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Education and Computers:
A Brief History

Computers (Mainframes)

     First use—1950

l    Adult training

l     Computer driven flight simulator

l  MIT

l  School children—1959

l  NYC

l  IBM taught binary arithmetic in elementary schools  

l  CAI (computer assisted instruction

l  Growing excitement that this was answer



l  IBM—instructional software called courseware

l  Digital Equipment Corp.—PLATO (Program Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations)


l  University time sharing systems

l  Programming, share information in academic community

Administrative Computing

     Computerize administrative tasks


l  Grading

l  Attendance

l  Record keeping

l  Payroll

Microcomputers (PCs)


l  Desktop computers

l  Locally controlled

l  Classroom teacher in command

l  Migration began from central site to school site for administrative and instructional applications


     Before PC courseware was cumbersome and expensive

     PC saw birth of software market to individuals

     MECC (Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium) funded by National Science Foundation offered new type of software—instructional and inexpensive

Authoring Software

     Teachers clamored for input

     Tool software (beginning of application software of today)


     Teachers created software

l  Too time consuming

l  Expertise needed

 Computer Literacy

     Learn about computers


l  High point of movement

l  Fear students left out if not “computer literate”

Basic skills, introduction to machine, not software intensive

l  Less influential today although North Carolina has big technology literacy movement

Logo and Problem Solving


l  Developed as programming language for young children

l  Seymour Papert at MIT

l  Based on work of Piaget

l  New use for technology as problem solving tool

l  Attempt to revise and restructure educational methods

Integrated Learning Systems

     Like first educational software

l  Basic skills instruction

l  Networked application

l  Back to centralized control of instructional computer resources

 World Wide Web

     True technology revolution


l  GUI—pictures and text

l  Access to everything

l  Real time simulation, access to tremendous amount of information of all types

   Information Superhighway

l  Expressway for education

What have we learned?

     No technology is the answer to educational problems

l  No quick, easy or universal solution

l  Technology—tool that must be integrated carefully

     Computer literacy is a moving target

l  No clear definition

l  Changing so skills needed are flexible

l  Change is common thread—never reach mastery as the technology is ever changing

      Standalone and networked computers have limitations

l   No delivery system ideal for all instructional needs

l   Both systems are needed

      Teachers don’t have time to develop technology materials or curriculum

l   Job time demands and skills needed limit teacher involvement in creating materials

l   Developers create—does not always match teacher needs

     Technology is not necessarily desirable, feasible or inevitable in all curricula areas

l  Implications of each new technology must be analyzed carefully

l  Must be critical consumers

l  Evaluation of the time, cost and value to learning must be implemented along with the technology

     Change in technology is faster than teacher adaptation

l  Continual staff development necessary

l  Change dictates a fast paced learning curve

     Older technologies—still useful?

l  “glitz factor”—move too fast without checking real value

l  Evaluation is essential in technology adaptation

     Teacher always important

l  Will technology replace teachers?

l  NEVER—good teachers are more essential than ever

l  Need teachers who understand the role of technology

l  Need technology savvy and child centered


Why use technology?


l   Gain learner attention

l   Engage learner through production work

l   Increase perception of control for learner

      Unique instructional capabilities

l   Linking learners to information sources

l   Helping learners visualize problems and solutions

l   Tracking learner progress

l   Linking learners to learning tools

     Support for new instructional approaches

l  Cooperative learning

l  Shared intelligence

l  Problem solving and higher-level skills

l  Increased teacher productivity

l  Freeing time

l  Providing accurate information quickly

l  Allowing production of better materials

     Required skills for Information Age

l  Technology literacy

l  Information literacy

l  Visual literacy


     Roblyer, M. D. and Edwards, Jack.  Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching.  Merrill:  Columbus, Ohio, 1999.



This page was updated on:  04/10/02