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Am Ann Deaf. 1994;139 Spec No:36-44.

Using media for developing mental models and anchoring instruction.

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Learning Technology Center, Peabody College, Vanderbilt University.


My goal here was to discuss ways in which research and theory in the areas of learning and cognition can guide the development of integrated media systems. We began our discussion by exploring how IM technology can be used to embellish existing curricula, noting that its many advantages are quite obvious. Nevertheless, other issues related to IM development are more subtle, yet important. We discussed ways that the research literature can help us think about these issues in more detail. My major argument was that the full implications of exploring existing theory and research cannot be appreciated by simply using IM technologies to embellish existing curricula. Based on the cognitive literature, there is a need to develop principles for breaking the mold. I provided some reasons for doing this and discussed examples of work going on in our center that suggest possible alternatives to typical text-based curricula. The major characteristic of these alternatives is that they drastically reduce the amount of time that students spend receiving already-discovered information (from teachers or texts) and, instead, provide problem-rich environments that can be explored and discussed by students. Many other examples of alternative problem-rich environments are currently being developed and studied by others (Bank Street College, 1984; Lipman, 1985; Tinker, 1991). As new principles for breaking the mold begin to emerge from research, we hope that the result will be major advances in learning for all students.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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