Page images

I would like to mention that in a couple of research projects which we are supporting that fit into the area of media and technology link together an important educational objective with the usefulness of the media, which couldn't be done if we did not have the technology.


I think that there are some important aspects about Sesame Street that you ought to consider. One is that they had very clear and specific educational goals when they started out. Their goals were to produce TV programs which would increase the recognition of letters of the alphabet, of the counting ability and number concepts of preschool children, of the understanding and recognition of geometric shapes and basic reasoning skills and concepts related to self and the world. If any of you have watched any of this TV series, you will see those objectives coming through in the exercise.


They also went back to basic educational research and asked, "How do young children learn?" They settled on two or three rather identifiable learning concepts that can be illustrated through the programs themselves. One is repetition, or a kind of planned redundancy in which a concept like "over" or "under," or concept of "up" and "down" will be approached from a number of different angles with a number of different illustrations so that the youngster can get the full richness of the concept himself. It should be quick, it should be short and it should be entertaining, and so the use of humor is very dramatic. Somebody pointed out that the kids watch the psychedelic aspects of it and they get turned off whenever you put in what looks like a traditional educational setting. So, these concepts were built into the exercises themselves. They went back and they drew upon a vast body of knowledge that was developed over the years to answer question number one: what do we know about children and how do they learn?


The second, which is the development of the sequence, required again an interdisciplinary staff of people who were skilled in the area of television production, and those who knew something about children and how these concepts ought to be organized. It was then extensively field tested. What you see on the screen is not the original exercises that were produced, but these original productions were field tested and tried out in a number of settings with children, and then were modified. In some cases whole segments were either dropped or substantially redone.


Then, finally, you have the ideal medium for widespread distribution in the television network itself. Of course, if it were on commercial networks, it might receive even wider distribution. In this one project, Sesame Street, you are taken through these four steps of using the knowledge that we have, of developing it, of field testing it and then distributing it.


Another example, which appeals to me because it goes back to some of the work I have been involved in, is the development of video tapes as a teacher training device. This involves two research organizations that we support. One is the Research and Development Center at Stanford which became involved in the technique of micro-teaching. This is a technique whereby the teacher-in-training prepares a five to ten minute lesson which is presented to small numbers of pupils and is recorded on video tape. The tape is then replayed and the group of interns, along with the teacher himself, critique the performance. Usually, there is a very specific teaching objective that is involved here, such as, "How do you get students to ask questions which stimulate their thinking process?" Then you have some basis upon which to judge as to whether the teacher reached his objectives or not. It is an interesting technique; it is not a new technique because it has been used in professional football for a long, long time in terms of replay and the studying of game films in order to improve your skills and techniques. We are just starting to use it in education. This system of micro-teaching was then taken and develpoed further at the Far West Laboratory at Berkeley,


California, into what they call a mini-course. A mini-course has some of the same characteristics in terms of a scaled-down lesson with specific objectives, illustrative viedo tape and critique. The mini-course content is designed for the in-service training of teachers and provides a video-taped model of desired behaviors. It also does not use a supervisor to critique the lesson. This mini-course is now available commercially after having been developed at the Far West Educational Laboratory.


A third example would be the use of technology to deal with a very pressing educational problem-that of rural education and how you get effective educational ideas and concepts and instructions out to youngsters in a rural area. Out of the Appalachian Educational Laboratory there have been developed some Educational Cooperatives, which means the tying together of several school districts, university and the laboratory in an effort to pool the talents of these school districts so that if you have some staff with special skills; you will be able to use that strength throughout this region rather than to concentrate them in one school building. Also, there has been developed through the laboratory and through the cooperative system, a preschool television program which uses media and mobility for a preschool education. Closely coordinated with a daily television show is a weekly visit in the home by a home visitor to help work with the mother and a weekly visit to the community by a Classroom on Wheels, a mobile truck that goes around the area to give the children group experience. These are three very important objectives in education. First of all, how do you reach the preschool youngster, then how do you deliver services to a rural area where there is a limited amount of talent which is widely spread over a geographic area and, finally, how do you improve teacher education? In each one of these examples the contribution of technology and media is very dramatic and very important. It is the necessity of finding those linkages between the objectives the goals that you are trying to attack and the tools that you have available to use-which I think is most important.

