Reference: Tella, S. 1997. An 'Uneasy Alliance' of Media Education and Multiculturalism, with a View to Foreign Language Learning Methodology. University of Helsinki. Department of Teacher Education. OLE Publications 4, 41--46. (In English)


This is an extract from Chapter 6 "Meaningful Learning and Various Technologies". It summarises and expands what Jonassen (1995) argues about technology as tools, intellectual partners and contexts.

The following specifications are based on Jonassen's classification of technology as tool, technology as intellectual partner, and technology as context (1995, 62) but complemented with reflections of other researchers. The purpose is to make it easier to grasp what sort of inner meaning media education can give to FLL methodology.

6.1.1 Technology as Tool

Technology as tool is divided into three areas: accessing information, representing ideas and communicating with others, and generating products. Many researchers (e.g., Kemble & Brierley 1991; Tesler 1991) found out that software tools (word-processors, spreadsheets, and database management applications, for instance), i.e., using computers as desktop productivity tools for writing, drawing, etc., represented a handy means of getting acquainted with computers and finding out that working with computers was meaningful and productive in one's own work.

Typical examples of tools are word-processors, electronic spreadsheets, desktop publishing, fax machines and, in general, applications belonging to Basic Level -1 in Table 1. As to word-processors, for instance, in FLL their capacity is upgraded with spellers, grammar checkers, etc. Another tool usually built in all modern word-processors is an outliner, which helps the user structure an essay, an article or any piece of writing more powerfully than by simply using the basic qualities of a word-processor. In Jonassen's words (1995, 62), "technologies as tools extend human functionality".

6.1.2 Technology as Intellectual Partner

Technology as intellectual partner consists of five subareas: articulating what learners know, i.e., representing their knowledge; reflecting on what they have learned and how they came to know it; supporting the internal negotiation of meaning making; constructing personal representations of meaning, and supporting mindful thinking. In Jonassen's interpretation (1995, 62), technologies as intellectual partners not only extend but also amplify the capabilities of humans. This category includes tools like databases, semantic networks, expert systems, computer conferencing and multimedia/hypermedia construction.

Research is little by little focusing on these technologies but not only from the perspective of technicalities; rather, more emphasis is being laid on the personality characteristics of users who find it valuable to use these technologies. Computer conferencing is one of the best researched areas even if not even it is well known yet. A general conclusion drawn from the users of e-mail pointed to the fact that there are groups of users who value virtual environments much more than others. Dede (1995) has analysed computer conferencing from this perspective and summarises his findings as follows:

"One such population [of users of computer conferencing] is people who don't do well in spontaneous spoken interaction (e.g., shy, reflective, more comfortable with emotional distance), but who have valuable contributions to share with others. For this type of person, informal written communication is often more authentic than face-to-face verbal exchange. This may be a whole new dimension of learning styles orthogonal to the visual/auditory/kinesthetic/symbolic categories now underlying pedagogical approaches to individualization." (Dede 1995, 47)

In addition, as contended, among others, by Tella (1991), the focus has been moving towards a holistic learning environment. For instance, the use of international communications networks and e-mail has unlocked doors to an open, multimedia-based learning environment. E-mail has a lot to do with human relations too, as mentioned in connection with MC. On the whole, Basic +1 (and upper) Level tools and applications exemplify this category well (see Table 1).

When we speak of a multimedia-based learning environment, it can be associated with an anchored instruction model (cf. e.g., Lin et al. 1995, 59). This is an approach that aims at developing a wide variety of anchors that can serve as common grounds for further studying and learning. Anchors in this sense can be videos, computer games, simulations, hands-on activities on the computers, computer-mediated communication activities, etc. Technological tools are intended to contribute to the learners' construction of knowledge, instead of just letting them restate what has earlier been said or told by the teacher or by the textbook.

