Technology in Education: Looking toward 2020

By Raymond S. Nickerson; Philip P. Zodhiates | Go to book overview

as educational tools -- by expanding the range of people who have access to them and by designing interfaces that take into account the needs of beginners as well as experts in a field.

Computers as Planning Tools for Problem Solving. Effective problem solving depends on recruiting and organizing one's resources for attacking problems. Research on problem solving has taught us a good deal about the nature of this resource recruitment, ranging from goal analysis to strategy identification, but we do not presently give problem solvers much help in the process. Appropriately designed computer systems could provide much help by supplying a variety of organizing devices for people, along with hints and coaching systems that individuals can call on as needed. Some of the basic computer elements of such planning tools already exist. Hooked to more extensive knowledge bases, systems of this kind could function as planning tools for people at many levels of expertise and in many fields.

Computers as . . . . Although the list could be extended, the thrust of our argument should now be clear. Conceiving of computers not just as tutors but also as collaborators with human intelligence extends the boundaries of traditional definitions of education by modifying the meaning of intelligence and thereby calling into question traditional methods of enhancing intellectual competence. We assume that, as computers become more accessible and necessary, new uses and needs beyond those outlined here will arise. The implications of such developments for cognitive theory as well as for educational practice are enormous. Indeed, if computers really become a part of our daily life outside school -- as there is good reason to believe will happen by the year 2020--our very ideas of what constitutes education can be expected to shift. We have hinted at some of the possibilities here. We anticipate that, as computers become increasingly available as intelligence-extending tools, broad educational uses well beyond those that we have been able to imagine will suggest themselves. History tells us that long experience with certain tools (steam engines, radios, automobiles, for example) functioning as common cultural devices shapes peoples sense of the possible in ways that cannot easily be forecast at early stages of development. At early stages, tools are used mainly to do traditional tasks more efficiently. Only as the tools become commonplace do ideas emerge for using them in other ways that few people ever thought to try. Such, we expect, will be the case for computers as developers and extenders of human intelligence.


REFERENCES

Anderson J. R., Boyle C.R, & Yost G. ( 1985). The geometry tutor. Proceedings of the 9th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (Vol. 1, pp. 1-7). Los Angeles.

Anderson J. R., & Reiser B. J. ( 1985, April). "The LISP tutor". BYTE (pp. 159-175).

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