Computer Information Systems in Education/Chapter 1/Section 1 -- Information systems for learning and instruction

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After completing this section, you will be able to:

   1. Define computer based information systems 
   2. Discuss some advantages and disadvantages of using computer information systems
      in education. 
   3. Discuss many ways of integrating computer information systems in student learning,
      the classroom and in educational administration.

Important Words

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Information System

Distant Learning



Student Management Systems

Concept Map

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Interactive Chapter Map

Information Systems for Learning and Instruction

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In Discovering Computers 2007 a Gateway to Information, a computer based information system is described as the "collection of hardware, software, data, people, and procedures that work together to produce quality information". These information systems provide opportunities to improve student learning by providing alternate ways for learners to use technology in learning environments (Shelly, Cashman, Vermaat, Discovering Computers 2007), and they enhance management capabilities of teachers as well as school administrators. For example, in many schools today student management systems are being implemented which allow parents to view their child's report card online, to observe classroom behavior over streaming videos and to go online to access their child's lesson plan and or their homework assignments. These exciting and modern applications of computer based information systems not only gain popularity in the schools but in the home environment as well.

Computer based information system has implications for student learning, classroom teaching, school administration as well as parental involvement.

Information Systems for Student Access

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Use of computer based information systems gives students access to information through the Internet, as well as by different methods of communication. A good example of an internet communication system is a distant learning class. This method of learning, allows students, especially the working class to take a class online, over the internet, instead of sitting in an actual classroom. This type of learning, provides a fun and innovative process for providing instruction over the World Wide Web and it gives people who work a more relaxed atmosphere where they can work at their own pace, at their home. Learning improves with the use of technology (Shelly, Cashman, Vermaat, Discovering Computers 2007). The learning environment does not stay in the classroom but opens up to the world. New ideas and new techniques can be used to make old curriculum seem new in the eyes of a student.

Information Systems for Student Learning

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Although Information Systems can improve student learning, their use can sometimes lead to information overload. Sometimes we use so many sources of technology and switch from program to program that we don't allow the students a chance to develop a level of confidence in using various tools. For example: In Mr. Watkins’ 9th grade class computer based information systems are in constant use. Mr. Watkins' has students use Windows Movie Maker to demonstrate their knowledge of social studies concepts. In this information system, Mr. Watkins communicates to students by publishing assignments in their online folders. Students then use the software to develop their movies. Students also integrate other applications such as spreadsheets. Student movies are then published to a school portfolio for later showcase in the school social studies fair. Even though the students are being exposed to a variety of information, they may not have enough time or skill to develop the information. (figure 1).

File:Teacher with computers.jpeg Mr. Watkins shows his class how to create a portfolio.

Figure 1 Mr. Watkins, 9th grade teacher, St. Louis MO says, “Some students won't have a problem using the various programs to develop their project, but other students might not have the skill or the comfort level to make a quality product”. (Mr. Watkins, 9th grade teacher, St. Louis MO, (personal communication, January 20, 2009)

Information Systems for Classroom Teaching

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In classroom teaching students use computers and software to assist with learning. A computer information system, will enhance classroom learning, by allowing the teachers to find more creative ways to teach, such as using electronic worksheets, in which students use the computer to research information and answer questions about their lesson. Scores can be recorded immediately and teachers can follow up with misunderstandings at the same time. In some situations teachers encourage students to computer based applications such as online tutorials because they focus on a particular skill.

Information Systems for Teacher Productivity

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One advantage to using a computer information system is that it can automate tasks for teachers and administrators allowing them to spend time on other important tasks (such as writing lesson plans, grading papers, completing reports, etc.) Another advantage of using a CIS is that it can help you to save data that is collected and then store it in one centralized place. This will allow anyone (administrators as well as state monitors) to view the data. For example: Ms. Harris, a 2nd grade teacher from Columbia, SC reports that: At our school we take surveys from our advisory board members, from the students, teachers and administrators. This data can be saved and at a later date be viewed or used in a comparison with other past or future data. The data can also be processed in to information that can be printed in a report. Similar to this, CIS allows students grades to be posted where parents can view their grades. This helps teachers to keep students accountable and parents informed. A disadvantage though to using a computer information system for this purpose is that it may cause frustration for educators that are not computer literate when new software is purchased and there is little or no time given to learn the software. This leads to misuse of the software or no use of it at all. Overall, computers are a good tool for the classroom that teachers and students can use them to make the learning endless. (figure 2).

File:Femaleteacher.jpeg Ms. Harris talks to her students about information systems.

Figure 2 Computers are a good tool for use in the classroom for teachers and students and they make learning endless. (Ms. Harris, 2nd grade teacher, Columbia, SC (personal communication, January 28, 2009)

Information Systems for Administration

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Educational administrations or schools, use computer information systems because they prove to be useful tools in learning environments. In addition, they are fast, reliable, can store a large amount of data, are able to connect to other computers on a networking system, therefore able to share information, allow the students and teachers access to the Internet, etc. CIS's are resourceful and have become a great learning tool in educational settings. The use of technology is absolutely beneficial to learning process. One major problem with computer information systems is that sometimes technology is relied upon too much. Teachers and students almost forget that there were other ways to add math problems, to create hands on science projects, to play a musical instrument by hand and so on. It can make a person lazy and dependent on computers. Also, other problems consist of "broken" or misused technology that may result in needing some repair. Some teachers use a lot of technology in their classroom and their educational administrations rely on them as well. It is important that teachers and students are trained on the proper way to use the computers and students when using the computers, should be supervised. As far as equipment is concerned, there are times when the systems or networks are down and computers either run slower or problems may cause the system to shut down and you may lose unsaved work. That's why it is always important to back up your hard drive, to have extra storage space and to have a warranty on your equipment.

Review Questions

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Chapter 1 Section 1 - Review Questions

True/False. Indicate whether the statement is true or false.

____ 1. Computer information systems provide opportunities to improve student learning

              by providing alternate ways for learners to use technology in learning

____ 2. Computer information systems do not enhance management capabilities of

              teachers and administrators.

____ 3. Student management systems allow parents to view their child’s grade reports.

____ 4. The use of computer based information systems gives student access to

               information through the Internet only.

____ 5. Computer Information systems do not support distance learning.

____ 6. With computer information systems, teaching ideas and techniques can make old

               curriculum seem new.

____ 7. Computer information systems can become an information overload.

____ 8. It is important to back up data on a computer system.

Short Answer

9. What is computer based information system?

10. How do computer based information systems improve student learning?

11. Name 4 ways computer based information implicates the educational environment?

12. Why do students use computers and software?

13. Why do teachers use computer information systems in the classroom?

14. How is saving data in one centralized place beneficial?

15. How can computer information systems be a disadvantage to teachers?


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Shelly, Cashman, Vermaat, "CoursePort". Discovering Computers 2007. January 25, 2009 < >

Shelly, Cashman, Vermaat, Discovering Computers 2000, <>