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Computer Motivation

Computer Motivation

Hi Friends,

You can see also about What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) word processors are considered to be the epitome of user-friendliness, because working with them is supposed to be exactly analogous to writing with pen or pencil on a sheet of paper—a routine familiar to everyone who has graduated from elementary school. But consider the following scenario. 


You type in the title of your term paper, select the text and request boldface font. Unfortunately, as you begin to type the text of the paper, it is also displayed in boldface font! Your pre-existing knowledge of a WYSIWYG word processor is almost certainly the metaphor of ordinary writing which consists of placing blobs of ink sequentially, but arbitrarily, on a sheet of paper (Figure 1). This metaphor cannot furnish an explanation for the phenomenon you have encountered, so you become frustrated, anxious, and lose self-confidence.

What you (think you) see Of course, the explanation is trivial: 

the word processor is not storing blobs of ink, but symbols including implicit symbols for font changes and for indicating the end of a line (Figure 2). Here we are arbitrarily using HTML notation: ... to delimit boldface font and  to indicate a line break.) If your selection of the text fragment to change to boldface included an invisible (!) line break character, text typed before the line break will be mysteriously displayed in boldface.

What you (really) get The correct explanation of WYSIWYG should now be clear. What you get is: 

a data structure for storing text and formatting specifications, and 

a set of operations on that data structure. 

What you see is: 

a rendering of the data structure on the screen, and 

icons and menus to invoke the operations. 

To learn how to use the word processor, you must: 

create a mental model of the data structure and the effect of each operation, and 

attribute to each icon and menu item a meaning as an operation. Constructivism claims each individual necessarily creates cognitive structures (models) when learning to use the word processor. 

 Furthermore, it claims that each individual will perform the construction differently, depending on his or her preexisting knowledge, learning style and personality traits. Hopefully, the construction is viable and the user can successfully use the word processor. 

Unfortunately, but perhaps inevitably, many users construct nonviable models.  Teaching how to do a task can be successful initially, but eventually this knowledge will not be sufficient. As the example tries to show, a student who only knows the procedure for changing from ordinary to boldface font will be helpless when faced with this novel situation. The problem is caused not by stupidity on the part of the novice, nor by incorrectly following the instructions, but by a misconception that is attributable to the lack ofa viable model that can explain the behavior of the word processor.  

The teacher must guide the student in the construction of a viable model so that new situations can be interpreted in terms of the model and correct responses formulated. The word-processor example illustrates two aspects of learning that are characteristic of computer science. First, since computer science deals with artifacts—programming languages and software, the creator of the artifact employed a very detailed model and the learner must construct a similar, though not necessarily identical, model. Second, knowledge is not open to social negotiation. 

Given that the word processor is an extant artifact, you cannot argue that its method of using fonts is incorrect, discriminatory, demeaning, or whatever. You may be able to choose another software package, or to request modifications in an existing one, but meanwhile you must learn the existing reality. These two points will be extensively discussed in the rest of the paper.

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