C&I 335

Activity 3b

Emerging Technologies

by Jim Peterson


As Sun Microsystems has rightfully pointed out in its advertising campaign - The Network is the Computer - developers have been taking advantage of the growing public and private network infrastructures, TCP/IP as the protocol of choice, the browser as a developing operating system, the abundance of web authoring tools and new tools for the creation of distributed applications that can be accessed from anywhere in the world. No longer do we have to be at the machine in the office or classroom to access the application and appropriate files that we need.

A number of companies have seen how valuable this is to the consumer. Microsoft stopped in its tracks two years ago and announced that everything they developed would be fully integrated with the web and its network OS and applications. It is no coincidence that they changed the Program Manager in Win 3.1 to Windows Explorer with Windows 95. And it is no wonder that Microsoft sees the browser as a logical extension of its operating system with the integration of Internet Explorer - The Network is the Computer. Apple Computer has also been leading the way with the development of easy-to-use tools for web development. The soon-to-be released iMac is so forward thinking that they don't even provide a 3.5 inch floppy drive. Why? You don't need it - The Network is the Computer - you now access your files at anytime from any place. It is also no coincidence that the fastest growing sector of the economy is technology - especially those that provide network equipment, operating systems, distributed applications, services and training - the network economy.

Many of the companies are struggling as they find what may be an innovative use of the technology has little application in the status quo of the network economy. Or they may find what they develop may be easily consumed or replicated by the big fish in the network economy. An salient example of this is Netsape's battle with Microsoft over browser technologies, or how PointCast, the originator of push-technologies, is now looking for a buyer rather than trying to compete against the influx of push technology developers.

The greatest part about these emerging technologies is that they are now attainable to those of us in education. They are often freely distributed and can be tested before they are purchased at a low turn around. As these tools and applications continue to come and go, I have been very interested in their application within the classroom. The four emerging technologies that I have investigated and find to have great use in education include:

 

Embedded Scripting Languages: JavaScript and VBScript

JavaScript and VBScript are scripting languages that may be embedded within the HTML source code of a web page. The browsers (IE, Netscape, etc) interpret the script. The scripts may add interactive qualities and functional applications within the web page. An example that was created by Tim Helvey: tdhelvey@netusa1.net is shown below. The entire periodic table was made with HTML and JavaScript tags.


solid

liquid

T H E   P E R I O D I C   T A B L E

gas

synth

    Discoverer

1
H

 AtomicWeight   Melt|Boil(C)

2
He

3
Li

4
Be

 Shell   Isotopes

5
B

6
C

7
N

8
O

9
F

10
Ne

11
Na

12
Mg

 Orbital  SpecificGravity

13
Al

14
Si

15
P

16
S

17
Cl

18
Ar


19
K


20
Ca


21
Sc


22
Ti


23
V


24
Cr


25
Mn


26
Fe


27
Co


28
Ni


29
Cu


30
Zn


31
Ga


32
Ge


33
As


34
Se


35
Br


36
Kr

37
Rb

38
Sr

39
Y

40
Zr

41
Nb

42
Mo

43
Tc

44
Ru

45
Rh

46
Pd

47
Ag

48
Cd

49
In

50
Sn

51
Sb

52
Te

53
I

54
Xe

55
Cs

56
Ba

57
La

72
Hf

73
Ta

74
W

75
Re

76
Os

77
Ir

78
Pt

79
Au

80
Hg

81
Tl

82
Pb

83
Bi

84
Po

85
At

86
Rn

87
Fr

88
Ra

89
Ac

104
Rh

105
Db

106
Sg

107
Bh

108
Hs

109
Mt

110
Uun

111
Uuu

112
Uub

113
Uut

114
Uuq

lanthanons

58
Ce

59
Pr

60
Nd

61
Pm

62
Sm

53
Eu

64
Gd

65
Tb

66
Dy

67
Ho

68
Er

69
Tm

70
Yb

71
Lu

 

actinons

90
Th

91
Pa

92
U

93
Np

94
Pu

95
Am

96
Cm

97
Bk

98
Cf

99
Es

100
Fm

101
Md

102
No

103
Lr

 

 

Potential Educational Use:

The potential for interactive pages such as the one above are self-evident. Teachers and students may elect to create their own JavaScripts and embed them to add interactive capabilities within their web projects, but this takes time to learn the scripting language. There are a number of sites that provide JavaScripts in a variety of categories. Examples can be found at GameLan.

