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E-Homebook System, A Web-based Interactive

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E-Homebook System, A Web-based Interactive
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  E-Homebook System: A web-based interactiveeducation interface  q Hsi-mei Chen  * , Cris Yu, Cheng-sian Chang Department of Information Management, Kun Shan University, Tainan Hsien 710, Taiwan, ROC  Received 15 January 2005; accepted 13 May 2005 Abstract Children  s academic performance and social competence in school is positively associated with parentinvolvement. However, the researches about educational learning models often ignore the parent part.Moreover, Internet forms a new paradigm, education and communication approach is more complicatedthan ever. In this paper, we would like to introduce an Education Wheel model (EWM) which includes stu-dents, teachers and parents in the education environment. Under EWM framework, we design an E-Home-book System (EHS) with agents which provide a teacher–parent–student communication interface throughInternet. The EHS comprises intelligent agents: interaction agent, instruction agent, information agent,evaluation agent and log agent. The agents manage a learning portfolio conception, observe and record stu-dents   e-learning behavior through the web log, and provide teachers a reference of portfolio information.The agents adopt a trigger function to analyze the students   learning behavior from Internet as well as fromclassroom, evaluate overall performance, then send an e-mail message automatically to the teachers andparents to guide and assist the students who need to revise their learning attitude. Similarly, the agents willrecord parents   participation portfolio, then teachers may draft better communication strategy. The EHSprovides a better communication role between students–parents–teachers, implements an integrated perfor-mance measurement method, and conducts a better teaching strategy support interface for elementaryeducation.   2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. 0360-1315/$ - see front matter    2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2005.05.003 q We are grateful to the anonymous reviewer for the valuable suggestions on an earlier version of this article. * Corresponding author. Tel.: +886 6 2050115; fax: +886 6 2050545. E-mail address:  hmchen@mail.ksut.edu.tw (H.-m. Chen). www.elsevier.com/locate/compedu Computers & Education 49 (2007) 160–175  Keywords:  E-learning; Learning performance; Parent involvement 1. Introduction Students spent a lot time in different learning environment including classrooms, schools andfamily. Learning activities are preceded in the learning environment. Traditionally, teachers dom-inant the learning procedure, design teaching materials and assess the learning performance.However, parents also play an essential role in students learning behavior.Parents involvement perform in many different way, but may category into five fields: parentexpectations, a home structure for learning, educational communication between parents, schools,and students, parent participation in school activities and parent participation in school decisionmaking (Christenson, Rounds, & Gorney, 1992; Epstein, 1987, 1995). Some researches shows thatparent involvement differ in gender, ethnic group, student age, parental education level, and singleparent status (Keith et al., 1998; Kohl, Lengua, & McMahon, 2000). Parent involvement in schoolis associated with more positive academic performance (Christenson & Conoley, 1992; Kohl et al.,2000; Shumow, 1998; Keith et al., 1998) and social competence in children.In Taiwan, the ‘‘Teacher Law’’ endows parent involvement in school decision making legally.Parents participation in education environment are beneficial to student learning performanceand human resource nurture. The research in Taiwan shows that parents have positive and favor-able attitude and highly motivation to their involvement but teachers make efforts to involve par-ents with only slight results. Parents attribute rather greater commitment to parent involvementwith the teachers (Krumm, 1996). However, there are inadequacies in current measures of parentinvolvement. Educational reform in Taiwan recently has caused confuse and need more interac-tion to acquire common view about future. The well communication between parents, teachersand students is more important than ever.As the main communication approach between parents and teachers, traditional homebookused in many elementary schools in Taiwan is a paper notebook. Teachers have to request stu-dents to write down the daily notice on paper homebook. In case special events, there is not en-ough space or time to write it down. Teachers have to write another letter of notice or even make alot of phone calls. If there are special topics needed more discussion, teachers have to wait for thenext-day reply on homebook. However, it usually has to spend a lot of time recording andexchanging opinions. In this undirected way, it is not only lack of efficiency, but also easily comesup with man-made negligence, e.g., forgotten, damaged, missing, stolen signature, and so on. Thiscommunication method between parents and teachers is easily broken off.The traditional homebook is also unable to provide timely and adequately discussion interfaceif students having behavioral or intellectual problems. For example, students may have bad learn-ing attitude on schoolwork or lack of expressing opinion before crowd. Teachers are not willing towrite down discipline recommendation that may be read by students. The discussion between par-ents is also unavailable by traditional homebook. The other communication way for example, bytelephone or personal meeting, is very time consuming. The waiting, negotiation and communi-cation time is expected. There must be some other approach for better communication.The traditional intellectual assessment is evaluated by classroom participation, test or assign-ment. However, the student  s after-class learning attitude is ignored and teachers are unable to H.