Some of the tools mentioned earlier (cf. Table 1) are mostly text-based, especially e-mail, mail lists, newsgroups, computer conferencing (Basic Level), gophers, IRC, databases (Basic +1) and (so far most of the) microworlds (Basic +2). IRC is used by Dede (1995, 47) as an example of how people's behaviour may shift in virtual worlds by the ongoing overlay of textual commentary that establishes social context in current synthetic environments. Dede (1995, 47-48) points out that historically the social context cues guiding communication have usually been more physical than verbal (e.g., modes of dress, tone of voice, posture), so that now in virtual worlds (worlds stripped of non-verbal contexts), users have unconsciously felt the need to create a new type of rhetoric for the exchanges on the Internet, as it is felt to be vital in distributed constructivist environments.

6.1.3 Technology as Context

Technology as context contains four subcategories, i.e., representing and simulating meaningful real-world problems, situations, and contexts; representing beliefs, perspectives, arguments, and stories of others; defining a controllable problem space for student thinking, and supporting discourse among knowledge-building communities of learners (Jonassen 1995, 62).

There is a direct link between technology as context and three of the five approaches mentioned when analysing MC (see Chapter 2.2), i.e., teaching the culturally different, the cultural democracy, and education that is multicultural and that relies on social reconstructionism.

This category consists of tools like case-based learning environments, computer-supported intentional learning environments (e.g., CSILE), anchored instruction, situated learning environments, rich environments for active learning, cognitive flexibility hypertexts, problem-based learning, and microworlds. It is through these tools, especially when combined with cognitive support like coaching, modelling, and scaffolding, that we can help elevate learners through their zones of proximal development (Vygotsky 1978). (Jonassen 1995, 62)

According to Vygotsky's model of learning (1978), which emphasises the importance of social interaction in language learning and the social environment as an integral part of the process of cognitive change, an individual, in order to get to an upper stage of performance, has to work with a person who has a superior ability structure. We have to bear in mind, however, that cognitive change (the learner realises the phenomenon to be learnt) does not necessarily lead directly to change in behaviour (the learner uses his knowledge to solve real problems). Vygotsky's vision has often been interpreted (cf. e.g., DiPardo & Warshauer Freedman 1988, 144) to suggest a co-operative environment in which power is productively shared, for instance a classroom that could be called a resource room, whose teacher would be a knowledgeable coach and its students one another's colleagues. At best we could say that the action model of an advanced student will get transferred and be used by his pair or his small group and thus ameliorate the group result.

There is evidence in the literature (e.g., Smith 1992; Dede 1995) of the fact that quite a few people feel attracted to co-operative virtual environments as they estimate they can gain something valuable by collaborating together. This feeling of attraction may not be explicitly stated or even conscious; rather, it often appears to be hidden and even altruistic in that people who ask questions and call for help on the Internet either via e-mail or in newsgroups, for instance, are offered help, tips and cues in many ways. Smith (1992; cited in Dede 1995, 47) has epitomised some of the advantages embedded in computer conferencing in three types of "collective goods" that bind together virtual communities enabled by computer-mediated communication, viz.

social network capital (an instant web of contacts with useful skills),

knowledge capital (a personal, distributed brain trust with just-in-time answers to immediate questions), and

communion (psychological/spiritual support from people who share common joys and trials).

Dede even argues (1995, 47) that similar types of inducements to collaboration underlie face-to-face constructivist learning experiences.


7. REFERENCES (the whole of OLE Publication 4)

Anderson, R. E., Welch, W. W. & Harris, L. J. 1984. Inequities in Opportunities for Computer Literacy. The Computing Teacher 11 (8), 10-12.

Appelbaum, P. M. & Enomoto, E. K. 1995. Computer-Mediated Communication for a Multicultural Experience. Educational Technology November-December, 49-58.

Atkinson, E. 1996. Open/Flexible Learning and the Open Learning Initiative. Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Open Learning. 4-6 December 1996. Brisbane, Qld Australia, 45-48.

Attali, J. 1990. Tulevaisuuden suuntaviivat. (Guidelines for the Future.) (Transl. Juhana Lehtinen.) Juva: WSOY.

Ball-Rokeach, S. J. & Reardon, K. K. 1988. Telelogic, dialogic, and monologic communication: A comparison of forms. In Hawkins, R. P., Pingree, S. & Wiemann, J. M. (eds.) Rethinking Communication Research. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.

Banathy, B. H. 1995. Developing a Systems View of Education. Educational Technology May-June, 53-57.

