Associate Professor, CAD Dept., NTUU "KPI"
Paper discusses general trends and problems of Education and Research development in conditions of emerging new technologies and Global Information Environment. New principles of Education in Information Environment are based on existing paradigm shift in modern education changing role of teacher from source to producer of information and role of students from passive information receivers to active knowledge accumulator. Possibilities of Internet for education and Research are considered. Discussed results are based on two years experience in active instructional methodology development in Kiev Polytechnic Institute.
1. New Trends and Technologies of the Information Age
Internet and Global Information Infrastructure (GII) development in the world change the main paradigms in Education and Research and rises new tasks caused by mankind survive Information Revolution and start building Information Society which is defined as post-technological society.
The pace of revolutionary technology changes decreases exponentially:
50000 years ago - primitive man started to speak and conceive discrete picture of the world operating with primitive concepts and images;
5000 years ago - literacy appeared giving first opportunity for acquiring knowledge in the form combining text and pictures
500 years ago - book-printing invented; great opportunity for knowledge acquisition and dissemination, involvement of many people into research and education
50 years ago - computer and communications give new possibility and tools for multimedia data acquisition, dissemination, processing and messages exchange
5 years ago - WWW was invented as hypermedia information presentation: information acquisition, processing, access and search in Global Information Environment.
Last mankind invention World Wide Web give people tool for facilitation of the power of abstract thought because of WWW operates with mixed (multimedia) information very similar to real thinking process. Now WWW technology becomes basic for development of Knowledge Network operating with knowledge and information across the network and independently from the form of information presentation. The wonderful feature of the web technology is the possibility to model via itís directory and hyperlink structure the model of information and knowledge presentation in the brain, as it was defined by Lev Vygotsky, Russian Psychologist: "The word (information) is itís search" .
GII based on Internet and WWW technologies provides powerful tool for global knowledge integration.
On the background of global economyís integration companies and countries survive global competition. In the knowledge based economy of Information Age knowledge and skills become the key factor of competition. Distinctive feature of modern Knowledge Based Companies (KBCo) is continues improvement of their products by integration and attraction of knowledge and skills of developers, implementers and users via bug reporting, beta-testing and other approaches for knowledge absorption and skills involvement. The very existence of KBCo is based on constant technologies development and change as well as on learning acquired skills.
Such picture of the world wide economy differentiation/distribution is not fatal but stress on the main factor of success in the modern world/economy - the knowledge and skills that should be supported by lifelong learning and training. IT and GII were the main facilitator of forming Information Society and they are main base for doing in the knowledge based society.
In global information environment developing countries or countries with emerging technologies are suffering in general from the high technologies changing pace that doesnít correspond to the national economy development pace. The processes are leading and are caused by forming "slow" and "agile" nations in respect to technology innovation and implementation .
Complete globality of modern IT and possibility for its instantaneous dissemination via GII allows to make technological leap-frog for developing nations and countries with emerging technologies. But such trends should demand special concern and national policy in education and training areas.
2. Education and Research in Global Information Environment
Education should respond on global challenges of forming Information Society in providing necessary background for successful people living in this new knowledge based formation:
The education area is becoming now the place where many technologies meet, converge and are tested by real practice and coexistence. Education area/activity is becoming important part of general companiesí activity (notwithstanding the structural affiliation - to company or university). Education becomes a conductor and promoter of new technologies and area where new approaches and new social imperatives are forming now.
Particularly, GII provide the following powerful possibilities for Research conducting and management
Classroom integration into Internet will demand special approach for curriculum design and instructional methodology used that should be focused on reaching main teaching goals because of learners in such environment have real choice "to stay" in the class or escape into Internet surfing. Curriculum have to take into account existence of such global information environment as Internet. Teacher must afraid that his/her students will be lost in the open global information space. Education and culture globalisation and internationalisation shall not impact on national cultures. In this circumstances education at itís initial stage have to inoculate national and cultural values to learners. (Students should accept priorities of national values in integration into the global IS). During education and further lifelong learning people should take over new global criterias (but not change values) applying and adopting them to the national values.
This approach can play constructive role even in the case of inevitable "brain drain" (physical and via teleworking) caused by growth of transnational corporations and global workforce integration and migration. In general this process is inevitable because of objective development of transnational corporations that utilise and integrate the most important value of mankind - human intelligence. Conformity to international criterias in professionality and skills will raise common professional and knowledge level among local specialists.
Development of GII and communication infrastructure will be facilitated by
3. Paradigm shift in professional education
In modern networked information environment the main paradigm of professional education is sufficiently changed in actual roles of teacher and students. Old methodology was based on concept of the classroom as the ultimate place of knowledge receiving where teacher plays the role of source and transmitter of information and knowledge and learners play the role of receivers. Teacher could learn from his/her experience. But now with rapid technologies changes very few teachers can teach from their own experience.
The problem for education is that competition between transnational industry leaders provide increased pace of technologies development and changes. Therefore, in current conditions the main paradigm of education is changed to cooperative and contributive learning in which teacher plays role of information producer and curriculum adviser but students act as information accumulators and knowledge acquirers. They become responsible for necessary knowledge acquisition based on curriculum experience but teacher has to manage education process and set up an appropriate motivation system, in other words, teacher will teach students how to learn and set motivation frame for successful and timely curriculum performing.
Teachers in the new instructional methodology have to satisfy the following demands
The real challenge for Ukraine as country with emerging technologies in Professional Education on IT and IT based courses is Constructivistic instructional methodologies incorporating active position of teacher and students in tight interaction with global information environment:
Project or Problem Based Learning (PBL) that is effective in information and knowledge rich environment with developed infrastructure [3, 4, 5]
or Cooperative and Contributive Learning (CCL) that is PBL adopted to the conditions of emerging technologies and developing communication and information infrastructure [6, 7].
4. Main Principles of Teaching in Networked Information Environment
Existing experience acquired during implementation of elements of PBL and CCL instructional methodology in teaching Networking Information Technologies and Services at CAD department in NTU "Kiev Polytechnic Institute" allowed to formulate the main principles of education in Global Networked Information Environment.
These principles can provide real base for establishing active position of teachers and creative role of learners.
Pilot project on development of Educational Program and Instructional Methodology for Teaching Computer Networking and Internet Information Technologies has been started at Computer Aided Design Department in Kiev Polytechnic Institute.
Two groups of 50 engineer students of the firth year have started education in September 1995 and 1996. 17 students of the first group have successfully defended their Master theses in June 1997. All students were involved into development of complete educational course technical and information base.
The main intermediate results of pilot project realisation can be stated
Education and research in present rapidly changed environment caused by Information Revolution and GII spreading over the world have to challenge new approaches and paradigm shift. The importance of Education, particularly professional education, is increasing now as base for successful implementation of the new technologies.
Cooperative and Contributive Learning model was found as effective approach for developing new instructional methodologies in Education in Global Information Environment.
Professional academic contacts have to be established for cooperative development and wide dissemination of the new educational courses and instructional methodologies.