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The Client of this project, Mr.Wilson, makes use of Microsoft .NET technology and JEE5 for teaching. The application in this project is to demonstrate to the students the functions and features of these technologies. It will be used as a teaching resources for learners with different style such as visual learners. The applications will be based on the Homeless Charity Scenario (see appendix for more details).The research areas will focus on the key aspects to this project, which are:
Computer Aided learning.
Types of learners.
Microsoft .NET Web Application Development.
Java EE5 Web Application Development.
2.2 Computer Aided Learning
2.2.1 Advantages of using computer in education
There are many advantages to using computers in teaching students. Computers can be easily learned with little of training and can be used to provide lot of resources such as ebooks, videos, etc. to the students. Many students find that researching using internet and computer to be easier than actually going through large reference books. Following are the characteristics of the computer which makes it better to use:
Provide storage of vast amounts of information. Retrieving information is easy.
Displays information visually.
High speed mathematics computation.
Provide many opportunities and choices to the learner.
Capacity to control and manage many of the accessories.
Good user interaction.
2.1.2 Use of educational computer:
Computers can be easily incorporated into the education. Many learning objectives can be fulfilled by developing methods which will use to computers to achieve their objectives.
There are many learning subjects which can incorporate computers for teaching students. Following areas the computers can be used:
As learning subject: Computers can be a subject area for learning. As computer and its use has become widespread, there are professions which require skills in computers such as computer hardware design, software programming, web development etc.
As an educational tool: Computers can be used to transfer and spread the information about the subject. Interactive feature of the computer makes it an excellent tool for education. It has already made major impact when it has been used as a tool for development.
A tool to solve problems: Computers are widely used to solve problems. It helps in developing skills which improve the solving skills of the students.
A tool for providing subjects: it can aid in the improving the understanding of the subjects. Videos on the computer can actually demonstrate what is being in the class about a particular matter. Painting, drawing, mathematical tools in the computer, etc. can help in grasping the difficult subject matter.
Guide and Teach: This is defined as the use of computer improving the basic skills.
Guide and teach: is characterized by the ability of computer in education and training in basic skills, which provides the required skills and training opportunities for repetition of the beginning of the process of providing specific concept upon which the basic skill to the stage of evaluating the performance of the learner and guidance.
2.2 Types of learners
Different people have different way of learning. Two people will not have same way of learning. As a teacher, it is important to understand how your pupils learn so you can teach in a way that suits. This will efficiently improve the learning outcome from your teaching. The learning style can be divided into visual, auditory, read and write, and kinaesthetic.
Visual learners, for example, learn by actually seeing things. Auditory learners learn by listening and want the teacher to explain to them by speaking. Read and write learners learn by reading books, articles etc. Kinesthetically learners learn actually experimenting hands-on so that they can actually get the feel for things.
Many people exhibits mix of the above learning techniques. So it is important to remember as a teacher that a student may learn using more than technique. Some may have style which they use most of time, others may use as a supplement, and some others may use different styles depending upon the situations. Learning style of people can be easily moulded. They can learn other styles or become better in their style by learning new skills.
2.2.1 Visual Learning Style
Visual learning is one of the sensory learning styles. The other sensory learning styles are auditory and kinestheic. Visual learners' use of the basic method of learning that is by actually seeing things through their eyes. They learn by actually looking at the things such as by looking at a picture than actually reading it. They prefer to watch how the things are done such as by watching how motor is repaired than reading a book or attending lectures on repairing motors. Around 60% of the people are visual learners so as a teacher you are bound have many students who would be a visual learners.
Visual learners use videos demonstrations as preferred method of learning as they learn more from it than actually reading books. Visual learners can be identified by knowing that they would asks question such as "Can I have a look it?" Learners with other learning style would ask for explanation or making request to the teacher to do it again but visual learners would make a request to actually see it. This is a small sign which would give an idea if the student is a visual learner or not.
To teach visual learners efficiently, there are two things which must be remembered. First thing is that when a demonstration is done, it must be kept in mind that demonstration is very clear and efficiently done. If a part of the demonstration or movement of the teacher is restricted to the visual learner, it must shown to the user if not the student will not be able to grasps completely the demonstration. For them, what they see is very important in learning.
Many tutors focus on the main part of the teaching or demonstration, but do not give must attention to the other parts. Visual learners learn by watching what is been shown or done by the tutor so if anything is missed or less emphasised, the visual learner would miss it or will less emphasis too. Any wrong movement by the tutor will copied by the student as they see it done by the tutor even the student is advised by the tutor not to do it.