Banks, J. 1991. Teaching Strategies for Ethnic Studies. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Barker, P. & Banerji, A. 1993. Case studies in electronic performance support. Paper presented at AI-ED 93: World Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education. Edinburgh, Scotland. August 1993.

Bates, A. W. 1996. The Impact of Technological Change on Open and Distance Learning. Keynote Presentation in Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Open Learning. 4-6 December 1996. Brisbane, Qld Australia.

Blystone, K. E. 1989. An Introduction to Virtual Schools Using Telecommunications to Cross Old Boundaries. Computers in the Schools 6 (3/4), 141-153.

Boyd, G. McI. 1987. Flexible Learning through Computer-Mediated Communications: Opportunities and Limitations. In Percival, F., Craig, D. & Buglass, D. (eds.) Flexible Learning Systems. Aspects of Educational Technology Vol. XX. London: Kogan Page, 150-155.

Branson, R. K. & Buckner, T. 1995. Quality Applications to the Classroom of Tomorrow. Educational Technology May-June, 19-22.

Bruce, R. 1989. Creativity and Instructional Technology: Great Potential, Imperfectly Studied. Contemporary Educational Psychology 14, 241-256.

Chacon, F. 1992. A taxonomy of computer media in distance education. Open Learning, February.

Collis, B. A. & Green, V. 1984a. Language arts microcomputer software for the primary grades: What's available? What's it like? Prime Areas: Journal of the British Columbia Primary Teachers' Association 27 (1), 21-24.

Collis, B. A. & Green, V. 1984b. Relating literacy and computer literacy: Implications of a survey of elementary language arts microcomputer software. Unpublished manuscript. University of Victoria, Victoria, B.C.

Collis, B. A. & Verwijs, C. 1995. A Human Approach to Electronic Performance and Learning Support Systems: Hybrid EPSSs. Educational Technology January-February, 5-21.

Comeaux, P. 1995. The Impact of an Interactive Distance Learning Network on Classroom Communication. Communication Education 44, October, 353-361.

Considine, D. M. 1995. Are We There Yet? An Update on the Media Literacy Movement. Educational Technology July-August, 32-43.

de Corte, E. 1995. Fostering Cognitive Growth: A Perspective from Research on Mathematics Learning and Instruction. Educational Psychologist 30 (1), 37-46.

Dalton, D. W. 1989. Computers in the Schools: A Diffusion/Adoption Perspective. Educational Technology November, 20-27.

Dede, C. 1995. The Evolution of Constructivist Learning Environments: Immersion in Distributed, Virtual Worlds. Educational Technology September-October, 46-52.

DiPardo, A. & Warshauer Freedman, S. 1988. Peer Response Groups in the Writing Classroom: Theoretic Foundations and New Directions. Review of Educational Research 58 (2), 119-149.

Ellis, R. 1990. Instructed Second Language Acquisition: Learning in the Classroom. Cambridge: Basil Blackwell.

Evans, P. O. & Collis, B. 1987. Breaking a Conceptual Bottleneck in Computer Application to Language Arts through a Focus on Transactional Learning. Canadian Journal of Education 12 (3), 386-403.

Farr, C. W. & Shaeffer, J. M. 1993. Matching Media, Methods, and Objectives in Distance Education. Educational Technology July 52-55.

Habermas, J. 1974. The public sphere. New German Critique 3.

Hellgren, P. 1985. Teaching-A Social Concept. Department of Teacher Education

Henri, F. 1992. Formation à distance et téléconférence assistée par ordinateur: Interactivité, quasi-interactivité, ou monologue? Journal of Distance Education/Revue de l'enseignement à distance Spring/Printemps VII (1), 5-24.

Hooper, D. S. 1981. Intercultural Communication Concepts and the Psychology of Intercultural Experience. In Pusch, M. D. (ed). Multicultural Education: A Cross-Cultural Training Approach. Chicago: Intercultural Press, 10-38.

Husu, J. 1996. A Theoretical Framework for Classroom Focused Distance Education. In Meisalo, V. (ed.) The Integration of Remote Classrooms: A Distance Education Project Using Video Conferencing. University of Helsinki. Department of Teacher Education. Research Report 160, 37-51.

