April 27, 2006

How the Internet affects learning

After reading this post by Doug of the Borderland, I was reminded of this (pdf) article on Blended Learning and of some sections in this book on teaching college freshmen.

The Blended Learning article includes this quote:

Technology is something invented after we were born. All
of the things we now take for granted such as
telephones, TV, radio, cars, refrigerators, washing
machines, and so on, we regard, not as technology but as
commodities. For this reason we are almost lulled into
thinking that e-learning is the first time that technology
has influenced learning in any significant way. This is a
mistake, as the Internet is merely the culmination of wave
after wave of technological innovation in learning.
In fact, there have been six major waves of technological
innovation in learning:
  1. Writing

  2. Printing

  3. Broadcast media

  4. Consumer storage media

  5. PC and CD-ROM

  6. Internet technology

Writing can be considered as the first technological
innovation, with phonetic alphabets, papyrus and paper.
Printing was the second, with moveable type. The third
was broadcast media such as film, radio and television.
The fourth was a range of mass media storage devices
including audio-cassette, videotape and CD. The fifth was
the mass produced computer with CD-ROM. The sixth is
the current networked, web-based e-learning revolution.
With each of these innovations, new forms of blended
learning arose. The ancient and medieval classroom was
oral, with some writing. With the addition of printing the
learner could blend by reading at his or her own pace in
their own time, giving a blend of live, synchronous
learning with self-paced asynchronous learning.

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