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Use of e-learning technology and cybernetic methodology for modern education in the area of prevention of environmental health hazard based on sustainable development

Prevention of environmental health hazard as a top priority of sustainable development requires common action of experts and knowledge-based society. Modem e-leaning is a necessary tool for adequate life-long learning about innovative methods of
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  Trace Elements and Etectrolytes, Vol. 28 - No. 1/2011 (74-82) §i§li$';ó_S   .rlt\\' u\_lrZ /NV' .\\nV' ^\§V" aCIŹ^ro$ l- ^\0, $Y- ffim§ęx§mm§ 02011 Dustri-Veńaq D[ K. Feistle lSsN 0946-2104 Dol 10,5414fiEP28o74 Use e-learning technology and cyberneticmethodology for modern education in the area of prevention of environmental health hazard based on sustainable deve|opment R. Tadeusiewicz and J.W. Dobrowolski AGH lJniversity of Science and Technology, Krakow, Poland ,{ i Key words environmental andnutritional prevention - medical elementology - sustainable develop- ment - technology ofmodern e-learningpresented at the 7th lnternational Symposium on Trace Elements in Human: New Perspec- tives, Athens, Greece,October 'l3 - 1 5, 2009 Accepted for publication February 17,2010 Correspondence to R. Tadeusiewicz AGH University of science andTechnology, Mickiewicza 30, 30-059 Kraków, Polandńad@agh.edu.pl Abstract. prevention of environmęntal health hazard as a top priority of sustainabledevelopment requires cofilmon action of ex- perls and knowledge-based society. Modęrn e-learning is a necessary tool for adequate life-long learning about innovative methods ofearly detection e.g. deficiency or excess of some trace elements in the human errviron-ment, diet and body, as węll as for dissemina-tion innovative technologies for more effec- tive primary prevention. The principles of modern distancę education-including cyber-netic methodology, modeling, leaming, rela- tion between knowledge sources, learningęnvironment and knowledge representation in language, notion and structure and are the basic subject ofthis repot.  ntroduction The environmęntal health hazard pręven- tion is nowadays one of the most important factors, controlling and limiting economic and technological development of all modemsocieties and well organized countrięs. Now it is evident for everybody that continuous,permanent and intensive increased prosperity of developed societies leads not to well-being but to environmental disaster. unlimited and uncontrolled development of ęconomical sta- tus, and technological saturation ol richest countries ofthe world cause serious problęmswithpublic hęalth. Onthe othęrhand economy, indusĘ and technology carrnot be stopped in amoment, becausę social demands can be satis-fied only by continued development of civiliza- tion, Thęrefore a most popular watchword, for- mulated by scientists but usęd now also bypoliticians, is sustainable development with a top prioriĘ to the human ecology.Sustainable development is a current and very important determinant for economy, technology and politics, but a very impońant ęlement ofthe whole program for rational and safe development of the civilization cannot be successfully implemented without social agreement, Sustainablę development for or- dinary people means, in fact, a lot of sacri- fices. From the point ofview ofparticular citi- zens, sustainable development is connectęd with necessary renunciations: smaller and older car, colder home, modesty in clothing, 1ess expensive food, limited traveling. Experlsin sustainable development should explain in ręal situations that sustainability means some kind of harmony between ecological and eco- nomical requirements of permanent develop- ment, based on low resources and low energytechnologies, less polluted air, food and better health for a11. Dissęmination of knowledge about the real situation in thę whole society isnecessary on a regional and global scale. Knowledge about a real situations versuscommon prejudice against nęcessary limits to ovęr-consumption of enęrgy and natural rę-soufces is especially imporlant to all experts in tęchnical, economical, social sciences,managers and politicians. At the same time politics leading toward sustainable develop, ment cannot be implemented without demo- cratic acceptance, because all technical and economicai parameters of any democratic country are undęr control ofsocial-dependentinstitutions. This means, that sustainable dę- velopment is very dependent on the lęvel of people's awareness about it necessity bothfrom social and medical points of view. Form- ing such awafęness may be connected with education of the total society. Especially im-;l l a i ]  Use e-learning technology and cybernetic methodology for modern education 75 portant is the education ofthe adult (and evenetder) par1 of the society, because although goals and conditions ofsustainablę develop- ment are well representęd in education pro- grams in all modem schools, the school pu- pils cannot have practical influęnce on thę politics of whole countries. Thę stakęholders are university sfudents, teachers and engi- neers (especially elder) including postgradu- ate courses, We would like to follow the goodpractice of long-term activity in this freld ini- tiatęd over 50 years ago at AGH University of Scięnce and Tęchnology in Krakow, Poland by Prof. W. Goetel, who was a precursor of sustainable management of thę nafural re-sources in Europe. Goetel introduced the con- cept of integration of natural, technical, social and other sciences within a so called Sociol-ogy and Sociotechnics for humanization of technology and protection resources of thę naturę and proper ęnvironmental quality for future generations. He was also the founder of the first sęminar in poland in this field fo- cused on cooperation between experts and 1o- cal society that was open for a11. For the environmental education of the