by James B. Ellsworth // Vision
James B. Ellsworth confronts this paradox: though educational technology has come of age in the past half-century, many Americans believe that, in the same time period, the nation's educational system has sunk to embarrassingly low performance levels. If we now know more about how people learn and have better tools for facilitating learning, why are we not producing better graduates? Ellsworth believes that too many educators treat technology as an add-on to instruction, rather than as an integrated part of an educational system. To truly improve the quality of teaching and learning, he argues, educators will have to "go forth and be systemic." Just what does that mean? Find out by reading Ellsworth's detailed recommendations for reengineering American schools.
by Phyllis B. Oakes // Case Studies
Phyllis B. Oakes teaches a course on early childhood education at Morehead State University in Kentucky. MSU recently converted the class into a distance learning (DL) offering; even though most of her students are elementary teachers who have little experience with using computers, Oakes decided to make the most of the software and technology tools available in DL classrooms. She required enrollees to access the World Wide Web, use search engines, join listservs, read and post messages to a class newsgroup, prepare and present multimedia reports, and take quizzes via e-mail. Did novice computer-uses drop the class or dive right in? Oakes tells all in "Incorporating Electronic Technology into a Distance Learning Course."
by Randall M. MacDonald and Elizabeth Simmons Watson // Featured Products
Randall M. MacDonald and Elizabeth Simmons Watson discuss the development of a technology-intensive Freshman Seminar at Florida Southern College. In the course, librarians introduce new students to the technology tools that they will use throughout their collegiate careers: Microsoft PowerPoint, electronic mail, and the World Wide Web. MacDonald and Simmons contend that, with this head start, freshman have a better chance of successfully developing?and later, refining?strong communication, research, and presentation skills.
Internet Explorer 4.0 greatly improves upon current browser, email, collaboration, and Web page creation technology. IE4 features a Search bar that provides the user with easy access to Web search engines, a History bar that groups the sites visited by the user, and "security zones" that allow the user to designate trusted and untrusted sites. After you read about IE4, download it for free from the Microsoft Web site.
U.S. News and World Report rankings may be more familiar to the general public, but the Critical Comparisons of American Colleges and Universities Web site is a worthy addition to the list of publications that attempt to measure the quality of higher education institutions. The listing for each college or university consists of a "nutshell" description of the overall ranking as well as a breakdown of the institution's rating in nine different areas, including Finances, Services, Scholarships, Crime, and Faculty Reputation. Prospective college students of any age will find it an immensely useful resource.