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Introduction - Overview

Welcome to the Learning Through Technology (LT2) web site!

The Learning Through Technology (LT2) web site was constructed by the College Level One Team, as a resource for Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology (SMET) instructors. The site features information designed to provide knowledge on technologies in use, and how this technology can impact and enhance student learning. We focused on technologies with a preference for those that were student-centered, and where the use of this technology had a clear and measurable effect on learning.

To analyze and filter the myriad of technologies, we considered Chickering's and Gamson's "Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education" such that only those technologies that accomplished one or more of these principles were examined. The Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education can be summarized as:

  1. Encouraging student-faculty contact
  2. Encouraging cooperation among students
  3. Encouraging active learning
  4. Giving prompt feedback
  5. Emphasizing time on task
  6. Communicating high expectations
  7. Respecting diverse talents and ways of learning

We also considered the individuals who used the technologies, and focused on those individuals who were bricoleurs. Bricoleur is a French term for a person who is adept at finding-or simply recognizing in their environment-resources that can be used to build something they believe is important, and then putting them together in some "right" combination to achieve their goals. Another way to think of bricoleurs is to consider the great chefs in the culinary world: Entrepreneurial, dynamic individuals who can create a masterpiece meal with leftovers and odds-and-ends, and a large dash of creativity.

In our case studies, we also carefully thought about whether the technology had a clear and measurable effect on learning. Hence, assessments of student learning, both formative and summative, was an important component in understanding the efficacy of this technology. Formative assessment can be either formal or informal, often represents "snapshots" in the student's learning process, and is usually gathered by the instructor. It is often used as feedback to both the instructor and student. It provides instructors feedback on how and what the students are learning which can then be used to immediately adjust and improve the instructor's teaching efforts. Students also receive feedback in a non-threatening way since most formative assessments have little impact on grades. Summative assessments are the more "traditional" assessment activities like exams and quizzes. They are formal, represent a longer timeline, often impact grades decisively, and are often used to demonstrate where a student has accomplished the learning goals for the course. Unlike formative assessments, summative ones usually can't be used as a "fine-tuning" tool for the course in mid-semester.

For more on what's in our website, go to the Web Contents.

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