Academic journal article Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice

E-Learning - the Ultimate Educational Tool

Academic journal article Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice

E-Learning - the Ultimate Educational Tool

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT. This paper is an insight of the impact e-learning has had over the traditional higher educational system. It briefly presents a history of the Human-Computer Interaction at the dawn of the 60s as well as a survey of e-learning from a general perspective. Worth mentioning could also be the review of the main technological hardware devices of the PC we have now got used to integrate into our lives. The purpose of the paper is to enhance the role of the Internet in the educational modern view and to raise awareness regarding the infinite possibilities it offers.

Keywords: e-learning, traditional higher educational system

Since the beginning of time, people have constantly learned how to progress, how to evolve, how to improve. Ever since the first signs on the walls of Altamira to the modern hi-tech, mankind have been preoccupied to grow and develop. Maybe the most important discovery of the 20th century is the computer. Primarily looking like a 5-tone monster having a huge number of components and doing pretty little for the size of it, the computer has immensely evolved to a mini, discrete, state-of-the-art technological device able to do the most amazing things. Life without it in the 21st century is definitely unconceivable. Please stop reading this paper and think for a moment how many electronic devices you have around you or even in your pocket: PC, DVD player, HiFi, security system, central heating, radio, cooker, microwave, washing machine, dishwasher, or smaller, a PDA, electronic car key, USB memory, CDs, DVDs, a phone, a camera, a smart card, or a micro chip. As weird as it may seem, all these are interactive. Scenarios of the end of the world have all taken into account their system failure or because of who-knows-what natural calamity such artificial systems would break. In such an unfortunate case, mankind with all its civilizations would perish. We will yet focus not on the catastrophic scenario but on its sharpest advantages among which e-learning, we consider, is the best. Why is that? It's simple, because without e-learning we would only be able to transmit the information we have so painfully gathered by traditional methods. Not to mention store it.

Interestingly, the history of the computer, as we know it nowadays, started in the second half of the 20th century. Here are some highlights of the dawn of human-computer interactivity. The now ubiquitous direct manipulation interface, where visible objects on the screen are directly manipulated with a pointing device, was first demonstrated by Ivan Sutherland in Sketchpad, which was his 1963 MIT PhD thesis. SketchPad supported the manipulation of objects using a light-pen, including grabbing objects, moving them, changing size, and using constraints. Another early system was AMBIT/G (implemented at MIT's Lincoln Labs, 1968, ARPA funded). It employed, among other interface techniques, iconic representations, gesture recognition, dynamic menus with items selected using a pointing device, selection of icons by pointing, and moded and mode-free styles of interaction. David Canfield Smith coined the term "icons" in his 1975 Stanford PhD thesis on Pygmalion and Smith later popularized icons as one of the chief designers of the Xerox Star. Many of the interaction techniques popular in direct manipulation interfaces, such as how objects and text are selected, opened, and manipulated, were researched at Xerox PARC in the 1970s. In particular, the idea of "WYSIWYG" (what you see is what you get) originated there with systems such as the Bravo text editor and the Draw drawing program The concept of direct manipulation interfaces for everyone was envisioned by Alan Kay of Xerox PARC in a 1977 article about the "Dynabook." The first commercial systems to make extensive use of Direct Manipulation were the Xerox Star (1981), the Apple Lisa (1982) and Macintosh (1984). Ben Shneiderman at the University of Maryland coined the term "Direct Manipulation" in 1982 and identified the components and gave psychological foundations. …

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