-m. Chen et al. / Computers & Education 49 (2007) 160–175  161  weigh up multi-dimension conception. How to assess students   internet-learning attitude is a hotissue since internet is very popular and learning through internet is inevitable. Not only teachersand parents have to change by preceding a guide learning to the students, but also the studentshave to change their srcinal passive learning attitude, and automatically construct their knowl-edge structure. The relationship among teachers, parents and students have changed. The internetis not only a learning interface, but also provides a well communication and assessment tool.This research would like to propose a model which includes teacher, student and parent in alearning environment – Education Wheel model (EWM). Under this framework, we suggest anew communication and assessment approach for teacher–parent–student through Internet, theElectronic Homebook System (EHS). The EHS applies the portfolio assessment in an e-learningenvironment. A portfolio conception is addressed in order to observe and record students   learn-ing behavior through the web log, provide teachers a reference of portfolio information to eval-uate learning performance and promote learning outcomes. The portfolio analysis is also appliedto analyze parent participation behavior.Section 2 introduces some basic concepts: (1) to review computer-based education models;(2) to review e-learning systems; (3) to review the portfolio references; (4) to introduce the tri-sectioned EWM; (5) to describe how our systems has been designed, implemented and validated;and (6) to describe how the prototype system delivers user-adaptive, interactive virtual functionson the Web. 2. Literature review  2.1. Review of computer-based education models Internet technology empowers the joint exploration of the delivery mechanisms and addsstronger collaborative learning elements. There is a substantial change from an instructor-led approach to a real learner-centered approach. Although physical classroom exists, interac-tion among participants with diverse background and experience are more learning-oriented inthe virtual classroom. The processes of collaboration and communication between learners andteachers are increasingly computer-mediated, such as via the Internet (Lee, Hong, & Ling,2001). Passerini and Granger (2000) develop a hybrid model for internet learning. This model integrates constructivist and objectivist approaches to instructional design. It includes five step-by-step phases: analysis, design, development, education, delivery. Cloete (2001) defines anelectronic educational system model to assist the designers of different e-learning settings toplan and implement a specific learning situation, with the focus on the individual requirementsand milieu of the learning group. The four layers are instructional layer, education middlewarelayer, e-paradigm layer and physical layer. The evaluation methods are summative and forma-tive. In an e-learning system, one may choose selected method(s) to analyze one  s learningsituation.Although the parent involvement is very important in elementary education, the traditionallearning models stress only on the development and communication parts, often ignore thatthe learning performance is an integrated outcome by the students, school and family involve-ment. The learning model for elementary education should be modified. 162  H.-m. Chen et al. / Computers & Education 49 (2007) 160–175   2.2. Review of web-based learning systems Currently there has been an increasing interest in the research and implementation of electroniclearning system. Ayala and Yano (1998) propose a framework for an agent-based Computer Sup-ported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) environment which can promote the effective collabora-tion and the creation of Zones of proximal development in a learning group. The agents focuson distributing domain knowledge sources to assist the learners in the application of domainknowledge and designing to cooperate in order to support the conditions for effective collabora-tion in a networked community of practice. Shin, Yoon, Lee, and Lee (2002) focus on a virtual labwhich provides more teachware and experiment suites and a quantitative evaluation on the edu-cational efficiency of using the proposed system and the new teaching model. These learning sys-tems are more stressed on the effectiveness and efficiency of the teaching material and studentfeedback. The EduCities (Chan, Hue, Chou, & Tzeng, 2001) and its upgraded version EduXs(Chang, Yang, Deng, & Chan, 2003) is a popular educational portal in Taiwan, and supportsthe establishment of online social learning communities. The main users are teachers, studentsand parents who can establish online social learning communities reflecting physical communities.However, the learning contents applying to users   learning activities need to be implemented.Chen, Lee, and Chen (2005) proposes the internet learning should consider both material difficultyand learner ability to provide individual learning paths for learners. The personalized service pro-vided by e-learning systems like learner preferences, interests and browsing behaviors is moreimportant than ever.  2.3. Review of portfolio A portfolio is a collection of student work. Many experts have defined portfolios as a strategyfor increasing the visibility of student learning. It has stated that portfolio is a purposeful collec-tion of student work that tells the story of student achievement or growth (Alter, Spandel, & Cul-ham, 1994). Portfolios helped students become more aware of peers as audience, as well as createtheir own public community of writers (Wall & Peltier, 1996). Portfolios are not only used to as-sess students   learning performance, but also to promote learning and the effectiveness of instruc-tion. Portfolios may contain a variety of items: rough drafts, graded assignments, papers,showcase pieces, critiques or summaries of reader, self-reflection pieces, homework assignment, journal entries, peer responses, graphics, spreadsheets, and even online discussions. Portfolios be-come popular because of its convenience to use and to provide online feedback and search mech-anisms. Throughout portfolios can observe and record students performing various learningactivities in a learning system, such as reading, messaging, conferencing, accessing document,and participating in interactivities.Assessment was the srcinal intent of the portfolio movement. Jacobson, Sliecher, and Burke(1999) indicates portfolio assessment recognizes that learning is not always easily quantifiable,and calls on students to demonstrate their learning by selecting and presenting examples of theirbest work. Kicklighter (1999) utilizes course portfolio as an investigation, enables educators toorganize selected details of their teaching effort and engage in a reflective analysis that leads toviable conclusions about instructional performance and student outcomes. It seems to be guidingthe student  s assessment of the portfolio, which is, guiding the student  s reflection, self-evaluation, H.-m. Chen et al. / Computers & Education 49 (2007) 160–175  163
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