Husu, J., Salminen, J., Falck, A.-K., Kronlund, T., Kynäslahti, H. & Meisalo, V. 1994. Luokkamuotoisen etäopetuksen lähtökohtia: Kilpisjärvi-projektin alkuraportti. (Starting-points of class-form distance education: The Initial Report of the Kilpisjärvi Project.) University of Helsinki. Department of Teacher Education. Research Report 135.

Johns, T. 1991. Data-driven Learning and the Revival of Grammar. In Savolainen, H. & Telenius, H. (eds.) EUROCALL. Conference on Computer Assisted Language Learning. Helsinki: The Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration, Department of Languages D-139, 21-22.

Jonassen, D. H. 1995. Supporting Communities of Learners with Technology: A Vision for Integrating Technology with Learning in Schools. Educational Technology July-August, 60-63.

Jonassen, D., Davidson, M., Collins, M., Cambell, J. & Haag, B. B. 1995. Constructivism and Computer-Mediated Communication in Distance Education. The American Journal of Distance Education 9 (2), 7-26.

Kauppi, A. 1993. Mistä nousee oppimisen mieli? Kontekstuaalisen oppimiskäsityksen perusteita. (From Where the Spirit of Learning? Foundations of a Contextual Concept of Learning.) In Kajanto, A. (ed.) Aikuisten oppimisen uudet muodot: Kohti aktiivista oppimista. (New Forms of Adults' Learning: Towards Active Learning.) Vapaan sivistystyön 34. vuosikirja. Jyväskylä: Gummerus, 51-109.

Kemble, I. & Brierley, W. 1991. Computers and translation: integrating IT into undergraduate foreign language learning. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning 7, 170-177.

Kilbourne, B. 1984. Worldviews and science teaching. In Munby, H., Orpwood, G. & Russell, T. (eds.) Seeing Curriculum in a New Light. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

King, R. A. 1987. Rethinking Equity in Computer Access and Use. Educational Technology April, 12-18.

Kynäslahti, H. 1996. The Perspective of Kilpisjärvi in the Integration of Remote Classrooms. In Meisalo, V. (ed.) The Integration of Remote Classrooms: A Distance Education Project Using Video Conferencing. University of Helsinki. Department of Teacher Education. Research Report 160, 115-136.

LeBaron, J. F. & Bragg, C. A. 1993. Modeling Constructivism in Distance Education Designs for Higher Education. In Estes, N. & Thomas, M. (eds.) Rethinking the Roles of Technology in Education: The Tenth International Conference on Technology and Education. March 21-24, 1993. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Volume 1. Austin, TX: The University of Texas at Austin, College of Education, 86-88.

Lin, X., Bransford, J. D., Hmelo, C. E., Kantor, R. J., Hickey, D. T., Secules, T., Petrosino, A. J., Goldman, S. R. & The Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt. 1995. Instructional Design and Development of Learning Communities. Educational Technology September-October, 53-63.

Liu, M. 1994. Semantic-Network-Based Hypermedia Learning Environment and Second Language Learning. Computers in the Schools 10 (3/4), 302-312.

van Manen, M. 1990. Beyond Assumptions: Shifting the Limits of Action Research. Theory into Practice XXIX (3), Summer, 152-157.

Maxwell, L. 1995. Integrating Open Learning and Distance Education. Educational Technology November-December, 43-48.

McHenry, L. & Bozik, M. 1995. Communicating at a Distance: A Study of Interaction in a Distance Education Classroom. Communication Education 44, October, 362-371.

Meisalo, V. & Tella, S. 1988. Tietotekniikka opettajan maailmassa: Tietotekniikan opetuskäytön ja didaktiikan perusteita. (Information Technology in the World of Teachers: Foundations of Instructional Uses of Information Technology and Information Technology Education.) Helsinki: Otava.

Meisalo, V. (ed.) 1996. The Integration of Remote Classrooms: A Distance Education Project Using Video Conferencing. University of Helsinki. Department of Teacher Education. Research Report 160.

Moore, M. G. & Kearsley, G. 1996. Distance Education: A Systems View. Belmont: Wadsworth.

