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How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School
profound involvement with some aspect of the technology or the software, spend considerable time on it, and know more than anyone else in the group, including their teachers. Often both teachers and students are novices, and the creation of knowledge is a genuinely cooperative endeavor. Epistemological authority—teachers possessing knowledge and students receiving knowledge—is redefined, which in turn redefines social authority and personal responsibility (Kaput, 1987; Pollak, 1986; Skovsmose, 1985). Cooperation creates a setting in which novices can contribute what they are able and learn from the contributions of those more expert than they. Collaboratively, the group, with its variety of expertise, engagement, and goals, gets the job done (Brown and Campione, 1987:17). This devolution of authority and move toward cooperative participation results directly from, and contributes to, an intense cognitive motivation.
As teachers learn to use technology, their own learning has implications for the ways in which they assist students to learn more generally (McDonald and Naso, 1986):
They must be partners in innovation; a critical partnership is needed among teachers, administrators, students, parents, community, university, and the computer industry.
They need time to learn: time to reflect, absorb discoveries, and adapt practices.
They need collegial advisers rather than supervisors; advising is a partnership.
Internet-based communities of teachers are becoming an increasingly important tool for overcoming teachers’ sense of isolation. They also provide avenues for geographically dispersed teachers who are participating in the same kinds of innovations to exchange information and offer support to each other (see Chapter 8). Examples of these communities include the LabNet Project, which involves over 1,000 physics teachers (Ruopp et al., 1993); Bank Street College’s Mathematics Learning project; the QUILL network for Alaskan teachers of writing (Rubin, 1992); and the HumBio Project, in which teachers are developing biology curricula over the network (Keating, 1997; Keating and Rosenquist, 1998). WEBCSILE, an Internet version of the CSILE program described above, is being used to help create teacher communities.
The worldwide web provides another venue for teachers to communicate with an audience outside their own institutions. At the University of Illinois, James Levin asks his education graduate students to develop web pages with their evaluations of education resources on the web, along with hot links to those web resources they consider most valuable. Many students not only put up these web pages, but also revise and maintain them