This site is part of George Mason University's Online Resources for Developmental Pschology. It is a compilation of 20 links to a variety of web pages dealing with the following aspects of Cognitive Development and Intelligence: Piaget's theory of cognitive development, Vygotsky's theory of cognitive development, General aspects of cognitive development, Intelligence, and Information processing.
Type of Material:
The site is primarily text, with some graphics. It has numerous links to other sites.
The material is recommended for use by both students and instructors of cognitive development. For students, the material can be used as assigned or optional outside reading, or as a source for an out-of-class assignment. For instructors, the material can be used for lecture ideas or to search for web-based literature on cognitive development.
A current browser is recommended.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
The major learning goal is to acquaint students with major theories of cognitive development (Piaget, Vygotsky, Information Processing) and intelligence (e.g., Gardner) as well as provide access to scholarly work on these topics.
Target Student Population:
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Some knowledge of introductory psychology would be helpful.
Evaluation and Observation
The site provides access to an enormous amount of information pertaining to developmental psychology and intelligence. The pages that can still be accessed contain some material of very good quality, e.g., reviews of "The Bell Curve," description of Gardner's seven intelligences, and access to scholarly articles on cognitive science.
The page has not been updated since 1998 or 1999. Of 20 links on the page, 8 returned a message of "page not found," 2 were redirected, 2 linked to different pages than they were supposed to (pages irrelevant to cognitive development) and 1 linked to a parent directory page. In other words, only 7 links worked as they were supposed to. Of those links that did work, several involved some searching on my part to get to the information for which the link was included. Finally, one link was to a page on which there was a disclaimer specifically stating that the page was to be used by students in a particular class at SUNY only.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Some of the links on this were to journals related to cognitive development ("Mind, culture, and activity") or to scholarly/scientific articles in cognitive development that would be of tremendous value to graduate students (or faculty) in developmental psychology. Most of the working links would be more appropriate for graduate than undergraduate students. However, there were a couple of links that would be valuable for undergraduates: (1) one to reviews of the book "The Bell Curve" discussing the issue of nature/nurture in intelligence, and (2) a page on which Howard Gardner describes a child who is high in each of his seven intelligences.
The use of the site is vastly limited by its need for updating. Students would likely be frustrated by the numerous dead links, as well as the links to sites with awkward navigation.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The site is well laid out, clear, and easy to navigate (although the fact that most of the links don't work will be frustrating to students and faculty alike). No special skills are needed.
Most of the links do not work or take one to irrelevant pages. Even for those that do work, navigating within the linked page to find the information on cognitive development is sometimes a tiresome process. That is, a student might have to click on link after link to eventually arrive at the desired information although the main site implied that it would be readily available after the first click.
Other Issues and Comments:
This could be a very high quality site and a great teaching/learning tool; however, this goal will be achieved only after a thorough update of the site.