Computers in the Classroom: Moving from Tool to Medium

Authors

  • Corrina Perrone,

    Corresponding author
    1. Corrina Perrone is currently a research associate in the Center for LifeLong Learning and Design at the Department of Computer Science, University of Colorado at Boulder. Her research interests include educational and cooperative systems and end-user programming, and she currently serves as the Webmaster for the Center as well. Her previous work has been in multi-media courseware, artificial intelligence diagnostic, configuration and simulation systems, user-interfaces, and causal reasoning systems for spacecraft.
      Center for LifeLong Learning & Design, Institute of Cognitive Science, Department of Computer Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0430
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  • Alexander Repenning,

    Corresponding author
    1. Alexander Repenning is a research assistant professor and member of the Center for LifeLong Learning and Design at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He has worked in research and development at Asea Brown Boveri, Xerox PARC, and Hewlett Packard. Repenning has also been a consultant for Apple Computer Inc. His research interests include education and computers, end-user programming, interactive learning and simulation environments, human-computer interaction, and artificial intelligence. Repenning received his Ph.D. in computer science and the certificate of cognitive science from the University of Colorado in 1993. Repenning is a member of ACM (SIGCHI) and IEEE.
      Center for LifeLong Learning & Design, Institute of Cognitive Science, Department of Computer Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0430
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  • Sarah Spencer,

    Corresponding author
    1. Sarah Spencer is currently a senior undergraduate student with a major in planning and design at the College of Architecture and Planning. She became involved with the Center for LifeLong Learning and Design through her work with Mr. Roger's Sustainable Neighborhood and continues to collaborate with the Center.
      Center for LifeLong Learning & Design, Institute of Cognitive Science, Department of Computer Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0430
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  • James Ambach

    Corresponding author
    1. James Ambach is currently a research associate in the Center for LifeLong Learning and Design at the Department of Computer Science, University of Colorado at Boulder. His research interests are in the area of end-user programming, and visual progamming languages to empower end-users to build meaningful simulations. He is currently working on a Java-based version of Agentsheets. His past work has been in professional consulting and multimedia systems.
      Center for LifeLong Learning & Design, Institute of Cognitive Science, Department of Computer Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0430
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Center for LifeLong Learning & Design, Institute of Cognitive Science, Department of Computer Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0430

Abstract

Currently the use of the computer is limited by the perception of it as a platform with advanced software tools to solve specific problems such as balancing a budget or computing grade point averages. While this is not a bad use of computers it does not fully employ their potential. By expanding our view of computer as tool to computer as medium that facilitates communication and sharing, we can fundamentally change the way we think and learn. This paper discusses the computer as a communication medium to support learning. Specifically, the paper illustrates the benefits of this reconceptualization in the context of having students author and play interactive simulations games and exchange them over the Internet.

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