Learning Technology

publication of

IEEE Computer Society's
Technical Committee on Learning Technology

Volume 1   Issue 2

Editorial board
ISSN 1438-0625


Advertising in the newsletter
October 1999

Author guidelines


From the editor ..
Spotlight on the Collaborative Projects Forum (Zeba Wunderlich)
Educational Technologies: A Mythic Quest Beyond Megabytes (Alan Altany)
Using Electronic Portfolios to Facilitate Student Reflection (Christopher Langley)
How much teachers know about copyright issues for classroom related products? (Stephen L. Shane)
Towards a Time-Efficient Methodology for Asynchronous Mixed-Language Presentations (E.G. Faulkner & Chen Y.)
Impact of Advanced Media and Emerging Technology on Schools and Society (Part 1 of 3) (John A. Brishcar)
Announcement: Mathematics Metadata Working Group
Call for papers: Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
Notes regarding previous issue

From the editor ..

This issue of Learning Technology is an attempt to report what is happening at research front besides having a look back to see how we reached there (and what lessons to learn for future!). I hope you would find this issue of the newsletter both interesting and useful.

I would like to emphesise that your support and involvement is what will make this initiative a success. I would encourage you to browse through LTTF website at and to subscribe to LTTF participants list by sending an email to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.READADP.COM with the following in the body of the message (no subject needed):

subscribe LTTF firstname lastname

(Please replace 'firstname' and 'lastname' with your firstname and lastname.)

Besides, I would invite you to contribute your own work in progress, project reports, case studies, and events announcements in this newsletter. For more details, please have a look at

Learning Technology Newsletter

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Spotlight on the Collaborative Projects Forum

The Learning Performance Support Laboratory

The number and types of technology used to enhance learning and performance are infinite. The many researchers from diverse disciplines in the Learning Performance Support Laboratory (LPSL) collaborate in research and development projects to find effective combinations of technology and methodology.

The LPSL ( is associated with the College of Education at the University of Georgia and is headed by Dr. Michael Hannafin. Some of its goals are to support research and developments in several areas: interactive learning environments, education supported by emerging technologies, electronic performance support systems, and the impact of technology on performance. In the words of Dr. Hannafin, "The lab is a vehicle to transform educational practices through disciplined inquiry, balancing near-term issues and priorities with longer-term visions and innovations needed to invent new practices."

The LPSL includes a variety of different current projects, ranging from the Digital Weather Station, an interactive exhibit at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis that helps children learn using 3D visualization methods to TOTAL ONE: Tools for Teaching and Learning on Networks, a project to create flexible tools that will allow instructors to more easily design online courses. There are currently nine other projects included at LPSL and a host of completed projects as well.

One of the reasons the LPSL can support so many diverse projects is the partnerships it maintains. The LPSL has active partnerships with the Georgia Research Alliance, the Georgia Center for Advanced Telecommunications Technology, and numerous K-12, university, government, and corporate organizations.

Because of its activity and size, the LPSL hopes to make important contributions to the LTTF Collaborative Projects Forum.

Asynchronous Learning

Traditional classroom education provides a synchronous learning environment; all of the students and the teacher are working on the same time frame. The words that travel from the teacher’s mouth reach the students instantaneously, or synchronously. However, this is a growing trend towards using asynchronous learning methods, learning in a "time-free and place-free interactive mode."

The Asynchronous Learning web site (, created and maintained by Ed Kinley of Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU), provides information about the issues involved with asynchronous learning. The web site combines material developed at ENMU with other material found on the Internet.

As a user explores the web site, he quickly finds a variety of resources. The Pedagogical Issues section, for example, provided links to various research papers and guidelines on the subject. Other sections include Asynchronous Tools, Instructional Strategies, and Examples. Each section also contains a brief analysis of the subject by the web site author.

As for the future, Mr. Kinley said, "This fall I plan to expand the material on the site and hope to provide a forum for the discussion of the issues identified in that section. I also hope to include examples of asynchronous courses and the concepts that support these courses."

The Collaborative Projects Forum

These two projects are a part of the IEEE Computer Society Learning Technology Task Force Collaborative Projects Forum ( This forum contains a variety of ongoing research projects that are exploring learning technology.

