Educational uses for Rev (was Re: Plea to sell Dan's book widely)

Marielle Lange M.Lange at ed.ac.uk
Wed Aug 11 16:40:25 EDT 2004


>>Not only in teaching programming but in designing custom 
>>educational courseware. Who wants the student to have ONLY simple 
>>multiple-guess questions to work with?
>>
>>Life doesn't come with a series of four exclusive-or questions 
>>tattooed across it, so why give student this unrealistic view of 
>>the real world, when a little work in Rev will permit far more 
>>challenging interactivity?
>
>Agreed wholeheartedly.  Education-related work was the largest 
>single set of tasks folks did with HyperCard, and for all the tools 
>that have come out since there remains an unaddressed gap which may 
>be an ideal focus for DreamCard.
>
>But moving beyond simple questions models like multiple choice is 
>difficult.  The AICC courseware interoperability standard describes 
>almost a dozen question models, but most are variants of "choose 
>one", "choose many", "closest match", etc., sometimes enlived by 
>using drag-and-drop as the mechanism for applying the answer but not 
>substantially different from what gets tested with a simple multiple 
>choice in terms of truer assessment of what's been learned.
>
>The challenge is to find more open-ended question models which can 
>still be assessed by the computer.  For example, the most open-ended 
>question is an essay, but I sure don't want to write the routine 
>that scores essays. :)
>
>What sorts of enhanced question models do you think would be ideal 
>for computer-based learning?

Richard, Marian,

General information on computer-based assessment can be found on the 
CAA website  (Computer assisted assessment centre, UK, University of 
Luton), http://www.caacentre.ac.uk/ or on the Pass-it Scotland 
website, http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/projects/passit/. The later 
considers a wide range of activities, from situations where 
candidates word process short answer responses or essays and submit 
these to markers by e-mail, to those where candidates take 
computer-delivered tests online and their responses are marked 
through automated marking systems. I have a (long) list of references 
that I am ready to share, if you are interested.

Yes, I agree that Revolution could be the ideal tool to let teachers 
easily develop complex formative exercises with no requirement of 
technical skills. At least, it's what I argue in a grant I submitted 
recently. You can find the full description at : 
http://homepages.inf.ed.ac.uk/mlange/Elearning/.

Unfortunately, that project did not get funded (at this stage, 
Universities are more concerned about speeding up the exam process 
with automatized summative -- multiple choices -- assessment)...

This means I will have to find other ways to get me a full license 
for revolution. Damn, I want it so badly, Revolution is the 
programming language of my dreams. It's ideal for persons like me who 
have zillions of (small) projects to realize, but do not have enough 
spare time to juggle with complex computer languages. So easy to use 
and program, and yet so powerful! I tried to convince my university 
to buy a site license, but no luck there (the person I contacted said 
that she did not find the time to try the product one month later 
after my request). If you have a "selling" portfolio, I would be more 
than happy to forward it to them. Otherwise, no chance to get an HE 
education price? Yes, I agree, revolution is worth more than its 
current price... but HE people often have no plan to sell the 
products they develop. Selling it to a lower price to HE individuals 
may have them ask their university to buy a site or university-wide 
license. Also, HE people are creative, productive, often happy to 
make their codes public and may contribute to the development of a 
gallery of small programs. Seriously, the product, Revolution, is 
great, but the shop-window is currently of little appeal. Do you know 
of konfabulator (http://www.konfabulator.com/)? They are highly 
succesfull despite the fact that they are exactly the opposite... 
limited potential but dramatic shop-window full of jaw dropping 
little time-savers or friendly desktop fillers (yes, most of them are 
useless, but Konfabulator lets you develop small applications, in one 
or two days and proudly show it on the net, which apparently appeals 
customers). I suspect that your decision to develop a less expensive 
player is a step in that direction. But its not a good option for a 
lecturer who cannot ask each one of his students to buy a player to 
benefit from the courseware material he has developed.

I should maybe take this opportunity to add that the university 
lecturer I am is seriously considering moving to a career of 
developing tools for teachers (so many  university teachers do not 
even know about HTML, believe me, there is a HUGE market for tools 
that let them easily develop courseware material and put it on the 
web, as encouraged more and more by Universities) and courseware for 
students (believe me, there is a HUGE market there too... even more 
when small tablets/ebooks will begin to appear). If anybody is 
interested in an association or has a job to propose, I would be 
delighted to hear from them. I currently live in Edinburgh, Scotland 
(and I have credentials, as I won an award for best educational 
website).

Cheers,
Marielle

  "Imagine a school with children that can read or write, but with 
teachers who cannot, and you have a metaphor of the Information Age 
in which we live. "  -Peter Cochrane

-- 
Marielle Lange (PhD),  Psycholinguistics, Lecturer in Psychology and 
Informatics
University of Edinburgh, UK

Email:        M.Lange at ed.ac.uk
Homepage:  http://homepages.inf.ed.ac.uk/mlange/
Calendar:    http://www.icalx.com/html/mlange/week.php?cal=Work

Contact details:
Dept of Psychology /  7 George Square /  EH8 9JZ / UK / Tel: 44 131 650
3444  / Fax: 44 131 650 6626
ANC institute / 5 Forrest Hill / EH1 2QL / UK / Tel: 44 131 650 3098 /
Fax: 44 131 650 6899


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