CLARK C. ABT. In response to Mr. Gallagher's R & D problem, I suggest that the fundamental problem is the crosssectional rather than longitudinal organization of R & D effort in the government's funding of education, both operations and R & D. The educational R & D industry produces a great many things which are never tried, which wind up in reports, sometimes read and sometimes not read. There is an awful lot of baloney produced which never gets filtered out because it never has to stand the test of reality. On the other hand, teachers and administrators are asked to innovate in their spare time, weekends, and summer workshops. We all know that, first of all, they are snowed with operational problems and, secondly, they don't really have the time or perhaps the inclination through their training to continue their own education in educational possibilities. MOST LEARNING TAKES PLACE OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL; NEED FOR INSTITUTIONAL CHANGE I think also that instructional techniques are a lot less relevant than we thought they were a few years ago. A good bit of recent research shows the relative insensitivity of student achievement to student-teacher ratios, to different instructional techniques, to different classroom shapes, even to different textbooks-something I'm very unhappy about as a curriculumn designer. The main point of sensitivity of student achievement seems to be institutional changes. As was pointed out yesterday, and as Jim Coleman showed years ago in The Adolescent Society, most of the learning of the student now goes on outside of the school. This is not necessarily so; we can change the school as an institution, but we are not really trying to do so. We are working on all the little tactics and all the little gadgets while there is very little opportunity to change schools as operating institutions. One way of permitting that kind of insitutional change to evolve, and at the same time assuring the dissemination of some of the R & D work that is performed, and its operational testing and elimination if it is no good. is to organize education research and development and testing and operational support, on a longitudinal basis. By that I mean that the R & D people should be required to run experimental school in which they have to implement and dem. onstrate their own research and development products. Educational Development Centers and the regional labs are not at all the proper response to this and I think are quite ineffective. The reason for this is that they are basically fractional and impactionists. They are not really responsible for output. They have little test

sessions in cooperating school systems, but they don't have to take responsibility for the achievement level of the students, for keeping their teacher happy, and avoiding strikes, for satisfying the P.T.A., and for dealing with tough operational problems and at the same time pushing educational innovations.


It seems to me that the only way to respond to the problem of simultaneously finding new ideas, packaging them and programming and testing and demonstrating them, eliminating the bad and disseminating the good, is to institutionalize a close cooperation between the R & D community and the operating community. This would include educational psychologists, researchers, curriculum developers, planners, teachers, administrators, students and parents. That means that instead of having large R & D contracts, and large Title I and Title III support contracts, you split them up in another way. You give an organization or a school a longer term grant-a year is much too short to go through the cycle, but perhaps two or three years (I wish it could be five but that is probably politically impractical) in which they have to go all the way through the whole cycle from R & D to implementation, testing, evaluation and then back again to R & D. Now, this does not mean that we are re-entering the age of the generalist—and it will not be feasible to have R & D people become school operators and school operators become really efficient R & D people-but they will have to work together in the same institution, with the most intimate kind of communications that exist when you are all working on the same problem with the same kids and the same teachers together.

CLIFF SPRINGER (Vice President, General Learning Corporation). I would like to agree with Clark, adding just a little bit of a twist or different attack. Mr. McMurrin made the comment that the development of software seemed to lag behind the development of hardware, when he hinted that we seem to know how to develop equipment but we did not know what to put in it. I might add that that is probably a result of our looking at the problem wrongly. What we ought to be doing is taking a systems viewpoint in the sense that we define our objective. I am assuming that we could come up with some sub-aims for a portion of our curriculum and ask ourselves, "What are we going to accomplish with the kids?" and then ask ourselves what set of resources has to be accumulated and how must those resources be managed to accomplish the aim? This is not exactly a new kind of comment. We all hear that and read it constantly. But when you come right down to the Bill that is going to be before the House, I think the Bill has to talk about putting all the resources together that are needed, not just equipment and software. I really believe that we have to consider how we prepare our teachers, not to handle a piece of equipment or how to thread the software into the equipment, but how we prepare the teacher as a part of the system which contains kids, buildings, money, resources such as pieces of equipment, libraries-how we put this together in such a way that the hardware technology becomes just one more natural extension of the teacher's own environment. The viewpoint is legitimate; I know it has gone out of fashion a bit, but every time we go around the horn, we come back to talking about the individual things one at a time to really get on top of this problem.