If you have a project dealing with learning technology, we invite you to join the forum. There are many benefits to joining the collaborative projects forum. First, the forum will allow you to easily access information about a host of related research projects and to publicize your project to your peers. It will also be a source of expert advice, feedback, and participants. Lastly, you will be part of a growing community of learning technology professionals.

Some services are also available to members of the LTTF collaborative projects forum. We can create and host an email mailing list for your project, which is a great way to build an online project team. We will link to your web site. Also, an LTTF newsletter and access to other publications are available. Membership, including all these services, is free.

To join, email James Schoening at with a short description of your project and the address of the project's web page.

Zeba Wunderlich

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Educational Technologies: A Mythic Quest Beyond Megabytes

Educational technologies transcend the current limitations of computers when the focus is not on the techniques, software or creative pedagogy, but on the student/learner who is engaged in the learning. Almost unwittingly, this shift in focus appears to manifest a mythic pattern and is a story that becomes virtually composed, both digitally and spiritually.

Joseph Campbell spoke of the hero’s quest (vision quest) as having three discernable stages: separation, initiation or liminality, and return or reincorporation. This article sees educational technologies as a potential vehicle for carrying the learner on such a vision quest, in which both the learning process and learner are transformed. This idea will be presented through specific examples from my own use of technology in higher education which portray the content, role and passage in each of the three stages.

For example, educational technologies can begin a process of separation by moving away from familiar theories and practices of education, which are often very unsatisfying. As such, they help us move away from a professor-centered, industrial age, information transfer model of education toward a student/learner-centered model. In this new paradigm, the professor becomes a mentor and resource director as the student uses the Web as a portal to enter a new world of active collaborative and develop greater knowledge, understanding and interpretation skills. Technologies such as discussion lists, web sites, the electronic submission of writings, etc., can take the student out of the familiar geography of education into a seemingly new world of learning, a world of risks, responsibilities, and unknowns.

This new world is the liminal realm where the learner is challenged to overcome all sorts of beasts and obstacles. These obstructions take the form of computer illiteracy, comfortable passivity, and unreflected educational experiences. Here, students are also able to contact their peers and virtual guests from around the world at any time and they become responsible for their own learning. For students, constructing their own understanding can be likened to entering a Hypertext CyberTwilightZone where one is both educationally "homeless" and, paradoxically, at home with others who also find themselves in a virtual landscape that challenges their educational self-identity. The ability to mediate collaboration among distant learners can transport and transpose learners among islands of learning on electronic winds of understanding. Being able to share ideas, either synchronously or asynchronously, with others across the street or across the oceans begins to give students new perspectives on the world itself and their places in it and links to it. The liminality is based upon the familiar no longer being familiar, but now appearing new, strange and intriguing.

If and when the monsters of the 2nd stage are overcome, the vision questing students can return to who they were before the separation began and become reincorporated with their understanding of themselves as learners in a community of learners. I explain how this reincorporation can occur and what its consequences are, and reach a conclusion by using a favorite quote from T.S. Eliot. He says "we shall not cease from exploration / and the end of all our exploring / will be to return to the place where we started / and know it for the first time," and from this I conclude that the "place" known for the first time by students/learners immersed in the good use of educational technologies is their own identity as learners and the very nature of the learning process. Thomas Merton said that real learning is not simply learning material or information, but learning about whom it is that is doing the learning, that very mysterious being…. oneself. That educational technologies can be a vehicle for such understanding and personal integration is surprising and paradoxical. But then, any experiments and experiences in learning worth their salt are paradoxical.

By theorizing about the use of educational technologies as following a mythic pattern, I argue that while those technologies have been used simply to cloth the old model of learning in fancy electronics, they can also be used to transform that traditional model into new ones. This new paradigm focuses on both learners and professors/mentors and discovers that, oddly enough, educational technologies can be used to help manifest the very soul and heart of real learning.

Alan Altany
Associate Professor
Department of Religious Studies, Marshall University
400 Hal Greer Blvd., Huntington, WV 25755 USA
FAX: (+1)-304-696-2703

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Using Electronic Portfolios to Facilitate Student Reflection

For several years now our k-8 public school in Lone Pine, California has been assembling portfolios of work for each students and forwarding them to their next class. While our staff has had no consistent purpose for these portfolios, slowly the portfolios have become uniform. Occasionally, they are referred to in parent conferences and lately the sixth, seventh and eighth graders have used them as the basis of a required student-led conference in the spring.

