By James D. Torr
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Indeed, without direct teacher involvement and evaluation, thinking skills are difficult both to teach and measure. Software developers often claim that computer use in classrooms gives teachers more opportunities to be involved with their students on an individual basis, but direct teacher involvement can be better achieved by reducing class sizes rather than by putting children in front of computers. Smaller class sizes have a positive impact on children’s academic performance. This is especially true of young children.
Using the notebook shortened the time between students’ preparation of their laboratory notes and the receipt of feedback from their teachers. Similar functions are provided by SpeakEasy, a software tool used to structure and support dialogues among engineering students and their instructors. Computer-based tutoring environments Sophisticated tutoring environments that pose problems are also now available and give students feedback on the basis of how experts reason and organize their knowledge in physics, chemistry, algebra, computer AI Computers & Education INT 2/4/03 7:36 AM Page 32 32 At Issue programming, history, and economics.
In the GLOBE Project (described above), students inspect each others’ data on the project web site and sometimes find readings they believe may be in error. Students use the electronic messaging system to query the schools that report suspicious data about the circumstances under which they made their measurement; for another kind of use. As teachers learn to use technology, their own learning has implications for the ways in which they assist students to learn more generally. An added advantage of networked technologies for communication is that they help make thinking visible.