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Comparing works designed using the system with those designed using an Internet browser and word processor,

we have some encouraging findings. For example, previous studies (Small et al., 1998) indicated that seeking suitable materials from the Internet is time consuming and frustrating owing to the messiness of the databank, which then limits the amount of supplementary materials teachers can offer. We addressed this difficulty by providing a URL collector, a URL browser recorder, and a URL resource bank to assist teachers. Teachers in the experimental group all successfully and without much difficulty completed many instructional materials with the supporting functions. On the contrary, using the same of preparation time, teachers in the control group failed to produce instructional materials of similar quality. Furthermore, Roberts et al. (2000) found that teaching products made through computer-based technology were superior in design and required less time than handmade ones, but that there was no significant difference in the creativity of the two kinds of products. However, teachers in the experimental group not only completed better instructional materials, but also their materials were more creative and diverse, and the overall plans and materials were more coordinated and better structured. Innovative instruction relies on both a teachers willingness to engage in designing innovative teaching plans and on having access to facilities for helping achieve such innovation. Computer technology is one of the major tools that should provide facilities for innovation. However, increased access to equipment and training neither led to widespread teacher use nor altered existing patterns of teaching practice (Cuban, 2001; Havista & Lesgold, 1996). One possible reason for the failure to achieve the desired level of innovation despite the investment in effort and resources is the lack of suitable software to optimize the functions of equipment and training. Only when teachers believe that their workload can be reduced by using computers and quality of teaching can be enhanced will they be willing to increase their use of computers for instruction. The results of this study also support this assertion. Both the quantitative and qualitative data from our interviews demonstrate that teachers using our system experienced a lower workload and higher efficiency. The result was that they then generated more ideas and designed more activities reflecting their individual styles and originality. We believe that the design of software for instructional purposes and the exposure to such software are the most direct ways to link equipment and training, and to optimize the possible benefits of using information technology. The design and application of our system may serve as a reference for related studies. Due to time constraints and environmental factors however, this study did not conduct an observation and evaluation of the use of the system in a real teaching context. Future studies will investigate the usefulness of the system in a classroom context and other issues related to teaching material design on the Internet.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Council, Republic of China, under contract number NSC93-2524-S-003-014.

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