Last year we began a pilot program to design and implement an electronic portfolio with three goals in mind. First we wanted the portfolio to be a record of the student's achievement on the newly adopted state standards. Second, we wanted the portfolio to provide an avenue by which students could reflect on their education and their accomplishments as well as a means by which we could facilitate student metacognition (students thinking about their thinking and cognitive skills). Finally, we wanted the students to be more involved in the creation of their individual portfolios and have the portfolios contain the varied electronic and project work students now create. In turn we hoped students would become more enthusiastic about their portfolio creation and maintenance.

Since most of our students are taught Hyperstudio, developed by Roger Wagner, in their lab time or in the multi-media elective classes, we chose this application to create a stack of open frames with which the students could work.

The portfolio contained a menu page with a picture of the student and two buttons, one leading to pages concerned with academics and the other concerned with activities. The Academics Web contained buttons labelled with the normal subject areas (math, writing, reading/literature etc.) as well with special sections that included "Goals/Individual Learning Plans", "Reflections", and "Projects." The student would create as many pages as they wished for each section and connect them to form webs that reflected their individual creative view point. The activities section included, sports, extra-curricular organizations, and more personal topics such as friends and hobbies.

The pilot group consisted of sixth graders taking a half years class that included internet research skills and some web page design as well. An evaluation using DeBono's PMI strategy resulted in pinpointing several difficulties the students were having that were obstacles to achievement of the indicated goals. Students showed increased interest in the process because of the medium and were interested in demonstrating their knowledge and achievements. But "students were unable to analyze their work in deep meaningful ways in most cases." They could describe what it was but not what it meant or demonstrated. Students were also distracted in to spending more time on design factors with Hyperstudio, than presentation of their work.

The PMI Strategy ends with "Interesting" observations and questions which led our staff to wonder if developmental issues affect most sixth graders ability to reflect deeply on what their work shows.

With the second group of sixth graders, several changes were made to facilitate the process. Because the second group had more experience with Hyperstudio, the scanner, and digital still and video cameras, it was easier for them to build the pages which typically went to 12 to 18 pages in number. Projects, tape recordings and video were all digitalized and included in the portfolio now.

By giving the students several California state standards in the three main academic areas, reviewing them with the students and restating them in the language appropriate for children, a focus for reflection was provided. Now the process was more a matching task for the student than an open ended analysis. Students would occasionally engage in analysis when work was only a partial match, what was left out or still incomplete.

To attain closure, a rubric was developed using a five point scale of criteria.

The hyperstudio format was excellent but still storage memory is an issue. The portfolios are stored on the school server now and thus can be accessed from any classroom through the individual student's folder. We are considering sacrificing the easy continual access and storing part or all of the portfolio on a zip drive or some other similar method.

Clearly the electronic portfolios have facilitated making our students more reflective about their work and more connected to the standards which they now must meet to promote to the next level. Thus they have become more responsible for the quality and completion of their work. But significant challenges remain. Students take time to create these portfolios that time must be taken from other learning activities. They are still more focused on presentation design than what the work they choose shows. Finally, storage will remain an on-going challenge.

Next year we will be continuing with the program expanding it to seventh and eighth grade students in our AVID study skills and organization classes. Now we are seeing evidence that direct instruction in and coaching of, along with practicing reflection processes helps students develop their metacognition to become responsible lifelong learners.

Christopher Langley
Drawer 99
Lone Pine CA 93545 USA
FAX: (+1)-760-876-5584

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How much teachers know about copyright issues for classroom related products?

Most teachers who use multimedia in their classrooms frequently focus on the software and the immediate product that it can produce. They fail to take advantage of some of the broader benefits that are available through multimedia authoring. One of these benefits is to use this activity to establish clearly in the students’ mind the value of intellectual property, and the ethical problems associated with ignoring others’ rights to their own intellectual property. From anecdotal evidence and personal experience, it appears that many teachers not only fail to require their students to honor the intellectual rights of others, but they also set poor standards by the very nature of the multimedia projects that they, themselves produce.

Copyright laws govern the use of works created by others–an important issue compounded by this popularity of multimedia student projects. Little is known about the knowledge of K-12 teachers about the relevant laws and guidelines relating to copyright and multimedia. This issue has not been examined in an objective manner.

