CS92/ED89: The Educational Software Seminar

Departments of Computer Science and Education
Brown University -- Spring 2000
Syllabus -- Roger B. Blumberg

Draft 1/27/2000


Class meetings: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:10-5:25 p.m., in 227, CIT

Books || Weekly Descriptions || Articles || Electronic Texts


The Educational Software Seminar at Brown (CS92/ED89), pioneered by Andy van Dam, combines topics and activities that, at other universities, would almost certainly be encountered only in different courses offered in different departments. The basic idea of the Seminar -- that groups of undergraduates, primarily but not exclusively those with interests and abilities in computer science and education, work closely with local teachers to design, create and implement classroom software that meets the needs and specifications of those teachers -- has made it a model of interdisciplinary and university-school collaboration in the area of educational technology. The goals of the Seminar are to engage and support students in these collaborations while they read about, discuss, and come to understand some of the historical, cognitive, technical, and sociological issues involved in the use of computers in education, and particularly in the creation and use of educational technology.

This syllabus provides a list of the books and articles we'll be reading and discussing, as well as a week-by-week description of the course. Although they are not included below, we will likely have guests visiting throughout the semester. Consistant with the seminar model, at least one student will have the responsibility of presenting and leading the discussion of the readings in each class session.


("*" indicates a required text available at the Brown University bookstore)

* Cuban, Larry. Teachers and Machines. (Teachers College Press, 1986).

Cummins, Jim and Sayers, Dennis. Brave New Schools (St. Martins Press, 1997)

* Dewey, John. Experience and Education (MacMillan, 1997 c1938).

Doll, Carol. Evaluating Educational Software (American Library Assocition, 1987).

Druin, Allison (ed.). The Design of Children's Technology (Morgan Kaufmann, 1998).

Gardner, Howard. The Unschooled Mind. (Basic Books, 1991).

Hickman, Larry. John Dewey's Pragmatic Technology. (Indiana Univ Press, 1992)

Leebaert, Derek (ed). The Future of Software. (MIT Press, 1995).

Macromedia Inc. Authorware 4 Authorized. (Peachpit Press, 1997).

Mandel, Theo. The Elements of User Interface Design (John Wiley, 1997)

McGilly, Kate. Classroom Lessons: Integrating Cognitive Theory and Classroom Practice. (MIT Press, 1994).

Oostendorp, Herre van, and Mul, de Sjaak (eds.), Cognitive Aspects of Electronic Text Processing, Advances in Discourse Processes, vol. LVIII (Ablex Publishing Corporation, 1996).

* Perkins, David N., Schwartz, Judah, West, Mary Maxwell and Wiske, Martha Stone (eds.). Software Goes to School: Teaching for Understanding with New Technologies (Oxford University Press, 1995).

Reeves, Byron and Nass, Clifford. The Media Equation: How People Treat Computers, Television, and New Media Like Real People and Places (Cambridge University Press & CSLI Publications, 1996).

Russell, Bertrand. Education and the Good Life (Boni and Liveright, 1926).

Russell, Bertrand. Principles of Social Reconstruction (Allen and Unwin, 1916). Published in the United States as Why Men Fight.

Ryan, Alan. Liberal Anxieties and Liberal Education (Hill and Wang, 1998)

Salzman, Harold, and Rosenthal, Stephen R. Software By Design. (Oxford University Press, 1994).

* Sandholtz, Judith Haymore, and Ringstaff, Cathy, and Dwyer, David C. Teaching with Technology: Creating Student-Centered Classrooms. (Teachers College Press, 1997).

* Schank, Roger, and Cleary, Chip. Engines for Education. (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1995). HTML edition at: http://www.ils.nwu.edu/~e_for_e/.

Scheffler, Israel. Reason and Teaching. (Routledge, 1973).

Shepherd, John C. Authoring Authorware : A Practical Guide. (Prentice- Hall, 1998)

Smith, Irene and Yoder, Sharon. Inside HyperStudio: Scripting with HyperLogo (ISBN# 1-56484-122-7).

* Tiffin, John and Rajasingham. In Search of the Virtual Class: Education in an Information Society. (Routledge, 1995)

* Ullman, Ellen. Close to the Machine: Technophilia and its Discontents. (City Lights, 1997).

Other Articles:

Anderson, John. "Can Information Technology Change the Curriculum?" in Nick Rushby (ed.), Technology-Based Learning: Selected Readings, (Kogan Page, 1987), pp. 73-78.

