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04.20 Warren Sack

New Tools and Theories for Understanding ELearning on the Internet

  • Introduction:

In this presentation we will briefly review the history of computers in learning and education from circa 1970 to the present. We describe how the growth of the Internet has created the possibility for the design of new learning environments and new forms of learning and education. It will be argued that many of these new, Internet-based learning environments are strongly dependent upon the exchange of email between teachers and learners. We will demonstrate a prototype system for visualizing and summarizing large volumes of email, the Conversation Map system, and consider its possible use in the evaluation of these new learning environments. We further explore how new work environments for networked, collaborative production -- like the tools used by the Open Source Software (OSS) communities -- can also be conceptualized as learning environments akin to pre-industrial, "workshops" where "apprentices" learn by assisting more experienced "craftsmen" (where "craftsmen" in this context are programmers and software designers). Automatically generated isualizations of these work-environments-as-learning environments will illustrate the final portion of the presentation.


About Warren Sack:

Warren Sack is a software designer and media theorist whose work explores theories and designs for online public space and public discussion.

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