Therefore, as part of the author’s doctoral studies in Educational Technology at Pepperdine University, this study was done to objectively assess the knowledge level of K-12 teachers about copyright issues related to their students’ multimedia projects. In addition, several demographic factors, relating to experience using technology or multimedia, education, grade level taught, or years of teaching, were examined to determine any relationship to the teachers’ knowledge levels.

Data was gathered using two instruments, a multiple choice questionnaire and an e-mail survey. The questionnaire had five demographic questions and 20 content questions about the copyright law and guidelines. These content questions were based on the sections of the Copyright Act of 1976 (as amended) that would apply to multimedia classroom projects, such as fair use, etc., and the Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia of the Consortium of College and University Media Centers. These guidelines were used because of all the guidelines in existence, they seem to be the most widely followed, and they specifically target educational multimedia projects. The specificity in the rules of these documents allowed the multiple choice format to gather the necessary information, without taking too much of the participants’ time. A prize drawing was held from the returned questionnaires to help motivate completion of the form.

The data source was comprised of attendees at a technology conference in California who met three criteria: (a) they were classroom teachers, (b) they taught at the K-12 level, and (c) they have their students do multimedia authoring projects as part of their classroom activities. Prospective participants were asked if they met the above criteria before being given a copy of the questionnaire. Therefore, participation in this study was based on the individual indicating that they belonged in the data source. This relied on the participant be truthful. The lure of the prize drawing may have tempted some individuals into participating when they really did not belong in the data source. Two hundred six copies of the questionnaire were distributed to teachers indicating that they met the above criteria, and 119 completed forms were returned.

The results of the questionnaire were very disappointing. A score of 75% was considered a demonstration of proficiency, based on earlier studies. Only one individual achieved that level of proficiency, scoring exactly 75%. Only 15 out of the 119 individuals scored 50% or better on the questionnaire. There were 14 questionnaires with no correct answers, receiving a total score of zero. The mean score was 26.77%, with a standard deviation of 18.23. This high standard deviation is indicative of the wide range of scores.

Demographic data provided no great insights. Those with five years or more experience with multimedia did better than would have been expected. High school teachers had a higher level of knowledge than middle school teachers. Other demographic factors seemed to have no noticeable effect.

Sixty-seven of those completing the original questionnaire were sent a short answer follow-up e-mail survey to gather additional information. Fifteen surveys were completed and returned. This follow-up e-mail survey indicated that most teachers are not aware of any district policies about copyright. Most of those responding to this survey indicated that their administration had not discussed this topic nor provided any relevant inservices. About half of the respondents said they learned what they know about copyright from word of mouth from colleagues. The vast majority of those returning the survey felt that educators need be concerned about copyright. Their reasons for this concern varied from ethical consideration to threat of lawsuits. This survey indicated that these educators felt that inservice education, backed up with written information was the best way to get copyright information out into the classroom.

This study concluded that the level of knowledge of K-12 teachers about copyright issues is very low. Specific copyright education is not readily available to teachers. This lack of knowledge may be leading to illegal activity in the classroom which would put districts, principals, and teachers at risk for legal suits for infringement.

Stephen L. Shane Ed.D.

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Towards a Time-Efficient Methodology for Asynchronous Mixed-Language Presentations

In 1998 the authors had an opportunity to examine facilities for the presentation of teaching material in more than one language semi-concurrently. This note comments on the methodology finally adopted, for brevity omitting details of the non-preferred alternatives examined.

The Student’s Needs

Many students attending University are being educated in a language that is not their mother tongue. Coping with the transition to tertiary education can be a considerable challenge to many first-year first-semester students, but when the notes and lectures are in a language other than the student's first language, the challenge can be even bigger. Both authors of this note are conscious of this situation, having learnt and taught under these conditions themselves.

Currently in New Zealand, most courses are taught in a variety of English, with Māori and some other languages also being used. The level of English skill required for tertiary study can be measured using the International English Language Test Syndicate (IELTS) measure that ranks skill in bands 1 to 9, with a band 6 average being the minimum for entry into New Zealand Universities. Even with this qualification, new students can initially have trouble understanding. Technical terms can be a problem, as the student’s inter-language dictionary often does not cover these. Lecturer’s ‘regional accents’ can also be a problem, where ‘regional accents’ can (in this case) be regarded as any accent other than the one in which the students has been taught English.