NORTHROP DAWSON (Vice president, EMC Corporation). There is a lack of recognition of one missing link. You are talking now about education and technology which, at least from our experience, requires a skilled communicator working with the curriculum people relating the programs to the hardware. I would like to know if the Bill has any position for strengthening training of people in the audio-visual communication skills of writing, of visual presentation, of production generally in the media.

JOHN BRADEMAS. I don't think that there is any specific authorization for that, but certainly that would be possible because of the general language of the statute.

NORTHROP DAWSON. Many times, money has been allotted for experimental work which was done by people who had no experience in effectively presenting this type of material. They simply say, "Write this script and go out and get pictures." It seems to me that money has been wasted in the past by not drawing into the team these kinds of skills and skilled people.

JOHN BRADEMAS. One theme running through much of the conversation this morning is that all of these horses have to be harnessed together if we are going to make any effective headway. One dilemma is that those who have been teaching have not been in enough communication with those who have been re

searching and producing the technology. Included in that group, I should have thought, would be the kinds of technical experts to which you refer.


LOUIS BRIGHT (Professor, Baylor University). I would like to comment on this by going back to one of Jim Gallagher's remarks about Project Sesame. That project is an outstanding example where the Office was trying to pull many various components together including skilled researchers and producers. But there is another component which I would like to emphasize. I think that the exciting part of that is that it doesn't depend upon the fact that there are educators and researchers figuring out how best to organize the material and skilled writers and production experts in producing it. These are components of it, but the really significant part is the test program that Jim was talking about. This test program doesn't involve putting these out in a half dozen places and getting the teacher's comments about what worked and what didn't. The significant and unique part of that test program is that it is the kids who decides what works and what doesn't. They developed very effective techniques for intentionally introducing distractors so that they could measure whether the kids are really paying attention to the TV set or whether they would rather watch the distractors.

In a sense they are trying to get a measurable level of distraction so that they can measure attention and effectiveness. I want to emphasize here that this test and revision is not on the basis of expertise of the adults; it is by observing the behavior of the kids. When you do that, you find that you throw out many of the cherished conceptions of both the producers and the educational researchers. I think we are going to come up with something that is really effective.

"WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR MY CHILDREN WHEN THEY LEAVE SESAME STREET?" BRENDON HEALY (American Telephone & Telegraph). I am going to raise a question, not offer an opinion. I think I begin to understand a little better what Harold Haizlip talked about last night-that we are temporizing. We have seen the industry and we now hear the Educational Technology Bill for $300 million and I have seen Sesame Street and my children watch it. This leads me to the question: is it better to have learned and lost than never to have learned at all? Are we temporizing? What can you do for my children when they leave Sesame Street and go into the educational mainstream? Are you going to turn them off? Is educational technology going to succeed in the home before it does in the school?

DONALD DAVIS. Well, I think it is better to learn and lose than not to try to learn at all. We never learn at all without risk.


I think that change outside the school is going to take place faster than change inside the school because the reality of institutions and how slowly change comes. I tend to be something of an optimist about all of this. For example, I think the recognition around this table of the inadequacy of the piecemeal approach to institutional change is something that we wouldn't have found expressed as articulately and as forcefully five years ago. This recognition of the need to change the whole condition-involving time and space and people and equipment and materials-in order to change what happens to kids, is a very profound change and is beginning to have some impact in the field. I am optimistic also because we are beginning to learn and put into practice more than we dideven if we haven't learned enough or tried enough to achieve the kind of dramatic impact on the schools that the present situation demands.

