Full text: Schulbuchforschung in Europa - Bestandsaufnahme und Zukunftsperspektive

concentrate on the crucial information he or she has selected after skimming through the 
surplus of information. Deeper analysis of the subject matter was often lacking. 
Concerning the reading strategy of the pupils we came to these results: average read- 
ing: 82 secs.; average coverage of the site: 43%; average representative status of read 
portion: > 90%; average path to reach pivotal document: 4 clicks. We observed that 
„free“ hypertext reading was very uneffective. Scanning costs a disproportionate amount 
of time (in average more than twice the reading time of a document). Reading evolves 
from proper names and realia to more abstract terms. Diagrams and directory trees seern 
to be less used than remembered paths through the data. Students seem to be more confi- 
dent in following the traces of a fellow student that 'discovered' a web-page through a 
route than browsing systematically through the site using whatever navigational means 
are available. 
At first we thought of developing a product which the pupils could use totally indi- 
vidually. But it turned out that that starting point was not sufficient enough to reach the 
degree of complexity of the context matter we had in mind. We explicitely wanted to 
focus upon higher cognitive skills rather than shallow perceptions. Besides there were 
the inevitable practical circumstances. Only a few pupils were able to work completely 
independently. They almost all expressed the need for a surveyable task, a well-defined 
strategy and a practicable goal. Freely navigating through hypertext gave the pupils a 
feeling of discomfort and aimlessness. 
That's the reason why we shifted attention from the computer to the global educa- 
tional context. The pupils used the programme two by two to gather and question infor- 
mation. Afterwards they presented and discussed their results in front of the whole 
group. But the pupils did not have to wait until the class discussion started to gather new 
perceptions, rather they decided in consultation with each other which strategies to use, 
which information to consult and how to answer open questions. They rarely deviated 
from the subject and assisted each other when they encountered a problem or difficulty. 
The teacher his task was to coach and stimulate this individual and classical search. One 
third of the time was used to work with the computer, but during the largest part of the 
lesson the pupils had to answer questions and discuss their answers (generally there was 
not one 'correct' answer - the pupils had to gather reliable arguments to support their 
ideas). 
Thus our attention partly shifted from independent learning to the role of the teacher 
as coach of his/her pupils learning process and of the learning environment as a whole. 
Use of the computer was pushed a little into the background in favour of educational 
preconditions and aids that were more complementary. The teacher made the ultimate 
object, the way to attain it and the timing of the pupils' activities more explicit; he/she 
rendered assistance during the team work, guided the class discussion and evaluated the 
learning process and results. Slides, a data projector and an overhead projector were used 
to visualize procedures and concepts. 
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