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The Beam Analysis Tool (BAT)

The Beam Analysis Tool (BAT)
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Author(s): Peter Burrage (Camosun College, Canada) and Leslee Francis Pelton (University of Victoria, Canada)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 7
Source title: Encyclopedia of Distance Learning, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Patricia L. Rogers (Bemidji State University, USA), Gary A. Berg (California State University Channel Islands (Retired), USA), Judith V. Boettcher (Designing for Learning, USA), Caroline Howard (HC Consulting, USA), Lorraine Justice (Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong) and Karen D. Schenk (K. D. Schenk and Associates Consulting, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-198-8.ch022


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In Houghton’s (1989) review of educational paradigms, he highlights the gaining importance of chaos theory. Chaos theory is often characterized by the term non-linear. Chaos theory can be found in many disciplines; in structural engineering, the behaviour of a structure under earthquake loads is often seen in terms of non-linear behaviour. Another characteristic of chaos theory is unpredictability. The implications for educational theory, as Houghton suggests, is that we have a realistic model for what happens in highly interactive systems. If the process of teaching and learning is seen as a highly interactive environment, then the parallels to chaos theory can be easily seen. The nature of a lecture can change when a student asks a question. This results in a non-linear learning environment. Students affect how something is taught by their own unique ways of understanding. Houghton (1989) suggests that the use of computers in education is supported by chaos theory. He suggests that computers should play a significant and active role with learning. Chaos theory not only supports the concept of using computers in education, it suggests that with non-linear programming (e.g., hypertext), education can change from the traditional linear format to a non-linear methodology that is alive and vibrant.

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