Paquette, G., Bergeron, G. & Bourdeau, J. 1993. The Virtual Classroom Revisited: An architecture for integrating information technology in distance education and training. Teleteaching. Proceedings of the IFIP TC3 Third Teleteaching Conference, TeleTeaching 93, Trondheim, Norway, 20-25 August, 639-646.

Paulsen, M. F. 1987. In Search of a Virtual School. Technological Horizons in Education Journal 15 (5), 71-76.

Paulsen, M. F. & Rekkedal, T. 1990. The Electronic College: Selected articles from the EKKO Project. Oslo: Norwegian Centre for Distance Education and NKI College of Computer Science.

Rieber, L. P. 1994. An instructional design philosophy of interaction based on a blending of microworlds, simulations, and games. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Educational Communication and Technology, Nashville. (Cited in Lin et al. 1995)

Roblyer, M. D., Dozier-Henry, O. & Burnette, A. P. 1996. Technology and Multicultural Education: The 'Uneasy Alliance'. Educational Technology May-June, 5-12.

Rowntree, D. 1992. Exploring Open and Distance Learning. London: Kogan Page.

Salminen, J. 1996. Technical Applications in Classroom Focused Distance Education. In Meisalo, V. (ed.) The Integration of Remote Classrooms: A Distance Education Project Using Video Conferencing. University of Helsinki. Department of Teacher Education. Research Report 160, 21-36.

Secada, W. G. 1989. Educational equity versus equality of education: An alternative conception. In Secada, W. G. (ed.) Equity in education. New York: Falmer, 68-88.

Skilbeck, M. 1982. Three educational ideologies. In Horton, T. & Ragget, P. (eds.) Challenge and Change in the Curriculum. Sevenoaks: Hodder & Stoughton.

Sleeter, C. E. 1991. Empowerment through Multicultural Education. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Smith, M. 1992. Voices from the WELL: The Logic of the Virtual Commons. (Master's thesis, Department of Sociology.) Los Angeles, CA: University of California at Los Angeles. (Cited in Dede 1995.)

Suoniemi-Särkijärvi, L. 1996. CSILE: ryhmätyöohjelma koulujen käyttöön. (CSILE-CSCW for Schools to Use.) Ote (opetus & teknologia) 5, 34-37.

Sutton, R. E. 1991. Equity and Computers in the Schools: A Decade of Research. Review of Educational Research 61 (4), 475-503.

Tapscott, D. 1996. The Digital Economy: Promise and Peril in the Age of Networked Intelligence. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Tella, S. 1991. Introducing International Communications Networks and Electronic Mail into Foreign Language Classrooms: A Case Study in Finnish Senior Secondary Schools. Department of Teacher Education. University of Helsinki. Research Report 95. (Summary) (PDF)

Tella, S. 1992a. Boys, Girls, and E-Mail: A Case Study in Finnish Senior Secondary Schools. Department of Teacher Education. University of Helsinki. Research Report 110. (Summary) (PDF)

Tella, S. 1992b. Talking Shop via E-mail: A Thematic and Linguistic Analysis of Electronic Mail Communication. Department of Teacher Education. University of Helsinki. Research Report 99. (Summary) (PDF)

Tella, S. 1994a. Aspekteja viestintäkasvatuksen, vieraiden kielten opetuksen ja opetustekniikan risteämästä. (Reviewing Communication Education, Foreign Language Education, and Educational Technology.) In Tella, S. (ed.) Quod Erat Demonstrandum: Assessing Culture of Teaching. Proceedings of a Subject-Didactic Symposium in Helsinki, February 4, 1994. Part 1, 124-136. (In Finnish)

Tella, S. 1994b. Uusi tieto- ja viestintätekniikka avoimen oppimisympäristön kehittäjänä. Osa 1. (New Information and Communication Technology as a Change Agent of an Open Learning Environment. Part 1.) Department of Teacher Education. University of Helsinki. Research Report 124. (In Finnish) (Summary) (PDF)

