One area of debate, is how much of a role technology should play in authentic learning environments. Should computers be the focus of such an environment, or should they be supplemental to instructio
At one extreme, Roger Schank believes that an "educational revolution" could occur by allowing "
individualized instruction" on computers, thus making the computer the learning environment. An example of a system that is the learning environment would be Broadcast News<
/font> or Is it a Rembrandt. These programs are self-sustaining and are meant to be used on a one to one basis with the student. Central to both of these programs is the ASK System which uses screen prompted
questions to help guide the student. The ASK System demonstrates the individualistic attitude of the program, because it follows the train of thought of one student and makes collaboration difficult.
Barbara Means takes an intermediate stance saying that "technology lends authenticity to school tasks". S
he views technology as a "tool" that enables students to achieve more "polished" work that is more valuable to the students. Tools also allow students access to tools that professional's use. She supports the integration of t
echnology into curriculum. An example of a program that supports her use of technology would be the Weather Visualizer where students are given th
e tools of meteorologist's, and can use the tool to complete assignments.
Roy Pea would argue that the computer is just another tool increasing student knowledge, and should be considered just another segment of the student's body of knowledge or "distributed intelligence". It is how th
e tools are used and manipulated that determine a student's intelligence. The computer itself is not the learning environment, but just a tool. (5)
Personally, it seems that computers are best utilized as supplements to good learning environments and provide tools that normally would not be available to students. One thing that must not be lost site of is that schools are
also social skill builders, and if the computer becomes the central learning station, this skill is no longer developed.