Computer Information Systems in Education/Chapter 2/Section 1 -- How do we use IS in schools?

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Using Information Systems (IS) to accomplish learning, teaching, management, collaboration and communication functions.

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Objectives:

After completing this section, you will have the understanding and the knowledge to be able to:

  1. Discuss how different IS tools are used in learning
  2. Discuss how different IS tools are used in teaching
  3. Discuss how different IS tools are used in school management
  4. Discuss how different IS tools are used in communication and collaboration in education
  5. Identify IS tools and applications in the educational environment


Concept Map

Conceptmap.ch2.jpg

Keywords:


According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Internet is becoming an increasingly vital tool in our information society. More and more Americans are using the Internet to perform daily activities such as education, business transactions, personal communication, research, job searches and much more. Information technology is increasingly important for educational advancement and community participation[1]


In a sense, Information Systems (IS) has become the backbone of modern education. IS allows schools to store valuable student information and helps administration manage the school and the district as a whole. If the use of IS benefits one division of education, then it will benefit the entire educational system. When an IS tool benefits learning, then it benefits teaching. If an IS tool benefits teaching, it in turn benefits administration and the learning students and so on. It is a collaborative effort which affects all aspects of education.


ACCOMPLISHING LEARNING WITH INFORMATION SYSTEMS


There have been published studies by many researchers showing strong evidence that technology aids in increasing academic achievement. Organizations like Edutopia, the North Central Educational Lab (NCREL) and the Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology (CARET) are studying and tracking the tie that shows that technology is increasing academic achievement. Students do not learn the same way as students did from the 20th century. Technology has taken over their lives and using it in the classroom can create enthusiasm, better learning outcomes, and sustain interest in all subject areas in academics.


Information systems are used in schools to enhance learning through very dynamic educational software developments ranging from games to virtual field trips. According to studies, educational software designers have developed games that improve student motivation, promote constructivist and collaborative learning, and improve academic learning.[2] A sophisticated development involving the science of ecology and underwater marine life using computer animation and virtual technology was investigated. A qualitative study was also conducted during the case study showing that virtual museums could raise students' interest and learning motivation.[3]


E-learning , Web TC, online classes and distance learning are classified as forms of instructional technology . Studies provide more favorable results for distance learning courses as effective tools for tracking student performance and withdrawal rate while end-of-semester completion is barely acceptable.[4] There are numerous distance learning benefits, some of which include:

  • Allowing students to attend classes when situations do not permit them to attend the on-campus classroom.
  • Online courses give students flexibility to work on assignments when their schedule permits them to at any hour of the day. This release a student from attending a class where a set day and time is scheduled.
  • Ability to do interactive teamwork between groups. Students have the opportunity to correspond with others from different backgrounds and to hear from a variety of speakers from around the world.


The possibility of learning with Information Systems is endless. Students are able to use the Internet for research with an endless amount of information. Multimedia presentations can be created in all subject areas. Students of all ages can use online activities that pertain to their subject matter. Keyboarding skills can be developed at very early ages, even before pre-kinder. To live and learn in an information-rich society, students must be able to use technology effectively in an educational setting and beyond.


ACCOMPLISHING TEACHING WITH INFORMATION SYSTEMS


Today’s teachers are facing many changes and it is becoming a more difficult job because of the numerous amounts of expectations. The use of technology in teaching can actually help with many of the expectations faced by teacher. Because IS changes year to year, it is important for teacher to take part in professional development in technology. Professional development will ensure that technology will be used effectively to create new opportunities for learning and to promote student achievement.


Having IS capabilities in the classroom allows students to have reference materials at their fingertips. The web is a source not only for communication but can also provide reference for an enormous number of topics. Today's web not only consists of Web sites where information on various topics can be found but it contains videos where the visual learner can study topics in a way that they process information. One example is Discovery Education where just about any topic can be found and used in the classroom. This resource provides educators with engaging digital resources to be more effective in the classroom and in turn increase student interest by connecting the classroom to an abundant amount of information from around the world. When using such resources, the teacher is now a facilitator in learning the subject material and not someone who is lecturing the materials like in the past.


