Tips and Techniques

Subject: Tips and Techniques
From: Saul Carliner <CUISACX -at- GSUVM1 -dot- BITNET>
Date: Thu, 5 Aug 1993 00:29:00 EDT

Jacobs_Chris writes:

I may soon be involved in a large project concerning the internetworking of
public schools as a curriculum 'translator'. This isn't particularly
traditional tasking for a tech writer, but it seems appropriate in many ways. I
will have to do a number of things in addition to designing training courses
for teachers/administrators, including a manual on how to redesign current
teacher and district produced/approved resources (textbooks, lesson plans,
curriculum guides, objectives, etc) for use with the new, improved,
computerized, networked system. I will probably have to actually perform some
of the initial redesigns, as well.

Does anyone out there have any experience with this sort of thing? I have a
masters in elementary education to accompany my comm degree, but none of the
courses addressed the idea of converting resources from pen/paper to
interactive technology. Any recommendations as to reading material, suggestions
for the work or any related comments are more than welcome. I have
approximately one month to come up with a decent plan of action, so every bit
of information I can get will be helpful. Thanks in advance. You may reply on
the list, or to me offline at jacobs_chris -at- smtpmac -dot- ads -dot- com

Several possibilities:

1. Call the Instructional Technology department with your state
department of education. They're often an excellent resource,
though sorely understaffed, and can tell you how much you really
need to tell teachers. From what I hear, few teachers actually
develop lessons for the computer. Most adapt off-the-shelf software
for in-class use.

The instructor's guides with most educational software includes
sample lesson plans for teachers. Because few teachers have time
(much less the skill) to develop online lessons (a typical online
lesson takes 3-5 times as long to develop as a classroom lesson),
they prefer work off-the-shelf software into their lessons.

Some of these guides are excellent. A few have won awards in the
International Technical Publications Competition.

2. Call the company that supplied your school system with computers.
They probably have a number of resources they can provide you with
and might even be coaxed into assisting you in a staff development

3. Read through old issues of THE Journal (Technical Horizons in
Education), one of the best journals on the use of computers in K-12
classrooms. Most school media specialists will be familiar with
this journal. Subscriptions are free; subscription cards are in
each issue.

Instructional Delivery Systems is another good journal. I don't
have contact information handy but, once again, school media
specialists and your state deparatment of education's instructional
technology group should be familiar with this journal.

Basically, you're making a career adjustment that many in our field
have made, from technical communicator to instructional technologist.
Instructional technology is a neat field--I hope you enjoy working in it.

You might check out the Association for Educational Computing Technology
(AECT), an organization of professionals serving the educational
computing needs of the K-12 and higher education communities.

cc: adavis --netcom.>

Saul Carliner, Ph.D Student CUISACX -at- GSUVM1 -dot- GSU -dot- EDU
Instructional Technology 404/892-3945 (w&h)
Georgia State University

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