The Best of Creative Computing Volume 1 (published 1976)

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IFIP Conference Report (Interview with J. Hebenstreit)

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  2eme Conference Internationale


An Interview with J. Hebenstreit,

Conference Chairman

HEBENSTREIT. We observe that the great majority of
papers look at computers as a replacement for current
teaching methods. This is valuable in that the methodology
of informatics may cause us to re-analyze what teaching
and learning is and what it should be. We cannot continue
to teach the way we have been and are currently. How can
we expect children to continue to memorize in light of the
information explosion? The accumulated knowledge of
humanity is doubling every 13 years. There is an upper
limit to the time an individual can spend in learning and
also to the speed of learning. But the amount of knowledge
has no upper limit. What then, is the solution?

The best approach appears to be to give the individual a
model of his environment, or a portion of it; and then train
people to extend and build their own models. These
models, or simulations are not meant to teach modelbuilding, but rather other
subjects. We see a definite trend
toward more papers in this area. Computers are being used
less in a mechanical sense and more to affect the pedagogy
of teaching and learning.

I want to emphasize a very important point: the way to
use the computer, when to use it, and how to use it is the
responsibility of the teacher. Solely. Totally. This is never
the responsibility of the computer scientist.

QUESTION. What about teacher resistance to computers?

HEBENSTREIT. Unfortunately teaching is not only a
profession but a bureaucracy. The attitude is, "I've got
enough problems. Don't bother me with new things".
However, the learning of nearby, non~threatening disciplines introduces
interdisciplinary learning and it seems to
work. ln other words, "I can use a computer model to
illustrate my point nicely, but I'd like to really know how it
works (statistics, etc.) and I'd like to be able to modify and
extend it (programming, data structure, etc.).

QUESTION. What's coming?

HEBENSTREIT. Cheap, off-line devices. Telecommunications costs are high and will
remain so, hence microprocessors and MOS technology will be the heart of
educational computers in the near future (5-10 years). 
While generally, stand-alone, from time to time these devices
may be connected to large computers or data banks.

QUESTION. When is the next world Computers in Education Conference?

HEBENSTREIT. Probably 1981. As of this time no
country or sponsoring organization has been selected. We're
seeking volunteers. |t's quite a massive job - this
conference had over 1,000 attendees from 50 countries.

Conference attendees discuss a report with Arnold Krotokin at the
World Computers in Education Conference.

Monty Python footnote cont.

were outrageously priced at $5.00 each and required
waiting in a queue for 15 to 60 minutes just to get in. The
"gala evening” was a gala ripoff costing $22.50 per person;
this buffet/folkloric festival l) was held in a gravel pit
mislabeled a garden, 2) ran out of beef and shellfish but had
plenty of thick crusted, soggy pizza, 3) had a display of
singing and dancing which could be seen only by those who
shoved their way to the front row, 4) had no chairs or place
to sit, save on the gravel, and 5) was typical of the local
arrangements in general.

One must sincerely hope that future conferences would
not be organized by sadists, held at a school with no
interest in the subject (Faculty of Medicine), in a city with
little interest in visitors (Marseilles). Why, Big Apple (Fun
City) would even be better



The official 2-volume (over 1000 pages) IFIP World Computers
in Education Conference Proceedings were published by North
Holland/American Elsevier, 52 Vanderbilt Ave., New York, NY
10017. Price unknown (probably high).

. A computerized data base of authors, subjects and keywords
from the papers has been prepared by Phil Barker. A report of this
(Report 7504) and an excerpt from the report are available from
P. G. Barker, Dept. of Computing, University of Durham, Science
Labs, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE. England.

Robert Taylor, Alfred Bork, and Arthur Luehrmann discuss an
important point at the IFIP 2nd World Computers in Education
Conference in Marseilles, France, September 2, 1975.

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