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Techno-teaching and the Web

Innovative educational cuisine or McDonald's Happy Meal
(with free toy)?

WHEN?      Thursday May 2nd 1:10 pm - 2:00 pm, 1996
WHERE? Lecture Theatre S6
WHO SHOULD ATTEND? Academic and Technical staff interested in general issues surrounding use of computers, especially in non-technical courses.


The use of "technology" (mainly referring to use of computers) is hailed as the path into the 21st century, with computer-based teaching set to replace "traditional methods" (tired old chalk-and-talk?) which apparently fail to spark interest and excitement for learning in the young minds of today (what evidence?). I explore the role of technology within our teaching program in second year psychology, and the extent to which technology is creating truly new learning opportunities or is merely a tool to allow us to realise traditional teaching goals.

Why McDonalds?

At Monash University, there is a strong strategic push to deliver educational material through a standard computing environment - there are obvious benefits of this approach, in that you know exactly what the environment will be no matter which campus you attend, no matter which faculty, no matter which department etc.

McDonalds food is also the same, no matter where in the world you are. In some places, this is a vast improvement on "local cuisine" and in other places, it's not . . .

The question for the University to consider is whether you can really serve a gourmet meal from a McDonalds kitchen.

Computer-aided learning in Psychology

I will show the range of computer components incorporated into the second year psychology teaching program, and compare them to "traditional methods" - the question I will be exploring is whether the computer activities are inherently "better" in educational terms, or merely a potentially more convenient way of delivering information.

Examples of use of computers in Psychology:

Interactive Multimedia

The final issue I wish to explore is the rational for introducing interactive multimedia as a replacement for live academics in the classroom and for reading the traditional print media. There is much hype about the academic of tomorrow who will never set foot inside a classroom and will interact with students electronically.

There are also many claims about "student-centred learning" such that if students are free to explore content (through interactive hypermedia) they will learn "more" because they will be guided by their interest rather than being forced into the linear content transmission of "traditional teaching methods".

I wish to explore the idea that the (motivated and informed) live academic is in fact potentially the most interactive element in a classroom - even a multimedia-enhanced one - and is potentially capable of the most non-linear content delivery in response to student enquiry. The print media have nearly all of the capabilities of multimedia packages, but operate in a much slower time frame. The control over content exerted within a multimedia package by the "content provider" is far more insidious than a superficial analysis might reveal.

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