Hence, there are two main things which must be kept in mind when teaching the visual learners: Everything must be clearly showed and demonstrate it exactly the way it should be done.
Based on the above guideline, following list shows the to do or not do for better learning for the visual learners:
Time must be given to demonstrate the technique to the learner from various different angles and the students must be asked to have a look from different angles.
The students must have a good look when the demonstration is being done. They must not be standing in a fixed line where they cannot get a good view of the demonstration.
Demonstration must be given in the middle of the room and not near the wall so that the students can surround the teacher from all side.
2.2.2 Auditory Learning Style
Auditory learners learn by actually listening the information.
Recognizing the Auditory Style
People with auditory style can easily follow instruction when they are told to do so. Some of the people with this style prefer to have background music or a white nose or are able to preserve information by actually speaking out.
The auditory learners make use of their ears as well as their voice as the hearing and speaking in the body are similar. To understand and retain information, these learners would repeat what has been thought to them by you. They might also make a song or rhythm of the things learned so as to remember it. Common question they would ask is to explain again. Learners with other style would ask to see it again or do the demonstration again.
Once the signs of the people of auditory style are recognized, they can be thought in the way fits them well for learning. In a normal class, there are bound to be people who would be auditory learners.
When teaching student, allow them to be at sit in the class where they find it is best for them to learn. It is not good to have students in fixed line as some of them would not be able to hear properly. As they learn by hearing, it is important that they can hear accuratley what is being thought in the class.
It is advised that the students are allowed to ask question when they actually have one because the common question from the auditory learner would be to repeat the explanation again. If not repeated again at the moment the student has not understood, it will be difficult for them to understand it at a later moment at the end of the class.
Auditory learners learn by listening and so anything explained verbally will help them learn. They would learn better if they can actually hear and say out loud. They prefer asking question so as a teacher, it is important it is mentioned in the beginning of the class that they can freely ask questions.
It is also important that students are not put on the spot by pointing at them when teaching. The lectures should be given to the entire class and the students must not be discouraged when their answer is wrong.
2.2.3 Read/Write Learning Style
2.2.4 Kinesthetic Learning Style
Kinaesthetic learners are those learners who learn by actually doing things hands-on. They prefer experimenting with things rather than reading or watching it. Approximately 10% of the population are kinaesthetic learners.
Recognizing the Kinesthetic Style
Since there are only 10% of the people who have kinaesthetic style, they are those people who like to do physical work.
Many students will exhibit this learning albeit to different level. They might not have dominant kinaesthetic style, but they could become one by learning to do hands-on work.
Kinesthetic learners tend to copy the movement of the teacher when the demonstration is being done. They tend to move or tinker a lot which actually helps them learn better.
Kinesthetic learners have a very low attention span so in the class with kinaesthetic learners it is better that less time is spent in giving lectures. More than 10 minutes of lecture will be too much for the kinaesthetic learner to hold his attention. Lecture must be made as short as possible so that more time is actually allowing the student do it hands-on. This is a very vital point as many people irrespective of their learning style have very low attention span.
It is important that the teacher discusses with the students how they prefer learning. This will help you understand their preference. You can mention to them about kinaesthetic and is advantages. Kinaesthetic deals any change in the body with regards to pressure, momentum, balance and the position. It relates to getting the feel of what is being done. It is not very difficult to learn but since traditionally learning has been associated with actually reading books and listening to lectures, the kinaesthetic method has been explored by everyone.
It is essential for the kinaesthetic learners to get the feel what is being done. They like to tinker and touch things. As a teacher, they must be given opportunity to actually do it hands-on to get the feel of what is being taught to them. They must be asked to do things or given situations where when change or modify something, they can feel the change or modification happening.
2.3 Microsoft .NET Web Application Development
2.3.1 .NET Technologies
All Microsoft .NET applications are supported by the Microsoft .NET framework. The Microsoft .NET framework includes, The Common Runtime Library (CLR) and the base class library. The CLR supports multiple programming language development.
The available programming languages enable developers to write programs, however the CLR or operating system is unable to understand these languages as they exist. All the .NET languages are compiled into lower - level language before the code is executed. This lower - level language is known as the Intermediate Language (IL). The CLR is responsible for compiling the Intermediate Language to machine language, which enables the operating system to understand it.
