Cyberspace Curricula: A Global Perspective

Article excerpt

The four learning theories (general systems, communication, learning, and instruction) support cyberspace curricula at the primary educational level for global cyberspace participation. A literature and Internet review reveals that home computer usage has increased in Australia, their schools were book-based and their teachers are reluctant to use computers in their classrooms. In the USA, cyberspace curricula was cost effective, and in Russia students are taught to develop their own software. Several universities maintain websites on the Internet for information retrieval and to promote cyberspace curricula: University of California, Australian National University,University of Karlsruhe, Carnegie Mellon, University of Westminister, and Brock University.

We live in a global society during the Information Age. The computer allows us to access information globally. The Internet enables students to collaborate with persons around the world and access information on millions of computers. Schools, institutes, and universities are becoming electronically linked, providing supportive and parallel cyberspace curricula. Cyberspace curricula employs the regular usages of the computer for educational purposes. Global cyberspace curricula are being utilized by educators in countries around the world.

For cyberspace participation, student learning about cyberspace occurs through one of the four learning theories: general systems theory, communication theory, learning theory, or instructional theory. General System theorists believe a unit of interrelated and interacting components work together toward a common outcome. In the general system theory, a breakdown in the individual classroom or home creates breakdowns in all other systems, impacting the global system. According to the general system theorists, if the classroom or home cyberspace curricula are not successful, neither will be the global cyberspace curricula. The communication theorists focus on how information is communicated. A weak signal, little or no cyberspace curricula, in the classroom or at home would not even be heard in the global cyberspace curricula air waves. The learning theorists are divided between behavioral theorists such as Pavlov, Skinner, and Thorndike and cognitive learning theorists such as Schuell, Bartlett, Tolman, and Gagne. Behavioral theorists believe learning occurs when learners elicit an appropriate response to a particular stimulus. Little or no cyberspace curricula would result in minimal cyberspace responses. Cognitive theorists focus on the cognitive structures along with the processes which mediate between the instructional stimuli and a learner's responses. The cognitive theorists would concur that classroom or home cyberspace curricula would be the cognitive structural foundation to global cyberspace curricula with a faulty foundation (classroom/home) causing the edifice (global) to weaken, crack, and crumble, resulting in reconstruction. Instructional theorist such as Brunner, Gagne, and Dick attempt to relate specific events to learning processes and learning outcomes. Poor classroom/home cyberspace instruction results in inadequate global cyberspace curricula participation. Each of the four learning theories adheres to the importance of cyberspace curricula at the primary educational level for global cyberspace participation.

Authors such as Glen and Neil Russell (1997); Eddy, Burnett, Spaulding, and Murphy (1997); and Schellenberger, Mechitov, and Olson (1996), have reported on different aspects of cyberspace curricula from countries around the globe. In Australia, the Russells studied imperatives in Australian cyberspace curricula. One of the imperatives that they reported was that the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 1994 stated that over 23% of all Australian residents used computers regularly in their households. This percentage was expected to increase dramatically. Also, the number of interconnected computers (5,000,000 computers were linked to 50,000,000 computers) were reported to have increased by 400%. …