June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.32.1 - 12.32.10
A Deliberate Integration of Information Technology in the Classroom
The Information Age has revolutionized the way students learn in the classroom. The United States Military Academy (USMA) emphasizes the importance of Information Technology (IT) through an academy-wide IT specific goal. This goal supports the USMA’s mission of producing Army Officers who can respond effectively to technological changes in the defense of our nation.
Courses augmented with IT can be daunting for cadets who lack the experience and confidence level to succeed in the course. As a result, these types of courses are avoided by cadets if at all possible. This is not an option for an aspiring officer who will lead the soldiers of tomorrow on a digitized battlefield. Since 1990, cadets have been issued a computer which has played a central role in bringing the power of IT to all graduates of the Military Academy. Integration of IT in the curriculum begins early with every cadet receiving a laptop computer. An integrated software package is included to support any course of instruction. Cadets receive two courses in IT, one in their freshman year and one in their junior year. The freshman course teaches the cadet the basic functionality of the laptop, a basic programming language, and creating a basic website. The junior course builds on the freshman course by teaching the cadets to create an advanced website, design and build a network, manage a database, and create an information system.
IT plays a central role in several overlap courses between engineering and the humanities in such areas as information warfare, terrorism, and the legal aspects of intellectual property rights. What makes this approach unique is the methodical diffusion of IT into course design which removes the barrier between learning and the implementation of IT as an academic multiplier. An academy-wide committee consisting of 12 members is responsible for examining collected data to see how well the Military Academy is meeting its IT goal. This data comes from a variety of sources such as end of course surveys, graduate surveys, commander’s surveys and interviews, advisory boards, recent graduate seminars, and rotating faculty. The data helps to assess both IT outcomes and objectives. The proposed approach empowers cadets to embrace technology and leverage its benefits and not classify it as a learning impediment. Ultimately, this concept will allow cadets to design, implement, and maintain critical information systems utilized in the Army.
The ubiquitous use of Information Technology (IT) has forever changed business practices in industry as well as national defense. The 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon accelerated the use of IT by government agencies and the Department of Defense. Various types of IT currently in use range from wireless devices used to take a suspect’s photo for identification purposes to reconnaissance robots employed by the U.S. Army in the Global
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