If You Are Not Interested in Computers

Even if you aren't interested in computers, even if the thought of having a computer be a teacher leaves you apoplectic, I encourage you to look seriously at the examples presented in this book and compare them to current teaching methods. The teaching architectures can illustrate how to better utilize current manual methods of teaching. Each of the teaching architectures is focused on some segment of the cycle of natural learning. Each is appropriate in a limited set of situations. By understanding the strengths and limits of these architectures in relation to natural learning, we can understand how to analyze the strengths and limits of other teaching methods as well.

Using the teaching architectures as a way to understand manual methods of teaching is not the only reason for looking at them. The teaching architectures are often superior to manual methods for teaching the same material. I subscribe to the view that learning should be fun. Computers can allow us to make learning a great deal of fun. You may question this assertion--after all, many people who have used computers have had some frustrating experiences with them. However, frustration with computers is the result of poorly designed, difficult-to-use, and pointless software. Good software has the potential to open worlds that were previously off limits, impossible, dangerous, or simply avoided by school systems. Computers provide a key opportunity that manual methods cannot offer: one-on-one instruction on an as-needed basis, specifically tailored to each student who is in control his own learning process.

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