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We are pleased to present the following Brief on the use of IT in education, featuring short articles from six teachers who have recently presented at one of our seminars on IT-related issues

October 1998, Vol. 1 No. 2 Print Ready ArticlePrint-Ready
Seminar 3
Dr Chee Yam San
School of Computing

We can leverage the use of IT for educational purposes through three main avenues: web-based content, courseware and IT usage. Web-based content typically includes information such as course outlines and schedules, tutorial questions, lecture notes, etc, which students can browse online or download and print. Given the general transition of society to a digital culture, access to this kind of content is increasingly regarded as the norm. Hence, the provision of web-based content is strongly encouraged.

Courseware is another type of content. It encompasses all forms of interactive software which students use to achieve specific learning objectives, with or without elements of assessment built in. Much of this software is delivered in the form of multimedia programs which help make the learning experience more enjoyable and effective. Courseware can be delivered via the Web as an online interactive learning experience. It can be downloaded from the Internet and run on a student’s local machine, or it can come in the form of CD-ROM learning packages. The development of subject-specific courseware is something that is encouraged, but the time and effort entailed is significant.

We often overlook IT usage as an additional avenue for leveraging IT in education. Promoting the use of IT could be as simple as requiring students to submit assignments prepared with a word processor. Alternatively, it might involve less customary tasks such as using mathematics software (e.g., MathLab, Mathematica) for tutorial assignments, working on programming assignments using software compilers installed on notebook PCs, or discussing issues using electronic conferencing. Embracing the latter options will require a change of mind-set and of teaching practice. However, our willingness to make this change would contribute significantly to the widespread use of IT in everyday education practice.

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Seminar 1
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