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Lesson 10

Computer As a Tutor

The computer is one of the wonders of human

ingenuity. With the invention of the microcomputer (now
also commonly referred to as PCs or personal computers),
the PC has become the tool for programmed instruction.

Computer-assisted instruction (CAI)

The computer can be a tutor in effect relieving the teacher of many activities in
his personal role as classroom tutor. It should be made clear, however, that the
computer cannot totally replace the teacher since the teacher shall continue to play
the major roles of information deliverer and learning environment controller. Even
with the available computer and CAI software, the teacher must:
insure that students have the needed knowledge and skills for any computer
decide the appropriate learning objectives.
plan the sequential and structured activities to achieve objectives.
evaluate the students achievement by ways of tests the specific expected outcomes

The students in CAI play their own roles as learners as they:

receive information
understand instructions for the computer activity
retain/keep in mind the information and rules for the
computer activity
apply the knowledge and rules during the process of
computer learning.

During the computer activity proper in CAI the

computer, too, plays its roles as it:
acts a sort of tutor (the role traditional played by the teacher)
provides a learning environment
delivers learning instruction
reinforces learning through drill-and-practice
provides feedback

Today, educators accept the fact that the computer

has indeed succeeded in providing an individualized
learning environment so difficult for a teacher handling
whole classes. This is so, since the computer is able to
allow individual students to learn at their own pace,
motivate learning through a challenging a virtual learning
environment, assist students through information needed
during the learning process, evaluate student responses
through immediate feedback during the learning process
and also give the total scores to evaluate the students
total performance.


1. Do you believe CAI in some future time can replace

teachers in the classroom?
2. Since it is admitted that CAI relates to lower learning
skills (behaviorist and cognitivist learning), what grade
levels would CAI drill-and-practice software materials
be useful? Do you think those in college will still want
drill-and-practice learning activities that provide plain
memorization (behaviorism) and processing like a
mere computer (cognitivism) ?
3. What problem can be encountered if a school (such in
poor countries) cannot afford to provide enough
computers to students? Will CAI work at all with whole
school using a single computer?

CAI Integrated with Lessons

Computer learning should not stop with the drill
and practice activities of students. CAI works best in
reinforcing learning through repetitive exercises such
that students can practice basic skills or knowledge in
various subject areas. In these programs, the computer
presents a question/problem first and the student is
asked to answer the question/problem. Immediate feed
back is given to the students answer

When and how can teachers integrate drill and practice programs with their lessons?
Use drill and practice programs for basic skills and knowledge that require rapid or
automatic response by students.
When and how can teachers integrate drill and practice programs with their lessons?
Ensure that drill and practice activities conform to the lesson plan/curriculum.
When and how can teachers integrate drill and practice programs with their lessons?
Limit drill and practice to 20-30 minutes to avoid boredom.
When and how can teachers integrate drill and practice programs with their lessons?
Use drill and practice to assist students with particular weakness in basic skills.

In integrating computer programs in instruction, use tutorial software with

associated with cognitive learning. While practice exercise or learning by doing
is still the heart of each tutorial, the tutorial software should:

Teach new content/information to students

Provide comprehensive information on concepts in addition to practice
Can be effectively used for remediation, reviewing or enrichment
Allow the teacher to introduce follow-up questions to stimulates
tudents learning
Permit group activity for cooperative learning

These are another kind of software that is
constructivist in nature. These simulation software:
Teaches strategies and rules applied to real-life
Asks students to make decision on models or scenarios
Allows students to manipulate elements of a model
and get the experience of the effects of their decisions

While relating to low-level learning objectives, instructional
computer games add the elements of competition and challenge.

These are more sophisticated than the drill and practice exercises and
allow students to learn and improve on their problem-solving ability. Since
problems cannot be solved simply by memorizing facts, the students have
to employ higher thinking skills such as logic, recognition, reflection, and
strategy- making.


Multimedia Encyclopedia can store a huge database with
texts, images, animation, audio and video. Students can access any
desired information, search its vast contents and even download/print
relevant portions of the data for their composition or presentation.
Electronic Books provide textual information for reading,
supplemented by other types of multimedia information (sounds, spoken
words, pictures, animation). These are useful for learning reading,
spelling and word skills

The computer is a tutor in this new age of learning. It does not replace the teacher,
although it assumes certain roles previously assigned to teachers who now has to take the
new role of facilitate or and guide.
Computer activities are not also the end-all of learning, since they have to conform to
the lesson/curriculum. Integrating computer exercises is the new task of the teacher who
can find in the computer and computer software an alternative medium to the traditional
classroom practice of delivering information and supporting learning activities.
In the years ahead, we shall the computers in schools as a common tool for the
enhancement of the students thinking, communication and collaboration skills.
Computer will become an integral component of the future classroom and not a mere
machine that can deliver routine drills and exercises.