charge lesser appropriate fees. University and college students can receive the text materials for
their entire course of studies on an ebook, and update it through the year.

With minimal overhead costs for printing, storing and shipping, the price of books should fall dramatically. Classic literature
in the public domain could become readable at no charge. Even in libraries, availability of learning materials will no longer be
limited to the number of books on the shelf.

For professionals in education, research, medicine and law who must spend thousands of dollars a year in reading current
information and knowledge materials, the e-book will allow access to references and updates at a fraction of current costs. E-
books will enable immediate distribution and access to the latest information for institutions and businesses requiring
employees to access manuals and instruction books. Information will be available on demand with a resulting benefit to the

Versions of e-books coming to the market will allow readers to make marginal notes, underline sections, search for specific
words or ideas, or find the definition of unfamiliar words.

Educational and learning institutions will be the first to benefit from these new developments in electronic
books. Additional developments to watch for include books that read themselves aloud, and also offer
sounds and music to accompany the texts.

! 60 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

Without the Fiber

mation while in port, and establishing temporary, high-

A breakthrough Laser Technology that de- capacity data links for special events. In certain applica-
livers Super-Fast Connectivity tions, the WaveStar OpticAir system could be used in
Using beams of light to transmit information directly conjunction with Lucent's SYSTIMAX® Structured Con-
through the air, a breakthrough optical networking system nectivity Solution (SCS) to provide enterprise customers
from Lucent Technologies will dramatically boost the ca- with ultra-reliable, high-speed data networks in campus
pacity of local data networks and extend the reach of to- and business environments. SYSTIMAX SCS is Lucent's
day's high-capacity fiber-optic systems, which are the basis industry-leading in-building wiring solution. "We set out
for many distance education programs. Field trials will be to bring the power of photons to network environments
conducted in December 1999, and by March 2000, the where deploying fiber is just not practical. And WaveStar
initial version of the product is expected to be available. OpticAir fits that niche," said Butters.

Lucent's new WaveStar™ OpticAir™ system will use New system is environmentally safe,
state-of-the-art lasers, amplifiers and receivers that can be highly reliable, modular in design
placed on rooftops or in office windows to transmit voice,
data or video traffic from point to point through the air. Unlike the tiny, high-density streams of light emitted by
WaveStar OpticAir system eventually will enable business laser pointers, the WaveStar OpticAir system will use "ex-
customers and service providers to transmit up to 10 giga- panded-beam" lasers that meet all applicable environ-
bits (billion bits) per second (Gb/s) of information between mental safety requirements. Implementing WaveStar Opti-
locations. That's 65 times more information than with to- cAir requires no spectrum licenses, and the system is eas-
day's radio frequencies. Capable of handling any form of ily upgradeable. Its modular design will enable carriers to
network traffic (voice, data, video, etc.), DWDM allows grow their networks as capacity requirements rise, and
carriers to increase capacity by simultaneously transmit- open interfaces supporting equipment from a variety of
ting different wavelengths -- or colors -- of light, each car- vendors will help carriers protect the investment of their
rying distinct streams of information. embedded infrastructures.
"By adding this breakthrough technology to our industry- The first release of the WaveStar OpticAir system, sup-
leading portfolio, Lucent soon will be able to provide the porting one wavelength at speeds up to 2.5 Gb/s, is ex-
power of fiber-optics just about anywhere -- with or with- pected to be commercially available by March 2000. A
out the fiber," said Gerry Butters, president of Lucent's four-wavelength system with a maximum capacity of 10
Optical Networking Group. Gb/s for distances up to five kilometers is expected to be
commercially available in the summer of 2000.
Unparalleled bandwidth will break
through local bottlenecks, open new mar- Cost
kets No cost estimates are available, but Lucent claims that it is
comparable to the cost of installing current high-speed
Potential applications for the WaveStar OpticAir system fiber lines.
include transmitting data between high-rise office build-
ings, enabling naval ships to share huge amounts of infor- For more information:

