Sometimes when reading the ITForum debates, commentaries, etc., it seems that whatever the topic, it frequently reverts to the C/I debate. What I was trying to say yesterday with my reference to the "wrong librettos" is that we, as educational technologists, may not yet have access to the right instruction manual for that mass of glass, wire, metal and chips which sits in front of us--especially a manual which tells us how to use it educationally. I have always believed that the "C" approach is probably the best translation we've had so far (some of you may remember my joy as prosecutor in the great ISD trial, when it was sentenced to 10 years drill & practice).
On reflection, my classification of interactivity (which I remind you came from the perspective of a developer) was an attempt, from one perspective, of providing developers (not designers) with some indication of which interactions are easy to build and which are hard. The next step may be to see to what extent the "easy" interactions inhibit or enhance learning, and the same with the "hard" ones.
In response to Mark's [Busine, 15 Nov 95] comments about a C authoring tool, I think that we're really talking about an application which allows you to build knowledge based on Constructivist principles--rather than a tool for someone else to design a "c" environment.
Thanks Rob [Phillips, 15 Nov 95] for your comments--life must be tough over there in Perth. You do raise an issue which has always been hard to articulate--I agree with your comments on the basic "raison d'Étre" of academia--and it would appear in some ways to contradict the positioning of a "C" argument. The example you quote (and which we've discussed--or at least a similar application) is a good indication of the way to take advantage of the technology to support teaching and learning. In writing this, I am reminded of the work of Stan Smith, Jo Henderson, and others who have created some excellent interactive applications for teaching, and who publicly state "I'm just a chemist" or "I'm just a doctor"--they don't claim to be educationalists, they just understand the technology.
So, perhaps we have too many people waving the wrong instruction manuals in our face (remember the librettos)--ITForum is where we are endeavoring to find the TRUTH!Bill Bates [16 Nov 95] talks about interactivity as being surface or deep, and this is where it begins to blur with learning or engagement, as we usually refer to surface or deep learning. And Thanks for noting the importance of Diana's (Laurillard) work--her text (which has already been noted) is critical reading for us all. (Laurillard, D. (1993). Rethinking University Teaching: A Framework for the Effective Use of Educational Technology. London, UK: Routledge.) I will try to provide a more thorough rationale for the three dimensions in the last response.
Peter [Spasov, 16 Nov 95]--isn't this what "individualization" is all about? I contend that if you can't program, you won't be able to conceive of these possibilities. You raise a good point about the level, which will require some thought.
Clark [Quinn, 16 Nov 95] has raised some very valid issues, and my response is the same--the levels are an attempt to (a) look at the different things we do when presenting learning tasks for students via technology and (b) to impress that, for developers, different interactions will require different skill levels. I agree with Clark on the VR issue--and believe that "cognitive immersion" is more important than "physical immersion." The problem is that the VR field would argue that if its not physical, its not virtual--that is, you have to be wearing the headsets, etc. Clark talks about "Trace Interactivity"--it fits in as a new component, or possible as part of the Support classification. These are ideas in the making, and the comments are extremely useful.
Martyn [Wild, 16 Nov 95]--I know all too well the CAI/CAL history--I (unfortunately perhaps) was there when it was happening. I was however trying to argue that if you think of a computer as being an instructional device, then perhaps you will lean towards an instructivist approach. If you see it as a device for learning, then you are more likely to follow a "constructivist" approach. For too long, people have been trying to make computers instructors or teachers--WRONG I say, they'll never get there (they've got the wrong libretto). Our task is to make computers better learning tools--and this is what IT is all about.
And to conclude, some of my reading sees Constructivism as a theory of learning (Bruner), which would appear to conflict with what you write.