After completing this section, you will be able to:
1. Define computer based information systems 2. Discuss some advantages and disadvantages of using computer information systems in education. 3. Discuss many ways of integrating computer information systems in student learning, the classroom and in educational administration.
Student Management Systems
Interactive Chapter Map
Information Systems for Learning and Instruction
In Discovering Computers 2007 a Gateway to Information, a computer based information system is described as the "collection of hardware, software, data, people, and procedures that work together to produce quality information". These information systems provide opportunities to improve student learning by providing alternate ways for learners to use technology in learning environments (Shelly, Cashman, Vermaat, Discovering Computers 2007), and they enhance management capabilities of teachers as well as school administrators. For example, in many schools today student management systems are being implemented which allow parents to view their child's report card online, to observe classroom behavior over streaming videos and to go online to access their child's lesson plan and or their homework assignments. These exciting and modern applications of computer based information systems not only gain popularity in the schools but in the home environment as well.
Computer based information system has implications for student learning, classroom teaching, school administration as well as parental involvement.
Information Systems for Student Access
Use of computer based information systems gives students access to information through the Internet, as well as by different methods of communication. A good example of an internet communication system is a distant learning class. This method of learning, allows students, especially the working class to take a class online, over the internet, instead of sitting in an actual classroom. This type of learning, provides a fun and innovative process for providing instruction over the World Wide Web and it gives people who work a more relaxed atmosphere where they can work at their own pace, at their home. Learning improves with the use of technology (Shelly, Cashman, Vermaat, Discovering Computers 2007). The learning environment does not stay in the classroom but opens up to the world. New ideas and new techniques can be used to make old curriculum seem new in the eyes of a student.
Information Systems for Student Learning
Although Information Systems can improve student learning, their use can sometimes lead to information overload. Sometimes we use so many sources of technology and switch from program to program that we don't allow the students a chance to develop a level of confidence in using various tools. For example: In Mr. Watkins’ 9th grade class computer based information systems are in constant use. Mr. Watkins' has students use Windows Movie Maker to demonstrate their knowledge of social studies concepts. In this information system, Mr. Watkins communicates to students by publishing assignments in their online folders. Students then use the software to develop their movies. Students also integrate other applications such as spreadsheets. Student movies are then published to a school portfolio for later showcase in the school social studies fair. Even though the students are being exposed to a variety of information, they may not have enough time or skill to develop the information. (figure 1).
Figure 1 Mr. Watkins, 9th grade teacher, St. Louis MO says, “Some students won't have a problem using the various programs to develop their project, but other students might not have the skill or the comfort level to make a quality product”. (Mr. Watkins, 9th grade teacher, St. Louis MO, (personal communication, January 20, 2009)
Information Systems for Classroom Teaching
In classroom teaching students use computers and software to assist with learning. A computer information system, will enhance classroom learning, by allowing the teachers to find more creative ways to teach, such as using electronic worksheets, in which students use the computer to research information and answer questions about their lesson. Scores can be recorded immediately and teachers can follow up with misunderstandings at the same time. In some situations teachers encourage students to computer based applications such as online tutorials because they focus on a particular skill.
Information Systems for Teacher Productivity
One advantage to using a computer information system is that it can automate tasks for teachers and administrators allowing them to spend time on other important tasks (such as writing lesson plans, grading papers, completing reports, etc.) Another advantage of using a CIS is that it can help you to save data that is collected and then store it in one centralized place. This will allow anyone (administrators as well as state monitors) to view the data. For example: Ms. Harris, a 2nd grade teacher from Columbia, SC reports that: At our school we take surveys from our advisory board members, from the students, teachers and administrators. This data can be saved and at a later date be viewed or used in a comparison with other past or future data. The data can also be processed in to information that can be printed in a report. Similar to this, CIS allows students grades to be posted where parents can view their grades. This helps teachers to keep students accountable and parents informed. A disadvantage though to using a computer information system for this purpose is that it may cause frustration for educators that are not computer literate when new software is purchased and there is little or no time given to learn the software. This leads to misuse of the software or no use of it at all. Overall, computers are a good tool for the classroom that teachers and students can use them to make the learning endless. (figure 2).
Figure 2 Computers are a good tool for use in the classroom for teachers and students and they make learning endless. (Ms. Harris, 2nd grade teacher, Columbia, SC (personal communication, January 28, 2009)