There are so many IS tools that teachers can present to students to aid in the learning process. Another example is the use of the concept maps. According to the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, concept maps are graphical tools to aid in organizing and representing knowledge. [5] This type of software allows students to work individually or in groups to create concept maps. Students retain information using various learning styles.


Much of the decision-making within schools is made from analyzing the data collected using IS technology. An example of this IS technology would be an online test repository such as Exam View or Quiz Star where students can take tests using the web and the results are graded instantly. These online tools store the test and answers but will also keep students answers. Reports can be generated immediately after the class has completed the test. The data from the reports will be immediately available for teachers so they can analyze where students are struggling. [6]


ACCOMPLISHING MANAGEMENT WITH INFORMATION SYSTEMS


A Database is a collection of programs that store and retrieve large amounts of information. Every school district and school building needs a way to track data that is collected for their district, state, and federal governance. Schools can effectively maintain records of students' data, to include grades, schedules, absences, demographics, test scores, behavior, and medical records.

An example of this type of system is SIS, School Information System. Schools need a way to collect data and be able to print out reports using this data for evaluation purposes. The software needed for the school/student management purpose needs to be efficient and at the fingertips of administration. At anytime the parent, school board, or government can request information that is provided by the schools management system. A management system can hold test scores which allow schools and teachers to see trends that are occurring. Possibly new techniques are used to improve learning which caused test scores to improve. A management system can show the rise in test scores to validate the effectiveness of the techniques used for students learning.

Another aspect that IS plays a large roll in as a management tool is where students are scheduled for classes. A school of 400 high school students could be a nightmare if it had to be done by hand. The use of computer software can store students' preference or abilities in a database. When schedule is done for the next school year, the database can be used to place students in the appropriate classes.

The software application Administrator's Plus, developed by Rediker Software, collects the budget data that a school sets up and tracks the spending of the moneys. At anytime a Year-to-date expenditures versus budget report can be produced. This helps with over spending and improves accurate allocations of monies to various departments.


COLLABORATING WITH INFORMATION SYSTEMS


IS can be used for students to collaborate with each other and with the teacher. For example, teachers can introduce a new software product they want students to use. Students who have used the product before can help other students with less experience to master the use of the software. Many times students work on individual created projects. In the real world of work, people have to rely on each other to produce a quality product. If students learn to work together, they will be successful when they enter the employment world.


Collaboration between teachers can occur if lessons are stored in a centralized location in a database or on a server. This way teachers can borrow lessons that will improve student's performance on a particular topic. ProfilerPRO allows for the evaluation of knowledge, attitude, and skill based on simple surveys implemented via the World Wide Web. Group members can share knowledge and promote collaboration based on responses to skills-based survey items. The use of this type of IS can strengthen education by allowing the ability to share expertise.


In the past parents did not see students' grades until progress time or a report card was sent home. The use if IS has changed this process. Many schools now have the capability to allow parents to view their child's grades online. As mentioned before, using School Information System (SIS) allows parents to see their child's grades, assignments and tests. This collaboration between teachers and the parents help in working together to help the student succeed. Now, the parents will have no surprises when it comes to report card day.

IS in schools can help teachers and student learn about other cultures and societies. By using the web, students can chat and view live-web cams of other students in class around the world. Additionally teachers can converse with teachers in other societies to share activities, projects and collaborative lesson plans. The web can also host webniars, where students from all over the world can be in the class learning together. Also, blogs can be used to post information on educational topics to be shared by all.