Who makes it and how may it be obtained:

There are a number of sites that specialize in tutorials on JavaScript, including WebSite Abstraction which provides JavaScript tutorials, free JavaScripts and other resources.

What it does its cost:

Some scripts may be freely embedded within your web pages, while others may be purchased for use within your web pages. It is all determined by the developers.

Hardware and Software Requirements:

This depends upon the version of JavaScript. Any of the latest browsers are able to interpret JavaScript.

Distributed applications and applets: Java and Active X

 Java and Active X are programming languages created by Sun Microsystems and Microsoft, respectively. They are similar to JavaScript and VBScript in that they allow you to embed interactive components within your web pages. They differ in that Java and Active X are object-oriented programming languages that are compiled and executed within a virtual machine each time they are used. Virtual machines can be found in the latest browsers from Netscape and Microsoft's Internet Explorer, so that Java and Active X applications can be embedded within web pages and executed. Below is an example of a Java applet. The compiled applet is downloaded from the server each time it is used.

Potential Educational Use:

The potential for interactive pages such as the one above are self-evident. Teachers and students may elect to create their own Java or Actve X applications and applets and embed them within web-based projects, or they may use freely available applets. Examples can be found at GameLan.

I feel one of the best uses of Java is The Good News Bears and UISES Stock Market Simulation which I have been designing with Dr. Elisabeth Olthethen from the University of Illinois. It is being sponsored by Sun Microsystems and is now being used by over 200 K12 classrooms.

Who makes it and how may it be obtained:

What it does its cost:

Java and Active X are free programming languages. If you have the programming know-how you can create your own at no cost beyond your time. Otherwise, you may purchase existing applets, pay programmers to design them for you, or use freely available applets.

Hardware and Software Requirements:

Browsers above version 3.0 have virtual machines and are able to run Java effectively.

Streaming audio / video applications: real video and MS Netshow

One of the more interesting emerging technologies is the development of audio and video distribution servers and client applications. The first interaction I had with streaming video technologies was in Roy Campbell's CS490 class in which we were able to view the first few versions of Vosaic over a 28.8 modem over 18 months ago. A client application was developed that played streamed videos from a special video server. Since that time, several other companies have been developing streaming video technologies, including RealNetwork's RealVideo and Microsoft's NetShow.

Potential Educational Use:

The potential for streaming video is immense in K12 education. I believe it would be very advantageous for learning if students could view video on demand on a variety of topics. Students would be able to cover material at their own pace and in a more stimulating and interactive manner. Students and teachers will be developing their own videos as the technology becomes stronger and the prices decrease.

I feel one of the best applications of streaming video is demonstrated by Cisco Systems. Within one frame of the web page is a video, and on the other is a powerpoint presentation that coincides with the speakers comments. Another is the example provided by Microsoft for the Volcano Coffee Company - on how to make espresso.

Who makes it and how may it be obtained:

Client applications can be downloaded from Microsoft or Real Networks.

What it does its cost:

Both applications are free.

Hardware and Software Requirements:

Both require Windows 95 /98/NT and Macintoshes with System 7.0 or greater.

Web-based authoring tools - Mallard, VCI, CyberProf, Course in a Box, Aristotle

Although web-authoring is not a difficult skill to learn, it is still a burdensome task for most. Yet, everyone from business persons to students are eager to display their own content to the world. Currently, web authoring tools like Claris HomePage and Microsoft's FrontPage make the development of web pages easier, but there is still the problem of transferring pages to servers via ftp applications and the need for knowledge of directory structures and the like. Today, it takes about 6-8 hours to teach a person how to develop and post web pages.