Beeman, William O., and Anderson, Kenneth T., and Bader, Gail, and Larkin, James, and McClard, Anne, and McQuillan, Patrick, and Shields, Mark. "Hypertext and Pluralism: From Lineal to Non-lineal Thinking." (Brown University: Insitute for Research in information and Scholarship, 1987).

Bierman, Alan W. "Software Engineering," in Bierman, Great Ideas in Computer Science: A Gentle Introduction, (MIT Press, 1997), pp. 209-219.

Brooks, Ruven. "Comparative Task Analysis: An Alternative Direction for Human-Computer Interaction Science," in John M. Carrol (ed.), Designing Interaction, (Cambridge University Press, 1991), pp. 50-59.

Catano, James V. "Poetry and Computers: Experimenting with the Communal Text," Computers and the Humanities, vol. 13, pp. 269-275 (1979).

Clinchy, Evans. "The New Technologies and the Continuing Questions," in Clinchy (ed.) Transforming Public Education (Teachers College Press, 1997), pp. 132-142.

Copeland, Peter. "The Educational Significance of Electronic Media," in Nick Rushby (ed.) Technology-Based Learning: Selected Readings, (Kogan Page, 1987),pp. 79-85.

Cuban, Larry. "Computers Meet Classroom: Classroom Wins." Teachers College Record, vol. 95, number 2, pp. 185-210 (1993).

DeWitt, Scott Lloyd. "The Current Nature of Hypertext Research in Computers and Composition Studies: An Historical Perspective," Computers and Composition, vol. 13, pp. 69-84 (1996).

Kenney, Martin. "Value Creation in the Late Twentieth Century: The Rise of the Knowledge Worker," in Jim Davis, Thomas Hirschl and Michael Stack (eds.), Cutting Edge: Technology, Information, Capitalism and Social Revolution (Verso, 1997), pp. 87-102.

Kranzberg, Melvin. "The Information Age: Evolution or Revolution?" in Bruce R. Guile (ed). Information Technologies and Social Transformation (National Academy Press, 1985), pp. 35-54.

Linard, Monique and Zeiliger, Romain. "Designing Navigational Support for Educational Software," in Brad Blumenthal, et al. (eds.), Human-Computer Interaction, Lecture Notes in Computer Science 1015, (Springer, 1995), pp. 63-78.

Lu, Casey, and Voss, Burton E., and Kleinsmith, Lewis J. "The Effect of Microcomputer-Based Biology Study Center on Learning in High School Biology Students," The American Biology Teacher, vol. 59, No. 5, pp. 270-278.

Nicol, Anne. "Interfaces for Learning: What Do Good Teachers Know that We Don't?" in Brenda Laurel (ed.) The Art of Human-Computer Interface Design (Addison Wesley, 1990), pp.113-122.

Papert, Seymour. "An Anthology of Learning Stories," and "Computerists," in Papert, The Children's Machine (Basic Books, 1993), pp. 106-113, 157-178.

Pylyshen, Zenon W. "Some Remarks on the Theory-Practice Gap," in John M. Carrol (ed.), Designing Interaction (Cambridge University Press, 1991), pp. 39-49.

Rouet, Jean-Francois, and Levonen, Jarmo J. "Studying and Learning with Hypertext: Empirical Studies and Their Implications," in Rouet, et al. (eds.) Hypertext and Cognition (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1996), pp.9-24.

Sandholtz, Judith. "A Model, Not a Mold: A Comparison of Four School-University Partnerships," in David M. Byrd and D. John McIntyre (eds.), Research on the Education of Our Nation's Teachers. Teacher Education Yearbook V, Association of Teacher Educators. (Corwin Press, 1997), pp. 258-276.

Scheffler, Israel. "Computers at School?" Teachers College Record 87. 4 (1986). pp. 513-28. Reprinted in Scheffler, In Praise of the Cognitive Emotions (Routledge, 1991), pp.80-96.

Schwartz, Judah. "The Right Size Byte: Reflections of an Educational Software Designer," in David N. Perkins et al. (ed.) Software Goes to School: Teaching with New Technologies, (Oxford University Press, 1995), pp.172-181.

Spoehr, Kathryn T. and Spoehr, Luther W. "Learning to Think Historically." Educational Psychologist , 1994, 29(2), pp. 71-77.