COMMUNICATION WITH INFORMATION SYSTEMS


Outlook Email, a Microsoft email application, is great communication software to use when connecting with your friends and family. According to the About.com website, there are many pros and cons when it comes to using Outlook Email. Some pros indicated were: " Snappy, flexible search, virtual folders and mail grouping help you organize mail, Outlook integrates email messages, to-do lists and scheduling". Some of the cons that were pointed out included "Outlook is a bit confusing to set up and can be confusing to use with its myriad of options, and Outlook lacks useful message templates, and its RSS feed reader flexibility.” [7]


A lot of businesses use Microsoft Outlook as it's great at managing multiple accounts. Another great aspect of this application is that it has a built in encryption control, it will let you view attached files while inside the message and it leads you edit messages in Microsoft Word and even send an email from Microsoft Word.


Many schools already incorporate a type of IS that patent's can have access to their child's grades and absences. Basically, parents sign up for their own user name and password and they can log on to have access to this type of information. Through this IS tool, schools can communicate with parents to inform them of their child's progress in each class 24/7.


Communication can be done via the Web. Students can access the web by connecting to the internet using Dial-up access, wireless networks, DSL (Digital Subscriber Line), satellite modem and cable modems. Schools today have Web sites where they have a link to school calendars, upcoming sporting events, contact information for the school and teachers, library resources and much more. Without IS this all would not be possible. By using this method of communication, schools relay information to parents and students in a timely manner.


ASSESSMENT

Chapter 2 Section 1 – Review Questions  
'Indicate Whether Statement is True or False  /  Fill In The Blanks (T) or (F)  '
  1. ______ More and more Americans are using the internet to perform daily activities such as education, business transactions, personal communication, research, job searches, and much more.
  2. ______ IS tools are beneficial to learning in a variety of capacities, an IS tool that benefits teaching, may not benefit the administration.
  3. ______ Concept maps are graphical tools that can be used for organizing and representing knowledge.
  4. ______ IS tools are used for collecting and analyzing data within schools while decisions are made by the administration.
  5. ______ Web cams are sites where schools have a link to information such as its mission statement, calendar, event, contact information, mascots, and school colors.
  6. ______ Discovery Education is a web site that provide engaging digital resources for classroom teachers that in turn increase student interest by connecting the classroom to an abundant amount of information around the world
  7. ______ Technology is the responsibility of the I.S. department.
  8. ______ School Web sites allow parents to see their child's grades, assignments and tests.


DEFINE THE FOLLOWING TERMS: 
  1. Database
  2. Instructional Technology
  3. E-mail
  4. Student Information Systems (SIS)
  5. Webinars
  6. Blog
  7. Concept Map
  8. Internet
  9. E-Learning
  10. Wiki
ESSAY QUESTIONS 
 

What is Virtual Reality?

  1. How is it created?
  2. How is it used as an instructional tool?

Resources[edit]

  1. (U.S. Department of Commerce, Moreover this importance is growing in areas such as Economics and Statistics Administration, & National Telecommunications and Information Administration. (2000, p. xv)
  2. Computers & Education, v52 n1 p68-77 Jan 2009
  3. (Journal of Educational Technology Systems, v37 n1 p39-59 2008-2009
  4. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, v10 n1 p21-37 2008-2009
  5. Joseph D. Novak & Alberto J. Canas, Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, Pensacola Fl http://cmap.ihmc.us/Publications/ResearchPapers/TheoryCmaps/TheoryUnderlyingConceptMaps.htm
  6. Critical Issue: Using Technology to Improve Student Achievement , http://www.ask.com/bar?q=teachers+using+computers+in+classroom&page=2&qsrc=2417&zoom=%3CKW%3EClassroom%3C%2FKW%3E+Decorating+Ideas%7C%3CKW%3EClassroom%3C%2FKW%3E+Management%7CPositive+Effects+of+%3CKW%3EComputers+in%3C%2FKW%3E+the+%3CKW%3EClassroom%3C%2FKW%3E&ab=4&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ncrel.org%2Fsdrs%2Fareas%2Fissues%2Fmethods%2Ftechnlgy%2Fte800.htm, North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, Date updated: 2005
  7. : About.com:Email, http://email.about.com/cs/winclientreviews/gr/outlook.htm