! 61 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

The Internet:
A Global Explosion of a Military Brainchild

Today, the Internet embraces many different meanings to Through the combined work of several programmers and
many individuals. For professionals, it is a way to telecom- scientists from universities such as MIT and UCLA and gov-
mute to their jobs. For students, it is a research tool. For ernment agencies such as the Pentagon and the NIH,
parents, it is a paradox—both a useful learning tool as well ARPANET became functional in 1969. Researchers excit-
as a potential danger for their children. For schoolchildren, it edly used this new network to share their facilities and pro-
is the doorway to a world of information. For governments, grams. The possibilities for this network of networks soared
it is a public sphere that needs to be regulated. when, in 1972, people began to send personal messages via
electronic mail (e-mail) to one another.
Like many other technological innovations of this century,
the Internet was a result of the Cold War between the United As time passed, more and more universities began to log on
States and the former Soviet Union. In response to the Sput- to ARPANET. The popularity of the network led to the de-
nik Soviet satellite launch in 1957, US President Dwight velopment of domain names in 1984. The introduction of
Eisenhower created the Advanced Research Projects domain names into the network made addresses easier to
Agency (ARPA). This agency’s goal was to centralize the remember. For example, educational sites became: .edu,
Defense Department’s military research and development commercial sites: .com, governmental sites .gov, and organi-
zations' sites .org. Also individual countries, other than the
U.S.A. had to use country codes such as .br for Brazil.

In 1989, ARPANET became the all-powerful Internet.

This was also the year that the concept of the world wide
web was introduced by Tim Berners-Lee and scientists at
CERN (Geneva), the European center for High Energy
Physics. The special protocol language, Hypertext Transfer
Protocol (HTTP) made it easier for Internet users to retrieve
files. In the 1990s, the Internet exploded in terms of busi-
nesses taking advantage of this network.

Today, the Internet is more widespread and controversial

than ever. In 1969, there were only 4 host computers. To-
day there are more about 20 million hosts. The Internet is
© Corel the home of electronic commerce and has sparked privacy
and intellectual property rights debates. For many, email has
replaced snail-mail as a mode of communication. Web sites
have become an alternative or a significant supplement to
efforts so as not to be surpassed by their enemy—the Soviet traditional institutions and sources of knowledge. With all its
Union. A small part of this research was based on the use of advantages and disadvantages, the Internet has far exceeded
computer technology to communicate in the aftermath of a the expectations of everyone, especially its creators.
nuclear attack. The challenge, as Paul Baran of RAND saw
it, was to create a network that lacked a nucleus so that it The more users connected to the Internet, the more valuable
could not be targeted by foreign missiles. Furthermore, this it becomes. As the Internet has gone global, it has certainly
network had to be able to operate without having to depend become more important allowing individuals to interact with
on its component parts. In other words, if one part of the one another in a way that could never be done before. In this
network is down, it had to continue to be functional. way, the small military brainchild of the 1950s has be-
come the global phenomenon of the new millenium.

! 62 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

Global Information Infrastructure Commission
What Is GIIC? A Global Forum
The GIIC, Global Information Infrastructure Commission, is Globalization and new information and communication tech-
an independent, non-governmental initiative involving com- nologies are creating a new information society paradigm of
munications related industry leaders from developing as well economic growth, political liberty and citizen action, but
as industrialized countries. The GIIC has been established to there needs to be a global discussion on how these forces
respond to the recognition that traditional institutions and impact national, regional and individual cultural identities.
regulatory frameworks can no longer meet the increasingly Three factors stand out.
complex challenges and opportunities of globalized informa-
tion. 1.The burdens and opportunities of developing global infor-
mation infrastructure are shifting away from governments to
GIIC Membership the private sector;

More than 50 CEO's and presidents of major international 2.Developing as well as industrialized countries have a high
corporations, policymakers and academics from around the stake in information infrastructure development;
world are members of the GIIC, forming a network of influ-
ential individuals from different countries and organizations. 3.The policy challenges, as well as the markets for informa-
tion infrastructure, are truly global in scope.

