Shared orchestration within and beyond the classroom

Sharples, Mike (2013). Shared orchestration within and beyond the classroom. Computers and Education, 69 pp. 504–506.




The TEL research community has long neglected the dynamics of the real school classroom. Forty years ago TEL (or Computer Assisted Instruction as it was then) held out a promise of making life easier for teachers, while also enhancing the effectiveness of student learning.

For so long teaching has been regarded as a human task that it is novel to suggest that a machine should take over the role of contact with the students, and leave a teacher to do the planning and preparation of the lesson. But it does seem to work, and in a world that is short of teachers there is every reason to develop it as far as possible. (Dodd, Sime & Kay, 1968)

TEL has never delivered on this promise. Machines have not successfully engaged in teaching students (with a few notable, but limited exceptions). Instead, the modern classroom has become a more complex and demanding place, with the teacher not only having to prepare lesson plans, accommodate formal curricula, and follow regulations on health, safety and discipline, but also understand and manage a variety of technologies such as interactive whiteboards, desktop and laptop computers. Into this volatile mix we are now proposing to add orchestration technology.

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