This time has been cut to a third with the introduction of web-based authoring tools like Internet in a Box, Aristotle and the Virtual Classroom Interface (VCI). These tools reside on a server. Each user is provided with a URL for their web page, a login and a password. The person may access administrative tools to edit their pages through the browser - no HTML and no FTP. Once the changes are made, they are instantly accessible by anyone on the web. Many of these web authoring tools include test generators, interactive chatspaces, and other interactive features - which adds additional functionality to a persons web page without the need for programming.

Many of the programs were originally written for University level courses, but many companies have been adapting their applications for the K12 market. These are server applications that can be purchased by a district or school and be placed on their web servers. Every student and teacher can be provided with their own account so they may easily publish to the web.

Below is a summary of some of the more popular web-based authoring suites:

Product /Location/URL/Brief Description

Pricing/Availability

Comments

Classnet

Iowa State University

http://classnet.cc.iastate.edu

ClassNet is an Iowa State University solution providing a tightly integrated, automated class management system. ClassNet is created specifically to aide the administrative aspects of course management via the web. ClassNet pages are generated on the fly by CGI access to a database of student names, IDs, course names and designations, and associated tests and assignments.

Copyright © 1996, Iowa State University. All rights reserved.

web course page generator with university emphasis

CyberProf

University of Illinois

http://cyberprof.uiuc.edu

CyberProf(TM) is a product to enhance the educational process via on-line learning tools and applications. The core of the product is the Human-Computer Interface, which can be configured by the course director to provide comprehensive educational and lecture material, in-depth problem sets with multiple answer types, and instantaneous feedback, all through any combination of multimedia formats desired. Enhancements to the product include a full featured threaded conferencing system, an interactive on-line gradebook which automatically creates class rosters from official electronic University rosters and updates student records as problem sets are completed, a real time chat application, an assignment editor, a problem set maker, and an HTML editor with add on Java applications for adding features to course material sets.Instructional Toolkit

University of Virginia

http://cti.itc.virginia.edu/cgi-local/pmcgi/pm/class/
.tkdocs/displaydocs

The Instructional Toolkit is a collection of World Wide Web-based tools to help instructors create class home pages and utilize electronic resources to administer and manage courses. The Instructional Toolkit helps instructors quickly and easily create course Web pages without having to learn a great deal about technology.

The software is available free to non-profit academic clients in a beta-test arrangement.Any faculty, staff or graduate student may use the Toolkit to create home pages for courses, workshops, training sessions or other types of classes.

Internet Based Training (IBT)

Stanford Testing Systems, Inc

http://ibt.testprep.com

With Internet-based training, you can now create CBT-style courses that run over your Intranet or the Internet.

The official IBTauthor price list is being revised. We offer a range of products and services starting at $995, with a complete departmental solution with multiple authors, unlimited courses, unlimited trainees, and the ability to host courses on multiple web sites for under $20,000.

LearningSpace

Lotus

http://www2.lotus.com/products/learningspace.nsf

LearningSpace provides a complete environment for creating rich, instructor-facilitated courses. With LearningSpace you have the tools and flexibility to create a course from scratch or put some structure around existing content to foster a more effective and productive environment.

Commercial product from Lotus

Mallard

University of Illinois

http://www.cen.uiuc.edu/Mallard

Mallard is a tightly-integrated software system that provides for course material presentation, quizzing and some student management. It is "an interactive asynchronous learning environment that provides for the organization of on-line course material, interactive quizzes, intelligent grading programs capable of providing immediate feedback to the student, and secure systems for managing class rosters and grades.

Mallard 3.0 will be made available to a limited number of educational institutions on a Beta Test basis.

netLearningPlace

NCSA

http://krycek.ncsa.uiuc.edu

Building on the strengths of netWorkPlace and other collaborative tools developed at NCSA, netLearningPlace is a collaborative environment focused specifically on teaching and learning. netLearningPlace is an environment which integrates multiple tools for collaborative distance education, and just-in-time training. The framework provides both synchronous and asynchronous collaboration capability.

