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Read the article

Fischer, G. (1998) "Making Learning a Part of Life-Beyond the 'Gift-Wrapping'
Approach of Technology." Notes from 6/96 NSF Symposium on Learning and Intelligent
Systems available at:

Briefly discuss the following

1. what did you find

1.1. interesting about the article?

I thought the section exposing the myths and misconceptions
of how technology will and has changed education was the most interesting part
of the article. A lot of current approaches to education seem to not consider
these processes as perhaps counterproductive. It is important that they be identified.

1.2. not interesting about the article?

I thought the article as a whole was interesting and useful.
I couldn't really come up with anything I found uninteresting. I was a little
confused by the diagram in figure 5, and how it related to the article.

2. what do you consider the main
message of the article?

The main message of the article was that we need to change
the way we view education on our society. Currently, it is viewed as something
that occurs from K-12, and through college, always tought by a teacher or instructor.
We need to change this so that we are in the process of learning all of our
lives, and in every instance, not just in the classroom. We also need to take
advantage of technology in more useful ways than we currently do. Instead of
using it to pump up information content presented to the public, it needs to
be used to narrow down the information available efficiently and usefully.

3. click on one of the words in blue
and see what happens?

It takes you to the glossary page.

3.1. is this feature useful?

Yes, it helps people become more familiar with the terms
and lets them see how they are used in context.

3.2. in which other situations have
you encountered this feature?

Wikipedia uses this feature in their online encyclopedia.
When you click on a hypertext link, it brings you to the encyclopedia entry
for that term.

4. global learning theories and approaches

4.1. do you know any of the people
mentioned in the diagrams:

4.1.1. Skinner


4.1.2. Piaget


4.1.3. Papert


4.1.4. Illich


4.1.5. Vygotsky


4.1.6. Dewey


4.1.7. ignore Taylor

4.2. select one of the six

4.2.1. in case you know something
‡ write a paragraph what she/he has contributed to a deeper understanding
of learning?

4.2.2. in case you do not know something,
find out something about her/him ‡ write a paragraph what she/he has contributed
to a deeper understanding of learning?

B. F. Skinner was a behavioral psychologist whose entire
system is based on a concept called "operant conditioning." 
This means that an organism is in the process of “operating” on
its environment, which means it is bouncing around its world, doing what it
does. During this “operating,” the organism encounters a special
kind of stimulus, called a reinforcing stimulus. This special stimulus has the
effect of increasing the operant – that is, the behavior occurring just before
the reinforcer. This is operant conditioning:  “the behavior is followed
by a consequence, and the nature of the consequence modifies the organisms tendency
to repeat the behavior in the future.” Skinner also helped pioneer a method
of learning called adaptive help, in which students receive less and less help
as they mature through mastering a domain of knowledge.

5. identify one website (and mention
the URL) which you consider interesting and relevant for “learning”!
Write a one paragraph justification!

Again, I would like
to point to Wikipedia (
as a great source for learning and collaboration. This site is basically an
online encyclopedia where you can find information about everything. It does
not have simply the traditional entries of a hardcover encyclopedia, but it
also houses terms that are slang or phrases. In addition to providing all this
content and the functionality mentioned above with the crosslinking of text
and terms, it is an extremely useful wiki. This means that all registered users
can edit the content of the pages as new information becomes available. It is
a huge step in the process of linking learning and collaboration.

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