Page images
PDF
EPUB

What we are trying to illustrate here is that you can put an almost infinite number of colored photographs in; whereas, it would be very expensive in a normal text situation to print many color photographs. Here we have run a series to show the development of cells. We have taken a whole series of colored slides. So you begin to sense that you could have 54,000 single frames, and therefore store an enormous amount of information.

Let me take you to a movie segment to show you why just storing information in the form of a book or text is not adequate, and, conversely, the power a movie has. Here we are trying to motivate students to really become excited about the DNA that they are learning about.

[Shows on the television screen.]

Now, that is an example of the power of a movie or television format to provide extreme motivation and interest when you are working with what could be very dry materials.

When you go to straight television or a movie for mathematics, let me show you the advantages. We take a section in attempting to explain some very complicated aspects of RNA and DNA, protein production, and a portion of the DNA strands separate.

[Shows on the television screen.]

Now, what you just saw was a very complicated movie with many new phrases that the normal student would miss. As a result, he or she goes to a teacher to get it unscrambled, and if it is in a television format it is hard to go back and replay. Because we are using a laser as a stylus, you never wear anything out. More importantly, I am going to ask the demonstrator to go through a whole sequence of still frames to help you understand what really went on. I don't want you to read them or anything, but to give you a feel for what the individual disk will be able to do.

It will be able to give you practice with questions and answers. It will be able to put in many graphics, rules, and examples. The interesting thing here is that the framework evolving here in the description is again a function of earlier National Science Foundation research.

There was a large program built around the TICCIT program which used colored television as the output for mathematics and English in conjunction with a computer. As a result, a great deal was learned on how to put colored still frames on a TV set and mix it with motion pictures and video tape, and the National Science Foundation grant was a forerunner in the use of this approach. These many slides represent all of the imbedded information that was given to you as the speaker was speaking, but used the term and concepts too quickly for you to understand.

Now, we have put in over 600 still frames, many of them to help clarify what was said. We have only taken 20 seconds of running time to do this. So now this disc is 29 minutes and 40 seconds long, and the subject matter experts tell us that we have put in approximately a third of a biology course. Thus we have demonstrated a prototype of what will be. It will be coupled with a home TV set shortly. The student will be able to ask questions and the machine will direct them if they do not understand them, and they will be able to take advantage of the interaction and processing intelligence that the computer can give.

Mr. Brown. That is a fascinating demonstration, Dr. Heuston. The question that comes to my mind is the amount of resources and skill required to do such a program which you have described. I have heard it said that the skilled person-hours, however, required to do this are going to be extremely large, if we are talking about the software aspect.

Dr. HEUSTON. Yes.

Mr. Brown. And I would like to ask you if you could give us some indication of the amount of hours that go into creating the product?

Dr. HEUSTON. I think a good rule of thumb is to say you will spend about probably twice as much capital in producing a disc as you would a straight rate movie or video tape. That means you would be doubling your expenditure. The important thing to realize is there are a number of subjects for which we need to build that scaffold that I was talking about. You will need excellent courses in basic mathematics. You need excellent courses in basic sciences. So there is one large expenditure period, but after that you now have the ability to replicate the equivalent of a great instructor being present with that student, not only talking to him, but now interacting with him.

Let me give you one example from mathematics which we are working on now in our own research to give you an example of how this can work. If I were to give you a subtraction problem and I said take 90 from 127—If you have a pencil you might try this.—and I gave you this answer, 170, you would say there is a great problem.

Now, in fact, our research has shown us some extraordinary things. There are over 60 cognitive errors that students make in subtraction. One is called a "zero" bug and another is a "lesser than greater.” In this case the student took a zero from the seven and made a zero and two from nine instead of nine from two because it was a smaller number from the larger.

Teachers do not have the time, as our statistics suggested, to find out what the student is doing. With the computer technology you will be able to discover that that child has a zero bug or "lesser than greater" error in seconds. So you will have the equivalent of an expert diagnosis to give help to the student to unscramble his or her problems.

I have a family story. While we were doing the cognitive research, my daughter Hilary had a zero bug. In the school system it took 7 weeks for them to find it. We could have done it in a few seconds if we had the technology present. It is that kind of leverage you are talking about in helping children get out of their cognitive errors. This technology will make it happen. We need one round of good capital to produce the basic research examples, get them to the publishers, and have them then start taking them out, and then it becomes a self-replicating problem.

Mr. Brown. It seems awfully simple, and I think you are revolutionizing education.

Dr. HEUSTON. Yes; I think that is what we are trying to do.
Mr. Brown. What are all of the teachers going to do?

Dr. HEUSTON. They will be right there. I don't want my children to be free of adult models, and the teachers will be there. As the NSF ticket project demonstrated in its preliminary form, which in turn led to this, what will happen is that the teacher will shift his or her role slightly to becoming a supporter or coach where, together, they are taking on the material, and the teacher has time to be far more human and spend far more time with the students with individual needs. The teacher is not just the giver of the information now, but a sharer in the process of mastering it.

