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Date: Wed, 03 May 1995 12:39:34 -0400
From: Alison Green <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: developing IT use
Sender: "Higher Education Processes Discussion (HEPROC)"
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Approved-By:  Carl Reimann <[log in to unmask]>
Comments: To: [log in to unmask]
 
I take the point made by David Jacques, that IT may have
been used largely as "an excuse to buy more computers or
employ more technological wizards", but I think the comment
is overly cynical and way too pessimistic.
 
One of the biggest hurdles likely to be faced by society
over the coming years will be how to minimise the gap
between the computer literate and the non-users. The
internet offers a massive amount of information that may
well change the ways in which individuals think and function
in society, but these changes will affect the users - it is
likely that a large proportion of the population (the
non-users) will be left behind.
 
If we accept that a major problem in developing IT for
braoder uses is the possibility that those carrying out the
instruction in educational and/or professional settings are
themselves not suited to the task, the problem becomes one
of training the trainers.  Those currently taking on the
role of instructors in the use of IT tend to either be
non-expert, or at the other extreme, too expert. The
non-experts have limited perceptions of what is possible,
whereas the experts have far too narrow a view. Both groups
constrain the possibilities that are explained to new
potential users as a result of their (unintentional) b
biases.
 
To take the specific issue of using IT for teaching and
learning, my experience in a number of educational settings
leads me to conclude that a great deal is being done to
develop the use of IT.  A difficulty may be in the sharing
of information - we do this as best we can over the
internet, but unfortunately way too often we read about
anecdotal reports of one individual's approach, when we
often need something much firmer and less vague.
 
Advances are being made in the use of IT for teaching and
learning, and I'd be happy to discuss these with interested
individuals, passing on references if required.
 
Alison Green <[log in to unmask]>
Brunel University
Middlesex UK