Educational Applications of iTASK
A global crisis is looming in education. There are not enough young people being educated with the skills necessary for an information-based society. The technically advanced countries are not educating enough young people with math and science skills, for instance, to provide the skilled workers required to sustain the ongoing development of new technologies. Emerging countries are desperately trying to catch up with the West but, to do so, they need effective systems for teaching literacy in languages such as English or Spanish, and also effective ways for making their populations literate in information technology.

Computers have been promoted as the ideal tool for education and vocational training for almost three decades but are still not delivering on the promises. While there are many reasons for this, the main ones are system complexity, built-in obsolescence, and lack of suitable software. Teachers and students spend too much time dealing with the quirks of the technology instead of being able to focus all of their efforts on the material they are supposed to be learning.

Archimedes researchers have developed a new type of educational computer system that uses iTASK modules to solve the inherent problems in current educational computer systems. The "Intent Driven Environment for Active Learning" (IDEAL) impacts computer based education in many different areas:

  1. IDEAL is accessible to all students. All of the accessors developed for people with disabilities are automatically available to IDEAL.
  2. IDEAL separates interaction and control functions from information delivery. The control functions are handled by an external iTASK collaborative network and the information delivery is handled by a standard WIFI network. This separation ensures that evolution and changes to commercial networking standards have no direct impact on the IDEAL system.
  3. IDEAL software works on any computer or device that can access a network, run a web browser and play Flash movies. This leads to an extremely important result: IDEAL eliminates version obsolescence since the brand, version or age of the computer and its operating system have no direct impact on its ability to run IDEAL software.
  4. Using the IMNIP's ability to integrate multiple streams of real-time input data, the IDEAL system incorporates real-world experimentation and measurements directly into learning materials. Linking practical hands-on activities directly to theory strongly reinforces the learning experience and makes it much easier to remember.
  5. IDEAL uses the IMNIP's ability to form collaborative networks to enable students to work alone, in small groups, in larger groups or as a complete class.
  6. IDEAL enables the teacher to interact directly with the whole class, with groups of students or with an individual student.

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