The information revolution is upon us all and is occurring in

a chaotic way. Globalization and new information and com-
munication technologies are creating a new information soci-
ety paradigm of economic growth, political liberty and citi-
zen action, but there needs to be a global discussion on how
these forces impact national, regional and individual cultural
identities. Currently there are many different and opposing
forces at work whose agendas are at odds with each other.
The GIIC will use its convening power to create dialogue
that will lead to a more rational set of public policies, trade
agreements, and private-sector-coordinated self-regulatory
initiatives to help bring order and predictability to the situa-

GIIC Focus
The GIIC believes that barriers to investment do not just ap-
ply to the existence or lack thereof, of a basic telecommuni-
cations infrastructure, but are also affected by a lack of a
"soft" infrastructure, or flexible rules responsive to rapid
technological change. A critical component of competitive
In order to represent a real-world microcosm of the global advantage is the ability to exploit knowledge and information
information infrastructure, GIIC membership spans the major through a skilled and flexible workforce. Within a global
elements of information infrastructure and services, includ- economy brought closer by integrated trade and investment,
ing telecommunications, computer, cable, software, broad- these factors will determine an economy's competitive ad-
casting, satellite, media, policy and education from both the vantage in the next millennium. Therefore, the GIIC has
developed, and the developing world. identified three main focus areas for its work.

! 63 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

veloping rapidly, and laws are outdated. Moreover, the gaps
between old laws that worked in the traditional market, and
the new cyber market, are not being addressed in a timely
fashion. Most governments are not equipped to deal with the
Electronic notion that solutions for many problems in the market place
(i.e. privacy of data and transactions, content controls, con-
GII Commerce sumer fraud prevention, authentication of parties to transac-
tions, etc.) are more likely to be technical than regulatory.
Development The GIIC has worked with a variety of private and public
groups in addressing this issue, and plans to move forward in
engaging other private sector bodies and multilateral institu-
tions in recommending technological and self-regulatory
solutions to establish trust and confidence for electronic
Education in the Information Age
Global Information Infrastructure Development Spurring the reform of education systems to pre-
Fostering an open environment for the develop- pare for the Information Age.
ment of information infrastructure and services.
The dramatic economic, technological, informational and
According to the International Telecommunications Union social challenges of the information age pose serious ques-
(ITU), the proportion of international traffic open to compe- tions about the quality and character of educational attain-
tition has more than doubled from 35 percent in 1990 to 74 ment for a country's population. The critical shortage of
percent today, and is predicted to rise to 85 percent by 2005. skilled workers has long-term repercussions for the private
In spite of these great strides in liberalization, information sector and the future development of the global economy. All
gaps between developed and developing regions continue to these issues are leading to a radical rethinking of education
persist. Although the GIIC advocated the signing of the and lifelong learning. While the GIIC has done much to draw
WTO Basic Telecommunications Agreement, several key attention to education as a critical component of the infor-
issues determining the equitable development of the global mation infrastructure, it must now emphasize the message to
information infrastructure need to be examined. Will new governments and educationists around the world that educa-
technologies like the Internet, and alternate infrastructures tional reform is intrinsically bound to the overall structural
like cellular and wireless, render current liberalization efforts reform of the economy. Other issues that the GIIC must ex-
useless? Should these new technologies be regulated at all? amine is how the private sector can collaborate with and
And while many players are still struggling to manage the learn from both public and private entities on the rational use
transition from public monopolies to competitive frame- of information technology in learning and skills develop-
works, an increasingly fragmented and privatizing global ment.
information infrastructure may present significant challenges
to the international coordination of global networks. The
GIIC can help bridge the gap between developing countries It is because of its strong focus on education that GIIC sup-
and assist international organizations like the ITU in prepar- ports TechKnowLogia. The GIIC believes that education is
ing for this new global communications environment. one of the major foundations to a successful global economy.
Education in the Information Age can be available to any
country and citizen via information and communication
Electronic Commerce technologies. TechKnowLogia provides decision-makers the
Facilitating the creation of harmonized rules to latest information on these technological and educational
support global electronic commerce. developments.