For developing .NET Web based application, many of the components from the .NET are used. The components include Web Services, Active Server Page .NET (ASP.NET), ActiveX Data Objects .NET (ADO.NET), .NET Coding Languages (C sharp), the Base Class Library and the CLR.
Figure 3.2-1 shows the compile sequence in the Microsoft .NET environment. The .NET languages are compiled into the intermediate language and pass to the CLR. The CLR then compiles the IL to machine language, which can be understood by the operating system.
Code in .NET (C#, VB.NET, etc)
Common Language Runtime
Figure 3.2-1 Compile Sequence in Microsoft .NET Environment
Compile to Intermediate Language
Compile to Machine Language
For developing .NET Web based application, many of the components from the .NET are used. Figure 3.2-2 shows the Microsoft .NET components involved in the development of this Web application. The components include Web Services, Active Server Page .NET (ASP.NET), ActiveX Data Objects .NET (ADO.NET), .NET Coding Languages (C sharp), the Base Class Library and the CLR.
Figure 3.2-2 Microsoft .NET Components involved in the Web application development
Base Class Library
C Sharp (C# )
Visual Studio.NET (VS.NET) is a purpose built Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for building Microsoft .NET applications. Visual Studio .NET contains a rich set of features to assist developers such as page design, automatic error detection and debugging tools.
2.3.2 History of the .NET Platform
Microsoft .NET was introduced by Microsoft in July 2000 at the Professional Developer Conference (PDC). The PDC developer's version was also released so that the developers can actually test it. Once the testing and feedback from the developers were obtained, Beta 1 version of .NET was released. Along the way, the developer community suggested improvements to the Beta 1. Microsoft used the suggestions to improve the Beta 1 and release Beta 2. The Beta stage lasted more than one and a half years after which in March 2002 the final version of .NET framework was released by Microsoft.
It is not be noted that unlike other software by Microsoft in which not many people from outside the Microsoft are involved in the Beta phase, in .NET development there were many developers who were involved in the testing of the Beta .NET. This led to its popularity and excitement within the developer community.
Microsoft gives lot of importance to this platform so much that they believe that the future of Microsoft actually depends on how successful is .NET. They believe the development is like when there was transition in the beginning of Microsoft from DOS to Windows. All the future developments by Microsoft will centre on .NET.
2.4 Java EE5 Web Application Development
2.4.1 JEE 5 Technologies
Java Platform, Enterprise Edition 5(Java EE 5) emphasis on easing the process of development but also make sure that the features of J2EE 1.4 platform are preserved. It offers features like JavaServer Faces (JSF) technology and web services of API. The programming using Java EE 5 is easier and simple and at the same has the features which made the Java EE as the most popular platform for web and application development for enterprises. Java EE5's support is provided by the Java EE 5 SDK and Java Application Platform. Features such as Open ESB, Portlet Container, Sun Java System Access Manager are part of Java Application Platform SDK. (http://java.sun.com/javaee/)
2.4.2 History of the Java Platform
History of the Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (Java EE) gives information that every revision of the platform has been associated by a particular theme. For instance, when the J2EEâ„¢ 1.2 was released and when J2EE 1.4 was released the theme was web services. Figure 1 shows the history of Java EE and important functions of each version.
Figure 1. History of Java EE
In the beginning of every new technology, there might me some problems or disadvantages. Java EE specification was no different and had it shares of disadvantages such as:
Business logic programming was very complex.
Persistence programming model was difficult and performance issues.
Presentation layer/logic mix.
Types, complexity, document model, extension, and performance of Web services.
Required more than one member team development.
Edit-compile-debug cycle was very long.
As the points so that the Java EE was very complex and hence, the Java EE 5 emphasis on the simplicity which has been achieved by making the following improvements:
Simplification of business logic development.
Simplification of testing and dependency management.
Simplification of O/R persistence.
Advanced Web services programming model.
The advancement in the Java EE 5 has been due to the advancement in the technology in both the open-source as well as in the commercial arena such as Spring, Service Data Object (SDO), Hibernate etc. Also, improvements have been made to the specification.
Java EE 5 is an important and advanced development platform for enterprises. After lot of criticism of Java development, many improvements have been made to the Java EE 5. EJB 3.0 and JPA are very simple, powerful, and efficient to use and advancement to the JAX-WS will ease the development process of web services.