Svinicki, Marilla D. "New Directions in Learning and Motivation," in New Directions for Teaching and Learning, Number 80, Winter 1999 (Jossey-Bass Publishers), pp. 5-28.

Ward, Robert, and Sewell, David. "How Impoverished is Existing Educational Software for Microcomputers?" in Nick Rushby (ed.) Technology-Based Learning: Selected Readings, (Kogan Page, 1987), pp. 140-148.

Weizenbaum, Joseph. "Science and the Compulsive Programmer." in Weizenbaum, Computer Power and Human Reason: From Judgement to Calculation (W. H. Freeman, 1976), pp.111-131.

Electronic Texts and Collections

Dewey, John. Democracy and Education. (MacMillan, 1916). HTML edition at Columbia University (http://www.ilt.columbia.edu/academic/texts/dewey/d_e/title.html)

Dewey, John. School and Society. (University of Chicago Press, 1907). HTML edition at the Mead Project at Brock University (http://paradigm.soci.brocku.ca/~lward/Dewey/DEWEY_11.HTML).

"Fostering the Use of Educational Technology: Elements of a National Strategy," RAND Corporation Report, 1996. http://www.rand.org/publications/MR/MR682/contents.html

Hanson-Smith, Elizabeth. "Technology in the Classroom: Practice and Promise in the 21st Century." TESOL Professional Paper #2, (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc., http://www.tesol.edu/pubs/profpapers/techclass.html, 1997).

McNeil, Sara. "Instructional Design." A course offered at the College of Education, University of Houston. Fall 1997. http://www.coe.uh.edu/courses/cuin6373/.

Mid-continent Regional Educational Laboratory (McREL). "The Impact of Technology." http://www.mcrel.org/connect/tech/impact.html. 1995-1997.

Milken Family Foundation. Seven Dimensions for Gauging Progress (Milken Family Foundation, 1998) http://www.milkenexchange.org/policy/pi_preface.html

NAEYC position statements related to improving program practices with children. (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1998), http://www.naeyc.org/about/position/position_statement1.htm. (See esp. "Technology and Young Children -- Ages 3 through 8" (1996).)

Nielsen, Jakob. The Alertbox: Current Issues in Web Usability. 1995-98. http://www.useit.com/alertbox/.

Nijmegen University. "The History of Education Site." University Nijmegen, Algemene Pedagogie, Netherlands, 1998. http://www.socsci.kun.nl/ped/whp/histeduc/

Quinones, Sherri, and Kirshstein, Rita. An Educator's Guide to Evaluating The Use of Technology in Schools and Classrooms (American Institutes for Research, 1998). http://www.ed.gov/pubs/EdTechGuide/.

"Report to the President on the Use of Technology to Strengthen K-12 Education in the United States," President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology, Panel on Educational Technology, 1997. (http://www.whitehouse.gov/WH/EOP/OSTP/NSTC/PCAST/k-12ed.html).

Rosenberg, Scott. "Elegance and Entropy: Ellen Ullman Talks About What Makes Programmers Tick." Salon, October 9, 1997. http://www.salonmagazine.com/21st/feature/1997/10/09interview.html.

Schank, Roger, and Cleary, Chip. Engines for Education. http://www.ils.nwu.edu/~e_for_e/nodes/I-M-NODE-4121-pg.html (1995).

"Technology and the New Professional Teacher: Preparing for the 21st Century Classroom," National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, 1997. http://www.ncate.org/specfoc/

"Technology Counts: Schools and Reform in the Information Age," Education Week, vol. XVII, No. 11, November 10, 1997. http://www.edweek.com/sreports/tc/

Waggoner, Christine. "User Interfaces" (Brown University Graphics Lab, 1998), http://www.cs.brown.edu/people/cmw/illus/preface.html.

Weekly Descriptions

Week 0: January 27

Introduction to the Seminar. We'll begin with an explanation of the unique approach of CS92 to the creation of educational software and the analysis of educational technology, and then discuss why it's interesting to combine education and computer science in a seminar setting. Details of the seminar will be discussed along with the syllabus and the pool of projects for the semester. We'll also devote some time to talking about what makes for a successful seminar, and for successful project work in CS92.