One of the many ways to attempt to deal with these problems is to develop supplementary asynchronously available teaching material, with perhaps some use of the student’s original language. We looked at this possibility.

Desirable Facilities and Pragmatic Limitations

When surveying alternatives for development and delivery of this kind of material, we had several desirable attributes in mind. Acceptance of these attributes imposed some pragmatic limitations on our options.

What We Found

All in all, satisfying these requirements seemed a tall order.

The methodology finally adopted actually met most of these requirements, and worked well in practice, but was more restricted in generality than we would have initially desired. Cognisant of the restrictions above, we mostly used variations or additions to the Office 97 products already in use by students and lecturers for lecture and assignment production. The presence of these on the student’s and Laboratory computers, plus the use of Internet Explorer, allowed a solution to be developed quickly and with much less effort than would have been the case for a more generally applicable solution.

What We Did

Producing documentation for some lectures in a first-year first-semester Information Systems course tested the facilities listed above.

Advantages of the development methodology adopted

The methodology adopted had the serendipitous effect of offering advantages to all students, as well as the ones who did not have English as their first language. Looking at the advantages: -


The authors found this an interesting project. The methodology adopted proved practical, producing results that were rated by the Chinese students in an informal poll as being very useful. The students commented that understanding and learning the material was much easier in this subject than their other first-year subjects.

Interestingly, when asked if the provision of help in Mandarin beyond the first year was preferable, the Chinese students commented that part of their purpose here was to learn English, and so in years beyond first year they hoped that provision of this sort of help would not be necessary.

Application of the methodology also produced results that were of use to the other students in the class, in that lecture material in several forms suitable for asynchronous learning became available. Students who, for a variety of reasons, could not attend all the lectures valued this.

It was a disappointment that the Web site could not be made accessible by a Netscape browser. However the time savings obtained were so considerable that we felt justified in using the approach adopted. We have subsequently also had access to Adobe Distiller. This proved able to handle the Mandarin Word files well. It could not handle the sound facility.

Theoretically, this methodology is not restricted to English-first-language applications. It is available for all of the languages supported by Unicode, and could be useful for language classes.

After the formal project had ended, a beta evaluation copy of Office 2000 and FrontPage 2000 became available. Many of the restrictions noted above have been removed in this newer version. The Word 97/PowerPoint 97 conversion restriction that limited PowerPoint 97 to one Mandarin font (plus roman fonts) has been removed in the Word 2000 to PowerPoint 2000 conversion. The Word 2000 to HTML conversion is a big improvement, but is still not perfect. The PowerPoint 2000 to HTML automatic conversion now handles Mandarin, but not sound. Although we did not use it in this particular application, it may be of interest that Access 2000 (unlike Access 97) also has the relatively unusual ability for a database of being able to use Unicode, thus allowing multi-language databases that include CJK glyphs. The main improvement however, which would have been a real boon to us, is that multi-language use in Office 2000/FrontPage 2000 is now well documented. This should considerably ease the initial load of any implementor who wishes to take a similar path to the one discussed above.


Even though the requirements fairly severely limited the author’s options, a solution was found that, while not completely ideal, was reasonably satisfactory, useful, and met most of the requirements specified before the project started. This methodology shows encouraging signs of being a useful low-cost low-effort method for developing multi-language lessons in environments similar to ours.

E.G. Faulkner & Chen Y.
Information Systems Department
Massey University, Palmerston North
New Zealand,

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Impact of Advanced Media and Emerging Technology on Schools and Society

Part 1 of 3

John Brishcar, an 8th grade science teacher in a public school in New Jersey, USA challenges us all in the use of advanced media and its acceptance in several areas of school and society. In his article, he looks at that new medium of information – the printed book! Several different viewpoints are represented that are directly affected by this new means of inexpensively publishing new thought and distributing this information in mere weeks!

Dateline December 27, 1557, BERLIN GERMANY: The committee on the Impact of Advanced Media and Emerging Technology met for the second straight week and issued its findings to large gathering at the local town meeting hall today.

The Representatives of major factions: university Professors, and educators, industry executives, clergy, governmental officials, parents and students met to discuss the impact of this new technology and to plan the integration of its usage in this modern era.