adult people and for propagation of idęas of sustainablę development within whole adultsociety wę neęd new methods and new tools. Fońunately, wę now have such męthods and tools bęcause computer and telecommunica- tion ręvolution has given us new information at technology, called e-learning. This ICT- based leaming and teaching methodology is useful and comforlable for teaching and 1earning on al1 schoo1 levels including univer-sity studies, but is especially efficient whenused for life-long learning purposes. In the paper, merit goals of environmęntal studies will be discussęd and electronic and computermethods usęd for e-learning in this aręa will be presented. Why e-learning is usefulfor sustainable development focu sed on primary prevention of environmental health hazard Sustainable development requires inter- disciplinary co-operation integrating human ecology with environmentally-friendly tech- nologies and ęnvironmęntal economics as well as common action of experts and a knowledge-based society. The basic purpose for promotion of sustainablę development is application of Innovative Eco-technologies for morę efficient elimination of environmen- tal risk factors for human hęalth and a better quality of life for all. This means that the wholę society should take an active part in preventive action (as a top priori§ of moder- nization of technology in EU's countries).Management of harmful wastes seęms to be a good example for illustration that such com-mon action is quite necessary (e.g. for proper segregation of the waste as well as for permis- sion of local inhibitors) for localized wastemanagement center, etc. A necessary condi-tion of successful action is a strong motiva- tion of all partners to dissęminate knowledge both about direct and indirect health hazards connęctęd with environmental pollution as well as about new scientific and technical achięvęments useful for reduction of risk fac-tors at the sources. Internet-based system of communication and modetn e-leaming seemsto be the most adequate tool for exchanging good practice among experts and dissemina- tion of up-to date knowledge to all age and professional groups ofmodern society. Inter-active, long-life education may be usęful for a heuristic approach to colTlmon action on a re- gional and international scale. Intęrdisciplin- ary studies of expefis and common actions with managers of industrial companies and local society was a last chance for succęssfulprimary prevention of thę incurable, classical disęase of technocratic civilization-disease of Minamata [ 1 7], as well as contemporary health hazards associated with high pollutants by toxic elęmęnts in large regions [4]. Cybernetic methodology formodern education Communication technologies popularlyknown as ICTs are being increasingly linkedto education, Integrating technologies with the ęducational system is a major challenge of pedagogy today. In fact the two are insepara- ble. In our opinion this "technologizing" of ęducation all began with thę phenomenon of distance education, and its growing popular- iĘ. It is adult education, continuing educa- tion, training, digital education and profes-  Tadeusiewicz and Dobrowolski 76 sional education - all interconrrected, wheredistance education is a mechanism to facilitatę learning for the above mentioned components. Why do we assume e-leaming technology is especially useful for prevention of environ- mental health hazard? This is because such technology is the in- tęrfacę and the catalytic medium to takę edu- cation to various working groups of people,drop outs from thę convęntional system ofed- ucation, and adult leamers in general. The populariĘ of e-learning technology camę be-cause of its cost effectivęness, where thęre is little or no recutring expenditure; it breaks barriers of time, place and space, creating a cosmic space in the globalized community of today. Technology and education arę conco- mitants and inseparabie entities, whęre tech- nology is a męans to a larger end while plan- ning our activitięs we must understand not only the perspicacious utility oftechnology, but its subjective appropriateness. What is ad- vantageous in onę local condition is not so in anotheą in a heterogeneous society with an in- termix of variable levęls of social and eco- nomic development. Thus contrary to com- mon belief that the radio has now become anoutmodęd form of tęchnology, there has been a resurgęnce of the radio in the form of FM Channels, and the community radio. Audio and video tele-interactivity can be cost ęffi- cient and effective, butwe have to perhaps in-tensively reach rural areas, which are handi- capped by limitations such as paucity of electricity, and lack of TV signals. In cities and towns the internet is very popular due tothe mushroom growth of cyber cafes. Educa-tion must be construed in terms of learningand enterlainment - in common parlance - "edutainment" and technology is the driving force and moving spirit here. Computerbroad-casting or podcasting can bę very potent de- vices for teaching and leaming. The Skype andthe yahoo messenger are repositories for edu- cational texts in contexts wherę education drives technology. Blogs should be used byteachers and this wili cręate classroomswithin classrooms, both in traditional and dis- tance education contexts. Off course e-ieaming and other elenrents of cybernetic methodology used for modern ęducation in the area of sustainable deveiop- ment must not be overestimated. To view technology only as an ęnd in itself is posing a dangerous and inimical view, although in a technology driven society there is danger of its misuse and abusę. Nevęrtheless distanceeducation proposed here for modern environ-mental ęducation of thę whole society uses ef- ficaciously components of technology holisti- cally. For younger people classroom teaching can be also treated as a significant methodol- ogy. But for older people classroom teaching must be eliminated as a whole, and