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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Learning to Compute, and Computing to Learn

My reaction to this simple statement by a classmate lead me to crystalize a thought I should have stumbled on a long time ago...

Making the assignment personal and asking students to critiquie and/or apply new learning is a good start and can inhibit plagiarism while improving deep learning (Snyder, 2005).

Thank you for this reference, Mia. This is a philosophy I feel very strongly about.

For the most part, I feel that if a student would be able to plagiarize and fulfill an assignment, then the assignment is not worth assigning in the 21st century.

This is in contrast to some of the skill or memorization based mastery learning philosophies of the past, but is reasonable given the nearly universal access to information available online. Why should a student write a paper on the causes of WWII if they can access this information any time? Perhaps the causes should only be written about in terms of their relationship to, or application to, problems of today.

Based on my previous post today, I suppose the major caveat here is that this philosophy may have its limitations when it comes to students who are still "learning to compute" (or "learning to read" - and write - for that matter) and who do not have the motivation for this kind of generative learning.

-Mark

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