"Many of the old ways of looking at information, and the way it was doled out have to be looked at in a whole new light due to the recent advances in technology" said one member of the clergy, "I can now actually have access to original material to study at a moments notice. That process of movable type that Mr. Gutenberg invented has made printed material available to thousands where only a select few could have access before! Not only the availability of the information, but the speed at which we can have access to it has shrunk from months and years to just weeks because many more copies of information are spread out all over the countryside."

Many would believe that the invention of movable type, allowing mass distribution of printed material at an insignificant cost is generally a good thing.

This may not be the case.

There are Bibles, printed by Mr. Gutenberg, in which children are employed to color in some of the artwork and wood block letters by hand. A printer, representing the emerging industry stated "It has taken many years for the public to trust that mechanically reproduced material was 'real'. Our marketing people suggested that having the drop caps and wood carved pictures colored by hand, even if we used children, would help with the acceptance. It worked!"

"There is a mistrust of mass produced material as being false, full of errors and removed or different from the original, but as a publisher myself, I can tell you that just the opposite is true," the publisher went on to say.

When a new book was made the traditional way, someone would simply copy the original manuscript, word-by-word, page-by-page. This process took much time and expense and after all was done, a single production was made. "With movable type, we set the words once. After the page is proofed, untold copies may be made IDENTICAL to the first. This has in fact, cut down on the number of clerical errors," the printer reported. "As far as being removed from the original, in some cases now it is the original material. We even have people writing for printing."

This is why the committee was formed - to study the impact of this new technology on society. "We believe that we should move cautiously, slowly and deliberately in the use of this technology until we can forecast exactly how it will affect our world. We cannot rush headlong into the use of this material without thought. Everything that we know will need to change. This very report itself will become available to those who would not have seen it before," said one Government official.

The following is a digest of the principal committees' reports. All committees were asked to use a similar format for their report covering three main areas: the advantages, disadvantages, and what the future might hold if the technology were incorporated into the mainstream of everyday life. Finally, each committee must vote to accept or deny the integration of the advanced media in their area.

Universities and institutes of higher learning

"We at the University cannot think of a better vehicle for the advancement of learning. We have embraced this new medium with open arms and strongly encourage its use. In fact, we are demanding our professors to publish or perish as educators." The university official added, "with such easy access to information, we can now have visiting experts contribute to our classes, even if they are hundreds of miles away. It has let in some interesting ideas from far places that have stirred up our students, so all in all, we are in favor of using books in our classes."

Leading publishers "We have been watching the emergence of the printed word for quite some time now. We like the fact that the per unit cost is low and the incremental cost of production is almost insignificant," reported a leading industrial consultant. "We see this new technology as advantageous in the areas of mass distribution of information in a cost efficient manner. What is great is that if an error is found, it can be corrected on the original typeset and the new copies are all correct, this saves many law suits."

He went on to say "We published a book on tides and navigation with mathematical flaws. With the second printing, the errors were removed and sailors navigated to the right places again. Now, every time we print a copy, we don't have to proofread it! What would be nice is to find a way that we could keep the information in one place, keep it updated and deliver only the information needed, when it was needed. That would be great - but I can't imagine that ever happening."

The down side to this printing business is that with the ease of making copies, identical to the original, someone will steal the original and claim the work as his own. We need to know who owns the right to copy - the copyright to the material.

Mr. Gutenberg's process is putting the hand copying industry out of business. There is still the novelty of owning a hand made original, but many consumers are strictly looking for the old three standards, price, availability and utility. Production printing, the advanced media of this century fills the bill in all these areas.

"We see a tremendous market for all kinds of information - all kinds of books. We heartily endorse the adaptation of this new technology and strongly support and invest in it."


There are some people who believe that it is correct for persons to actually read silently! Imagine that, silent reading! We read for others, to let them in on the thoughts behind the cryptic symbols of the written word. To read for our own pleasure is to misuse the gift.

The only materials necessary for scholarly reading are the Bible and printed copies of sermons to be read to others. Printed material is nice to have if it is of the right "kind" of material. The danger of this new technology is that soon, everyone will have his own copy of the Bible, and will wander aimlessly in the writings, making up his own mind as to what the interpretation should be. These commoners are not trained in Biblical study and could easily come to wrong and maybe dangerous conclusions."