Tella, S. 1994c. Uusi tieto- ja viestintätekniikka avoimen oppimisympäristön kehittäjänä. Osa 2. (New Information and Communication Technology as a Change Agent of an Open Learning Environment. Part 2.) Department of Teacher Education. University of Helsinki. Research Report 133. (In Finnish) (Summary) (PDF)

Tella, S. 1995a. Components of Media Communication Education. In Tella, S. (ed.) Juuret ja arvot: Etnisyys ja eettisyys - aineen opettaminen monikulttuurisessa oppimisympäristössä. (Roots and Values: Ethnicity and Ethics-Teaching a Subject in a Multi-Cultural Learning Environment.) Proceedings of a Subject-Didactic Symposium in Helsinki on Feb. 3rd, 1995. Department of Teacher Education. University of Helsinki. Research Report 150, 393-410. (In English)

Tella, S. 1995b. Virtual School in a Networking Learning Environment. Department of Teacher Education. University of Helsinki. OLE Publications 1.

Tella, S. 1996a. Foreign Language Learning and Modern Technology-A Perfect Match? In Tornberg, U. (ed.) Focus on the Language Learner. Uppsala: Uppsala Universitet, Centrum för didaktik. Didaktisk forskning i Uppsala 18, 119-151.

Tella, S. 1996b. Foreign languages and modern technology: Harmony or hell? In Warschauer, M. (ed.) Telecollaboration in foreign language learning: Proceedings of the Hawai'i symposium. Second Language Teaching & Curriculum Center. University of Hawai'i. Technical Report # 12, 3-17.

Tella, S. 1996c. Trends in Modern Language Teaching. In Tella, S. (ed.) Two Cultures Coming Together. Part 3. Theory and Practice in Communicative Foreign Language Methodology. University of Helsinki Department of Teacher Education & University of Helsinki Vantaa Continuing Education Centre. Studia Paedagogica 10, 45-49.

Tella, S. (ed.) 1996d. Two Cultures Coming Together. Part 3. Theory and Practice in Communicative Foreign Language Methodology. University of Helsinki Department of Teacher Education & University of Helsinki Vantaa Continuing Education Centre. Studia Paedagogica 10.

Tesler, L. G. 1991. Networked Computing in the 1990s. Scientific American Special Issue September, 54-61.

Thombs, M., Sails, P. & Alcott, B. 1989. Busy Professionals Go to Class the Modem Way: A New Approach to Distance Learning in the Electronic Classroom. Educational Technology October, 30-31.

Tiffin, J. & Rajasingham, L. 1995. In search of the virtual class: Education in an information society. London: Routledge.

Troyna, B. & Foster, P. 1988. Conceptual and Ethical Dilemmas of Collaborative Research: Reflections on a case study. Educational Review 40 (3), 289-300.

Underhill, A. 1989. Process in humanistic education. ELT Journal 43 (4), 250-260.

Vygotsky, L. S. 1978. Mind in Society. The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. (Edited by Cole, M. et al.) Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Wagner, E. D. 1993. Variables Affecting Distance Educational Program Success. Educational Technology April, 28-32.

Weston-Bartholomew, W. 1991. Some difficulties in describing human potential in educational and training technological systems using computers. In Winterburn, R. (ed.) Realizing Human Potential. Aspects of Educational and Training Technology Vol. XXIV. London: Kogan Page, 173-177.

Wheldall, K., Merrett, F. & Houghton, S. 1989. Positive Teaching in the Secondary School. London: Paul Chapman.

Widdowson, H. W. 1990. Aspects of Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Winfrey, F. 1995. Florida's Sister Cities Project: Telecommunications promotes cultural awareness. The Florida Technology in Education Quarterly 7 (2), 17-25.

Wylie, A. 1996. Open Learning: If it Looks Like DE, it's Okay. Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Open Learning. 4-6 December 1996. Brisbane, Qld Australia, 286-293.

Yli-Renko, K. 1996. Developing Intercultural Communication Proficiency Through Communicative-Interactive Foreign Language Teaching. In Tella, S. (ed.) Two Cultures Coming Together. Part 3. Theory and Practice in Communicative Foreign Language Methodology. University of Helsinki Department of Teacher Education & University of Helsinki Vantaa Continuing Education Centre. Studia Paedagogica 10, 58-71.