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Topic: Round 2, Topic 2: Increase Effectiveness

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Subject:   "Shorts" and explorations
Author: Craig Russell
Date: Mar 28 2003
When I read Alice's description of "Shorts" I thought, "now there's somebody
with vision."  Yet the limitations that Gayla points out are VERY real--many
of the gee-whiz sites out there have only enough math barely to qualify as
addressing a standard, with very little room for higher-order thinking.  I
guess that's our lot in life as teachers: we have to take the limited material
(and skills, and money) available to us and do unlimited things.  Maybe that's
where designers and developers come in, especially the ones tapped into
Over the relatively few years I have been teaching, I have found several
activities, technology-based or not, that I could see linking together in the
way Alice describes, and in fact I have tried doing that for my students.  But I
have found it very difficult to keep students focused, and have each student
meet his or her potential; yet my class size is usually only around 20 students.
I have begun to figure out how WebCT can help do some of the monitoring, but it
takes me more work to set up and debug the activities than trying to do
everything manually.  I suppose one of the reasons I persist is that,
eventually, I'd like to have a program that others would be able to use--but
WebCT is too expensive for many school systems.  Most of the textbook publishers
are developing an online presence for their texts, but they appear to be fairly
territorial in scope, and, with publisher control, very susceptible to link rot.
Is there a publisher with enough vision to provide a framework that Alice could
use to attach her shorts onto, as part of the text package?

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