"We have that radical, Martin Luther, writing propaganda out there. He is writing specifically for this new vehicle in German, knowing full well that it will be read by the masses. How can we compete with that in the church? We must enforce limits and controls on this instrument of rebellion!

"Our saving grace is that many of the people still do not know how to read. These still will listen to reason and not engage in the mind-altering persuasion of this devil's tool. Besides, we all know that only in Latin is the truth revealed." It doesn't matter how many copies of the Bible are printed in Latin, as not many read Latin anyway. We must guard against anyone printing the Bible in the tongue of the common man."

"We cannot, in good conscience, endorse the use of this technology. The dangers for the common man, untrained in religious matters, coming to conclusions by himself must be squelched. We cannot permit access to original documents and religious materials to the untrained reader. We are the experts. We have a sacred mission to interpret spiritual matters and guide the masses."

"The next thing that will happen is that women will want to be ordained, people will challenge our God given authority, and there will come a group of protestants hanging signs on our doors."

The clergy, by unanimous decision voted not to endorse the use of this technology.


"The only thing needed, is a piece of chalk in the hand of a good teacher," said one leading schoolteacher. "I have been teaching for the same material, the same way twenty five years. I lecture and those that want to learn - learn. Those that do not want to learn become toilers of the land. My students copy down my words exactly. We have no need for books for everyone. Who will pay for all those books? We simply do not need this technology."

"If the students have access to all this information, they will become more educated than their parents. Some children will even be better at finding things out (newer things!), than we teachers, just because they will know how to use this technology more effectively than we teachers."

This educator then put forth many other points. According to his group, there would be major changes in the delivery of information, the makeup of the classes and Guild issues to contend with if educators endorsed this advanced media.

If some child could simply read information in a book, why would we need teachers? Once someone was able to read, couldn't he or she then self learn the material? Women will want to learn to read! We need to keep classrooms teacher centered, with the teacher handing out the information to all the children at the same pace, at the same time. You can't have a class with 20 children all reading different chapters at one time.

"We must be the guardians of information, standing at the flood gates turning away inappropriate material and only allowing in what is necessary for the children to know. We know what they need," the teacher confided. "We can not let these unverified sources of information into the classrooms. We must insure that all information is correct before the children have access to it. We need to keep reminding our children that travel faster than 38 miles per hour is impossible, and that the Earth is the center of the universe, not what that crazed Copernicus is spouting out."

Next issue: In part 2 of 3 - A continuation of educators report on this new technology. How does mass publication affect teaching and learning? How can we make sure that the kids are not exposed to the ‘wrong kind’ of information? Who do we teach how to use this new medium?

John Brishcar

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Announcement: Mathematics Metadata Working Group

A group of American mathematicians is working on defining LOM compliant standards for mathematics. The request to form this group came from the IMS project and the impetus to do the work has come from digital libraries such as the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse (ENC), the Math Forum, and NEEDS. The group is reporting to various professional societies within the discipline of mathematics (AMS, MAA, SIAM, and NCTM) as well as the W3C Mathematics Working group, which has some members in common.

The project is concentrating on defining vocabulary taxonomies (under Classification) and a few other key elements that require specific attention for mathematics. The role-out date for a document for public review by the mathematics community is the end of 1999, in time for dissemination at the annual joint mathematics meetings in January, 2000, taking place in Washington DC. By then we should also have a prototype in the SMETE portal hosted by NEEDS.

Information, reports, and comments may be found at (note: there is an underscore between math and metadata in the URL.) This is an open group and participation is welcome. For more information please send email to the address below.

Robby Robson
Snell 338, Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR, USA 97331

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Call for papers: Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

Volume 6, 2000

Carol J. Burger, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief
Center for Interdisciplinary Studies
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Now welcoming submissions for Volume 6, the Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering publishes original, peer-reviewed papers that report innovative ideas and programs, scientific studies, and formulation of concepts related to the education, recruitment, and retention of underrepresented groups in science and engineering. Issues related to women and minorities in science and engineering are consolidated to address the entire professional and educational environment.

Subjects for papers submitted can include:

To receive guidelines for manuscript preparation or to submit a curriculum vita if you are interested in reviewing papers for the journal contact:

Editorial Assistant
Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
Center for Interdisciplinary Studies
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Blacksburg, VA 24061-0227
Phone: 540-231-6296 Fax: 540-231-7013

Information available online at:

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