PlaceWare

PlaceWare, Inc

http://www.placeware.com

The PlaceWare Auditorium is a "live," interactive, multimedia Web environment where attendees can hear a speech, attend a slide show, vote and see the results in real time, spontaneously communicate and ask questions.

Commercial; The server program will be sold for $150 per simultaneous user and $300 per user with audio capabilities. A programmer's package is available on a select basis.

POLIS

University of Arizona

http://www.u.arizona.edu/ic/polis

POLIS is both an on-line instructional resource for students and an on-line support tool for instructors. You can use POLIS to put up interactive lessons and other materials on the World Wide Web, which makes them available to your students through any of the various means they might have for connecting to the Internet.

POLIS is available for use by other educational institutions under various partnership and codevelopment agreements.

The Learning Manager (TLM)

Campus America, Inc

http://www.campuscan.com

The Learning Manager is Windows development environment. Delivery is either by way of a LAN or WWW.

Pricing is defined by the numbers of simultaneous users. The Learning Manager can be purchased as a single-user application or for 5, 10, 30 and 50 simultaneous users, and as a site license.

Toolbox II

Asymetrix Corporation

http://www.asymetrix.com

ToolBook II offers one of the only authoring solutions that lets you quickly convert your applications directly into HTML and Java, the industry standards for Internet content. Much more than an authoring solution, ToolBook II includes one of the only server-based course management systems that takes full advantage of the interactive, two-way communications offered by the Internet.

Commercial - $1095

TopClass

WBT Systems

http://www.wbtsystems.com

The TopClass Server is the most powerful software for web based training through its combination of an integrated virtual classroom, content creation and management capabilities, and people management abilities

TopClass is licenced on a per server basis with a specific level of simultaneously logged in (or "concurrent") users.

VCI

University of Illinois
Web Support Initiative

http://wsi-www1.cso.uiuc.edu/vci_index.html

The Virtual Classroom Interface is a web-based site development and management tool. The VCI creates a shell into which an instructor can directly post, modify, or remove course-related information. Students can access this information via any port to the World Wide Web

Available to University of Illinois faculty (only?)

Web course page generator with university emphasis

VOICE (Virtual Object Interactive Classroom Environment)

Voice Technologies
680 Craig Rd. Ste. 307
Creve Couer, MO 63141

http://www.voice-tech.com

VOICE is a system designed to promote colloberative learning between students and instructors. Classes are availiable with an instructor leading them real time, or archived classes can be taken is a self-paced mode.

Copyright © 1997 Voice Technologies Call 314-997-7878

Web Course in a Box

Virginia Commonwealth University

http://www.madduck.com/wcbinfo/wcb.html

Web Course in a Box (WCB) is an integrated approach to enabling instructors with minimal technical expertise to create and manage Web pages for a course.

As a service to the educational community,Web Course in a Box is provided free of charge to educational institutions.

Web course page generator with university emphasis

WebCT

University of British Columbia

http://homebrew1.cs.ubc.ca/webct

WebCT is a tool that facilitates the creation of sophisticated World Wide Web-based educational environments by non-technical users. It can be used to create entire on-line courses, or to simply publish materials that supplement existing courses.

WebCT is currently in the late stages of beta-testing until end of August. After that License Costs for WebCT Software at Educational Institutions (Public Schools, Colleges and Universities) and Corporate licenses will be available.

WISH (Web Instructional Services Headquarters

Penn State University

http://projects.cac.psu.edu/WISH

The Web Instructional Services Headquarters contains various internet services for use by faculty to assist them in conducting their classes. Course Web Pages, an automated toolkit to create Web pages for your courses, is evaluated.

Any teaching faculty or graduate teaching assistant may use the Toolkit to create home pages for University courses. (Penn State only?)

Web course page generator with university emphasis

Web Lecture System (WLS)x

North Carolina State University

http://renoir.csc.ncsu.edu/WLS

The Web Lecture System (WLS) is a tool for constructing, editing, and managing Web-based presentations. The presentations will consist of HTML documents or Power Point slides with synchronized audio. /td>

Downloadable from web site