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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 issues:

1. what did you find

1.1. interesting about the article?

I thought the section talking about the “Gift Wrapping” Approach that occurs when applying technology to education was the most interesting. Technology has great potential to act as a resource to improve/reform the educational system where it currently is mainly acting as a tool for completing the same tasks.

1.2. not interesting about the article?

Some of the diagrams were hard to understand (Figure 7 in particular).

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

Learning is an ongoing activity throughout our lives which is becoming an ever more important ability/skill which allows one to function productively in society. Technology is playing/developing a role in aiding the learning process from K-12 education to lifelong learning throughout one’s career.

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

It takes you to the definition of the word on the glossary page.

3.1. is this feature useful?


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

I have seen this feature on encyclopedia type webpages.

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 developed the idea of operant behavior and conditioning. Operant conditioning, like other types of conditioning, is controlled by consequences, however the process is not trial-and-error learning. A behavior is followed by a consequence. These consequences, or reinforcements, are the key element to this theory which allowed Skinner to explain motivation in terms of deprivation and reinforcement schedules. Operant conditioning has been widely applied in education, instructional and clinical settings.

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

This website addresses the different types of learning styles and classifies them into three general categories: perceptual modality, information processing, and personality patterns. Understanding the multiple learning styles is invaluable when designing multi-media technology aimed at helping others learn. Aiding to different learning styles is one of the great advantages of multi-media technologies.

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