There are links between the ideas that we have learned such as the microteaching and mini-course approach which does seem to be a very promising way of changing teacher behavior and improving pupil achievement. I think there is some reason to be optimistic even though the institution we are talking about is, like all institutions, vast and slow to change.


BARRY PASSETT (President, Systems for Change, Inc.). Mr. Davies, I notice that you are not the only one who is optimistic. All four of the speakers today have taken a very optimistic tone which the last questioner began to break down.

I was sitting here immersed in a sea of pessimism because all of the change that is being posited here is dependent on changes in State Education Departments and in teachers' colleges and in the way they do their jobs. Everyone is talking about their involvement leading to the kinds of changes in the schools that the purposes of the Educational Technology Act and other federally sponsored programs would bring about. Perhaps I am the only one who sees things going in the other direction. Three or five years ago we might have had some grounds for optimism. But, just taking a few of the things that are going on in the country right now: the rising teacher militance, greater parent involvement and the cutback in federal commitment to education generally; all of these things would indicate to me that there is not grounds for the kind of optimism that's being generated. Would you comment a little bit on from whence springs the optimism? DONALD DAVIES. I think greater teacher and parent militance and a cry for involvement are both very strong supports for optimism. These are potentially extremely powerful positive forces. It is true that teacher education institutions and schools of education have been very slow to change. They have resisted all kinds of exhortation for change which I have given them, and others. But I think it is possible now to identify some indicators of readiness for change and some examples of useful change, the micro-teaching that Jim talked about, for example, and the greatly improved linkages between colleges and schools, particularly ghetto schools and significantly with their surrounding communities, one can see in some of our Triple T projects. The Stanford University teacher training program, which I went through years ago, has now been totally turned around and is now utilizing micro-teaching and other effective techniques. I think they have a much more effective teacher training program than they had there twenty years ago. You could go on citing examples of teacher education institutions that are beginning to change and be more responsive to and involved in the problems of our society and the schools. At least, there is ground for optimism and there are places you can grab hold and support and encourage and


The same thing is true of state Departments of Education. I look at what they are doing in the state of Washington where, with considerable courage, they are beginning to talk about the use of performance as the base for making decisions about certification, promotion, instead of credits and courses and time. They are not only talking about it; they are writing it into legislation and into regulations. This is just one state and one sign of progress but it does give us a place to move.


JAMES GALLAGHER. I think we have to view your optimism on a time frame. I think we are becoming more mature and understanding of the problem of change itself. As Mr. Abt said, we want five years or ten years to try something out. If you are doing a major research and development job, whether it be for medicine, space science, or education, you are undertaking a six to ten year effort. If you say, "Give me the results six months from now, or the next congressional session," then you are not really talking about research and development; you are not really talking about meaningful change.

Recently I was testifying before a committee. I was talking about the research and development activities in the pipeline, in the sense that they are being field tested now; there are a lot of new materials that are being tried out, but are not yet available for general distribution. One of the congressmen said, "But, Mr. Gallagher, the cities are burning down. You come to me and you tell me it is going to take all this time. We cannot afford this time!" Well, the answer to that is the same answer you would have to give to someone who is saying, "Develop the SST. I have got to have it three months from now, and if I don't have it everything is going to collapse." Say, "Well, then everything is going to collapse," because you are not going to produce an SST in three months. No matter the amount of money you are given, it takes time to develop the mechanisms for change. I think that one cause for optimism is that we understand that we need to have a consistent and long-range program of research and development and not something that turns on and off every six months or every year, in order to get meaningful change. I see the same positive signs that Don Davies does; but it is not going to be tomorrow.

JOHN BRADEMAS. I have a different reaction on the SST. Don't produce it. FRANCIS KEPPEL (President and Chairman, General Learning Corporation). In view of this discussion, I have a question about the Bill. Specifically, in the Bill are there specific stipulations encouraging or requiring that the several

« PreviousContinue »