Week 1: February 1 and 3

The culture of computers and its consequences. We'll discuss Ellen Ullman's perspective on the thrills and perils of programming, and use her narrative to discuss the culture(s) of computing generally and what (if anything) is special about the times we live in. Secondary readings include an excerpt from Weizenbaum's famous critique of the effects of the computer on our image of ourselves, as well as a contemporary perspective on the political economy of software. We'll also spend some time discussing the projects in more detail, and the sorts of interests and talents which might be right for each of them -- on Thursday the project teams will be formed as the projects are selected.

Week 2: February 8 and 10

The Philosophy of Education I. Careful discussions about educational software inevitably lead to discussions about the purpose of education and educational institutions. This week we'll read Dewey's Experience and Education, a general and influential philosophy of schooling, and then we'll read the philosopher Scheffler about issues arising from the use of computers in schools.

Week 3: February 15 and 17

Learning and Technology I. We'll turn to thinking about what and how technology can contribute to learning, and what the characteristics of effective learning tools should be. We begin the week with an overview of learning theories and then read excerpts from a book by a research team who grounds their educational (and software) philosophies in a cognitive psychology of the student. We will meet in the Reference Room of the Rockefeller Library on Tuesday so that one of the librarians can give us a clue about how to search the research literatures relevant to educational technology.

Week 4: February 24

All About (our) Authoring Tools. We'll meet in the Multimedia Lab for a demonstration of and discussion about the various authoring tools that have been used and are currently available for use in the Seminar.

Week 5: February 29 and March 2

Evaluating Educational Software. This week we begin to develop criteria (and an appropriate vocabulary and framework) for judging and discussing the quality of educational software and educational technology. We'll read articles that reflect different critical perspectives and approaches of computer scientists as well as educational technologists and educators.

Week 6: March 7 and 9

Studying Educational Technology We'll discuss Cuban's influential history of classroom technology (1920-1986) as well as the (summary) study of the Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow Project. The recommended reading, Allison Druin's The Design of Children's Technology, includes articles concerned with both evaluation and research.

Week 7: March 14 and 16

Storyboard Presentations I. Project teams will present their projects and storyboards to the class, and we'll evaluate their approach, their documentation of the project and their prospects for success. Readings may be assigned by the project teams (e.g. course curriculum), but the work of the next two weeks will be in creating and documenting "sketches" or prototypes of the software.

Week 8: March 21 and 23.

Storyboard Presentations II. Project team presentations continue, and we'll identify patterns and critical issues in the design of classroom software.

March 25 - April 2: Spring Break!!

Week 9: April 4 and 6

Synthesis I: Learning From Learners and Educational Software. As project work is well underway, we'll begin to bring together ideas from the various disciplines (and readings), both for the sake of developing keener critical faculties concerning educational software, and for thinking about the role of computers in education generally. On Tuesday we'll motivate the discussion by looking at further examples of commercial software, and on Thursday we'll read a chapter from The Design of Children's Technology (Druin 1999).

Week 10: April 11 and 13

Synthesis II: Education in an Information Society This week, we'll try to bring together some of the threads that have run through the Seminar by looking first at the dismal history of classroom technology in the United States, and then at a vision of how networks and virtual environments could transform the nature and dynamics of education.

Week 11: April 18 and 20

Synthesis III: The Software/Education We Need. We'll read two chapters from Engines for Education by Schank and Cleary that try to formulate principles of good design for educational software as well as curriculum. We'll use these texts to bring together and summarize many of the issues we've discussed in class and that you've run across in your project work.

Week 12: April 25 and 27

Software testing and technology assessment I. We'll begin testing some of the software created by the project teams, as part of the project presentations, in preparation for classroom implementation. We'll also discuss what it means to evaluate the effectiveness of software in the classroom, and we'll read selected cognitive learning theory studies that attempt to assess the value of integrating technology in the classroom.

Week 13: May 2 and 4

Software testing and technology assessment II. We'll complete our own testing and analysis of the software created by the project teams, and discuss ways to analyze the effectiveness of the classroom software over time. If we can finish the project presentations on the 27th, we will devote the 29th to a discussion of the future of educational software, with guests from the Industry as well as education. If we do not finish by the 27th, we will use the 4th of May for that discussion.

Week 14: May 9 and 11

Final Presentations. A final session, in the Multimedia Lab, at which teams will present their finished products. We'll reflect on the course, brainstorm about how it might be improved next year, and plan for the presentation/party for our teachers, and Brown faculty members.

Home Page

Brown Home STC Home CS Home CS Courses