e-leaming is the only reasonablę altęrnative. At the sametime technology aided instruction can also bę difficult for the elderly population because of lack of computer skills. Thereforę e-leamingtools and ICT based elęments must comple-ments thę study texts given in traditional, paper form, For adult populations, especially for sustainable development popularization, themuch known e-leaming rule, claiming so calledblended learning as the bęst - mrrst be slightlymodifięd. We propose a three stage learning and teaching process. The first stage is based on studying printed materials, which presents in very easy and popular form the main idęas of ęnvironment protection, sustainable develop-ment and environmental health hazard pre- vention. Moreover the printed materials should include introduction to ełearning methodology and description of thę e-leam-ing tools used in the next stage. During this stage ofthe learning process people discovęrthe matter under considęration and step bystep become famiiiar with computęr tools used for detail learning. The next step is intendęd for collecting necęssary amounts of concręte facts and in-formation related directly to the area of pre- vention of environmental hęalth hazardsbased on sustainable development. It can be performed with the use of a computef, inter- nęt, and e-learning methods. The last step ol the proposed educarionprocess is designed for transfotmation of the collection of data, facts, and theoretical infor- mation (collected dunng the previous first step) toward real knowledge. It cannot be based on e-learning only.This implies necessity of the use of mixed computer based learning andteaching sęssions with active participation of a human teachęr. In our proposition, e-learning is a com- posite compendium of technologies includ-ing the printed material as print is the most primal form of technological intervention in  Use e-learning technology and cybernetic methodology for modern education 77 education. Synchronous and asynchronouslearning has technology created potential, un- leashing borderless education. Last, but not least, the final formation of thę knowledge and wisdom is done by good qualified teach- ęrS, At thę end of the described process we ob- tain not only tbrmal knowledge about preven-tion of environmental health hazard, not only understanding of sustainable deveiopment and related probiems, but also wisdcm neces-sary for active support of the politicians who must realize the diff'icult, cost consuming and not very popular ęconomical ręforms and po- litical transfotmations on the local, munici- pal, state-scale and global-scale. Transformations which are necessary for our common health, safety and development Using of black box principle for mod el i ng of le a rn i n g/te ach i ng process Targets of DL are an automation of infor- mation exchange processes and a purposefulformation of knowledge in the ęducational procęss. In the conceptual DL modęl we don'texamine the knowledge and internal repre-sentation and coding of "gestalts". We con- sider each participant of DL procęss as a source and receiver of information as well as the operator in the generalizęd information space, Using the prlnciple ofthe black box (BB) we examinę the didactic materials and teacher's skill at input and student's acquired / perceivedknowledge at ouĘut of DL process. Thęrę- fore, at contęxt of informatics, the model ofDL process rępręsents thę relation between input information, given by teacher, and tar-get knowledge, perceived by student. Anecessary condition ofthis existing model is use of identical language for "input" arrd "ouĘut" of DL process. Perfotmance of this condition in convęntional ęducation gives the possibility for direct and prompt control of the educational process by a teacher, usingqualitative criteria. In turn, subsequent statis- tical processing ofacquired knowledge eval-uations gives the possibility to correct long-term and shorl-term planning of the educa- tional process. Using these plans the teacherimproves sęmantic expressiveness of didacticmaterials by means of changes in sequence and depth of examined phęnomenaiconcepts,selection of metaphors, setting of associativęlinks and description ofa concept by different contexts. ln the coursę oflęssons, the teacher can con- trol thę knowledge perception by the studęnt. If long term planning ibr distance and convęn-tional education arę identical in many respects, then the scheduling andthe operative control of plan performancę diffęr considerably. There- fore, in DL the tęacher does not have direct con- tact with a student, but communicates with hinlher in a non-convęntional environment. Relation between the knowledge sources, learni ng environmentand knowledge representation language The nafurai language (NL) is abasic mode of knowledge representation and transfęr inconventional teaching. At thę same time, var- ious types of symbolic/artif,rcial languages give additional possibilities to enhance se- mantic expressiveness ofNL. This also holds true for lectures and didactic matęrials. From the point of view of ergonomics and psychol- ogy, the computer environmęnt sets the bounds on NL use. It refers to volume and quality of used NL necessary for teaching and controlprocesses. On thę other hand, the computerenvironmęnt gives unlimited possibilities for thę use of syrnbolic and artificial languagesand media.The problem is how to change the diręct contact "teacher-sfudent" on NL for dialogue in telecommunication space, using symbolic/ arlificial language and saving the basic sę- mantic content of knowledge. The teachęr is not the only source of knowledge, using un- limitęd NL. The books, media, and environ-ment play the same role. Thęrefore, language ofknowledge representation in DLmust corre- spond to NL and languages from othęr sources of knowledge. ln othęr words, the new knowl- edge obtained from external sources has to be
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