Electronic commerce has the potential to revolutionize busi- For more information about the GIIC please visit the web-
ness environments, change business-to-business operations, site:, or call at 202-775-3185. The GIIC is a
and business-to-consumer operations. However, trust and project of the Center for Strategic and International Studies
confidence must be established if electronic commerce is to (
reach its full potential. The reality is that technology is de-

! 64 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

Founded in 1961, the Academy for Educational Development plied satellite technologies to social service delivery, particu-
(AED) is an independent, nonprofit organization committed to larly in education, in developing countries—the first project of
solving critical social problems in the United States and its kind. The project tested a variety of narrow-band technolo-
throughout the world through education, research, training, gies for distance education, including audio-conferencing,
social marketing, policy analysis, and innovative program electronic blackboards, slow-scan television, computer/modem
design and management. In all its work, AED is dedicated to applications, and facsimile (not commonly used then). Two-way
improving people’s lives by increasing knowledge and pro- audio-conferencing systems were developed in the West Indies,
moting democratic and humanitarian ideals. Indonesia, and Peru. The University of the West Indies Dis-
tance Teaching Experiment connected university campuses in
AED’s projects range in size from long-term, large-scale pro- six Caribbean countries, enabling them to share courses and
grams that cover an entire region to very small, short-term train medical personnel and teachers. The Indonesian Distance
projects at a single site. To its work, AED brings expertise of Education Satellite System linked 12 university campuses
exceptional breadth and depth: a diverse, multilingual, multi- spread across 2,000 miles and reached up to 3,000 students per
disciplinary staff of 700 that includes specialists in education, week with 12 courses a semester, and provided for faculty
health, nutrition, population, behavior change, youth develop- seminars and administrative meetings. The Peru Rural Commu-
ment, democracy-building, economics, entrepreneurship, and nications Services Project installed earth stations in remote
workforce and community development, among other fields. provinces to bring in-service training to agriculture, education,
and health personnel via audio-conferencing and basic tele-
AED works at the frontiers of new thinking, new approaches, phone service to seven communities.
and new technologies. It takes pride in the quality of its work—
a pervasive value within AED rooted in a deep commitment to A two-volume study, To Improve Learning: An Evaluation of
its humanitarian mission. Instructional Technology, which AED produced, was one of the
earliest comprehensive assessments of technology in support of
AED and Technology: The Early Years education. A Studies in Educational Technology series ex-
plored issues related to applications of educational technolo-
For 25 years, AED has applied modern communication tech- gies. Wilbur Schramm’s comprehensive study of educational
nologies to development. In the early years, with funding from media, Big Media, Little Media, written under an AED contract
the U.S. Agency for International Development, it evaluated the with USAID, further expanded the educational technology
first uses of educational television in Africa and Latin America, knowledge base and made it available to a wide audience. In
designed and built two radio stations in Guatemala, created new 1986, AED captured its experience about interactive educa-
approaches to agricultural extension through distance educa- tional radio in Teaching English by Radio.
tion, developed a modern instructional design center, including
television broadcast studios, for Indonesia, and implemented a AED and Technology: Today
radio language arts program for elementary school children in
Kenya. AED later applied many of the Kenya interactive radio AED continues to build on the technical knowledge acquired
language arts principles to other programs and countries: and the lessons learned from the early programs—in distance
language arts in Lesotho and Pakistan and, most recently, radio learning, technology-based tools, institution-wide applications,
mathematics in El Salvador. For 20 years, AED operated the information diffusion and exchange, and assessment and moni-
Clearinghouse on Development Communication, which col- toring. AED’s National Demonstration Laboratory for
lected and disseminated information about communication Interactive Information Technologies is one of the country’s
technology to the developing world. premier demonstration sites and training centers for multimedia
and emerging technologies, such as virtual reality, geographic
In the early to mid-’80s, AED conducted a program that ap- information systems, voice activation, and online communica-

