Educational uses for Rev

Gregory Lypny gregory.lypny at
Thu Aug 12 09:39:44 EDT 2004

Hello everyone,

Hope I'm not taking this too far off topic.  Shout me down if I am.

I agree with Richard.  I would go considerably further and say that 
web-based interactive learning materials have not lived up to their 
hype.  My rule of thumb is to use the Internet to (1) make getting and 
sharing information convenient for students and (2) deploy learning 
vehicles only if they involve interactions among them.

After fifteen years of tinkering with this at the University of 
Toronto, McGill, and Concordia, this is what I've found (based on 
responses from thousands of students) for (1) and (2):

(1) Biggest bang for the buck comes from having an web site or FTP site 
where they have access to well-written and well-designed PDF notes, 
exercises, and timely feedback on their progress, which they can 
actually print on old fashioned paper, take to the coffee shop, discuss 
with classmates, and especially grapple with.  They use the Internet to 
go in, get the stuff, and get out as quickly as possible.  No muss, no 
fuss, no being tied to a throbbing screen that may precipitate an 
epileptic seizure.

(2) Another big bang comes from an online experimental stock market I 
run called Borsa.  Here interaction is the essence of it as students 
are trading with one another.  Their actions yield feedback, data is 
collected, and this can be downloaded and explored at the end of each 
market session.  I would like to port it from FileMaker to Rev, but I 
haven't found enough time yet to play with Rev as a CGI, to learn how 
to create tokens, etc.  Other examples include things like the 
Ultimatum game, auctions, surveys, and anything where the decision, 
choice, or action of one is viewed and reacted to by others, and where 
the resulting data can be shared and explored.

My rule: if it can be done as a solitary activity as simulations, 
interactive tutorials, presentations, data analysis (including tapping 
into the Internet to gather data via web services or some other way), 
then make standalone courseware that can be used on the desktop; if it 
involves interactions among people, then use the Internet (you pretty 
much have to!).

All this, in my mind, bodes well for Rev as a courseware design tool.  
Unfortunately, most of what I see from academics who mess around with 
technology in teaching, amounts to simplistic web-based animations.  To 
get an idea of the prevalence of this, simply "google" any topic topic, 
for example, "normal distribution", and you will find many 
professor-run sites that offer simulations of bell curves: click a 
button, generate random numbers, graph them.  Similar examples can be 
found for junior and secondary education.  The question is not whether 
there is educational merit in simulating the distributions (although I 
would submit that it is marginal unless the student is required to 
participate a good deal more than just clicking a button repeatedly), 
it is whether it could be done better on the desktop in the form of 
standalone courseware.  I contend that the answer is almost always yes.

	Associate Professor of Finance
	John Molson School of Business
	Concordia University
	Montreal, Quebec

On Aug 11, 2004, at 8:50 PM, Richard Gaskin wrote:

> The Web can be fine for relatively simple presentations, but is limited
> for more sophisticated interactions.

More information about the Use-livecode mailing list