Education and Research


Kim H. Veltman

New Roles for Education through the Internet

INET ’97 Conference, Kuala Lumpur, 1997. On CD-ROM and at

1. Introduction
2. Institutions, Persons and Peer Review
3. Curricula and Equivalents
4. On-Line Reference and Libraries
5. New Knowledge
6. International Developments
7. Classing
8. Searching and Meta-Searching
9. Ordering
10. Learning
11. Conclusions.
Appendix 1. System for Universal Media Searching (SUMS)
Appendix 2. Andrew McCutcheon, Existing Search Engines and the SUMS

1. Introduction

One of the paradoxes of human nature is that we frequently use new technologies to speed up old tasks rather than as tools to explore new possibilities. In education, for example, many see the Internet simply as a way of putting their traditional texts, lesson plans and courses on line. Others see it as a medium for children to share e-mail messages or to discuss each others’ learning on-line.

This essay explores some of the new possibilities which are being developed as part of the author’s System for Universal Media Searching (SUMS), a software for conceptual navigation on the Internet. General aspects of this system have been considered elsewhere. This paper outlines a vision, some aspects of which have been initiated on a local scale, other elements of which will require international co-operation. The first part of the paper explores how computers can provide a more systematic view of institutions, persons and peer review (who), curricula and equivalents, on-line reference sections and libraries (what). In our view, the challenge lies in integrating the needs of a particular course into a larger framework for learning where the end result is not defined a-priori, to make education truly an agency for open learning. The second part of the paper focusses on new methods for classing, searching, ordering materials on the Internet all of which are pre-requisites for systematic searching and meta-searching in order to make these resources more powerful tools for learning. To put it differently, part one explores the creation of new educational content, while part two focusses on new strategies for accessing that content.

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