! 65 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

tions. It also serves as a forum for discussing significant issues ences, and electronic means provide a vital information link
surrounding the adoption of information technology. among individuals and organizations engaged in social sector
Many of the lessons learned in projects in the education sector
AED has applied to social programs in other sectors, particu- AED has developed numerous technology-based tools to teach
larly programs engaged in social marketing efforts. In the skills and inform decision- making. PROFILES, for example,
recent past, for example, worldwide programs in health com- is an interactive computer software program that uses country-
munications and AIDS prevention, both about behavior change level data to estimate the human and economic consequences of
and knowledge transfer, benefited from AED’s exploration of malnutrition. For UNESCO and the (then) Donors to African
multiple technology channels for disseminating messages. More Education, AED developed a user-friendly software package,
recently, AED has demonstrated in large, far- ED-ASSIST (Educational Automated Statisti-
reaching programs the ability of modern cal Information System Toolkit), which en-
communication channels to dramatically ables countries to process education statistics
reduce infant mortality and promote breast and produce quality reports without pro-
feeding. The LearnLink project provides a gramming. AED has helped Zimbabwe, Hon-
broad range of information, education, and duras, Namibia, Sri Lanka, Poland, and the
communication technologies to support de- Dominican Republic, among others, with their
velopment in all sectors. In Romania, for education management information systems.
example, a pilot project provided “mediated”
staff training to child care professionals; in In the United States, AED worked with the
Paraguay, Ghana, and Benin, LearnLink has University of Maryland to establish the Na-
established community learning centers that tional Public Broadcasting Archives, a center
offer access to computers, e-mail, the Internet, for the comprehensive collection of manu-
and other communication and learning de- scripts, organizational records, audio and
vices. video tapes, films, and personal papers deal-
ing with the development of public broad-
In Mexico, AED has worked with the casting in the United States. AED has also
At-risk Youth Program, Brasilia,
Benémerita Universidad Autónoma De 1999
been engaged with George Mason University,
Puebla on its long-term development plan to Rice University, and the Colorado School of
improve its administration and the quality of its academic Mines in an assessment of computer-assisted and distance
instruction. The multi-faceted project includes modernizing learning approaches for remote campuses for engineering
thirty-one libraries, converting all computer systems, rebuilding education using the Internet. As part of its work in school-to-
the telecommunications infrastructure, and developing a com- work education reform strategies, AED has studied schools in
puter-assisted learning system for language instruction. Florida and Utah that are using technology to prepare students
academically and help them explore careers through computer-
AED’s Research and Reference Services (R&RS), an USAID- assisted learning and computerized career assessment.
funded program, is spearheading the technology assessment
phase of the Leland Initiative in Africa and conducting regional For the Department of Education’s Office of Special Education
workshops on technology adoption in Latin America. R&RS Programs, AED created World Wide Web pages to convey
manages the Environmental Technology Network for Asia, information to friends and families of children and youth with
which monitors environmental technology trade leads emanat- disabilities and special education. Users can locate and obtain
ing from Asia and processes them through an information information on specific disabilities, school-to-work assistance
system that matches these leads with appropriate U.S. environ- for youth with disabilities, and resources for teachers, and can
mental technology firms seeking such information. access hyperlinks to other clearinghouses, information centers,
and organizations that serve children and youth with disabili-
Another AED/USAID program manages the formulation of ties. For a communication project for the Centers for Disease
strategic research agendas and research activities across the Control and Prevention, AED used its Web page to create
health and human resources sectors in Africa. SARA, as the hyperlinks to dozens of other useful Internet sites containing
program is called, disseminates research data, tools, and project information related to HIV/AIDS education and prevention.
impacts through every available means -- both low-tech and
high-tech -- to individuals and institutions throughout the For more information visit web site:
continent. SARA’s networking efforts through print, confer-

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Jarl Bengtsson
Counsellor and Head
The Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI)
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

At their last full meeting at OECD in 1996, education minis- The “ICT and the Quality of Learning” study was launched
ters declared their need for advice from the Organisation on at an international seminar held at OECD in June 1998, at-
how best to implement lifelong learning for all, this as a tended by national representatives and experts from 25 of the
major task for the current 5-year mandate of OECD educa- Organisation’s member countries. In many countries now
tional activities extending from 1997 to the end 2001. Spe- there is intense interest in the potential of ICTs to open up
cifically, the ministers included the request that the OECD: learning and knowledge in new ways to new audiences. Very
substantial investments have already been made in education
“…assess visions of the ‘school of tomorrow’, in in recent years, especially in hardware and connectivity, in
particular in the light of new technologies and ad- working towards this potential. But, many questions remain
vances in pedagogy.” unanswered:

