Can the tool bring the learning to life

Following on from my last post I guess a similar question could be asked about the effectiveness of using computer/web based tools to cover fairly basic and fundamental knowledge.

Is it worth spending considerable time learning and utilising a tool which does engage students, to complete an activity which students can learn just as easily and much faster using more traditional methods. What is the cost / benefit analysis of the tool? How much time is it worth spending for the learning that we want to take place. In a crowded curriculum I find this to be an important question to ask.

So can the tool bring learning to life? If it is core content that we feel is essential for students to understand can the tool engage the students and help them develop a deeper understanding that would have been difficult using traditional means or a teacher directed approach. For content that students may perceive as boring but teachers and society considers important, can the tool be used to switch on the students mind and engage them with the subject matter. If so then the tool may very well serve its purpose.

Another important question to ask is whether the students are simply engaged in the tool as opposed to the learning and are teachers measuring the learning that is taking place to be able to answer this question.

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