There is an interesting analogy from experience with an organization called the English Speaking Union here. After we sent students to spend a senior high school year in England, they came back and said they liked the British system because of the difference in the relationship with the teacher. During the senior year the students were taking national examinations, and the teacher would shift from being a knowledge giver to a coach because together they were trying to conquer the national examinations. They would comment on how they liked that because it took a great deal of tension away from their relationship to the faculty member.

Mr. Brown. Well, your statement reminds me of something that I referred to earlier. I read this in a little book about 25 years ago. It was on automation of education. The author projected some of what you have done here. He said the best teachers in the world have made available to every student the miracles of modern technology. That still hasn't happened, and I am wondering what it would take to make it happen in the next 25 years.

Dr. HEUSTON. What it requires is steady and consistent funding, which is a difficult thing. One of our great problems in America is that we are starting to face 5- to 20-year problems, and we have a tradition in our culture of 1 to 3 year funding cycles, and that is simply not enough. I happen to know about this field because I traveled for 5 years for the Šloane Foundation out of New York City as an auxiliary to my educational studies where I reviewed the outstanding educational technologists in this country, and almost without exception at the very time the people were beginning to understand the problems, the grants would run out and funds would disappear, and they would go into a new research situation to try to get more grants and would switch their research to wherever the money was coming from. So we need some consistency, and my fear here is for some reason the Japanese structure seems to understand this far better because they can think in terms of 10 or 15 years. We at WICAT are having th same problems. We no sooner start getting deeply into research than we have to abandon all of our efforts because the funding which was available ran out at the same time.

Mr. Brown. Dr. Heuston, I think that you have demonstrated something of fundamental importance to the future course of education. It deserves a great deal more time than we have today, but you may have heard that we are planning on a longer workshop just on this kind of question, the impact of the new technology on education, for a little later on in the spring, and I very much hope that you can have some input into that.

Dr. HEUSTON. I will be happy to, sir.

Mr. Brown. We want to thank you very much for this fascinating display, and we will continue. The subcommittee will be in recess until 2 o'clock this afternoon, at which time we will continue with some additional aspects of scientific education.

AFTERNOON SESSION

Mr. PEASE. This hearing will come to order.

This morning, Chairman Brown referred to steadily growing expectations for science education. The Foundation's charter gives it a broad mandate and we heard from several witnesses on topics that reflect some of that scope. This afternoon we will continue the exploration of problems and opportunities that challenge the slender resources of the Foundation's science education director.

Two of these subject areas involve the quality of science teaching in the public schools and in the colleges. At both levels, we have to meet the needs of the few who will go on to become scientists and also the majority of us who need sufficient literacy to deal with a world increasingly affected by technology.

This afternoon, I intend to take the opportunity of this hearing to further explore the effects on science literacy of the very large discrepancy that exists between the science education directorate's verbal commitment to its statutory obligations, to strengthen science education at all levels, and its annual budget request.

As our morning session demonstrated, this year NSF has requested less than 8 percent of its total budget for science education. Obviously whatever NSF says about supporting science education is not reflected in its fiscal year 1981 budget request.

The 9.6 percent increase in science education compared with over 15 percent for all of NSF seems to me an irrefutable testament to NSF's priorities for fiscal year 1981.

In fact, the inconsistency of words and deeds is made even more stark in the words of National Science Board Chairman, Norman Hackerman, uttered just a few weeks ago before this committee. I recall Mr. Hackerman emphasized that science literacy must be the foremost priority of the Foundation. Apparently, he has not looked at the budget.

Another subject area is the underdeveloped potential of minority citizens and women. We have few women scientists and even fewer who are black or of Hispanic origin. It is in keeping with the democratic society to equalize the opportunities and it is commonsense to enlarge the base of science capability in this country. Most of the Foundation's efforts in that direction comes under science education.

We have an exceptional group of witnesses today. It is a great pleasure to welcome all of you.

First I would like to call upon Dr. Jerrold Zacharias, who for more than 20 years has set the example for the participation of working scientists in the education of our children.

Mr. Zacharias?
[A biographical sketch of Dr. Zacharias follows:

[blocks in formation]

ment Center, is widely recognized as a leader in the fields of

nuclear physics and educational reform.

Born in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1905, he received the

A.B. (1926), M.A. (1927), and Ph. D. (1932) degrees from

Columbia University.

From 1931-1940 he was an instructor and then assistant professor at Hunter College while continuing research on the molecular beam laboratory at Columbia.

In 1940 Dr. Zacharias joined the staff of M.I.T.'s

Radiation Laboratory as head of the division on radar

transmitter components.

He went to Los Alamos in 1945 to direct

the engineering division on work on the atomic bomb. He returned to M.I.T. in 1946 as professor of physics and director of the Laboratory for Nuclear Science, which he organized to explore new phases of nuclear physics. This facility, which he headed for ten years, continues to be one of the outstanding

research laboratories in the field.

Dr. Zacharias was named

55 CHAPEL STREET
NEWTON MASSACHUSETTS 02160
TELEPHONE 617 969-7100

« PreviousContinue »