In this article, I introduce briefly a major study being carried • What are the strategic options so that this potential
out in our Centre for Educational Research and Innovation can best be realised and using what knowledge
(CERI) that responds directly to this ministerial invitation. base?
This study on Information and Communications Technology • Why is the high quality educational software market
(ICT), education and learning is, in turn, organised as part of still so under-developed, and how can this be put
a broader CERI programme of activities entitled Schooling right?
for Tomorrow. • How can learning be organised through these tech-
nologies so as to “break the mould”, allowing both

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far-reaching individualisation and new forms of tional multimedia software. This work is being carried out
connectivity between individuals and networks? through dialogue with senior figures in the public and private
sectors. Small informal meetings of OECD education min-
The study is mainly being carried out through three inter- isters occurring every 6 months or so, have included these
connected sets of activities on: Software Quality, Market issues on their agendas of discussion since 1996. A paper on
Issues, and Research and Evaluation. Each of these areas has the educational multimedia software market was prepared for
its own groups and schedule of meetings as outlined below, the major Ottawa Conference, “A Borderless World: Realis-
and there are periodic conferences that bring together na- ing the Potential of Global Electronic Commerce”, (October
tional representatives and experts across all three. The first of 1998). (A follow up conference on E-commerce one year
these, as mentioned above, was held in June 1998, with sub- later will take place in Paris this autumn).
sequent conferences planned for early 2000 and Spring 2001.
A project Website has been set up for exchange of informa- A high-level meeting bringing together representatives of the
tion and co-ordination of activities across the different sub- ICT industry and senior education and communication pol-
projects, (see: ). icy-makers was held in London in June 1999, hosted by Ox-
ford University Press. The meeting addressed what can be
Software Quality done to overcome market difficulties and how partnerships
can be formed to promote the development of high quality
We have established a core working group reflecting a range educational software. A further high-level meeting on these
of expertise: curriculum specialists, educational policy mak- issues will be held in New York City, in December 1999,
ers, teachers, software developers. The Software Quality hosted by the American publisher Scholastic Inc.
group has already met in Paris in April 1999, and will come
together in the Netherlands in October 1999, with further
meetings in 2000.

The starting point for the group is the review of existing

work across OECD countries on criteria of quality, the
In many countries now
evaluation of software, and the purposes for which they are there is intense interest
used. On the basis of this analysis, the Software Quality
group will clarify the dimensions of quality, and work to-
in the potential of ICTs
wards establishing a framework of principles to inform soft- to open up learning and
ware development, evaluation and use. Such a framework knowledge in new ways
will contribute to design specifications for new materials, to
judgements about software applications, and to the promo- to new audiences.
tion of dialogue between suppliers and users. The group will
consider whether subject-specific quality criteria are needed
in, for instance, mathematics, science and foreign languages.
It will need to consider the quality issues that arise in relation
to the myriad forms of ICT use in education with software
that is not specifically educational -- Internet and Intranet These high-level discussions are being supported by targeted
search, electronic communication and networking, informa- studies, including an analysis that has resulted in a chapter in
tion and document processing, etc. the OECD book Education Policy Analysis 1999 Edition,
“ICT in Education: Trends, Investment, Access and Use”,
The work on quality will result in a final report for publica- published this fall.
tion in the CERI Schooling for Tomorrow series. It is in-
tended to make a significant contribution to policy and prac- Out of this dialogue and analysis, we will grasp more suc-
tice in education, and will inform the dissemination confer- cessfully the contours and potential of the relevant markets.
ences on ICT and education in 2001. We will have clarified principles of best practice for pub-
lic/private partnerships, and contributed to the promotion of
Partnerships and the ICT Education Market such partnerships through the high-level meetings. These
will be incorporated into a final report for publication, and
An important aim of this work is to raise general awareness, will naturally constitute an important aspect of the dissemi-
both in the education sector and the private business commu- nation events planned for 2001.
nity, of the massive potential of the educational software
market. A further aim is to examine successful pub-
lic/private partnerships for developing high quality educa-

! 68 ! © TechKnowLogia, September/October, 1999

Research and Evaluation A meeting of the network of National Research Experts is
taking place in September 1999, in Futuroscope, Poitiers,
Research and evaluation represent the most complex, re- France, to consider in particular these two research projects.
source intensive part of the study. There are now strong de- At this time, we can consider how far certain other issues -
mands world-wide for informed answers to a wide range of such as teacher attitudes, professional development, and stu-
questions about the impact of ICT on teaching and learning. dent/learner viewpoints - should also be incorporated into
As countries invest heavily in this direction, the main our reflections in this area of the study.
evaluation questions are less “is it worth it?” (since the tech-
nologies have become permanent aspects of school life in This part of the OECD study will make a significant contri-
many places), and more “how can ICTs be used most effec- bution to the burgeoning international knowledge base on
tively?”. The complexities of evaluation to which this shift ICT and learning. It will result in substantial new empirical
gives rise, are rendered still more complex inter alia both by analyses based on co-ordinated national research exercises.
the rapidity of change and by the importance of out-of-school These, in turn, will inform the high-level dialogue on policy
use of ICT. Such complexity notwithstanding, there is an and practice to take place in the latter stages of the study.
acute demand for a well developed international knowledge
base in this field. Conclusion

A network of National Research Experts has been established These three areas of work are interlocking; the clarifications
that will serve as the main channel of liaison with each and analyses of one directly feed the other two. Some of the
country. To this core network we are seeking the wider in- work cuts across all these issues. For instance, the chapter for
volvement of experts, practitioners, learners, and policy- the 1999 Education Policy Analysis on trends, investment,
makers. A basic aim for the work in this area is that of re- access and use, serves all three. Equally, we have organised
view and exchange, whether of evaluation methodologies or or been closely involved in conferences that draw together
of substantial findings on different themes. To this end, the these different areas.
project Website referred to above will prove a valuable me-
dium specifically to provide bibliographic data, lists of na- One was a major policy conference organised by the Irish
tional contacts, information exchange forums, reviews on and UK governments in association with OECD in Dublin in
key subjects, and other general information on the main areas May 1999, on “Dissolving Boundaries: ICTs and Learning in
of new research being conducted as part of this study. the Information Age”. This was attended by officials, teach-
ers, and experts from over 20 OECD countries, with an
There are two main areas of new research to be carried out in agenda shaped around our three-part framework. In Decem-
the participating countries and organised by the OECD. First, ber 1999, there will be an International Round Table in
there are case studies of schools, where ICT has acted as an Philadelphia, USA, on the equity dimensions of ICT use and
integral element of radical change towards their becoming learning. This Round Table is being jointly organised by the
learning organisations. A first small planning meeting on National Center on Adult Literacy and the International Lit-
design and methodology took place in Paris, May 1999. eracy Institute, based in the University of Pennsylvania, and
Once the countries have clarified their participation, the the OECD. Similar such events may well come up next year
fieldwork will take place around mid-2000 so that national and beyond. And, we are planning our own major dissemi-
reports and a major synthesis can be produced for the main nation conferences for this study to take place in 2001.
dissemination conferences in 2001. This aspect of the work
is being closely co-ordinated with the parallel IEA SITES In adopting this three-part programme, the aim has been to
study, in particular its Module 2 project of case studies of achieve not only a mix of focus but of the stakeholders to be
innovative use of ICT in classrooms. engaged and of methodologies. In this way, we expect this
new OECD work to make a substantial contribution to inter-
Second, there are experimental studies of ICT impact on national understanding of the impact of ICT on teaching and
learning. In this case, the focus will be classrooms and the learning across a broad sweep. And, as this is located within
impacts of interest will be defined particularly in terms of the umbrella of CERI’s broader work on Schooling for To-
student self-study abilities. There is considerable interest in morrow, its outcomes will be related to the analyses of edu-
these forms of advanced impacts, which have clear signifi- cational futures and learning innovations being carried out in
cance for lifelong, rather than short-term gains relating to parallel. In this way, we expect this ambitious programme to
drill-and-practice. A first small planning meeting on design respond to the tasks set for us by the ministers of education
and methodology took place in California in July 1999. Once in 1996 in clarification of major issues confronting schooling
the countries have clarified their participation, the fieldwork as we move into the 21st century.
will be undertaken in 2001 after careful piloting.

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